If you’re a fan of these delicious Scottish cookies, you know how addictive they can be. Your dog may think so, too. Made with just a few simple ingredients, shortbread has been made in Scotland since at least the 12th century. Today they are famous around the world. Can dogs have shortbread cookies? Let’s find out.
Unlike many cakes and cookies – especially those which are popular during the holidays – shortbread has only a few ingredients. The traditional recipe calls for one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three to four parts plain wheat flour. It doesn’t contain any leavening or rising agent such as baking powder or yeast. Some modern recipes do make changes to the kind of flour used or they may add various spices and ingredients such as almonds. However, for the most part, shortbread today is still a rather simple cookie or biscuit.
In terms of nutrition, one cookie (12 grams) contains 61 calories with 28 calories from fat. It has 3.1 grams of fat (5 percent), 42 mg of sodium (2 percent), 10 mg of potassium, 7.5 grams of carbohydrates (3 percent), 0.1 grams of dietary fiber (1 percent), 2.6 grams of sugars, and 0.6 grams of protein.
Shortbread only contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals. It has 0.1 percent calcium and 2 percent iron. It also has a small amount of magnesium.
It is free of cholesterol and it’s low in saturated fat.
Almost half the calories in shortbread come from carbohydrates. Slightly less than half of the calories came from fat.
Some of the nutritional information may vary depending on the kind of flour used to make the shortbread.
If you want to try to make shortbread yourself, this flour page has a good recipe and some baking tips. Don’t try to take shortcuts (no pun intended). As someone who has tried (and failed) to make shortbread before finally getting it right, follow the instructions to the letter. It’s harder than it seems even though there are only a handful of ingredients. It’s worth the effort!
Is Shortbread Safe for Dogs?
There is nothing in most shortbread that would be toxic to dogs. The only exception would be if you happened to have some exotic homemade shortbread that contained nutmeg. In that case, you should not let your dog have any of it. It would be unusual to find nutmeg in shortbread.
It is possible that someone could add macadamia nuts to shortbread. If there are nuts in the shortbread you buy or receive as a gift, always make sure you know what kind they are. Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs. Dogs that eat macadamia nuts can experience vomiting, ataxia (loss of coordination), weakness, hyperthermia, and central nervous system depression. If your dog eats shortbread that contains macadamia nuts, contact your veterinarian.
There are some sugar-free shortbread recipes online for people on keto and paleo diets that call for the use of xylitol. As you probably know, xylitol is poisonous to dogs. Anything “sugar-free” today is likely to contain xylitol. Either check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol; or, just don’t let your dog have any shortbread or other food that might contain this ingredient.
Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, followed by symptoms associated with the sudden lowering of your dog’s blood sugar, such as decreased activity, weakness, staggering, incoordination, collapse and seizures.
If you think your dog has eaten food containing xylitol, take him to your vet or an emergency animal hospital immediately. Because hypoglycemia and other serious adverse effects may not occur in some cases for up to 12 to 24 hours, your dog may need to be hospitalized for medical monitoring.
Otherwise, there shouldn’t be anything toxic to dogs in shortbread. That doesn’t mean that shortbread is a healthy food for your dog. It’s made with lots of sugar and butter. If your dog happens to steal a box of shortbread and stuffs himself, he could have an upset stomach overnight, experience some vomiting and/or diarrhea. If the symptoms from his binge do not abate after 24 hours, call your veterinarian.
What If Your Dog Eats Shortbread Cookies?
Eating one or two shortbread cookies shouldn’t be harmful to most dogs unless they have a health condition that would be affected by the ingredients in shortbread. Diabetic dogs and dogs that are overweight or obese should not eat shortbread because of the sugar, fat, and calories.
For dogs that don’t have these health conditions, eating a small amount of shortbread should not cause a problem as long as the shortbread doesn’t contain any unusual ingredients such as nutmeg or xylitol. You would not expect shortbread to contain chocolate, raisins, currants, or other ingredients that are harmful to dogs. Shortbread has a crumbly texture because of all the butter used. It doesn’t hold most added ingredients like many other cookies and cakes. However, it’s always a good idea to check the ingredients and read the label.
How Many Shortbread Cookies Can You Give Your Dog?
Considering all of the butter and sugar used in shortbread, it’s best if you don’t let your dog have many shortbread cookies. Even though these ingredients are not toxic, they are very rich and they can upset your dog’s digestion.
Depending on the size of the cookie and the size of the dog, one or two shortbread cookies would be plenty if you want to share.
If your dog has any specific health conditions or if you have questions, it’s always best to ask your veterinarian before giving your dog a treat such as shortbread.
How Often Can You Give Your Dog Shortbread Cookies?
Since shortbread does contain so much butter and sugar, it’s best if you don’t let your dog have it very often. You could let your dog have a shortbread cookie once per week.
It’s better for your dog if you give him healthy treats and snacks that are made for dogs.
Most dogs will happily munch on shortbread if they have the opportunity. In general, plain shortbread is not harmful to dogs in small amounts. However, it does contain lots of butter and sugar so it’s not a very healthy treat for your dog. An occasional shortbread cookie won’t harm most dogs as long as they aren’t diabetic or overweight/obese, but it’s best if dogs eat healthier treats that are made for them.