Can Dogs Eat Doritos?

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bag of doritos

Doritos, those irresistible, crunchy triangles of savory goodness, are often a crowd favorite at parties and gatherings. When you’re munching on them, your furry friend might gaze at you with those big, pleading eyes, silently begging for a taste. But the question that arises is: can dogs eat Doritos?

The short answer is, it’s not the best idea. While a tiny bite won’t likely cause any immediate harm, Doritos are not a healthy snack choice for your pet. But why is that? What about Doritos makes them unsuitable for dogs?

To find out, let’s delve deeper into this topic and explore what it means to feed your dog safely and responsibly. We’ll uncover the potentially harmful ingredients in Doritos, discuss the effects they could have on your dog’s health, and provide healthier snack alternatives.

dog eating a treat
Photo: Backyard Productions

The Risks of Feeding Doritos to Dogs

Doritos, while a tasty snack for humans, contain several ingredients that can be harmful to dogs. One of these is salt. High-sodium snacks like Doritos can cause dogs to become dehydrated and, in extreme cases, can lead to sodium ion poisoning. Dogs simply cannot handle large amounts of sodium in their diet.

Spices, another common component of Doritos, can also cause problems. Dogs have a more sensitive digestive system than humans, and spicy foods can cause them discomfort or even lead to digestive disorders.

Furthermore, Doritos contain artificial additives and flavorings which can be potentially toxic to dogs. These additives might not cause immediate harm, but over time, they can lead to health problems including allergies, poor skin and coat condition, and more serious issues like organ damage.

The Impact of Salt and Seasonings on Dogs

Excessive salt intake can be harmful to dogs, leading to severe health problems. Overconsumption of salt can lead to dehydration in dogs, as it causes an increase in thirst due to the body’s attempt to balance the high sodium levels. This may lead to excessive drinking and urination.

Furthermore, a high salt diet can disrupt the delicate balance of electrolytes in a dog’s body, specifically sodium, potassium, and chloride. This imbalance can negatively impact nerve and muscle function, and in severe cases, it can be life-threatening.

Excessive salt can also lead to kidney problems in dogs. The kidneys, which filter out waste from the blood, can become overworked due to the high levels of sodium. Over time, this could potentially lead to kidney disease, a serious and often irreversible condition.

Spices and seasonings found in Doritos, while flavorful to humans, can be dangerous for dogs. Dogs’ digestive systems are not designed to handle the complex spices and seasonings that we enjoy.

The capsaicin found in spicy seasonings can cause discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract of dogs, leading to symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting.

In addition, certain spices and herbs, such as garlic and onion powder, can be toxic to dogs. These ingredients can cause damage to red blood cells, leading to hemolytic anemia, a condition that can be fatal if not treated promptly.

dog catching a piece of treat
Photo: alexei_tm/Getty Images

The Impact of Artificial Additives and Flavor Enhancers on Dogs

Artificial additives and flavor enhancers, commonly found in snack foods like Doritos, can pose an additional risk to dogs. These substances may not be easily digestible for our canine companions, potentially leading to a variety of undesirable health effects.

For instance, monosodium glutamate (MSG) often used as a flavor enhancer can trigger adverse reactions such as headaches and discomfort in humans. In dogs, the effects can be even more severe, often resulting in gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Moreover, artificial colorings and preservatives used in Doritos may cause allergic reactions in some dogs.

These reactions can manifest as skin irritations or respiratory issues, but they can also exacerbate gastrointestinal problems. Symptoms like abdominal pain, increased salivation, and loss of appetite may occur, alongside the previously mentioned vomiting and diarrhea.

Healthy Alternatives to Doritos

When it comes to dog-friendly treats, plenty of healthier, safer options are available. The following list highlights some examples:

  1. Apples: A natural source of fiber and vitamin C, apples are a fantastic, crunchy treat for dogs. However, be sure to remove the apple seeds before feeding, as they contain cyanide.
  2. Blueberries: These small fruits are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, making them a safe and nutritious treat.
  3. Carrots: Low in calories and high in fiber and vitamin A, carrots are a great option for dogs. They can also help to clean your dog’s teeth!
  4. Pumpkin: Not only is pumpkin a good source of fiber, but it’s also great for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
  5. Cucumbers: This low-calorie snack, mainly composed of water, is perfect for overweight dogs.
  6. Green beans: Whether served raw or cooked, green beans are a low-calorie treat filled with iron and vitamins.
  7. Sweet potatoes: Rich in dietary fiber, vitamin A, and other nutrients, sweet potatoes can be a delightful treat when cooked and mashed. Don’t add any sugar or seasoning!
  8. Watermelon: This refreshing fruit is mostly water and can be a hydrating treat during hot summers. Remember to remove seeds and never give your dog the rind.
  9. Peas: Green peas are an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and B, along with essential minerals like iron and potassium. They can be served raw, steamed, or frozen as a crunchy snack.
  10. Zucchini: Zucchini is a low-calorie option full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It can be served raw or lightly steamed.

Always remember to introduce new foods slowly and in small portions to monitor for any allergic reactions. Finally, it’s crucial to note that treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. The majority of their diet should consist of high-quality, nutritionally balanced dog food.

french bulldog eating treats from a pouch
Photo: Firn

Final Thoughts: Can Dogs Eat Doritos?

In conclusion, while it might be tempting to share your Doritos with your furry friend, it’s best to resist the urge. Doritos contain high levels of sodium and artificial flavors that could harm your dog’s health in the long run.

Instead, opt for the healthy, dog-friendly alternatives we’ve listed above. Each provides essential nutrients and is low in calories, making them the perfect treat for your pet. Always remember that your dog’s health and well-being should be your primary concern when choosing foods to share with them.

Maintaining a balanced diet, followed by occasional treats, is the key to a happy and healthy life for your four-legged friend. Stick to the safe list and keep the Doritos to yourself!


Are there any chips that are safe for dogs to eat?

While it’s better to avoid feeding your dog any kind of processed chips due to the high sodium and fat content, plain rice cakes or air-popped popcorn without butter or salt can be safer alternatives for an occasional treat.

Can Doritos cause immediate harm to dogs?

While one or two Doritos likely won’t cause immediate harm, regular consumption can lead to health issues like obesity, pancreatitis, and salt poisoning due to their high fat and sodium content. If your dog accidentally eats a large amount, it’s best to consult with a vet.

Is there a safe way to give dogs human food as treats?

Yes, many fruits, vegetables, and lean meats can be healthy treats for dogs. However, it’s important to research each food before feeding it to your dog, and any treats should make up no more than 10% of their daily calorie intake.

Are all flavors of Doritos harmful to dogs?

Yes, all flavors of Doritos are not recommended for dogs. They contain high sodium and artificial flavorings that are not healthy for dogs in any quantity. Some flavors may also contain ingredients like onion or garlic powder, which are toxic to dogs.

My dog ate some Doritos. What should I do?

If your dog has accidentally ingested Doritos, look out for symptoms like excessive thirst or urination, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or in severe cases, seizures. If you notice these symptoms, it’s important to contact your vet immediately.

Want to know more about what dogs can and cannot eat? We invite you to explore our other articles on dog diet and nutrition to understand this crucial subject. 

Our goal is to help you provide the best possible care for your furry friend, ensuring their diet supports a happy, healthy, and active life. Stay informed, make smart choices, and always prioritize your dog’s health.

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