Can Dogs Eat Tortillas?

By Britt Kascjak

Can dogs eat tortillas? Yes and no! Dogs can eat plain flour tortillas or corn tortillas in moderation. They won’t harm your dog, but they offer little nutritional value. For dogs with grain allergies or sensitivities, they can upset their stomach. If you do want to treat your dog, there are better options available like fresh vegetables.

Is It Okay for My Dog To Eat Tortillas?

Do you love tortillas and want to share your favorite snack with your dog? Did your dog recently eat a tortilla and you’re afraid that it could be dangerous?

Tortillas are a common type of flatbread used in Mexican food and sandwich wraps. They are often used as a health-focused substitution for bread. But are they safe for your dog?

While tortillas aren’t going to harm your dog, they aren’t the best choice for a healthy treat.

Are Tortillas Bad for Dogs?

If your dog has recently snacked on a tortilla, you can rest easy. Basic tortilla wraps are not toxic to your dog in small amounts.

They also aren’t the healthiest choice for your dog.

When deciding if tortillas are safe for your dog, there are many different points to consider. What type of tortilla? How much did your dog eat? What breed and size is your dog?

Before handing over a piece of your snack, here are some important points to think about.

Health Risks of Eating Tortillas for Dogs

Weight Gain: Both flour and corn tortillas are high in carbohydrates. Carbs aren’t bad for your dog in moderation, but excessive amounts can lead to quick weight gain.

This increases your dog’s risk of obesity.

Overweight and obese dogs are at a high risk of many serious health complications. Your dog will be at risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancer.

Dogs that carry extra weight often suffer from arthritis and joint pain.

Choking Hazard: Corn tortillas may break into small, hard pieces. They also may contain corn kernels. For smaller dogs, these pieces can pose a choking hazard.

You can lower this risk by feeding soft tortillas, like those made from flour. Supervise your dog while they are eating.

Toxic Preservatives: If you are considering feeding your dog processed tortillas, be cautious. Read the ingredient list carefully, checking for preservatives and toxins.

Many brands of processed tortillas use amylases to extend shelf life. Too much amylases in your dog’s blood or urine can increase the risk of pancreatic disease.

Grain Allergies or Sensitivities: Dogs are unable to digest grains as well as most humans can.

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, high levels of grains may cause digestive problems. While the grains will not cause long-term harm to your dog, it is better to avoid feeding them. This will spare your dog from unnecessary discomfort.

Some dogs, like some people, are allergic to grains or gluten. If you have eliminated grains from your dog’s main diet due to allergies, they won’t be able to eat tortillas. 

If you even suspect that your dog may be sensitive to grains, stick to grain-free treat options. Fresh vegetables are grain-free and packed with nutrients.

Salt: Many brands of tortillas contain high levels of sodium. Too much salt in your dog’s diet can cause dehydration or sodium ion poisoning (salt toxicity).

Symptoms of too much salt include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, muscle tremors, and seizures. If allowed to continue, it can be fatal.

Garlic/Onion: Many brands and flavors of tortillas are made with garlic or onion. These ingredients are very dangerous for your dog.

Garlic and onions contain compounds that can cause a breakdown of the red blood cells in your dog’s body. Ingesting these ingredients puts your dog at risk of anemia.

Nixtamalization: This is a risk that you may not have previously heard of, but one that needs to be mentioned.

Nixtamalization is a cooking process used in creating many processed tortillas. It involves boiling and soaking corn in an alkaline solution of calcium hydroxide.

While food-grade calcium hydroxide is safe, commercial calcium hydroxide could be very dangerous. The packaging on processed tortillas doesn’t usually reveal which they used.

It is safer to avoid the unknown and avoid tortillas made using this process.

Health Benefits of Eating Tortillas for Dogs

The list of potential risks of eating tortillas is long, but there are some limited benefits. If you select dog-friendly tortillas, your dog may experience these benefits.

Dietary Fiber: Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. It helps to regulate your dog’s digestive system and prevent constipation. It also reduces your dog’s appetite, helping to support weight loss.

If your dog is a diabetic, a diet high in soluble fiber can help improve and manage blood sugar levels. It does this by slowing the absorption of sugar in the body.

Magnesium: This mineral is essential for many of the daily functions of your dog’s body. This includes nerve and muscle function and maintaining a steady heart rate. It also helps to improve the strength of your dog’s bones and boosts their immune system.

Calcium: Like humans, calcium will contribute to the strength of your dog’s bones and teeth. It also helps your dog’s body build strong muscles which can improve your dog’s heart health.

Iron: While iron is usually associated with meats, it is also present in tortillas.

This mineral is necessary for important functions in your dog’s body. It helps with the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin. These are both necessary to carry nutrients and oxygen through the body.

So, should you feed your dog tortillas for the benefits?

While these are all great benefits for your dog’s health, they are only present in very small amounts. The benefits of eating tortillas are outweighed by the risks.

If you are looking for a source of dietary fiber, magnesium, calcium, and iron, there are better options.

Here are some great choices for your dog’s next treat with those benefits in mind:

  • Broccoli
  • Kelp
  • Berries (especially Blackberries and Blueberries)
  • Leafy Greens
  • Pumpkin and Squash
  • Carrots
  • Beet pulp
  • Apples
  • Green Beans
  • Bone meal
  • Seafood (Sardines, Tuna, Salmon)
  • Leafy Greens (especially Spinach)
  • Molasses
  • Muscle and Organ Meats
  • Plain Yogurt

Can Dogs Eat Corn Tortillas?

Corn is a common filler in many different dog foods. It is low cost, safe to eat in small amounts, and does offer some nutritional value.

But, too much corn is difficult for your dog to break down and can cause digestive problems.

Make sure that the corn tortillas you are considering are not deep-friend. You should also check the packaging for any harmful ingredients.

Plain or raw corn tortillas are safe for most dogs in moderation. Soft corn tortillas are safer than hard shells as they don’t create the same choking risk.

If you’re wondering “Can dogs eat taco shells?”, they fall under the same category as corn tortillas, so use the same precautions.

Can Dogs Eat Flour Tortillas?

Flour tortillas are generally higher in carbohydrates, fats, and calories than corn tortillas. This means that they carry a higher risk of weight gain.

Not only are they high in calories, but they also carry little nutritional value.

Flour tortillas are often softer than corn tortillas, reducing the risk of choking. They are also free of potential choking hazards like corn kernels.

As a small, one-off snack, flour tortillas are safe for your dog. Limit your dog to a couple of bites each week.

Can dogs eat tortilla chips?

It is not recommended that dogs or puppies eat tortilla chips. Most tortilla chips contain high amounts of salt, and if they flavored they may also contain spices harmful to dogs. Also the sharp edges of tortilla chips can be a choking hazard.

Can dogs eat tortilla wraps?

Theoretically yes if eaten in moderation. However you have to be careful what’s inside of the wraps .

Can dogs eat flavored tortillas?

It depends on the spices used for the flavoring. Be cautious of any spices harmful to dogs. If in doubt don’t feed your dog flavored tortilla.

How to Safely Feed Tortillas to Your Dog

Before introducing a new food to your dog, contact your veterinarian to discuss the risks.

You should avoid tortillas if your dog is:

  • A young puppy
  • A senior dog
  • Obese or overweight dogs
  • A dog with blood sugar issues
  • A dog with a history of heart disease
  • A dog with allergies or sensitivities to grains or gluten
  • A dog with a sensitive stomach

Break your dog’s tortilla up into small, bite-sized pieces. This is especially important for smaller dogs, to avoid choking.

You can add nutritional value to your dog’s treat by adding a healthy spread. Some options include peanut butter (no xylitol), cream cheese, honey, or mashed vegetables.

Supervise your dog while they enjoy their treat.

Homemade Tortillas

If you enjoy baking, this is a great time to put your skills to work.

By making your own homemade tortillas, you can control the ingredients. This will allow you to avoid many of the dangers listed above.

One great option for a dog-safe tortilla is a black bean tortilla. These are grain-free tortillas made with dried black beans and water. By using a limited ingredient recipe, you avoid many of the risks above.

Black beans also offer their own benefits. They are high in vitamins C and K as well as manganese, protein, and fiber. This means that they can help to regulate blood sugar and strengthen the immune system.

Black beans are also known for helping to burn fat and encourage weight loss.

Signs of Trouble to Watch Out For

If your dog shows signs of trouble, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. This could mean that the tortilla contained a hidden harmful ingredient. It could also mean that your dog suffers from health problems or food allergies that you weren’t aware of.

These signs include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, shaking, or sudden, extreme thirst.

Dogs with allergies may start itching and grooming themselves excessively. They may also chew at their paws. The paws and ears are the most common places to see allergy symptoms emerge.

Final Verdict: Can dogs eat tortillas?

Be careful when selecting the tortillas that you feed your dog. Many brands of tortillas contain harmful ingredients. If possible, consider homemade tortillas to control what goes into them.

The exception is dogs with grain or gluten sensitivities or allergies. These dogs should only eat grain-free treats.

Plain flour and corn tortillas are safe for most dogs to eat in moderation. But, they are not the healthiest choice for dog treats.

Limit how often you feed them and stick, instead, to a healthier treat option like vegetables.

Photo of author
Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.