Many dog owners know that meat and protein is an essential component of a dog’s diet, but this doesn’t mean that all varieties of meat that humans eat are okay for dogs. Many types of meat that we consume are highly processed, which means that preservatives and additives are added to meat to either transform it into a new texture, or to flavor it with substances that are not conducive to a dog’s diet. With this in mind, can dogs eat pepperoni?
Pepperoni is not a good variety of meat to feed dogs. Pepperoni is highly processed and contains spices, high amounts of sodium, and garlic and onion flavorings that can actually be toxic to a dog’s internal system. Pepperoni is bad for dogs due to the ingredients included.
Feeding dogs common snacks that we eat are common occurrences, but we may not be aware of the potential risks involved. This guide will explore everything there is to know about pepperoni in how it relates to a dog’s overall health. Read on to find out more about this flavorful meat source which can do your dog more harm than good.
Can Dogs Eat Processed Meat?
First and foremost, pepperoni is a type of processed meat. There is no natural occurrence of this meat in carbon-based lifeforms, which means that it is a collection of meats processed and flavored to make a distinctive product.
Whole, raw meats are okay for dogs to eat, and when cooked, the meats should be prepared with no seasonings and preferably with no oil. This isn’t the case with pepperoni. Just because your dog may respond to pepperoni favorable does not mean that it is good for them. We can relate to this with junk food vs. healthy food.
But there are some ingredients in pepperoni that would do more damage to a dog beyond just junk food weight gain – specifically the inclusion of garlic and onions or garlic or onion powder.
What Ingredients in Pepperoni are Bad for Dogs?
It is easier to explore what specific ingredients in pepperoni are bad for dogs and what the ingredients do to a dog’s system.
What makes pepperoni bad for dogs is giving your dog slices of pepperoni that include onion and garlic. Onions specifically are highly toxic to dogs of any species due to the direct poisoning of dog red blood cells.
This toxicity is because dogs lack the proper enzymes to break down onions and absorb the nutrients properly through the blood. The enzymes in onions disrupt the red blood cells and prevent them from regenerating and cleaning the blood, thereby causing a dog to become potentially life-threateningly ill.
Although it is generally understood that a dog would have to eat 1 to 2 whole onions to trigger deathly anemia, even small amounts at a time, such as what is contained in pepperoni slices, will immediately cause upset stomach, lethargy, and possible long term red blood cell damage that builds over time.
Pepperoni contains onion powder most of the time, and this is just as dangerous as raw onion even if your dog shows no symptoms from ingesting it.
If you continuously feed your dog pepperoni slices throughout the day, you can expect vomiting, diarrhea, and an upset stomach which is the slow toxicity of the onion powder building in your dog’s internal system.
Like onions, garlic is also toxic to dogs although it must be said that garlic is not quite as severe as feeding your dog a slice of pepperoni loaded with onion powder.
Garlic is in the same family of vegetables like onions, and garlic upsets a dog’s health by operating much like onions by attacking a dog’s red blood cells.
Garlic can lead to a mild case of hemolysis in dogs, but it would take much more of the substance to induce this when compared to onions. But when you combine both onion and garlic powder in a pepperoni slice, this is very dangerous indeed.
Like chocolate, many dog owners are typically aware that increased sodium is not good for dogs. Salt poisoning can occur if a dog is given snacks that contain increased amounts of salt, and this is almost always the case with substances like processed meat, including pepperoni.
Too much sodium in a dog’s diet can lead to bloat, lethargy, and weight gain but increased salt consumption is bad for dogs and can lead to health issues such as heart, liver, and kidney ailments.
With this in mind, a slice or two of pepperoni will not cause severe harm to a dog, you will just have to be sure to take into account how much salt they are receiving in their regular meals or dog treats as well.
Salt poisoning in dogs would likely come from a steady supply of pepperoni slices in a small amount of time. This can cause seizures and in dire situations, dogs can even go into a coma from salt poisoning and this will require immediate veterinary treatment.
When dogs consume too much salt, their sensitive internal system cannot tolerate the extreme dehydration that occurs. Symptoms of salt poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, high temperature, and as mentioned, seizures. It may even cause death.
Most living things need salt to survive and this is true for dogs just as it is for human beings. But unlike humans who can simply pass excess salt through increased urination, the internal system of a dog cannot easily expel the sodium as people can.
Dogs should consume no more than 100 mg of sodium per day in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid sodium ion poisoning. With this in mind, no more than one or two slices of pepperoni a day would be advisable for a dog, but not feeding your dog pepperoni is the best approach.
It’s also a good idea to give your dog treats that are relatively low in fat. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not need high amounts of fat to maintain good health, it’s actually the opposite.
Excess fat works in dogs much in the same way it does in humans; it can cause problems such as weight gain, blood pressure problems, and put enormous strain on the heart.
Strong Seasonings Including Spices
Spicy food such as hot pepperoni is an acquired taste with humans, and when it comes to dogs, it is practically a repellent. Thankfully, most dogs will immediately reject food containing spices, even mild spices, but sometimes this is not the case.
Spices wreck a dog’s digestive system, and diarrhea caused by a dog eating spices could be so severe that it leads to dehydration and of course vomiting to expel the hot food.
What About Pepperoni Flavored Doggy Snacks?
A brilliant remedy to take if your dog has developed a liking for pepperoni is to purchase safe dog treats that mimic the flavor of pepperoni.
Pup-Peroni Pepperoni Flavor Dog Snacks are a popular brand of treats that provide your dog with ample amounts of protein in addition to flavors that appeal to what attract’s a dog to eat pepperoni.
The snacks are 100% beef-based with very small amounts of flavorings that make for a meaty and aromatic taste. The design of the treats and the strong aroma of meat will be very appealing to your dog, and you can have this on standby if you are eating pepperoni as a snack and your dog is extending their paw to sample your snacks.
Can I Give My Dog Pizza?
Not only does pizza typically have pepperoni on it, but there are also many other dangerous ingredients in pizza that will pile on disagreements with your dog’s sensitive system.
A pepperoni pizza will also have tomato sauce, cheese, and doughy bread to cause additional problems along with the pepperoni.
Additionally, a slice of pepperoni pizza is usually coated with garlic or onion powder as a flavor additive and this will cause damage to your dog’s red blood cells as outlined above. Avoid feeding your dog pepperoni pizza.
Can Dogs Eat Salami?
Salami falls into the same category as pepperoni as it is also a highly processed meat coated with additives and seasonings dangerous for dogs. Salt and garlic are the two additives in salami that would cause the most problems for dogs, and therefore, giving your dog salami should be avoided along with pepperoni.
Can Dogs Eat Turkey Pepperoni?
Turkey pepperoni may sound like a somewhat healthier alternative, and in some cases, this may be true…for people!
Turkey pepperoni is not much different from regular pepperoni when it comes to dogs. There are still the primary problems that come with processed meats, including sodium and additives, although perhaps a smaller amount of fat than regular pepperoni.
But still, there are the seasonings, and specifically onion and garlic powder to worry about. Turkey pepperoni that is mild or contains fewer seasonings is still not worth the risk when feeding it to your dog, and therefore, turkey pepperoni should also be avoided as a snack for dogs.
So, can dogs eat pepperoni? Dogs can and will eat pepperoni but you should just avoid feeding your dog pepperoni since there are too many risks involved. Why feed your dog 1 or 2 slices of something that contains harmful substances? Onion and garlic powder is toxic to dogs, and sodium, fat, and spices are certainly not good for dogs.
The best remedy to take if your dog enjoys the taste of pepperoni is to purchase some pepperoni-flavored dog snacks that replicate the taste but contain no harmful ingredients. This provides a safe, harmless snack for your dog.
To find out what other food sources may be toxic for your dog, check out the following blogs: