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Can German Shepherds Eat Pasta? Read This Before Sharing!

Last Updated: December 10, 2023

I remember seeing my friend cooking some pasta for her two dogs which she added to their meal. That got me thinking…

Can German Shepherds eat pasta?

German Shepherds can eat cooked plain pasta as long as it is given in moderation. You must avoid pasta sauces as they often contain onions and garlic, which are both toxic to dogs. As pasta is made from wheat, dogs with a wheat allergy or a sensitivity to grains mustn’t eat it.

Let’s go over some of the things you need to know. This article will explore whether pasta is good for your German Shepherd, the types of pasta that are safe and how much to give your dog and the types that they shouldn’t eat.

Can German Shepherds Eat Pasta? German Shepherd and a plate of pasta
My German Shepherd Willow with a huge plate of pasta!

We’ll also touch on wheat allergies and whether your dog can eat similar foods to pasta, such as noodles and rice. Let’s get started!

Is Pasta Good For German Shepherds?

To answer this question, firstly, we need to look at what pasta is. You and I can eat all types of pasta, and it has become an essential part of our diet.

Once thought of as starchy and fattening, the staple food of pasta (which originates from Italy) is now considered to be nutritious, convenient, simple and easy to make, and low-cost. It also has a long shelf-life in its dried form and can last for many months.

Pasta is extremely versatile as it comes in all different shapes and sizes. It can be served as an appetizer, main course, side dish, salad, soup, or even as a dessert! As it is quite bland in flavor, pasta is usually served with other foods and sauces. Common toppings include meat, cheese, vegetables, herbs, and spices.

But what exactly is pasta? One April Fools’ Day, I remember telling my young kids that it grows on pasta trees! Ha!

Pasta is mostly made from semolina flour, milled from durum (hard) wheat. It is then mixed into a dough with water or eggs and formed into various shapes and sizes whereby it is cooked by either boiling or baking.

So, is pasta good for German Shepherds? The ingredients of durum wheat flour and egg in pasta are good for German Shepherds – unless your dog has an allergy to either wheat or eggs!

Let’s now take a look at how nutritious pasta is for German Shepherds and which type is best, white or whole-wheat?

I found that one human serving (2 ounces) of cooked plain white pasta contains around 200 calories, 42 grams of carbs, 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and some iron.

In comparison, the same serving of cooked whole-wheat pasta contains 180 calories, 39 grams of carbs, 8 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, and minerals such as magnesium, iron, and zinc. 

Therefore, whole-wheat pasta is a healthier option for your dog as it is packed with more nutrients and fiber.

Although pasta is a high carbohydrate food, your German Shepherd doesn’t need ANY carbs to survive. Dogs have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrates as they can get everything they need from a diet that contains only protein and fat.

However, the domesticated dog that has evolved over thousands of years had to adapt to a starch-rich diet which was crucial for their survival. The modern dog can now digest carbs as its digestive tract has become more versatile.

So, what are carbohydrates and what do they do? Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel in a healthy balanced diet. They’re broken down into glucose (sugar) before being absorbed into the bloodstream. 

As the glucose enters the body’s cells (with the help of insulin) it is then used for energy. Glucose is also needed by the brain and nervous system for normal function.

As pasta is a good source of immediate energy it may suit a very active or working dog.

If you prefer to feed your German Shepherd a home-produced diet, then you may wish to add a reasonable amount of pasta to your dog’s meal. This is exactly what my friend was doing when I saw her boiling a small pan of pasta for her two dogs!

What Types of Pasta Can German Shepherds Eat?

There are two categories of pasta, dried or fresh. Fresh pasta is made with eggs and dried pasta is made with water although eggs can be added for flavor and richness, however, they are not needed to make the dried variant.

Can German Shepherds Eat Pasta? Assorted dried pasta

Plain, cooked pasta makes a great treat for your German Shepherd as long as your dog doesn’t have an allergy to wheat or eggs or gluten intolerance.

There are many different types of pasta. Here are some of the more common ones:

  • Spaghetti
  • Tagliatelle
  • Vermicelli
  • Linguine
  • Fusilli
  • Rigatoni
  • Penne
  • Fettuccine
  • Macaroni
  • Farfalle
  • Conchiglie

German Shepherds can even be fed a small portion of spaghetti and meatballs once in a while as long as you feed more of the protein (meat) than the carbs (spaghetti). Make sure you don’t feed any sauce as it usually contains ingredients that are harmful to dogs. Read on!

What Types of Pasta is Dangerous for German Shepherds?

You and I have learned that a small amount of cooked plain pasta will not harm your German Shepherd. We have also learned that whole-wheat pasta is a healthier option than white. However, we will rarely eat plain pasta as it usually comes with a variety of toppings and tasty sauces. This is where there can be problems…

Many pasta dishes and sauces contain garlic and onions which are toxic to dogs. Eating a large amount of garlic or onions can damage your dog’s red blood cells making them likely to rupture and leading to anemia. Symptoms to watch out for are nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and breathing problems. 

Make sure that leftover spaghetti bolognese is not on your German Shepherd’s menu!

Pasta sauces are also often full of sugar and salts and these aren’t good for your dog either. A large quantity of salt can be poisonous and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, high temperature, seizures, and even death.

Your German Shepherd must also avoid the filled or stuffed types of pasta as they are likely to contain other poisonous foods, eg, mushrooms, garlic, onions, leeks or chives:

  • Ravioli
  • Cannelloni
  • Tortellini
  • Lasagne

Mac and cheese is one of my favorite meals however this is best avoided by your dog as the creamy cheese can cause them to suffer from tummy troubles including diarrhea and vomiting. This is due to them not being able to tolerate the lactose which is found in all dairy foods.

If this has got you wondering what other foods are poisonous to German Shepherds, you can find out from a whole list of 25 here!

This in-depth article details which fruits and vegetables to avoid, a list of toxic nuts, and includes some hidden dangers to look out for as one or two are not so obvious! For example, did you know that the flesh of ripe tomatoes is generally considered safe for dogs; however, unripened green ones are poisonous?

How Much Pasta Can I Give my Dog?

Your German Shepherd can enjoy a reasonable amount of pasta once in a while. Pasta is a high-calorie food, and if you feed your dog too many carbohydrates, any excess glucose is stored as fat which can lead to weight gain – especially if your dog is not very active or elderly.

German Shepherd looking at a bowl of pasta
“I’m pretty sure I can’t have all that pasta!”

If you are feeding your dog an occasional treat of pasta, the general guideline by veterinarians is that treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s total daily calories.

So, giving a little bit of cooked plain pasta to your dog once in a while is okay but don’t make it a habit!

If you are a “home-feeder” and wish to add pasta to your dog’s diet, you should contact your vet for advice or better still, a vet nutritionist as listed by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.

These specialist vets are trained in nutritional management and can devise the best diet for your dog. Most vet nutritionists prefer to examine your German Shepherd however some will perform consultations over the phone or via e-mail.

There is a charge for this service however if you were intent on producing your dog’s food at home, I think it would be worth the fee to ensure they not only get all the correct nutrients but in their correct ratios too.

These can be the symptoms of eating too many carbohydrates, not only for your German Shepherd but for both you and me!

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination

We know that eating excessive carbs converts into stored fat which can cause obesity. Obesity in dogs can lead to several problems, including high blood pressure, heart and kidney disease, osteoarthritis, cancer, and an overall reduced life expectancy.

This can be reduced by nearly two years in some breeds of dogs! Also, excessive thirst and urination may be a sign your dog may have developed diabetes.

For more in-depth information on the best diet for German Shepherds, I created this giant guide that contains a ton of information from everything your German Shepherd can and can’t eat to choosing the best type of dog food.

Symptoms of Wheat Allergy in Dogs?

As both white pasta and whole-wheat pasta are made from wheat, they must not be fed to your dog if they have a wheat allergy or if they are sensitive to grains.

German Shepherd Food Allergies, Wheat Allergy in Dogs, German Shepherd Lying in a Field of Wheat

If your dog is allergic to wheat, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Skin irritation, itching, or infection
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Swelling of the ears, face, lips, eyelids
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Yeast skin infections
  • Itchy, red, watery eyes

The diagnosis of a food allergy in dogs can be a lengthy process and difficult as many of the symptoms mirror many other conditions.

If you think your dog may have developed a food allergy, consult your vet. A vet nutritionist can also help you find the right food to help with your dog’s symptoms while still providing a healthy balanced diet.

Can German Shepherds Eat Noodles?

Can German Shepherds Eat Noodles? Dry thin noodles

So, then I started to wonder, can German Shepherds eat noodles?

As with pasta, a small treat of plain noodles are safe for dogs. In contrast to pasta, noodles are usually made with softer flour milled from common (bread) wheat as opposed to durum wheat which is more coarse in texture.

However, noodles (that originate from China) also offer little nutritional value. One thing to watch for is that dried noodles often contain a high amount of salt (sodium) and must be avoided. Japenese ramen noodles are also dangerous for German Shepherds as they are also loaded with sodium or flavored with soy sauce!

If your dog has an allergy to eggs, then make sure to avoid egg noodles too! Similarly, if your dog has a wheat allergy, avoid noodles altogether.

Can German Shepherds Eat Rice?

Can German Shepherds Eat Rice? Different kinds of rice, white rice, brown whole grain rice

German Shepherds can eat cooked plain rice which is often added to commercial dog foods.

My German Shepherd’s food contains brown whole grain rice, and just like pasta, this is the healthier option than white.

Cooked plain rice is often given to a dog suffering from diarrhea or an upset stomach. It’s also easy to digest and low in fiber and helps with runny poop as it binds stools together.

As with pasta, rice is a carbohydrate and therefore must be fed in moderation. As long as your dog maintains a healthy weight and is getting a complete and balanced diet, a little rice added to your German Shepherd’s meal now and again will cause no harm.

Final Thoughts

You and I have learned that pasta isn’t really necessary for a dog’s optimal health – especially if your German Shepherd is already eating healthy dog food that is complete and balanced. However, if you are a home-feeder or decide to feed your pet an occasional portion of pasta, they will come to no harm.

Remember, it is always wise to consult with your veterinarian before you introduce any new food to your German Shepherd especially if your dog already suffers from any underlying medical conditions.

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Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

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