Quesadillas are one of the best Mexican foods. They are quick to fix, can be made from pretty much everything, and are really hard to get wrong. However, while they may be great for humans, they represent a number of problems for our four-legged friends; from the tortillas to the seasonings to the cheese.
The quesadilla is a pretty good item, both as a snack and a meal, but it is something that the dog in your life should only enjoy on special occasions, with the emphasis on the “not so often” aspect of that meaning; otherwise, the dog could be suffering from a number of potential problems.
What We Are Working With
There are two basic forms of the standard quesadilla: The snack version and the meal version. The snack version is pretty simple: Two flour tortillas with a cheesy center, usually cooked until the cheese has melted and there is a slight char on the tortillas.
The meal version is a little more complicated, as any number of vegetables may be inside, as well as some form of meat, such as beef or pork. Both of these can be served with some form of salsa, usually a pico de gallo, or some guacamole, sometimes both. All told, this makes for some pretty good meal ideas.
Let Us Begin With The Meat
When owners ask, “Can dogs eat quesadillas?” they do not expect most of the problems that will show up. The meat is usually, in and of itself, not the biggest problem. Even if the meat is fried, there is usually not a major problem, especially if the fat was drained as it was supposed to be.
The biggest problem with the meat is that spices are usually added to it, and that can create a problem for the delicate stomach of the dog; dogs simply do not do well with spices. If you are cooking with a dog in mind, then try to forget the spices for the good of the dog.
But the Cheese is Fine, Right?
Cheese is sort of a double threat for dogs, and is definitely one of those foods that should only be given to the dog on special occasions; it should definitely not be eaten by the dog every day. The short-term problem is that dogs lack the intestinal flora that some humans do and so suffer from lactose sensitivity; this means that because a dog has problems digesting the lactose in any dairy product, such as cheese, it can suffer indigestion from eating more than a little cheese.
The other problem is that cheese has a lot of fat and sodium in it, and this can cause a number of potential long-term effects. Increased sodium intake is never healthy, and that can create a wide variety of problems with the dog’s blood chemistry and even affect the nervous system.
The fat, however, can create a lot of problems with the heart as well as increase the dog’s weight, possibly leading to obesity and diabetes. All told, eating cheese every so often and in moderation is okay, but eating it every day can create a wide range of potential problems.
The Vegetables Are Fine, Right?
Those asking “Can dogs eat quesadillas?” usually forget about the vegetables. A good dog owner should not. Most of the vegetables are not a problem; usually, tomatoes, lettuce, and cilantro are not problems, and the cilantro may even help with indigestion. If the vegetables are fried in oil, that may be a problem as the oil may contribute to fat levels in the blood.
However, the rest of the vegetables can be a veritable minefield for dogs, starting with the onions; onions are usually one of the few major problems here, especially as they can be fatal to dogs.
The peppers may actually be the bigger problem here, however. Peppers can lead to a lot of digestive problems for dogs, with all of the usual suspects. However, a special problem may be caused if the peppers have any real heat to them: The dog will start drinking to try and wash the spice from the peppers out of their mouth and, not succeeding, will keep drinking. This can only exacerbate any problems that the dog is going through and is likely to create one very unhappy dog.
And The Tortillas
The tortillas are arguably the safest part. The first potential problem is that the dog may have some form of grain allergy; if that is the case then the tortillas may cause some form of issue. The bigger issue is that dogs do not require as many calories on a daily basis as humans do; even highly active dogs do not require even half the calories humans do.
As such, even two tortillas may be well above their suggested intake, ensuring that the dog is going to be stuffed. If this is a regular meal, however, it could lead to problems with obesity and diabetes.
About Those Sides
Quesadillas are usually served with one of two sides: pico de gallo and guacamole. The main ingredient of guacamole is avocado, which can be a problem for a dog because it contains a lot of fat, which can lead to weight gain if too many are eaten.
It can also lead to indigestion issues, especially possibly causing vomiting and diarrhea. They also contain persin, a fungicidal toxin; while humans have evolved to ignore it, most other animals have not. Eating persin, even a little, can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and myocardial damage.
The pico de gallo has its own potential problems. It is made of tomato, onion, cilantro, and a little jalapeno pepper to give it a little spice. Of those ingredients, the tomato is non-toxic, and the cilantro actually has a calming effect on his stomach or even eases some digestion problems, and he is going to need it.
The onion is actually considered possibly toxic to the dog, and it is one of the primary ingredients. The jalapeno pepper, however, may not be toxic but it can still cause indigestion, causing heartburn, vomiting, and diarrhea as well as general discomfort. As such, neither condiment is good for the dog.
Not all foods are for all species, and nothing proves that more than a quesadilla. Dog owners need to keep in mind that just because they can eat a specific food does not mean that their dogs will be able to eat the same foods, and in fact, it can cause the dog serious harm, both short term and long term, if he should try to eat the same thing as his human masters.
While dogs can eat foods away from their usual limited foods, they should do that only as a special treat and not every day, or they could suffer from any number of potential ailments, making their time with their owners even shorter than it already is.
A general theme that should be noted here is that dogs should not be eating the same foods as humans. The basic difference is that while both humans and dogs are omnivorous, dogs are more geared to eating meat and other items than humans are, and humans have evolved to enjoy a lot of things that other animals find repulsive, such as peppers, while some humans have an interior flora that allows them to eat some foods easier than other humans, such as cheese. This is something you should keep in mind when debating which foods to give your dog.
As noted above, this is usually a pretty solid hard pass. The flour tortillas may have too many carbohydrates for a dog, leading to potential obesity. The cheese could be an issue, especially considering how much cheese is on a standard quesadilla; as dogs are usually lactose intolerant, it could give them indigestion, as well as other issues. The meat and vegetables can be fine, as long as they were not cooked with any spices or chili peppers; if that is the case, then they could lead to indigestion. Thus, like a lot of human food dogs should avoid eating them or possibly pay the price later on.
This is actually an interesting question. The short answer is that they can but you may want to limit their intake. The problem is that corn tortillas are pretty much solid carbohydrates, and a dog that eats too many may suffer from obesity and other issues over time. They should also be raw or at least minimally cooked, and frying tortillas for a dog is right out; the oil absorbed into the corn tortilla may give the dog indigestion. Lastly, some dogs may simply be allergic to grain so that even something as innocuous as corn may pose a problem.
Adding to the fun is that corn tortillas are rarely served without ingredients. While most vegetables and meats are okay, the problem is the cheese and spices in the meat and vegetables. Cheese can have a number of potential issues by itself, and the spice, especially from chili sauce, can cause potential indigestion in the dog. Thus, while plain corn tortillas may not pose a problem, even one with vegetables and meat, a fried corn taco with cheese and chili sauce may cause the dog undue stress and indigestion, and that is without allowing for possible allergies.
Feeding a dog cheese is usually a bad idea. It is worth remembering that most humans are lactose intolerant to some degree; the same applies to dogs, but to a greater degree. Interestingly, it is not the lactose in the cheese itself that is a problem, although it is likely to cause indigestion in dogs by itself. Rather, it is the fat and salt present In cheese that can be a problem, especially in older dogs. Cheese should not be used to hide pills as they may inhibit the absorption of the medicine being hidden.
If you do want to feed your dog, there are some options. Cottage cheese and cream cheese are good, as is Havarti cheese; however, this applies only to cheese without additional ingredients, such as garlic. Some aged cheeses, such as sharp and mild cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan, are good due to their low levels of lactose, but even those with higher lactose content, such as feta and mozzarella, can be good on occasion. Goat cheese can actually be the best choice as it contains less lactose than cheese from a cow. Dogs can have cheese, but try to limit their exposure to it.
Generally, quinoa is safe for dogs to eat. The grain is used for a number of dog foods, and those foods have been tested. As usual, if you are unsure about a food, try a little bit with your dog to see what happens; if your dog has no discomfort or other negative side effects, then it should be fine. The major problem here is that quinoa has an irritant call saponin; however, quinoa has too little to affect humans or dogs, and a good washing should take care of any remaining. As such, quinoa by itself should not pose a risk to anyone eating it.
However, a problem may occur if you feed the dog quinoa directly from your plate. The problem is that humans tend to find quinoa a little bitter, and so cook the grain with any number of herbs and other vegetables, and that frequently items that a dog cannot normally eat, such as onions and garlic. Combined with spices like salt and even pepper, it is possible that the quinoa you cook for yourself and other humans may actually prove to be an issue for the dog, which has a far more sensitive stomach than yours. Avoid feeding the dog such items for the health of the dog.