Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?

Beagle stealing pepperoni from a cutting board on the counter

Can dogs eat pepperoni? Any dog would quickly tell you “Yes of course!” while wagging their tail vigorously in excitement. Pepperoni is undoubtedly a delicious treat most recognizable as a topping on pizza. Dogs love human food so it should be no surprise that they would love pepperoni as well. Pepperoni is a type of cured meat brought to the America’s from Sicily back in the early 1900’s. It’s a great source of protein for humans, but is it healthy for our pooches? Can dogs eat pepperoni, or should we reserve the deliciously spicy food for our consumption only? Keep reading to learn more about this tasty topping and whether it’s safe for your fur baby.

A Dog’s Diet

Can dogs eat pepperoni because it’s a meat? By design, dogs have a natural inclination for being carnivores. It makes sense since they are direct evolutionary descendants from the Timber wolf some 15,000 years ago. Like their carnivorous cousins, dogs like meat. But unlike their cousins, dogs have evolved alongside humans to survive as an omnivore. Their digestive systems have evolved to digest grains, fruit, table scraps, and more. Can dogs eat pepperoni? Just because they can eat many of the same things we do, doesn’t mean they should. Dogs can suffer from a poor diet, much like humans can. They are even more susceptible to the ill effects of a bad diet because they are not as adapted to a human diet like, well, humans.

The ideal diet for a dog will consist of mostly unseasoned fresh or raw meat, whole grains, vegetables like peas, carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, and some fruits such as berries. You can feed your dog fresh food, wet dog food, or dry kibble. Dog food is made to provide all the nutrients dogs need to live a healthy life. Some dog foods are better than others, however. You should check ingredients in commercial dog food brands to be sure they contain natural ingredients. Look for dog foods that list a protein source (like beef, chicken, or fish) as the primary ingredient rather than a grain. Can dogs eat pepperoni if you run out of dog food? Although pepperoni is a protein source, it’s not the best type of meat for your dog. Read on to learn why.

Dry food for dogs and cats based on raw meat and vegetables on dark stone background

What Is Pepperoni?

Pepperoni is a processed meat that’s dried, cured, and seasoned with multiple spices. Traditional pepperoni is mostly made from a mix of beef and pork, but turkey pepperoni also exists. Pepperoni meat is a ratio of 70 percent lean meat to 30 percent fatty meat. The meat is ground up and mixed with spices such as chili pepper, paprika, garlic, onion powder, and salt. A pepperoni slice is typically round, red, soft, and has a tangy or smoky flavor. Pepperoni sausage is a delicious treat on its own and makes for a fantastic topping on pizza. Can dogs eat pepperoni pizza? While your pup would be more than happy to wolf down a slice of pepperoni pizza, they’d likely get an upset stomach.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?

Since dogs are carnivorous by nature, it would make sense that they’d like pepperoni. But can dogs eat pepperoni? Unseasoned, unprocessed meat is generally healthy to feed your dog. Pepperoni on the other hand is highly processed. It contains added ingredients that may be harmful to your dog. It’s also high in fat, which is not ideal for a dog’s diet. Can dogs eat pepperoni at all? A pepperoni slice here and there probably won’t do much harm. But giving your dog too much pepperoni can make them sick or potentially be lethal for several reasons.

Jack Russel with sausage links in mouth

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni? Not If it Contains Harmful Spices

Pepperoni contains many added ingredients that enhance flavor and make it the yummy treat that it is. But can dogs eat pepperoni with these spices? Nope. Many spices like onion powder, garlic powder, and chives, whether raw or cooked, are toxic to dogs. It only takes a small amount to be harmful to dogs and cause symptoms of toxicity. For example, a 45-pound dog would only need to eat the equivalent of a medium sized onion to experience dangerous toxicity levels. Because onion powder and garlic powder are dried and in concentrated form, it’s difficult to know how much of these ingredients your dog is getting when they eat a pepperoni slice. Can dogs eat pepperoni in small amounts? If your dog does get their paws on too much pepperoni, they may experience anything from an upset stomach and diarrhea to more serious toxicity symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, and tremors. Should your dog be showing any of these serious side effects, get them medical attention immediately. Can dogs eat pepperoni if it doesn’t contain spices? Without spices, pepperoni may be okay to feed your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni? Not If It’s High Fat

Per ounce, pepperoni contains 143 calories and 13 grams of fat. Can dogs eat pepperoni so high in fat? A high fat diet can be extremely dangerous for dogs. Fat contains a lot of calories, which can lead to obesity in dogs. Dogs who are obese are more at risk for heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. Like in humans, these health risks can mean a shorter life span or uncomfortable living conditions for your pooch. Additionally, a high fat diet can also lead to pancreatitis in dogs. Pancreatitis is a serious health condition that affects your dog’s internal organs and can be fatal in some cases. Can dogs eat pepperoni if it’s made from low fat meat such as turkey meat? Turkey pepperoni would be better for your dog as far as fat content goes. But turkey pepperoni is still a processed meat that contains added ingredients your dog shouldn’t be eating.

Young Fawn Mixed Breed Puppy Laying on Striped Bed Looking Upset or Ill

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni? Not If It Has Too Much Salt

Dogs need some amount of salt in their diet to maintain a normal functioning body. Sodium is an electrolyte that’s necessary for maintaining your dog’s fluid levels in their body. However, too much salt can cause dehydration and result in salt poisoning. Salt poisoning is when your dog’s salt levels are too high in their blood, causing them to lose too much water. Salt poisoning can occur when your dog eats too much sodium or if they have had insufficient water intake. Symptoms of salt poisoning may include lethargy, convulsions, loss of appetite, confusion, and even death.

Can dogs eat pepperoni occasionally? While it’s unlikely that your dog will experience salt poisoning from a few slices of pepperoni, too much pepperoni could cause harm. Turkey pepperoni especially is known for its high salt content. If your dog has consumed more than a few slices of pepperoni, make sure they have plenty of water nearby to drink. Most dogs will drink water to combat their salt intake and avoid salt poisoning. But be on the lookout for symptoms of salt poisoning and get them medical treatment if they need it. Can dogs eat pepperoni if it’s a low sodium brand? A lower sodium pepperoni would be better for your dog, but not ideal. Let your dog get the salt intake they need from their dog food, not table scraps.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Flavored Treats?

There are some commercial dog treats that make pepperoni sticks as treats for dogs. These treats are made to mimic the taste and flavor of pepperoni without the high fat content or harmful ingredients. Can dogs eat pepperoni flavored treats? Sure, but always check the ingredients in dog food before giving it to your pup. Some commercial dog treats do in fact contain harmful ingredients and spices such as garlic and onion. Without these ingredients, it’s very difficult to get an authentic pepperoni taste. While it’s unlikely that these commercial dog treats contain enough spices to be harmful to your dog, it could be. Smaller dogs are more susceptible to toxicity, even in smaller amounts. There’s also the possibility of your dog getting into their treats behind your back and consuming a larger quantity than recommended. Can dogs eat pepperoni flavored treats? Yes, but you should still exercise caution.

closeup of a German Shepherd about to eat a meat stick dog treat

What Happens If My Dog Eats Pepperoni?

We can’t control everything our loveable furry companion does. Sometimes they go behind our backs and sneak food they know they’re not supposed to eat. Can dogs eat pepperoni? They can, but they shouldn’t. So, what happens if your dog eats pepperoni without your permission? First, don’t panic. Check your dog to see if they are exhibiting any signs of toxicity or sickness. Then determine how much pepperoni they’ve eaten. If it is a small amount relative to their body weight, they will most likely be fine. They may experience an upset stomach, gas, or diarrhea, but nothing in need of medical attention.

However, if your dog has eaten a larger amount of pepperoni, they may experience more serious symptoms. Call the Animal Poison Control Center and have them walk you through what to do next. Monitor your dog’s behavior for the next several hours. If they show symptoms of toxicity, such as convulsions or trouble breathing, get them medical attention immediately. Can dogs eat pepperoni in small amounts? Sure, but it’s not worth it if they get sick.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Meat Alternatives?

Can dogs eat pepperoni meat alternatives? Processed meat is not a good option for a dog treat as it contains too many spices and preservatives that aren’t good for your dog’s health. Can dogs eat pepperoni meat alternatives? There are plenty of pepperoni meat alternatives your dog can enjoy. Most meats, poultry, and fish are safe for your dog if they are unseasoned. Plain, unseasoned, and minimally processed meats are best for a dog’s diet.

Chicken

Chicken is a popular ingredient in most dog food brands. Cooked chicken is a good source of lean protein and contains many vital nutrients like vitamin B6 and Selenium. Chicken is also relatively low in calories and fat, meaning it makes a great treat for your pup on a diet. Can dogs eat pepperoni made from chicken? It’s not suggested. While the chicken itself isn’t bad for them, the other ingredients may be. You can feed your dog any part of the chicken, excluding the bone. Dogs will choke on chicken bones, so be sure to remove any bones from the chicken before serving it to your pooch.

Make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked before giving it to your dog. While there is a growing movement of feeding dogs a raw meat diet, most sources recommend against it. Chicken has a high risk of carrying salmonella and other bacterial infections if not properly cooked. It’s not worth the risk. Bake, broil, or roast the chicken before serving it to your dog on its own or over vegetables, rice, or kibble. Can dogs eat pepperoni? Sure, but chicken is just as satisfying.

Beagle dog looking to roasted chicken leg on white plate

Fish

Fish is a healthy protein source for dogs particularly if they are allergic to other proteins like chicken or beef. Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which are good for your dog’s heart and brain. The most common types of fish included in commercial dog foods are short lived species like whitefish, herring, flounder, salmon, or Arctic char. Long lived species like swordfish or tuna may contain heavy metals like mercury. These fish should be consumed sparingly as mercury can build up in the blood over time and lead to heavy metal poisoning. Can dogs eat pepperoni made from fish? Pepperoni made from fish sounds, well, gross. It’s unlikely a product exists but, in any case, it would not be as healthy for your dog as plain fish.

Can dogs eat raw fish? Raw fish is often consumed by humans in the form of sushi. While sushi grade raw fish may be fine to feed your dog, it’s not recommended. Like chicken, fish can contain salmonella and bacteria that can make your dog sick. It’s recommended to cook your dog’s fish before feeding it to them. Make sure the fish is unseasoned and deboned. While fish bones are small and fragile, there’s still a chance they could become lodged in your dog’s throat or puncture an intestine.

Liver

Liver might not sound appetizing to most people, but dogs love it. Liver is an organ meat that contains a ton of nutrients and health benefits for your pooch. One serving of liver provides 10 to 100 times the nutrients in a serving of muscle meat. Liver is packed full of vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin A, B vitamins and the essential fatty acid, CoQ10. Can dogs eat pepperoni made from liver? If liver pepperoni existed, it would certainly be a healthier choice for your pooch. The nutrients in liver can help to improve your dog’s joint health. Which is especially important for larger breeds who are more susceptible to joint problems like arthritis. Liver is also good for improving your dog’s “good” cholesterol and for keeping their coat shiny and healthy. Liver can be served to your dog cooked either on its own or mixed in with their dry food.

Dehydrated Meat

Dehydrated meat undergoes a process of dehydration where the water content is removed from the meat. It’s a gentle, low-temperature process that preserves nutrients in the meat better than baking, frying, or cooking. Dehydrated meat is an excellent source of nutrient dense protein with a long shelf life. It makes an excellent snack or treat for your fur baby. But only if you make it yourself or buy single-ingredient jerky products. Commercially sold jerky products often contain a high amount of sodium, preservatives, and other ingredients that may be harmful for your dog. Avoid these products and instead look for single-ingredient jerky products that contain only the dehydrated meat. Can dogs eat pepperoni jerky? Only if the pepperoni jerky contains the meat alone. Again, added ingredients like seasonings may be bad for your dog’s stomach.

Eggs

Scrambled eggs are a common human food that doubles as a tasty and nutritious treat for dogs. Eggs are a great protein source that are full of nutrients like vitamin B12, folate, and iron. Eggs can be fed to your dog either cooked or raw, but most vets recommend cooking before feeding to your dog. Like other raw foods, raw eggs can contain harmful bacteria like salmonella. Cooking kills harmful bacteria, therefore making it safer to feed to your dog. Dogs can eat eggs either scrambled, boiled, or any way you like to prepare them. Just be sure your dog’s eggs aren’t cooked in too much oil, butter, or seasonings that will make them sick. Also, there is a possibility your dog may be allergic to eggs. Monitor your dogs for symptoms of an allergic reaction after feeding them eggs. Symptoms may include itching, rash, vomiting, or trouble breathing. If such symptoms occur, get your dog medical treatment immediately.

husky eating eggs from a silver bowl

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni? Probably Not

So, can dogs eat pepperoni? While dogs can indeed digest a number of human foods including pepperoni, it’s better for them not to. Pepperoni is a processed meat that’s not particularly healthy for humans. And it’s even worse for our dogs. Throwing your pup, a pepperoni slice here and there shouldn’t do any harm, but don’t make it a habit. Your dog will be just as happy with any other meat alternative and will love you just the same. Can dogs eat pepperoni? Yes, but if you love them, you’ll feed them better treats.

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