Can your dog have its cake and eat it too?
Or to be more precise, the frosting on the cake.
Your canine companion can be notoriously undiscerning about what it can or cannot put in its mouth.
I can be very sure that if you were to put a slice of cake or cupcake in front of your dog, it will swallow it whole in one big gulp.
But can our dogs eat cake icing or frosting safely without any problems?
Most dogs can consume a small amount of frosting without many issues. The problem arises when your dog has ingested a large serving of frosting which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and other health problems. How severe the reaction is also depends on your dog’s digestive sensitivity.
Let us take a look at what goes into the making of frosting and why it can be unhealthy for our dogs.
How Is Frosting Made?
Frosting is a very common addition to pastry and cakes. You find this whipped topping all the time when you have a cupcake or a birthday cake.
The ingredients used for making frosting are straightforward, mainly butter and sugar. The mixture is whipped by hand or machine until it becomes light and fluffy.
You can also add in other stuff like artificial colorings, cocoa powder and vanilla essence.
Some cakes are totally covered in frosting while some are just used for layering on top.
Why Is Frosting Bad For My Dogs?
Before you start freaking out and start throwing anything with frosting away, chill out. Plain Plan frosting isn’t considered toxic to dogs if given in small quantities.
If wants to lick some plain frosting off your finger or plate, that is more than fine.
There are a few things about plain frosting that you need to be aware of as a dog owner.
It Contains Dairy (Butter)
For some reason, the media likes to portray the belief that we all be feeding our dogs and cats dairy products like milk.
That’s not correct.
This might come as a shock to you but a large percentage of dogs are actually lactose intolerant.
It means that most dogs do not have the required enzyme (lactase) to digest lactose found in our dairy products like milk, butter, cream, etc. It might not even be a good idea to feed your dog ice cream.
I know what you are thinking now.
“But what about puppies? My dog was drinking milk as a puppy with no problems.”
Yes, that is true.
Newborn puppies come equipped with this enzyme which allows them to consume their mother’s milk. Furthermore, cow and goat milk contain more lactose than canine milk.
But as they get older or are weaned off their mother’s milk, this enzyme starts to decrease in their digestive system. This means the ability to digest milk gets poorer and poorer.
If your dog is having lactose intolerance, it will exhibit these symptoms:
- Lack of appetite
Most of the time, your dog will experience diarrhea and vomiting. It isn’t something that you wish your dog has.
I don’t feed my dog dairy but I made the mistake of leaving a slice of cake on the kitchen counter once. When I came back to get my cake, I found it missing and with my dog’s mouth full of cream.
What transpired later could make me gag.
He had a sudden bout of diarrhea on my carpet without any warning.
Thankfully he was fine after that but I couldn’t say the same for my carpet.
Frosting Contains Sugar
Another major ingredient of frosting is sugar and lots of it. A little sugar in your dog’s diet isn’t that big a deal.
Eating sugar isn’t the problem here. But it gets dangerous for your dog’s health when there it starts to eat too much sugar. Especially when it comes to sugar-laden sacks like pop tarts and strawberry jelly.
To understand why, we need to take a closer look at a dog’s natural diet.
Dogs are first and foremost carnivores. This means that all they actually need is animal protein like chicken, beef, lamb, etc. An animal that thrives only on protein, does not require any carbohydrates like sugar.
Stray or wild dogs who can’t get enough food do become opportunistic scavengers meaning they will eat whatever they can find.
But for our pet dogs, they should be on a raw meat diet or at least good canned food. Please do not feed your dog dry dog food or kibbles as they do more harm than good.
Too much sugar in your dog’s diet can cause the following:
When we were kids, we were always told not to overeat sweet stuff as it can cause plaque and tartar build-up.
The same thing applies to our dogs.
Plaque and tartar can cause dental problems like cavities, decay and gingivitis. If you notice a metallic smell coming from your dog’s mouth, it could be due to periodontal problems.
Do you know that more than 50% of dogs in America are overweight?
That is a scary percentage.
Dogs that are overweight suffer from a myriad of health problems like:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Joint pain
Giving your dog enough exercise is important but it won’t help much if the diet quality is poor.
What Kind Of Frosting Can Dogs Eat?
All is not lost if your dog likes a little frosting as a rare treat. Instead of using butter and sugar, you can opt for healthier ingredients like:
- Unsweetened yogurt
- Unsweetened pumpkin puree
- Shredded carrots
- Natural peanut butter
Do a quick search on youtube and there will be many recipes for safe dog frosting that pet parents can try.
There are also bakeries that specialize in making dog treats and dog birthday cakes. Make sure to ask them about the ingredients used before purchasing just for peace of mind.
What’s The Difference Between Frosting And Icing?
Many people tend to use frosting and icing interchangeably but they are rather different things in the pastry world.
We already know what frosting is.
Icing is also a topping but it is made with powdered sugar (icing sugar), milk, cream or water. Icing is normally used to add sweetest to pastry or to hold them together.
Other ingredients, flavorings and colorings can also be added to icing to make it taste different.
Can dogs eat icing?
Similar to frosting, a little bit of icing is fine for dogs. Definitely not too much of it as it contains too much sugar.
Dangerous Ingredients To Avoid In Frostings And Icings
I feel like a kid in a candy shop whenever I walk into a bakery that has so many different types of frostings and icings on their pastries.
I am always eager to try something different and out of the ordinary.
That being said.
As adventurous as a human’s palate can be, it doesn’t apply to our dogs.
These are some of the ingredients that are dangerous to dogs:
- Artificial sweeteners (xylitol)
- Chocolate frosting
- Macadamia nuts
This isn’t an exhaustive list but are some of the commonly found ingredients in frostings/icing. Please do not feed your dog anything that consists of the above ingredients as they can be highly toxic to our pets.
Can Dogs Eat Cream Cheese Frosting?
It isn’t a problem if it is just cream cheese frosting. Make sure that it doesn’t consist of any of the above toxic ingredients that can give your dog an adverse reaction.
Just keep the serving size to a minimum given that most dogs don’t handle dairy well.
My Dog Ate Sprinkles
Eating anything with sprinkles on top just makes me feel so happy. Sprinkles come in a wide array of color and they just brighten up the food.
If you plan to let your dog eat sprinkles, make sure they are just plain sprinkles without any chocolate. Chocolate sprinkles are common toppings that can be hard to distinguish due to their coloring.
Also, note that sprinkles contain a high amount of sugar so feed your dog sparingly.
My Dog Ate Peanut Butter
Dogs can eat peanut butter on a few conditions. It is natural peanut butter without any added sugar or artificial sweeteners. It isn’t made from macadamia nuts and it must not contain any other weird ingredients.
Another thing to note is that although peanut allergies are uncommon in dogs, some dogs do have it.
Feeding anything with nuts in it can cause severe allergic reactions in your dog.
When in doubt, don’t.
As pet owners, it is natural to want to spoil our dogs or pets with human treats. I do it too with my own pets.
Some food may seem safe for dogs but they can contain trace ingredients that can be toxic to our canine companions.
It is always best to read the ingredient label to know what goes into the manufacturing process.
As they say, the devil is in the details.