Graham crackers are a sweet treat that have actually been around for nearly 200 years. According to Entrepreneur magazine, they were invented by Sylvester Graham around 1829 and have taken on many forms over the last few centuries, from pie crusts to teddy bear-shaped snacks.
These days, graham crackers are a staple ingredient for s’mores and school lunches – and, dare we say, the perfect pairing with peanut butter.
If you’ve found yourself munching on graham crackers and felt tempted to feed one to your begging pup, you’ve probably wondered: “can dogs eat graham crackers?” Or even, “are graham crackers bad for dogs?”
These are smart questions for any pet parent to ask themselves. After all, there are many foods that are toxic to dogs. So where do graham crackers fall on the scale of safe to dangerous? Here’s everything you need to know about dogs and graham crackers.
Can Dogs Eat Graham Crackers?
Short answer: yes!
“Graham crackers are not bad for dogs, but they also contain ingredients that pets don’t need (like honey and sugar) and are a little higher in calories than an equivalent crunchy dog biscuit,” says Dr. Danielle Bernal, global veterinarian with Wellness Pet Food. “For these reasons, they can be best thought of as ‘okay’ for a one-off treat.”
She adds that in general, it’s best to give dogs a lower calorie, meat-rich treat, which is the better alternative for a dog’s health and wellbeing. But if you happen to be eating a graham cracker and a piece falls on the ground, your pup can go ahead and enjoy!
Can Dogs Eat Honey Graham Crackers?
Yep, graham crackers with honey also get a thumbs up from Dr. Bernal.
“These are okay as a one-off treat, but there are better alternatives that will deliver less calories and better-quality ingredients that support dogs’ nutrition,” she says.
Honey is generally safe for dogs in small amounts.
Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon Graham Crackers?
Not to worry! If your pup downs a graham cracker with cinnamon, you’re in the clear. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, cinnamon is not toxic to dogs. They do note that it may cause negative effects if your pup ingests greater than 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder – but keep in mind that’s way more than what may be sprinkled on your graham cracker.
Are Graham Crackers Good for Dogs?
Okay, so we’ve established that dogs can eat graham crackers, but it’s important to call out that ultimately, graham crackers are not good for dogs.
“There are no toxic ingredients in graham crackers, but they are higher in calories than other dog treats and are not complete and balanced,” says Dr. Bernal. “So keeping these treats in moderation is a good rule of thumb to ensure the health of your dog.”
She points out that pet parents should make sure that any treat (graham crackers included), should not contribute any more than 10 percent of total nutritional intake.
“For a 22 pound dog, their approximate intake is 400 calories a day. So if one graham cracker rectangle is 59 calories, that 10 percent rule means that they should only receive closer to 2/3 of that cracker,” adds Dr. Bernal.
“Sticking to a moderate serving is key to ensure pets maintain a healthy weight,” says Dr. Bernal.
And if you find yourself eating sugar-free graham crackers that contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, do not feed these to your pup, as xylitol is toxic to dogs.
Another thing to consider: if you are making s’mores with your graham crackers, be sure that your dog does not get a hold of one.
“Chocolate can be toxic for dogs, and marshmallows certainly aren’t good for dogs,” says Dr. Bernal. “Made from sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, vanilla extract, and coated with either cornstarch or confectioners’ sugar, marshmallows contain very little, if any, nutritional value or health benefits for dogs.”
Graham Crackers and Dogs: The Verdict
Bottom line: if you drop a graham cracker and your dog scarfs it down, you don’t have to worry that they will get sick. However, you shouldn’t get in a habit of regularly feeding graham crackers to your dog. Stick to treats made specifically for them when you can.
“Dogs aren’t little people,” says Dr. Bernal, “so keeping them on dog biscuits instead of graham crackers is always a good idea.”