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We’ve all experienced that moment: enjoying a tasty snack while our beloved pup companion watches us with those pleading eyes, silently (or vocally) begging for a bite. Cheetos, those irresistibly cheesy and crunchy treats, are no exception. Ever wonder if you can share the crunchy cheese snack with your dog? Let’s dig in.

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Caution: This food is generally considered risky by the veterinary community. Dogs should not eat this food and should be monitored for adverse effects.

Can Dogs Eat Cheetos?

No, it’s not recommended for dogs to eat Cheetos. While eating a few plain Cheetos chips is unlikely to cause significant harm, it’s crucial not to intentionally share these snacks with your canine. Cheetos contain ingredients that can be harmful to dogs like salt, preservatives, and other ingredients that might upset your dog’s stomach. Some flavors might even trigger anemia in worse cases.

Food Safety Exercise caution, avoid feeding
Nutritional Issues calories from carbs, fat from oil, sodium from salt
Potential Risks Obesity, anemia, diabetes
Poisoning Symptoms Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite
Every dog is different. For specific feeding guidelines, including quantities and beneficial foods that are best for your dog, please consult your vet.

How Many Cheetos is Unsafe for Dogs?

Cheetos and similar human snacks are not the healthiest treats for our pets. That being said, a couple of Cheetos puffs accidentally consumed by your pup won’t harm your dog, generally speaking. However, it is wise to prevent access to Cheetos altogether. The larger the quantity ingested, the greater the risk of health issues.

What Makes Cheetos Unsafe?

If your dog consumes more than just a few Cheetos, there are several potential dangers and health issues that could arise. The high levels of sodium, fat, and artificial flavorings in Cheetos can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs, leading to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain1.

Excessive sodium intake can result in increased thirst and urination, and in severe cases, it can lead to sodium ion poisoning, which may manifest as tremors, seizures, or even coma. Additionally, the high fat content in Cheetos can contribute to obesity and may cause pancreatitis, a painful and potentially life-threatening condition.

Caution: Flaming hot Cheetos could be severely worse for your dog, causing vomiting and diarrhea due to their spicy nature.

Signs Your Dog Ate Too Many Cheetos

If your dog gets a hold of an entire bag of plain Cheetos, watch out for signs of distress or illness. Some of the symptoms to look for include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors or seizures (in severe cases of sodium ion poisoning)

If you notice any of these signs in your dog after they’ve eaten a significant amount of Cheetos, keep in mind that the less serious symptoms may resolve given a few hours and plenty of water. However, if your dog is experiencing more severe symptoms, like weakness, tremors, or seizures, or their condition continues to worsen, contact your veterinarian for guidance on how to proceed.

Common Cheetos Ingredients

  • MSG: MSG is a flavor-enhancing seasoning, and this chemical is banned in most products. A dog’s digestive system cannot process MSG well and can cause stomach issues.
  • Cheese powder: Cheese power, like actual cheese, can harm your dog. This is especially true if your dog is lactose intolerant and cannot process dairy products.
  • Vegetable oil: Cheetos are also rich in vegetable oil. While it might be toxic for dogs, introducing too much oil into their diet can lead to weight gain and stomach problems2.
  • Salt: Like MSG, salt is also not safe for dogs. Adding too much salt into their diet can cause heart problems and other health issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • While plain Cheetos won’t lead to severe health problems in your dog, the flavored kinds, such as flaming hot Cheetos, can result in diarrhea and vomiting.

  • A single Cheetos puff every now and then won’t lead to any harmful side effects in dogs. However, an entire bag can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Although puff Cheetos won’t cause any harm to your dog, it would be best not to feed them to your canine companion as an everyday snack. This can lead to stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.

About the Writer
Dan Greco , Dog Dad

Having been a dog dad for 5 years, I know how hard it is to make sure your dog gets the right nutrients and stays away from hazardous foods. With the help of a veterinarian who specializes in nutrition, I created this blog to help dog owners quickly access food information they need.

photo of vet holding a pup
About the Contributor
Dr. Hillary Wolfe , Veterinarian & Certified Food Therapist

Dr. Wolfe holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University and holds nutrition certifications from the NAVC and CIVT. Her business, Tula Veterinary Nutrition, hosts online courses that teach owners how to cook for their pet for optimal health and longevity. Follow her on Instagram at @doctorwolfe.dvm for dog nutrition tips, recipes and insights.