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Hot Cheetos are a widely popular snack enjoyed by millions of people and like various other snacks, it is only natural that you feel the urge to share them with your pets, particularly dogs – they aren’t called man’s best friend for nothing and there’s a common question always asked and that’s “Can dogs eat hot Cheetos?”
Picture this, you get back from work and grab a bag of Hot Cheetos. While you’re popping them in your mouth, your furry friend is wagging its tail in front of you, begging for a treat. You’d probably cave, which is normal. However, before feeding your dog Hot Cheetos or any other kind of snacks, there are a number of things to consider such as the nutritional content of the snack and the effect it will have on the body of your pet.
What are Hot Cheetos and what do they contain?
Cheetos have origins that go as far back as the 1940’s. Their major constituent is cornmeal that has been oveb-fried and deep-fried until they form the puffy shape they are known for. The original Cheetos are covered in a cheesy seasoning while the Flaming Hot Cheetos are coated in q kind of spicy chil powder. It is common knowledge that spicy food isn’t good for dogs.
These hot chili peppers are known to contain capsaicin and although it isn’t completely toxic, large amounts of it can lead to stomach upset.
Flaming Hot Cheetos also contain garlic and onion which are not healthy for dogs. The high sodium, fat and oil content also make these Cheetos a wrong choice of snack for your dog(s). All of these are reasons why Hot Cheetos are not a suitable snack choice for your dog although it is unlikely that one or two will cause major issues.
Are flaming Hot Cheetos bad for your dog?
Asides from the fact that some of the ingredients in Hot Cheetos are considered toxic for your dog, you also need to remember that processed snacks have no nutritional value and are ultimately classified as ’empty calories’. Letting your dog consume them often could increase their daily calorie intake without providing them with anything useful for their body in return.
Plus, the ingredients in Hot Cheetos aren’t things you want in your dog’s body. For example, onion and garlic are toxic to dogs, even in small quantities, and can lead to anemia by causing severe oxidative damage to their red blood cells.
The high fat and salt levels greatly aggravate the risk of your dog coming down with pancreatitis. Fat in its saturated form increases the difficulty for your dog’s body to process it properly. Not to mention the spiciness that can cause major problems in the digestive tract of dogs, causing diarrhea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal irritation.
Dogs generally hate spicy foods as they get dehydrated easily which is another reason why it isn’t advisable to make Hot Cheetos a part of their diet.
In addition, the seasoning that gives Hot Cheetos their yellow color has been found to be toxic to dogs.
Feeding your dog Hot Cheetos continuously makes them more susceptible to breathing issues, obesity, arthritis, hypertension, and strokes. On a short term basis, side effects to expect include dehydration, fatigue, and seizures in addition to diarrhea and other digestive problems mentioned earlier.
What should I do if my dog has eaten Hot Cheetos?
If your dog has only eaten one or two Cheetos, you may not need to worry too much unless your dog has a particularly weak immune system or underlying health challenges. Still, to be on the safe side, if your dog has consumed any amount of Hot Cheetos, you should:
- Give them a lot of water: This is mostly because of the spices present. These spices are likely to cause inflammation so it is best to provide them with a lot of water.
- Watch carefully for odd behavior: Watch your dog closely for behaviors that seem unusual for them such as hyperactivity, constipation, or lethargy. You should note all these signs and treat them as red flags and ensure you speak to your veterinarian about them in case they need to visit the doctor.
A lot of these symptoms are sure to appear within the first 24-48 hours so it is advisable to soeak to your dog’s veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms. If your dog seems okay after 48 hours and doesn’t show any unusual signs, it is unlikely that they will come down with any side effects as their digestive system will have flushed out the toxic ingredients that could have caused them harm by this time.
After doing all of these, you are advised to take preventive measures to make sure that your dog does not accidentally consume Hot Cheetos again.
For example, you should make a conscious effort to keep all your human snacks in places where dog will be unable to reach such as a high, locked cupboard. Also, you should be careful when eating snacks so you avoid dropping bits and pieces on the floor. When you feel the need to consume these snacks, try not to do it in front of your dog so you can limit the temptation of feeding these snacks to them.
What are the possible side effects?
Your dog is almost sure to exhibit a number of side effects after eating Hot Cheetos.
- Firstly, they will get very gassy because of all the garlic powder, monosodium glutamate, cornmeal and other active ingredients. This effect on its own is nasty enough to discourage you from making Hot Cheetos a regular part of your dog’s diet.
- Secondly, the extra alien gas building up in your dog’s body will bring them a lot of discomfort that might cause them to whine and use the bathroom 20-30 minutes after Cheetos.
- Thirdly, if your dog has eaten a large amount of Cheetos, they are sure to experience nausea, vomiting and sometimes a bit of diarrhoea.
You will also need to pay close attention to your dog for obvious signs of anemia like general lethargy and decreased energy levels, total or partial loss of appetite, labored breathing and difficulty moving around.
Healthy Snack Alternatives
It is perfectly normal for your dog to want a bite of whatever you are eating. It is also normal for you as a dog owner to want to indulge them. However, it is also your responsibility to exhibit self control and to make decisions that will be best for the overall well being of your dog.
You might not always want to go with pre-approved dog food everyday, there are certain human foods that are okay for your dog and will be more beneficial to them than Flaming Hot Cheetos, for example:
- Peanut butter is a good snack choice as it is a source of protein. It also contains a lot of nutrients and vitamins. You can break their milk bones in half and spread peanut butter on it.
- Chopped unseeded apples provide the extra benefit of giving your dog a fresh breath and cleaning food particles from their teeth.
- Cooked and unseasoned chicken is another great source of protein that you can add to your dog’s diet.
- Eggs are full of needed vitamins and minerals and are packed with digestible protein.
- Fresh vegetables like green beans, broccoli, pumpkins, baby carrots or raw potatoes.
- Other fresh fruits such as watermelon and slices of bananas.
- Other healthy snacks, examples include broen plain rice cakes, air-popped popcorn without butter or salt.
There is no shortage of healthy snacks you can feed your dog. The important thing is to carry out prooer research to find out the right things to feed them.
As stated before, it is important to emphasize that Hot Cheetos are not a healthy snack. It is better to avoid giving your dog any at all. There is a wide range of human food and snacks that your pet is sure to enjoy that will fill them with the needed nutrients without exposing them to the risk of gastrointestinal problems.
The ingredients found in Hot Cheetos are toxic to dogs. You need not panic if your dog has eaten one or two Hot Cheetos by mistake or through an accidental oversight on your part. You will only need to look out for side effects and be more watchful in future. Carefully store your Hot Cheetos or other unhealthy snacks away from the reach of your dog to reduce the risk of them getting to a bag without your knowledge.