Can Dogs Eat Salami? And What to Give Them Instead!


What is Salami

Salami is a type of cured meat and it already underwent food preservation before it goes to our dining tables. Originally an Italian cuisine, salami is now being sold everywhere. The most common type you can buy from the supermarkets is the hard salami, which uses beef and has a smoky flavor.

Traditionally, salami is made from beef or pork, garlic, salt, herbs, spices, vinegar, and wine. It boasts a lot of flavors that most of us like incorporating it into several dishes. Salami is a great addition to sandwiches, cheese bombs, and skewers or you can munch on it as it is. But is it a nice treat for your dog?

Can Dogs Eat Salami?

While salami is indeed a tasty treat, there is no denying the fact that it is one of the worst processed meats. Processed foods, including salami, topped the list of Dr. Phil Maffetone’s worst meats. Maffetone, a well-known clinician had a point when he said processed meats should be avoided. These foods use a great amount of additives and spices to keep their shelf life.

If you should avoid processed meats including salami, then why give it to your dog? This pretty much answers why salami is not a healthy treat for our beloved dogs.

A breakdown of the salami’s content

To fully understand why salami is not an ideal treat for your pooch, we analyzed the ingredients of this food one by one. Do note that there are countless types of salami. In fact, there are different kinds of salami offered in various regions of Italy. Even the pepperoni that we put on our pizzas is just one of the many salami varieties.

Here are the most common ingredients of traditional salami:

  • Meat – both the traditional and the commercially produced salamis are made by mixing the fatty parts and lean meat of pork, beef, or poultry. Some use veal and horse as alternatives. Once the meat is grounded, it is can be prepared for salting. After mixing it with the herbs and spices, it undergoes smoking or curing.

The meat as a safe option for your puppy as long as it is plain. The AKC warns about seasonings or add-ons, which we will further discuss down below.

  • Salt – every 100 grams of cooked salami has 1,740 mg of salt. If you are planning to give your dog just a slice of salami, you are already giving him as much as 214 mg of sodium. That is more than twice the advised sodium amount for him.

Take note that sodium and salt are two different things. Salt is a combination of salt and chloride. That is 60% chloride and the rest is sodium.

Canines only need an intake of 100 mg of sodium per day. Sodium or salt is an important mineral for canines as it is responsible for maintaining the cellular movement inside the dog’s body.

However, too much sodium is bad for dogs as it is for humans. Canines with heart and kidney problems are advised to have a diet with a limited salt content. Healthy dogs can easily excrete the excess sodium through urine.

However, canines with kidney, heart, and liver problems should have a limited sodium intake. Your pet doctor might recommend sodium restriction. But regardless if the dog is suffering from any medical issues or not, you should still limit his sodium intake.

Too much salt in canine diets is linked to seizures, runny stools, and abnormal body temperature. Excessive salt could also make your dog thirstier, and you will notice him consuming more water than he usually does.

In case your dog already vomited, don’t panic right away because that is the way of his body to reduce the levels of ingested salt. Otherwise, call a pet poison expert or your pet doctor immediately. Christina M. Erskine, a vet tech, recommended inducing vomiting right away in case of too much salt intake. You can do this by giving your dog two tablespoons of Hydrogen Peroxide.

  • Herbs and spices – there are several types of salami, and each of them may use different kinds of herbs. This will depend on the type of salami, so read the label to make sure they only contain the safe herbs for your pups.

Turmeric is believed to cause skin issues to canines, while rosemary is being labelled as an unsafe option for epileptic dogs. That said, it is best to consult a veterinary first if you are planning to incorporate herbs in your dog’s diet.

  • Garlic – salami is never complete without garlic because it serves as a natural preservative to keep the meat from spoiling. It helps in keeping bacteria away so the food can be stored for longer. However, you have to be careful in giving any food with garlic to your dog.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the toxicity level of garlic for canines can go from mild to moderate. Japanese dog breeds such as Shiba Inu and Akita are more sensitive to garlic than any other dog breeds. Immediately seek veterinarian help in case you noticed strange behaviours like drooling, weakness, and vomiting.

  • Red wine – a four-pounder basic recipe of salami uses one-third cup of red wine. The wine does not only add some flavours on the salami, but also prolongs the shelf life of the meat. As per the Food Navigator, red wine can lessen the spoilage of pork or beef because it extends the food’s shelf life.

If you have been reading about unsafe foods for your puppy, you probably came across alcohol as one of the “no-no” for your dog. Canines are not supposed to drink alcohol because of the risk of cardiac arrest. The worst thing that can happen is that your puppy dying from alcoholic beverages. Salami only has a little amount of red wine in it, but it is still better to be safe than sorry.

  • Sugar – aside from salt, most processed meats do contain sugar because it reduces the amount of water that can contribute to the growth of microorganisms. The most common type of sugar used in meat preservation is glucose or dextrose.

Sugar is one of the sources of carbohydrates for canines. Like us humans, dogs have different energy needs. For instance, a puppy has lower carbohydrate needs compared to adult dogs unless that adult canine is inactive or has little opportunity to get moving. Pregnant and lactating dogs will also require more energy to survive the day.

The National Academies’ Division on Earth and Life Studies recommended calorie intake for adult dogs with active lifestyle is 404 kilocalories per day. For every 100 grams, salami has as much as 336 calories. That also contains one gram of sugar.

What are the healthy sources of sodium?

Salami has a high sodium content which is why many dog experts do not recommend it as a treat. Sodium naturally occurs in some foods and is also included in the snacks we buy for them. This mineral is beneficial for dogs as long as it is given in reasonable amounts. Sodium consumption has both pros and cons. On the good side, sodium is essential for proper muscle and nerve function. However, too much of it can result in high blood pressure and kidney disease.

For now, skip the salami and only use them for your next Italian-inspired dish and give your puppy these staples instead:

  • Celery – sodium naturally occurs in celery. Give it to your dog raw or slightly steamed and he will surely be delighted.
  • Cereals – when given in moderation, cereals can be a perfect treat for dogs. Steel-cut oats have less sodium compared to regular breakfast cereals.
  • Beets – among the safest treats for your pooch, beet can also be given raw. Avoid the canned ones because they already contain high amounts of sodium.
  • Cooked fish sticks – for every 75 grams fish stick, your dog gets around 299 mg of sodium, way lower compared to salami.
  • Cheese – as long as the dog can easily tolerate lactose, you should not worry giving him small portions of cheese. Cottage cheese is a recommended type of cheese for them, but you can also give your dog cheddar.
  • Pumpkin – a canine-favorite, pumpkin only has a milligram of salt for every 100 mg of serving. You can give your pet a maximum of two tablespoons of pureed pumpkin to get started.
  • Apple slices – like pumpkin, apples only have 1 mg of salt for every 100 mg. Apples are good fiber foods for canines.
  • Oatmeal – another source of fiber, oatmeal can be given to canines as long as they do not have sugar or add-ons. A 20-pounder dog can have a tablespoon of cooked oatmeal per day.

When in doubt about giving a new food to your dog, it is best to consult your pet doctor. This just serves as a guide, but I am hoping that you learnt something new from my entry today. There you go! Have you ever given salami (or any other type of processed meat) to your dog? I’d like to hear how the experience was. Feel free to share them here!


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