Can Dogs Eat Mac and Cheese?

can dogs eat mac and cheese

While Mac and Cheese is very popular throughout the world, known to be eaten at pretty much any time of the day. Can dogs eat mac and cheese? It is easy to give them something that we are cooking ourselves. You may have fed it them before and they liked it. But is it actually healthy or should they be eating it at all?

Can Dogs Eat Mac and Cheese?

Dogs can eat mac and cheese, it is not toxic. The question is should they? There are few reasons why you should not be giving your dog mac and cheese. For one, the cheese part of the mac and cheese can cause some upset to your dogs’ stomach if they are lactose intolerant.

Dogs do not really have a good digest system for milk products, which causes a lot of dogs to be lactose intolerant. This can cause your dog to have a pretty upset stomach, which can cause quite a lot of pain. Such as vomiting, diarrhea, and just all-around discomfort. We go talk further about lactose intolerance below.

Another problem is your dog could have a wheat allergy from the macaroni. As with lactose intolerance, a lot of dogs have a wheat allergy too. If they do, then they need to stay clear of it, especially if they have lactose intolerance and a wheat allergy. This would cause a serious upset if not worse to your dog’s health.

can dogs eat mac and cheese

You may think, it is only a little bit they will not be affected, but that is not how it works. Your dog can get bloated from eating mac and cheese, which is a serious separate situation.

Bloating is a serious condition, which can be fatal to dogs, this is something you should always keep an eye out for. If your dog has recently eaten mac and cheese or anything dairy and showing signs of bloating. Then you need to contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic straight away! Please see the PETMD link for full information about bloating.

Can dogs eat Macaroni though?

Macaroni in its plainest form is not toxic to dogs but just like normal pasta, Macaroni has little to none, nutritional value for your dog. Macaroni has a high content of carbohydrates which is not good for your dogs’ diet. They will easily put weight on and become obese. Which can cause serious health issues in the long run from, diabetes, heart problems, and joint problems to name a few.

Since pasta has very little nutritional value in a dog’s diet, it is best to limit their intake due to its carb and caloric content. Dogs should receive their daily calories through healthy meals, not fillers like pasta.

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You should not be feeding your dog any type of sauce with the macaroni. As a lot of sauces contain onion and garlic, a lot of tomato sauces will have this in also. These ingredients are toxic to dogs and will cause your dog serious health issues if not worse.

If you insist on feeding your dog macaroni, it should only be a small amount and on a rare treat basis. Dogs do not need something this high in carbohydrates.

mac and cheese

So Is Mac and Cheese bad for dogs?

Yes, it is, even though it is not toxic to your dog, it is unhealthy for them. Macaroni is high in carbohydrates, along with salt. Both are not great for your dog’s health, especially salt though. High amounts of salt can cause a serious effect to your dog’s health. You will be surprised how fast a high amount of salt can affect your dog, very seriously.

According to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) for every 100g there is 407mg of salt in mac and cheese, which a lot for a dog.

Dogs can also struggle when it comes to digesting mac and cheese. They do not have the same type of digestion system as humans. Even though a lot of people think they can just eat the same stuff we do.

Even if your dog is not lactose intolerant, they can still struggle to eat cheese if it is in a higher amounts. This is because they are high in cholesterol, sodium, and fat, which is nothing a dog needs for his health.

Please see the below table from the USDA FoodData Central Database showing what can be found in your average branded mac and cheese.

100g Serving of Mac and Cheese

Total lipid (fat)10.62g
Carbohydrate, by difference12.39g
Fiber, total dietary0.9g
Sugars, total including NLEA1.77g
Calcium, Ca133mg
Iron, Fe0.64mg
Sodium, Na407mg
Vitamin A, IU664IU
Fatty acids, total saturated6.19g

Lactose Intolerant

Just like humans, dogs can have problems with dairy as well. A lot of owners do not know their dogs are Lactose intolerant. They will usually find out when they have eaten something, they should not of or been given a little treat, like cheese. Dogs do not need to eat any human food to lead a healthy and happy life.

Lactose intolerant means that they have a deficiency of the enzyme which usually would break down the milk sugar or known as lactose. Without the right amount of enzymes, the body starts to build up the undigested lactose in their intestines. Which in turn can lead to diarrhea or vomiting.

All dogs have a different level of lactose intolerance. Some dogs can have a couple of bites and be fine, while some can just take one lick and be in severe upset and pain. Even if your dog is the first one, we advise keeping anything dairy away from them.

Gluten Intolerant

If your dog has a gluten intolerance then you should avoid anything wheat, which would mean mac and cheese as well. This in turn means your dog is sensitive to gluten. It is not as common in dogs as an lactose intolerance, but some dogs still do suffer from it.

Some dogs can just be sensitive to the process the wheat has been through. One of the processes is bleaching the wheat, which usually results in it turning white. Some wheat is highly processed. So it might just not be a gluten intolerance but how it was made too.

If your dog is sensitive to gluten, then they may have the following symptoms:

  • Become Gassy
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair Loss
  • unusual or sudden weight loss
  • Skin rashes or irritation

In any of the cases of the above, I would call your local veterinarian. If you know your dog to have a gluten intolerance, you may know how to help already. But if you are worried, you should always make your vet the first option. Second to an emergency clinic if it is serious.

can dogs eat mac and cheese

Homemade Vs Store Bought

We will always side with homemade, simply because you know what is being put in it. When you make anything homemade, especially for your dogs you can remove certain things that are not needed or bad for them. For example, you do not need to add salt to it because you know it is bad for dogs.

There are also not any hidden ingredients because as we have mentioned before. Food labels on products are designed for humans, not dogs.

If you bought a store-bought packet of mac and cheese, you will be shocked what is more than likely in it. These packets of mac and cheese need to have a good shelf life, so extra things are added to help with that. For example, they will have Artificial flavoring, coloring, dyes, and a lot of preservatives.

This type of stuff is not good for a dog, especially because their digestive system and body are not used to it. These processed foods can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. You do not know what has been put in them, which could cause an allergic reaction or skin irritation.

bowl of mac and cheese

What if my Dog Ate Mac and Cheese by mistake?

As mentioned above, mac and cheese is not toxic to your dog, it is just really unhealthy. As long as they have not eaten a big portion then they should not be anything to worry about. You should just need to keep a close eye on them to make sure they are fine and not acting differently.

If you find your dog is being lethargic or not acting himself or is vomiting and having severe diarrhea then you should contact your local veterinarian straight away!


Mac and cheese is not toxic, although if your dog is lactose intolerant, has a gluten intolerance or has a wheat allergy then they should avoid mac and cheese at all costs. We do not recommend that you feed your dog mac and cheese at all though. The ingredients and contents of mac and cheese are just not healthy for your dog, even as a treat. It would only cause your dog problems further down the line.

There is a lot of healthier things you can treat your dog too. We have created an article that may give you some idea, what dogs can eat.

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