Known as tasty, colorful, and crunchy, veggie straws and veggie chips are among the most popular snacks for people who wish to munch on a healthier alternative to potato chips. While these are meant for a health-conscious consumer base, these snacks aren’t necessarily healthier than regular potato chips or other junk food. This leads to the question: Can dogs eat veggie straws and do they contain nutritional benefits for our dogs?
What are Veggie Straws?
Much like potato chips, veggie straws are deep-fried snacks made from pulverized potatoes and are available in plain, cheesy, sweet, and spicy flavors. However, they are a bit different from chips since they’re made from a combination of potato starch, potato flour, spinach powder, corn starches, tomato paste, artificial colors, seasoning, and lots of salt. The exact process of making it isn’t known but they’re likely produced by making fine powder out of potatoes and then combining them with food color and starches.
The resulting mixture is then pressed through a narrow extruder to turn them into straws. They are then sliced, deep-fried in vegetable oil, and drowned in artificial flavors before getting packaged. It’s because of this process that it’s similar to tortilla chips or potato chips, just with different flavors.
Are Veggie Straws Good for Dogs?
Veggie straws in small amounts won’t be lethal to your furry friend, but they contain harmful ingredients that won’t do good for your dog’s health. Veggie straws can be seasoned using condiments that may cause an adverse reaction in your canine companion. Below, we break down each ingredient and discuss the potential health risks for your dog.
Potato Powder and Flour
While potatoes are generally considered to be low-risk for dogs, recent studies have shown that they are the main reason for canine heart disease. The condition known as Dilated Cardiomyopathy can cause heart enlargement which could be fatal; one piece won’t result in this but eating high amounts of carbohydrates can lead to a higher risk.
Apart from this, eating too many starch-based foods may result in the following:
- Digestion issues
- Slow metabolism
- Dental issues
- Kidney problems
Because this snack is fried using hydrogenated oil, its fat content will become significantly higher. Dogs aren’t meant to consume fried food apart from the occasional snack. When given oily foods and high amounts of fat, your dog may suffer from:
- Weight gain
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Cardiac disorders
Veggie straws tend to have high salt content and just like people, feeding your dog too much salt may lead to various diseases. Moreover, the salt levels considered to be dangerous for our dogs are a lot lower; to stay healthy, a 33-pound dog must not consume over 100mg of sodium each day. Just a single serving of veggie straws has as much as 220mg of sodium, and eating too much sodium may cause:
- Sodium poisoning
- Kidney damage
- Cardiac disorders
- Muscle spasms
This item is mostly considered to be harmless for dogs with the exception of pups with problems in their kidneys. Feeding your dog one too many pieces of spinach could be harmful since they contain a lot of oxalic acid. Luckily, the amount found in these crunchy snacks isn’t enough to cause damage.
Garlic and Onion
Both onion powder and garlic powder contain N-propyl disulfide, a chemical that can break down the red blood cells in dogs, resulting in a condition known as Hemolytic Anemia. You should always keep all food items that contain garlic or onion away from your dog; eating these foods could result in the following with your dog:
When used in its purest form, tomato is a dog-friendly ingredient but when used as a tomato paste, it becomes less safe to use. Depending on what it will be used for, tomato paste can contain a lot of salt, sugar, and preservatives that may not be good for our dogs’ health.
Corn starch isn’t toxic but it doesn’t provide health benefits either. It contains zero fiber and is made up of pure carbs. It’s a good idea to keep this away from your dogs too.
Here are a few common dog owner questions when it comes to feeding veggie straws to dogs.
Do They Contain any Essential Nutrients?
Unfortunately, veggie straws contain little nutritional value and won’t provide your pooch with any kind of nourishment. The nutritional information provided on the packet might indicate dietary fiber, vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium, iron, and calcium, but these are found in such small quantities that won’t do anything for your dog. On the other hand, you’ll find that it has plenty of vegetable powders, artificial flavorings, sodium, cholesterol, carbohydrates, and a high fat content.
What Happens if My Dog Ingests a Lot of Veggie Straws?
Your puppy may look fine after it chomps down on plain veggie straws but you will still need to look for symptoms of any of the conditions listed above. To prevent any kind of allergic reactions and to keep your dog in good health, be sure to give them a balanced diet and stick to fresh vegetables. If your dog has loose stool or starts vomiting, keep it hydrated to prevent an electrolyte imbalance and keep an eye on severe symptoms.
The seriousness of the symptoms will depend on the number of veggie straws the dog has swallowed. If your dog has eaten too many of these salty snacks, it may experience a sodium overdose. Vegetable straws that are ranch or spicy-flavored may contain garlic and onion powder — in cases like this, be sure to get veterinary care right away to address potential health problems.
Health issues to look out for in dogs that have eaten toxic foods include:
- Runny stools
Moreover, in severe cases of poisoning from sodium, dogs may display the following symptoms:
- Muscle spasm
- Excessive urination
Additionally, if your dog ate veggie straws with garlic and onion powder, you may want to look for the following:
- Lack of appetite
- Breathing problems
How Do I Treat My Dog if it Has Eaten This Type of Snack?
When your pooch begins to show signs of onion and garlic toxicity or sodium poisoning, it will need to get to your veterinarian quickly. Be sure to take the snack wrapper with you to the vet or emergency room, this will move things along for medical staff and help to figure out what’s wrong. Your vet may give your dog an emetic drug to induce vomiting and clear the stomach of its contents.
IV fluids and electrolytes may also be provided to keep your dog hydrated. Moving too fast and administering the treatment too quickly could result in brain swelling or heart attack. This is the reason why all kinds of treatment must be done by a professional veterinarian.
Can Dogs Eat Veggie Straws?
All in all, the answer is no. Dogs should never be given veggie straws to eat no matter how much they beg you for them; there are many healthier alternatives that you can give to your pooch. Try serving small pieces of whole vegetables — these can be great dog treats made from natural ingredients and can be a good source of fiber. Using real vegetables as your main ingredients will result in a healthy snack for both dogs and human beings.
Hot dogs can also serve as occasional treats but if you want your dog to eat healthy food, you should create your own dog veggie straws. Every dog lover needs to do what they can to keep their pup happy so be sure to keep this unhealthy snack away from your best friend.