Can Dogs Eat Pancakes?

A breakfast treat for pups? 🥞

dog with a stack of pancakes

Breakfast foods are some of the best kinds of foods — especially pancakes. But have you ever been enjoying brunch and wondered if your pup could join in? Can dogs eat pancakes, too?

The good news is dogs can eat plain pancakes, but, as with all treats, only in moderation. And you shouldn’t feed your dog pancakes with syrup or certain other ingredients.

We spoke to Dr. ​Sada Grieve, a Fear-Free-certified concierge veterinarian, to find out exactly what you should know before feeding your dog pancakes.

Can my dog eat pancakes?

Plain pancakes are OK for your dog to eat — but only occasionally.

“Plain pancakes are not intrinsically toxic, but they are not particularly nutritious,” Dr. Grieve told The Dodo. “Most are usually made with refined flours and sugars, which are calorically and carbohydrate dense. An average sized pancake (6-inch diameter) has approximately 175 calories, and a 20-pound ideal weight dog needs approximately 500 calories per day.”

So in other words, one full pancake would make up a ton of your dog’s calories for the day, so it’s best to only give him a little bit as a treat.

Dangers of giving your dog pancakes

While pancakes aren’t toxic to dogs, they can be unhealthy if you give your dog too many — especially if you add a ton of sugar and butter to your pancakes.

Dogs can also be lactose intolerant or have food allergies, so you should be aware of any allergies your dog might have and avoid giving him pancakes that include those ingredients (like wheat).

But the main danger is in accidentally giving your dog pancakes with other ingredients in them that are poisonous to dogs, such as chocolate, or with syrups that contain xylitol.

So if you plan to give your pup a taste of your pancakes, they should ideally be plain. But if you want to give your dog a little extra treat every now and then, there are a few other types of pancakes that can be OK (more on that below).

Can dogs eat pancakes with syrup?

Dogs shouldn’t eat pancakes with syrup.

“Pancake syrups of all kinds are heavy in sugars, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, etc.,” Dr. Grieve said. “An average maple syrup has around 50 calories per tablespoon. A pancake with 2 tablespoons of syrup will have over half of the recommended calories for a healthy 20-pound dog.”

While pancake syrup isn’t great for a dog because of all the sugar, the biggest danger with giving your dog pancakes with syrup is that many artificial syrups (anything that’s not pure maple syrup) can contain xylitol.

“Imitation syrups are often made with xylitol to replace refined sugar,” Dr. Grieve said. “Xylitol is very toxic to dogs, even in small quantities. Xylitol can cause dogs (depending on the quantity consumed) to have dangerously low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure and death. The initial signs you may notice are vomiting, weakness, ataxia (loss of muscle control) and tremors.”

Sugar-free syrups have a particularly high concentration of xylitol — a tablespoon of sugar-free pancake syrup contains about 4.5 grams of xylitol per tablespoon, Dr. Grieve said. That’s more than enough to cause hypoglycemia and even liver failure in a 20-pound dog!

So if your dog does get a hold of any sugar-free syrup with xylitol, it’s a drop-everything emergency.

“Please call Pet Poison Helpline [at] (800) 213-6680 or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center [at] (888) 426-4435 and your veterinarian if ingestion has occurred,” Dr. Grieve said.

Can dogs eat blueberry or banana pancakes?

If you do sneak your dog a piece of your blueberry or banana pancakes, he’ll be OK, but they’re unhealthy if eaten regularly.

“As with other pancakes, they are very calorically dense and can lead to obesity, diabetes and other health issues if eaten too regularly,” Dr. Grieve said.

Blueberries and bananas (and many other fruits) are also high in fiber. While fiber is good for dogs, adding too much fiber to a dog’s diet can lead to digestive problems.

“If a dog eats too much fruit, it could lead to diarrhea,” Dr. Grieve said. “Moderation is best.”

Can dogs eat protein, buckwheat or almond flour pancakes?

Dogs can eat most pancakes made with different types of flour, as long as they’re plain and given only occasionally.

“The different flours are fine for dogs, as well as soy and whey proteins,” Dr. Grieve said. “Coconut and almond flour are gluten free, which is preferable for dogs with certain dietary restrictions.”

However, some dogs can have food allergies, so you should be careful if your dog is allergic to wheat, for example.

One type of protein that should be avoided, though, is pea protein.

“Pea protein should be avoided because research is currently being conducted to find out if it is definitely linked to a heart disease (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy),” Dr. Grieve said.

Can dogs eat vanilla pancakes?

Dogs shouldn’t eat vanilla pancakes or any pancakes made with vanilla extract.

Vanilla extract usually contains about 35 percent ethanol, a type of alcohol, and alcohol is toxic to dogs.

While most of the ethanol will likely burn off when cooking the pancakes, it’s best to avoid giving your dog anything that includes vanilla extract or flavoring just to be safe. Or you can try to find an alcohol-free vanilla flavoring if you really love using it.

“Ethanol is toxic to dogs (>10 ml of vanilla extract for a 20-pound dog to begin seeing clinical signs), so it is safest to use alcohol-free vanilla in case the dog accidentally finds the bottle,” Dr. Grieve said.

Some vanilla extracts and flavorings can also contain xylitol. So basically, you should skip the vanilla pancakes for your dog unless you’re completely sure the ingredients are safe.

How many pancakes can my dog eat?

Vets typically recommend that treats only make up about 10 percent of a dog’s diet, aka 10 percent of their calories, with their regular food making up the other 90 percent.

You can ask your vet how many calories your dog should be eating per day. You can also try a calorie calculator like this one, which tells you how many calories your dog should be eating depending on his weight, to get a sense of how many calories from treats are OK for him to have. (Just divide the total number of calories by 10 to find out how many calories from treats he can have per day.)

Watch out for these symptoms if your dog eats sugar-free syrup or too many pancakes

If your dog eats plain pancakes too often, he could develop obesity or diabetes because pancakes are high in calories and sugar.

If your dog manages to get some pancakes with sugar-free syrup, you could see symptoms of xylitol poisoning. Symptoms of xylitol toxicity are a result of low blood sugar and include:

  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Pale gums
  • Liver failure (in extreme cases)

If you give your dog too many banana or blueberry pancakes, he could have digestive symptoms, such as diarrhea or an increased need to poop. Too much fiber can also cause your dog to have difficulty absorbing nutrients from his food.

If your dog is lactose intolerant and your pancakes contain milk, you might see bloating, gas, vomiting or diarrhea.

Symptoms of food allergies, such as wheat, include itching, hives, vomiting and diarrhea.

So if you want to give your dog some of your pancakes, a bite of plain pancake every now and then is fine. Just make sure there’s no syrup or other ingredients that are toxic to dogs so you don’t have to deal with an accidental medical crisis.

If you do want to give your dog some pancakes with all the toppings, you can try this pancake dog toy from Chewy for $13.

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