Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?


Pepperoni is the default topping for pizza and, if your pet is crazy for pizza, he might have come across pepperoni before. Pepperoni may seem harmless to dogs mainly because their guts are biologically designed to digest meat.

We all know pepperoni is a type of processed meat, which is not really a wholesome option for either humans or their pets. Still, some dogs get into pepperoni. Some owners even give it as a treat. But is it really a good practice? Learn more about the possible effects of this cured meat to your dog.

What’s In Your Pepperoni?

A serving size of pepperoni has a whopping 494 calories. This is already half of the number of calories a healthy adult dogneeds. Pepperoni is loaded with fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Your pets need sodium and fat but too much of these can cause ill effects.

It is possible for high cholesterol to appear in dogs but it won’t likely cause heart and blood vessel diseases like it does in humans. Instead, it puts them at risk for hyperlipidemia, a condition where there is an abnormally excessive amount of fat in the blood.

Fido needs sodium for the regulation of the osmotic pressure and the transmission of nerve impulse. Excessive amounts of sodium, though, can have a negative effect on the dog’s kidneys. It can also cause salt poisoning in canines.

Pepperoni does have certain nutrients but their quantities areminimal. It has protein, potassium, and B-vitamins. The cons still outweigh the pros because a 100-gram serving already has 1,761 milligrams of sodium and only 23 grams of protein.

There are a lot of healthy sources of sodium out there. Your pet could get it not just from red meat but also from poultry, fish, and eggs. Many commercially produced dog foods already contain sodium as well.

If you’re thinking of making your pizza and would like to share it with your dog, don’t top it with processed meat. Consider healthier toppings such as cooked chicken breasts, low-fat mozzarella cheese, and mashed sweet potato. To make it more wholesome, you can even use gluten-free baking powder, flaxseed meal, and coconut flour for your dough.

Is Pepperoni Bad for Dogs?

Pepperoni is not a wholesome treat for dogs because it is seasoned with paprika and other types of chili pepper. Some pepperonis also have garlic powder and onion. Seasonings and spicy foods are a big no-no for canines as they may cause gastrointestinal irritation.

A small slice of round pepperoni already has 35.2 milligrams of sodium. According to the recommended daily allowance set by the National Academy of Sciences, a dog can only have 200 milligrams of sodium per day.

If your pet just ate one to two slices of pepperoni, he might have already maximized his sodium requirement because he also gets this nutrient from other food items throughout the day. Due to the excessive amounts of sodium, pepperoni puts your pet at risk for salt poisoning and kidney damage.

Fatty meats can also trigger pancreatitis attacks. So, if your pet is prone to pancreatitis or already has it, never give him even a small slice of pepperoni. Pancreatitis, or the inflammation of the pancreas, can be life-threatening to dogs.

What to Do If Your Dog Ate Pepperoni?

Pepperoni can cause digestive issues in dogs because of the salt, fat, and all of the seasonings in it. If your dog just ate some and he looks sick because of it, you can administer an antacid to help settle his stomach.

Famotidine, known as its brand name Pepcid is the commonly used antacid for canines. It should be given at 0.25-0.5 milligrams for every pound of body weight. It can be given every 12-24 hours, preferably 20 minutes before a meal for maximum absorption.

It would also help to offer light meals for a few days. A bland meal consisting of boiled chicken and white rice is a good option for dogs. You can continue giving this to your pet for several days to help relax his stomach. Most importantly, your dog should always have access to fresh water to drink.

Antacids are safe for dogs but you have to get a veterinarian’s approval if your pet is currently taking any medication. Certain drugs may have a strong interaction with antacids, which means they should not be taken together.

It would also help to inform your vet if the dog has an existing medical condition. Antacids should be administered with supportive care to dogs with liver disease. In case the vomiting persists and you noticed stomach pain, call your vet immediately.

What to Give To Your Pet Instead of Pepperoni

When it comes to giving meat to dogs, the first thing we should take into consideration is the meat’s nutritional factors. Is it a high-protein source with several vitamins and minerals? We should also take a look at how the meat was processed. Pepperoni underwent seasoning, smoking, and curing which means the meat used no longer retained its freshness.

The best kinds of meat you can give your dog are natural beef, chicken, and fish meat. If your pet is allergic to these types of meat, try to offer venison or mutton which is the meat of older sheep. In many countries, particularly Australia, kangaroo meat is also offered to dogs.

The Bottom Line

Meat is an important part of a canine’s diet. However, not all meats are equal. Anything that has been heavily processed and preserved, including pepperoni, is not a wholesome option for your dog. Offer fresh and natural meat as much as possible. Don’t give pepperoni to dogs because it contains unhealthy amounts of fats and sodium.


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