Can Dogs Eat Cheetos or Cheese Balls Safely?

Cheese puff balls in wooden bowl on bright colorful background

Many may assume that dogs eating Cheetos falls into the same category as dogs having milk or cheese, but that’s not always the case. Humans all have a craving for junk food at some point in their life. It’s only natural to want to give your dog a treat to liven up their usual bland diet. The question is, should this treat be Cheetos?

The truth is, it’s okay to give your dog Cheetos or cheese balls on occasion, as long as it’s only on occasion. There are many factors that come into play regarding giving your dog Cheetos. There are too many types of Cheetos to count and each one is different in its own way.

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The Safe Types of Cheetos

The safest type of Cheetos to feed your dog can be described in two words: plain and original. This means the regular crunchy Cheetos. Plain Cheetos are made without any ingredients that will cause an immediate rush to the vet. While original Cheetos aren’t toxic to your dog, they also aren’t going to add any nutritional benefit to your dog’s diet. In truth, giving your dog Cheetos often can only lead to a decline in your dog’s overall health. 

The Bad News About Cheetos

As stated, giving your dog Cheetos won’t make him sick, but they also aren’t going to help him either. The toxicity isn’t the problem; it’s the ingredients. Feeding your dog Cheetos too often only results in bad news. This can be anything from diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. The fat content, sodium, and carbs don’t help the case. As with all Frito-Lay products, Cheetos contain cornmeal and monosodium glutamate (MSG). These two ingredients pose significant red flags for your dog.

Top view of cornmeal in wooden bowl

Cornmeal is practically devoid of any nutritional value and can also cause health problems in dogs.

The Problem With Cornmeal

First and foremost, cornmeal is made from mass-produced corn and is nutritionally poor. It’s not part of a canine diet and your dog may have trouble digesting it. Corn has also been shown to have a high glycemic index. A high glycemic index means a rise in your dog’s blood sugar.

The problem with this rise in blood sugar is that it can lead to pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can be a cause of hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia comes with its signs. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Dehydration
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst

Why Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a No-Go

MSG is another ingredient in Cheetos that makes them unsafe in large quantities. This is because it is known as a “filler.”Fillers are just another thing dog food brands put in their dog food. Fillers belong in the same category as terms such as by-product, meat meal, and meat by-product meal. Being unhealthy isn’t the problem when it comes to fillers.

Though they aren’t exactly healthy for your dog, they aren’t harmful either when done the correct way. You must know the difference between good and bad fillers. To help with this, MSG is a bad filler. It is another item in Cheetos that can lead to obesity and high blood sugar.

Several bags of Cheetos Flamin' Hot Crunchy

Garlic and onion aren’t good for dogs so Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are a definite no.

Flavors Of Cheetos You Should Always Avoid

There are many different flavors of Cheetos you should never give to your dog. Most notably, you should always avoid giving your dog any type of Cheetos or cheese balls that contain garlic and onion powder. When it comes to Cheetos, the specific flavor that contains both garlic and onion powder is the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. 

Why Your Dog Can’t Have Garlic

There’s been an ongoing debate about feeding dogs garlic for years. As with Cheetos or cheese balls, large amounts of garlic can be extremely dangerous for your dog. The same is true for all members of the Allium family. Both garlic and onion powder comes from the Allium family.

The main problem with garlic and onion powder is that they damage your dog’s red blood cells. This damage causes your pooch to become anemic. Amenia is just a medical term that refers to a reduced number of red blood cells, hemoglobin, or both. The scary part is that your dog won’t show any signs or symptoms for days. A few common signs of anemia in your dog are as follows:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Blood in stool, urine, or vomit
  • Weight loss
  • Labored breathing

In addition, you may notice pale gums and lethargy in your dog. This is why it’s vitally important to be careful when feeding your dog anything not part of a traditional doggy diet. 

What Do I Do If My Dog Ate Cheetos?

If your dog happened to snag a Cheeto that you dropped on the ground, don’t sweat it. An occasional Cheeto won’t harm him. You should worry when your dog happens to get into a whole bag when you’re not at home. This is the point at which further steps may need to be taken. As a pet owner, your first job is to contact your vet.

You won’t see any symptoms for a couple of days, but you should make the call as soon as you do. Your dog will more than likely be fine, however, the danger of Cheetos is also largely dependant on the size of your dog.  For example, your Great Dane will be able to consume a larger quantity than that of, say, your Miniature Poodle.

Final Food For Thought

Thinking about your dog having potential health problems due to something you left lying around the house can be a scary thought for any pet owner. But these things do happen.  The good news is that a small amount of Cheetos or cheese balls won’t harm your dog in any way. If your dog has gotten into Cheetos in the past, take some safety precautions to be sure it won’t happen again.

If you’re worried your dog may get into some Cheetos in the future, take the same measures now. A healthy dog plays a significant role in a healthy family. As a pet owner, it’s your ultimate job to keep this member of the family in the best shape you can.

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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.