No self-respecting dog will allow their owner to enjoy a meal without wanting a piece of the action. This is especially true for foods that smell of fatty, seasoned meat, such as pizza.
As a loving parent, it can be incredibly challenging to say no to your dog, especially if the food involved contains meat. The pepperoni in pizza, for instance, is a type of processed meat. As such, it is not uncommon for pet owners to assume that it is safe for their furry friends.
However, this is not the case, as not all meat is safe for dogs. So, is pepperoni safe for dogs? Read on to find out.
What Is Pepperoni?
Pepperoni is a highly processed and cured mix of beef and pork. It is seasoned with chili peppers and paprika, giving it a spicy tinge.
Pepperoni is characteristically red and soft and has a tinge of smoky flavor, giving it its characteristic smell and taste. Lovers of spicy foods find pepperoni to be irresistible.
When put on the grill, pepperoni becomes even more irresistible, as it becomes crispy and chewy, thereby adding even more texture and flavor to a meal.
Pepperoni is used as a pizza topping in the form of a few thin slices, as you only need a little of this meat to enhance the pizza’s flavor. It’s also a great choice for pizza, as it mixes wonderfully with melted cheese.
Is Pepperoni Safe for Dogs?
Since dogs are carnivorous, the bulk of their diet should consist of meat. However, not all meats are ideal for dogs, especially those that are highly processed. Some people might think, “What about sausages? Dogs do not seem to mind them.”
Sausages are actually not suitable for dogs because they contain an extremely high amount of fat.
The same is the case for pepperoni, as it also bears high amounts of fat, which are unhealthy for dogs. Sure, a few slices will not cause any harm to your furry friend; however, a generous helping of pepperoni can leave your dog feeling unwell.
How Pepperoni Makes Your Dog Sick
Large quantities of highly processed and cured meat are likely to make a dog sick. However, even small amounts can be a detriment to a dog’s health if they have never had such meat before.
In addition to its high-fat content, pepperoni is also quite spicy. Spicy foods should not be given to dogs, as their digestive systems have a difficult time processing spices.
Pepperoni has many ingredients that are added to enhance its flavor. These include mustard seeds, paprika, fennel seeds, black pepper, garlic powder, among others, and none of these is ideal for a dog.
A healthy diet for dogs primarily consists of foods with a bland flavor and little or no seasoning. Therefore, by feeding pepperoni to your dog in large amounts, you are likely to upset their stomach, which might result in symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.
The fat content in pepperoni is also likely to result in an obese dog if you do not moderate the amount that you are giving them. This is because pepperoni has as much as 500 calories per 100 grams. Unfortunately, these calories are of the low-quality type, meaning that they do not benefit the dog in any way.
Smaller dogs are more susceptible to weight gain from large servings of pepperoni than bigger dogs. Larger pets can consume above moderate helpings of pepperoni, as long as they get thorough exercise after the meal. Nonetheless, this is not recommended.
It is also essential to consider the type of meat that pepperoni is made from, as that also plays a significant role in how it affects your dog’s health. For example, turkey pepperoni is notorious for containing absurd amounts of salt.
You should be aware that too much sodium in a dog’s diet can lead to increased blood pressure and could predispose it to heart disease. It can also strain the dog’s digestive system, resulting in issues such as pancreatitis.
Alternatives to Pepperoni
If you are not comfortable with offering pepperoni to your dog, consider the following tasty but high-value alternatives:
Chicken is a great option because humans love it, it is easy to find, and it is affordable. Dogs also love chicken, but when preparing it for your dog, avoid adding too much oil. Better yet, serve raw chicken to your dog if they are used to a natural, raw diet.
Fish is another meat that dogs love immensely, especially when cooked. The benefit of fish is that you do not have to add spices for your dog to find it tasty.
Liver is not only good for your dog’s health, but it is also quite tasty. Liver treats can go a long way in helping you train your dog, as they love this meat.
If you happen to have a dehydrator lying around, you can use to make various kinds of meat jerky treats for your pet. The benefit of making these treats yourself is that you can decide what ingredients to add, thereby ensuring that your dog’s health is not compromised.
Understandably, you might want to share your pepperoni pizza with your dog to let them have a taste of the delicious snack that you thoroughly enjoy. However, it is necessary to practice moderation.
Pepperoni treats here and there should not do your dog any harm; the danger comes when they overindulge. If you love your pet, you will want to be careful about what you feed them, as most dogs have little control over their diet.
Featured Image Credit: Hong Vo, Shutterstock