Pepperoni is a favourite topping for many pizza lovers. Its meaty, salty and smoky flavour is irresistible to some people… and my Whippet Misty goes wild for it too whenever she can smell it cooking. But can dogs eat pepperoni? More importantly… should they?
In brief, yes… dogs can eat pepperoni but they shouldn’t. I’ll come onto the reasons why further in this post.
As a general guide as to what to expect here, I’m going to talk about pepperoni, explain why you shouldn’t allow dogs to eat it and show you why excessive consumption of pepperoni is bad for dogs.
Table of Contents
- What is Pepperoni?
- Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni and Should They?
- Why is Pepperoni Bad for Dogs?
What is Pepperoni?
Pepperoni must be Italian, right? Although it does have an Italian name, pepperoni is really an American version of salami.
Like salami, pepperoni is a meat sausage generally made with pork, beef or a mixture of both. Having said this, other meat ingredients, such as turkey, can be used. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to discuss the pork and beef variety, which is the type we most frequently use at home… or on pizzas!
Alongside the main ingredients of pork or beef, pepperoni is flavoured with herbs and spices like paprika, garlic and salt as well as a substantial amount of pork fat. Hence, pepperoni is very high in fat (see the nutrition facts below).
Pepperoni is a cured meat sausage, so it doesn’t need to be cooked. However, using pepperoni as an ingredient when cooking results in it’s strong flavour permeating the dish.
Because it has a strong meaty and fatty flavour, dogs certainly will be attracted to it. Of course the things dogs like aren’t necessarily healthy for them.
There are some foods that all dogs shouldn’t eat. Find out more about them in this guide to foods Whippets should avoid.
Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni and Should They?
Dogs can eat pepperoni, in the sense that it’s unlikely to require a trip to the vet if consumed by accident. That said, many varieties of pepperoni contain garlic, which is a food that’s toxic to dogs.
While it won’t necessarily be life-threatening if your dog eats pepperoni, it’s not at all a healthy thing for them to eat on a regular basis. In the view of many veterinary experts, your dog should not eat pepperoni at all.
As a high-energy foodstuff, of course your dog will love it. The flavour combination of fat, meat and salt will likely drive your dog to distraction. However, just because your dog likes the taste of something, it doesn’t mean you should actively feed it to them.
Sure, pepperoni is high in protein (see the nutritional facts below), and we know that a high protein diet is important for our canine friends.
Unfortunately though, pepperoni is also extremely high in fat and sodium, which are not at all healthy for dogs to eat in large quantities. This is especially true if your dog has existing health problems like obesity, kidney problems or digestive issues.
Pepperoni is also high in calories
Too much sodium in a canine diet can cause stomach upsets. More worryingly, excessive sodium can lead to salt poisoning, kidney damage, or pancreatitis, all of which can be extremely dangerous for your dog… perhaps life threateningly so.
As I touched upon earlier, pepperoni also often contains garlic, which is very harmful to dogs. Garlic causes irritation to canine digestive systems and can lead to weakness, fainting and increased heart rate.
Related posts: Can Dogs Eat Carrots?
Why is Pepperoni Bad for Dogs?
The nutritional content of pepperoni varies enormously depending upon the producer and the type of meats used. The following data from the US Department of Agriculture represents a general and abridged nutritional guideline per 100g, and may not be applicable to all brands and types of pepperoni.
The purpose of showing you the nutritional data in the table below is to outline the components of pepperoni that can be harmful to dogs if they eat it on a regular basis and in large amounts:
- High calories
- High fat
- High sodium
You can see the full nutritional details for pepperoni on the USDA website.
|Total lipid (fat)||46.28g|
Can dogs eat pepperoni? The sensible answer really ought to be a resounding no.
Pepperoni is packed with fat and sodium and is of course high in calories. If your dog has a high calorie diet that contains a lot of fat and sodium, you’re risking long-term health problems that can considerably shorten it’s life.
A small amount of pepperoni shouldn’t cause a serious medical problem, unless it contains a high amount of garlic. My advice would be not to feed your dog pepperoni, even as a small treat.
If your dog manages to snaffle a large amount of pepperoni when your back is turned, it will probably suffer a stomach upset: this may be extremely distressing for you both.
Of course, if you have any concern that your dog has eaten anything it shouldn’t, or overindulged on pepperoni when it shouldn’t have, be sure to visit a veterinary professional as soon as you can to be safe.
If you want to give your dog a healthy treat, try this carrot dog treat recipe.
Has your dog ever eaten pepperoni and become unwell as a consequence. Please drop a comment below to let others know your experience.