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Can Dogs Eat Pasta? Everything You Need to Know

One of the most iconic scenes in movie history takes place in Walt Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. In the movie, a sweet brown Cocker Spaniel named Lady shares a plate of spaghetti with a grey stray named Tramp. Chewing up a single piece of pasta, they eventually make it to the middle and share a short little kiss while Bella Notte plays in the background. 

Now no doubt, many kids after seeing this movie also wanted to share a noodle with their furry friend. But, is that safe for your dog?

Can dogs eat pasta?

Veterinary experts don’t have a clear-cut answer. While pasta on its own is not toxic to dogs, other aspects of pasta can be. Noodles on their own are made from just a few ingredients - flour, eggs, olive oil, and salt. None of these ingredients are inherently bad for dogs. That being said, if you’re giving your dog pasta, do so in moderation. Too much of anything that isn’t made specifically for dogs can cause an upset stomach. 

What about pasta sauce?

If you rewatch the movie, it appears as though the spaghetti is bathed in a thin red sauce and adorned with meatballs. While you might be tempted to recreate the scene shot for shot, avoiding the sauce and meatballs is highly suggested. 

Many of the ingredients that make marinara delicious are not healthy for dogs. This includes garlic, onion, sugar, herbs, and cheese. Cheese may be the only exception here, but again, moderation is key. 

And the meatballs? Well, again, meat isn’t necessarily bad for dogs, but a significant amount of onions and seasoning go into meatballs to give them flavor. It’s better to err on the side of caution and skip the meatballs. 

What about different types of pasta?

In recent years, pasta alternatives have begun taking over grocery stores. These kinds of pasta use a flour substitute like chickpeas, lentils, and rice in an effort to be low card and/or gluten-free. Are these alternatives safe for your pup?

While humans can cut grains out of their diet relatively safely, dogs are not wired the same. In fact, studies have shown that grain-free dog foods may have some link to canine heart disease. That being said, lentils, chickpeas, and rice are all healthy for dogs in moderation.  

Conclusion

So in the end, can you safely give your dog pasta? Yes, with this caveat. A couple of noodles are perfectly ok, but more than that may lead to discomfort or an upset stomach. Does that mean that sharing a plate of spaghetti with your dog is off the table? Unfortunately, yes. Meatballs and pasta sauce have seasoning and ingredients that just aren’t canine-safe. It’s best to keep your food and fido’s food separate. Trust me, he’ll thank you for it. 

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