Can Dogs Eat Goldfish Crackers?

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It’s no secret that children are messy eaters, and as part of the deal, dogs are always there to patiently clean up after them. But what happens when your canine companion inevitably gets hold of one of the most popular (and easily droppable) snacks for children, Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish Crackers

Is there a need to panic? Can dogs eat Goldfish Crackers? The good news is that dogs who consume a small amount of Goldfish will most likely be okay, though it is best to keep them away from the snack if at all possible. 

We’ll take a deeper look at what Goldfish are, how they are made, which ingredients in Goldfish are harmful to dogs, and the risks that canines take when they get their paws on those tasty baked fish crackers. 

What are Goldfish Crackers? 

As one of the most iconic snacks for children (and adults reaching their hand around to the back seat for a handout), Goldfish Crackers are bound to tempt nearby dogs looking for a quick and sneaky nibble between meals. 

Created by a Swiss biscuit-maker as a gift to his wife for her Pisces birthday (the astrological symbol for Pisces is a fish), Goldfish became a popular soup cracker due to their soda-cracker-like flavor profile, and appearance of fish swimming. 

can dogs eat goldfish crackers

On a trip through Europe in the 1960s, Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin discovered Goldfish Crackers. Rudkin liked them so much that she brought them to the United States to be marketed and sold by her company. 

Due to the success of Goldfish Crackers, Rudkin went on to become the first female board member at the Campbell Soup Company, and in 1997, smiley faces were added to the snack. The rest is history. 

Since being introduced to American consumers in the ’60s, Pepperidge Farm has expanded their Goldfish line to include Goldfish Cheddars, Goldfish Whole Grain, Goldfish Colors), and Goldfish Grahams. 

What Ingredients Are in Goldfish Crackers?

Pepperidge Farm is proud that their Goldfish are a healthy snack option for children. They advertise the crackers as: 

  • A source of 7 vitamins and minerals
  • Baked with real cheese
  • Made with no artificial flavors
  • Containing 0 Trans fats. 

Goldfish ingredients include:

  • Enriched wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
  • Vegetable oils (canola, sunflower, and/or soybean)
  • Salt
  • 2% or less of nonfat milk
  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Monocalcium phosphate
  • Paprika
  • Spices
  • Celery
  • Onion powder
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Annatto
  • Sugar beat    

The Goldfish Graham line also includes the ingredients: 

  • Cinnamon 
  • Vanilla extract
  • Chocolate powder
  • Brown sugar
  • Whole wheat flour/Enriched wheat flour
  • Molasses
  • Corn starch
  • Baking soda/powder
  • Monocalcium phosphate

Which Goldfish Crackers Ingredients Are Unhealthy for Dogs?

Overall, Goldfish Crackers aren’t the unhealthiest snack on supermarket shelves, but which of the ingredients listed above could be harmful to your pet?

Though they might be a good option for growing children, Goldfish Crackers do not provide the same nutritional value to our furry friends.

Many of the ingredients found in Goldfish are toxic to dogs, including: 

  • Garlic 
  • Onion 
  • Salt 
  • Milk
  • Yeast

The Merck Veterinary Manual states that garlic, onions, and other members of the allium family contain a substance called thiosulfate which is toxic to canines. Thiosulfate causes oxidative damage to red blood cells, resulting in hemolytic anemia and gastrointestinal irritation. 

Salt can cause dehydration and sodium ion poisoning in dogs.

can dogs eat goldfish crackers

Of course, chocolate (the most well-known toxic ingredient to dogs, which Goldfish Grahams include in their recipe) is a big no-no for pups, but among the remaining Goldfish Graham ingredients, those that are harmful to canines include:

  • Brown sugar
  • White sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking soda/powder
  • Chocolate

Chocolate contains methylxanthines, which come from cacao. Consumption of any or all of these ingredients could result in:

  • Anemia 
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Rapid breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Jaundice
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Increased urination 
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • Tremors
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Excessive thirst
  • Panting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

can dogs eat goldfish crackers

What Should You Do if Your Dog Eats Goldfish Crackers?

As a general rule, veterinarians advise dog owners to keep Goldfish Crackers and most other human foods away from pets. But if and when your dog manages to consume a small amount of Goldfish Crackers, they will most likely be okay. 

In case your dog seems to have ingested a significant amount (or any other potential poisoning) animal experts recommend that you: 

  • Remove your dog from the source
  • Contact your vet immediately
  • Take the packaging or substance with you to the vet
  • Do not try to medicate the animal yourself

Also, it is best to avoid dogs consuming small amounts repetitively day after day. Goldfish Crackers should not be used as treats or rewards for your pet and should be kept away from them whenever possible. 

If you have any questions about your pet’s health or are in doubt about the state of your animal, a 24-hour animal Veterinary Poisons Information Center is available to call.

So, Can Dogs Eat Goldfish Crackers?

Hopefully, we’ve answered all of your questions by this point in the blog, but it’s safe to say that your dogs are better off sticking to a diet of canine-specific food and supplements. These can be recommended by your veterinarian. 

In general, it is best to keep dogs away from Goldfish Crackers (and all human foods) whenever possible. But when your dog inevitably gets a hold of one or two tasty orange-baked snacks shaped like small fish, there’s no need to worry. 

You can find our compiled list of the best and worst foods for dogs here.

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BarkZine is a small team of devoted dog owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.

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BarkZine is a small team of devoted dog owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.