While enjoying your pepperoni pizza, have you ever wondered whether your four-legged buddy can get a taste for pepperoni? It’s just meat, after all, right? But can dogs eat pepperoni?
We’re here to give you a better understanding of whether pepperoni is safe for your dog. The short answer is NO, but there’s much to uncover here!
What Is Pepperoni Made Of?
Pepperoni is made of beef or pork that undergoes special processing to give it its signature soft feel. In addition, such highly processed meat goes through fermentation and curation to remove excess water. Therefore, it’d be best to always steer away from any processed meat when choosing food for your canine friend.
The highly processed nature of pepperoni is only one half of the story, though; the other half lies in the different number of additives that go into it. Pepperoni’s iconic taste, paprika, spice, and cayenne pepper are now in the meat. Garlic and onion powder are added to the mix.
And that’s not all – pepperoni also contains a large amount of salt that makes it harmful for your dog. Your pup’s digestive tract isn’t built to deal with such food ingredients. Which puts it at risk of stomach aches and long-term health issues.
How Can Pepperoni Harm My Dog?
Now that you know what goes into making pepperoni. Let’s explore some of the potential health consequences that dogs can suffer from following the consumption of too much pepperoni.
Like most processed meat, pepperoni is rich in saturated fat. In fact, one slice of pepperoni contains around 0.9 grams of fat, raising concern for dog obesity.
Obesity comes with a whole slate of health-related problems, starting from hypertension all the way to heart problems. Dogs’ added weight can also present joint problems like osteoarthritis, which means inflammation of the joints.
Diabetes is another concerning problem related to obesity. Unfortunately, it can negatively impact your dog’s quality of life and shorten its lifespan.
Digestive Tract Problems
By now, you already know that processed meat isn’t recommended for your canine buddy. But why exactly is that the case? The answer is quite simple; our four-legged companions don’t have the sophisticated digestive tract to take proper care of heavily cured meat.
This results in several digestive tract upsets in the form of vomiting, diarrhea, and flatulence. The spices-rich pepperoni can also lead to stomach reflux. Bringing the stomach’s acidic content back into the esophagus, leading to ulcers.
Also, your dog’s esophageal wall can’t withstand the acidic content that usually resides in the stomach. So, when the spices mess up with the gate that separates the esophagus from the stomach. The esophagus finds itself facing an unwelcome guest in the form of concentrated acid.
You’ve probably seen the digestive tract consequences coming; it’s where the pepperoni your dog consumes ventures after all, so there aren’t many surprises there. However, the negative impact of overeating pepperoni can go way beyond that and lead to a specific type of anemia.
Garlic and onion powder found in pepperoni is highly toxic to your dog. When such ingredients are absorbed into the bloodstream, they can lead to the breakdown of your dog’s red blood cells. Yes, blood toxicity can be that serious!
With the decline in the number of red blood cells that typically carry oxygen to your dog’s organs. Your pup can suffer from anemia and present with a decreased level of activity.
What About Turkey Pepperoni?
Not all pepperoni is made of beef or pork; some is made of turkey instead. However, it still goes through similar meat processing, causing the same health risks we discussed earlier.
Plus, turkey pepperoni contains even a higher amount of salt. Raising the sodium content above and beyond what’s found in beef or pork pepperoni. As is the case with any salty food, your dog becomes at a greater risk of developing hypertension.
With that being said, turkey pepperoni is no better. You should keep that in mind as well when preparing treats for your dog.
Red Flags to Watch Out For
If your dog has consumed a large amount of pepperoni. You should keep your eyes on some symptoms that necessitate a visit to your vet.
Here are the common ones:
- Bloody diarrhea: Calorie-rich pepperoni with its greasy, oily nature can lead to pancreatitis. Blood in the stool is the presenting symptom that raises the concern for an underlying inflammatory process in the pancreas.
- Increased thirst: The high salt content of pepperoni makes your dog constantly thirsty. The water-seeking behavior is an attempt to correct the derailed sodium balance following the consumption of too much pepperoni.
- Increased urination: If your dog exhibits an increased urinary output following a pepperoni treat. You need to pay more attention and look for other red flags. Seek early medical attention and help your dog avoid the more serious health consequences that might follow.
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain: Any unexplained digestive tract symptoms should warrant a level of suspicion on your end. Check for any leftovers lying around your house to help your vet pinpoint what exactly your dog has consumed.
Is It All Bad, or Is There Another Side to the Story?
Although pepperoni isn’t recommended for dogs because of all its potential health consequences. It won’t harm to give your canine friend a special treat every now and then.
A single slice of pepperoni every 3-4 months should be fine since pepperoni contains many nutritive elements. This would include calcium, vitamin B12, and magnesium, in addition to protein.
However, hot pepperoni should be off the table. Make sure to pay extra attention to your doggie’s diet the day you treat it with a slice of pepperoni. You don’t want it to get excess fat or salt from other food elements during this same time window.