With a companion in the household, people often wonder: “Can dogs eat pepperoni, and is it safe?” Of course, a pepperoni pizza delivery sounds perfect, especially if it’s piping hot. If you’re planning to feed the leftover pepperonis to your companion, then pause right there. Before you share this treat with your dog, read on. Usually, you wouldn’t hesitate to feed meat to your dog. They’re carnivores, after all. However, did you know that some processed meats are dangerous for dogs? The seasoning in pepperoni and other cured meats can potentially harm your pet. Find out why it’s not safe for dogs to consume certain meat products and what to do if your dog eats pepperoni.
What Is Pepperoni?
Pepperoni is a delicious mix of cured pork and beef. It’s the United States version of the Italian salami, usually with a distinctive red color and chewy texture. For additional flavoring, the cured meat is seasoned with chili peppers and paprika. The resulting mixture is then cured with nitrites and phosphates to protect the meat from microbiological decay like botulism. Curing also adds to the red color of the pepperoni. Once cured, the meat is smoked then hung to dry for several days. You probably know of pepperoni because it’s a popular topping on pizzas.
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Is Pepperoni Safe for Dogs?
The short answer is no. Dogs should not eat pepperoni. This meat product contains too much fat and sodium for dogs. The other seasonings and flavors of pepperoni are also not gentle on their digestive system. If your dog is pining for a slice of pepperoni, you can give it a piece as a treat. Know full well that the next time is going to be in a couple of months. If you feed your dog pepperoni frequently, you put your dog at risk of having severe health issues like
- Digestive problems
- Salt poisoning
- Kidney damage
You’re probably wondering if this applies to all kinds of pepperoni. Our team broke down a list of foods that contain any sort of pepperoni and whether they’re suitable for dogs. Let’s have a look.
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Can Dogs Eat Spicy Pepperoni?
Spicy pepperoni should be out of bounds for dogs. Dogs don’t do well with any spicy food, which can end up severely damaging their digestive systems. Savory or hot pepperoni contains more spices than the standard variety, so it is a definite no-no. If your dog eats hot pepperoni, make your dog drink lots of water. Look out for signs of dehydration or lethargy.
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Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Jerky?
Unlike spicy pepperoni, you can be a little flexible with pepperoni jerky. But that doesn’t mean you can feed your dog jerky whenever you want to. Do not give your dog pepperoni jerky too frequently; once in a couple of months is ideal. If you choose to provide your pet pepperoni jerky, avoid buying flavors that contain onion, onion powder, or garlic. These ingredients are toxic to dogs.
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What About Pepperoni Slices?
Feeding your dog a pepperoni slice is by far the safest option on this list. But again, do this only once in a few months. Eating too many pepperoni slices can lead to excess salt and fat consumption.
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Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Sticks?
Like pepperoni slices, feed your dog pepperoni sticks in moderation. Don’t give your dog an entire stick to eat. Break off a small piece and eat the rest yourself.
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Can I Feed My Dog Turkey Pepperoni?
The answer to this question is still no. Turkey is considered healthy for humans because it is lean meat. However, turkey pepperoni contains a high amount of sodium. Turkey pepperoni is also likely to carry extra seasoning and flavoring to mimic the taste of pork and beef.
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Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Pizza?
Never feed your dog pizza. Plants in the allium family, like onions and garlic, are essential ingredients in pizza crust and sauce. Unfortunately, these ingredients are toxic to dogs. Keep in mind that pizza is also full of sodium, fats, and sugars. The high-calorie content in pizza means that it can lead to obesity if eaten in excess. If you feed your dog pizzas regularly, it may end up with serious health problems in the long run.
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Reasons Pepperoni Can Be Bad For Your Dog
Too Much Sodium
One small slice of pepperoni contains about 1 gram of fat, ten calories, and 35 mg of sodium. You probably think these numbers aren’t too large. Don’t forget that this is just one small slice of pepperoni. To put these numbers into perspective, consider that you have a dog that weighs 30 pounds. A 30-pound dog requires close to 750-900 calories a day, depending on his activity level. Your pet would also need at least 100 mg of sodium in a day with that calorie intake. One slice of pepperoni has 35 mg of sodium. That is already a third of a dog’s sodium consumption. If your dog devours just three pieces of pepperoni in a day, it would already meet their sodium requirements! That is why you must carefully monitor the amount of pepperoni you feed your canine friend.
Too Spicy for Your Pet
There are dozens of recipes for pepperoni. Include cayenne pepper, red pepper, paprika, garlic, and onion powder. Sadly, all of these ingredients are harmful to dogs. Spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, and red pepper can easily upset your dog’s stomach and lead to diarrhea. Take note that the other ingredients like onion and garlic are far more dangerous than these spices. They are toxic for dogs. If your dog consumes onion or garlic powder pepperoni, seek veterinary advice immediately. Also, monitor your dog’s behavior for a week.
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What If Your Dog Eats Pepperoni?
If you’re wondering if eating a slice of pepperoni can cause harm to your dog, then let us put your mind at ease. It can’t. Eating a few slices of pepperoni will do nothing to your dog. However, your dog may become extremely sick if it consumes too much. A slice or two of pepperoni is fine, but only if it doesn’t have garlic or onion powder.
If your dog consumes too much pepperoni, then you should look out for the following symptoms:
- Urinating more than usual
- Increased thirst
- Abdominal discomfort
Apart from these signs, you should closely check your dog for signs of sodium ion poisoning. This condition causes the symptoms listed above. If your dog has any of these symptoms, call your vet immediately.
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How Often Can a Dog Eat Pepperoni?
Ideally, you should always keep your dog away from the pepperoni. If you want to feed pepperoni to your dog some, give only a slice or two every couple of months. Has your dog secretly attacked your pack of pepperoni? You will need to monitor what they eat for the rest of the day closely. If your companion shows any distress, contact a vet.
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Are There Any Benefits to Consuming Pepperoni?
Now that you know why pepperoni is terrible for dogs let’s look at whether there are any benefits of consuming this variety of meat. The only advantage of consuming a slice of pepperoni is its protein content. A small piece of pepperoni has close to 0.5 grams of protein. That isn’t a lot of protein, even though it’s important for your dog. Your dog requires at least 22 amino acids. Out of these 22, dogs can create 12 of these on their own, while the other ten comes from the foods they eat. Even though pepperoni has protein, that doesn’t mean that you should let your dog eat it freely. The disadvantages outweigh the advantages. You can easily substitute pepperoni with healthier sources of protein.
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Conclusion For “Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni”
Dogs can get easily tempted by the smell of pepperoni, but don’t let them near this processed meat. You can feed your dog a slice or two once every few months, but you will need to monitor your dog’s food intake for that day. If your dog is facing any of the symptoms listed above, don’t forget to call your vet.
For better dog-feeding guides, you can check out:
- Tips For Choosing Good Dog Food
- Best Dog Food with Vitamins and Minerals
- Best Omega 3 Chews For Dogs
You can learn more about the harmful ingredients by watching “25 Harmful Foods Your Puppy Shouldn’t Eat” from Alpha Paw down below:
Andy is a full-time animal rescuer and owner of a toy doodle. When he’s not saving dogs, Andy is one of our core writers and editors. He has been writing about dogs for over a decade. Andy joined our team because he believes that words are powerful tools that can change a dog’s life for the better.
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