Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?

The number one priority for any dog owner is the health and happiness of their four-legged friend. One of the best ways to ensure the well-being and longevity of your dog is through a nutritious and well-rounded diet. But what about pepperoni? 

Let’s break down whether this tasty human treat is also suitable for your dog!

why can't dogs eat pork
Why can’t dogs eat pork? Are there types of pork that are okay? Can dogs eat bacon or pepperoni?

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?

I’ll get straight to the point! No, dogs should not eat pepperoni. The reason dogs should avoid pepperoni has to do with its nutritional content. According to WebMD, foods high in sodium and fat are bad for dogs. Pepperoni, as you probably know, is high in both fat and sodium.

Humans have a higher tolerance for sodium and fat than dogs. Therefore, although pepperoni may be just fine for you to indulge in occasionally, we strongly suggest you avoid sharing it with your dog (even if they ask nicely).

Is Pepperoni Harmful for Dogs?

Yes, pepperoni can indeed be harmful for dogs. Both fat and sodium can be difficult for dogs to digest and may cause unpleasant side effects.

Here are some symptoms your dog may experience after eating pepperoni.

  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Frequent Urination
  • Acid Reflux
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney Damage

That’s an intimidating list of symptoms, but don’t be alarmed! If you’ve dropped a single slice of pepperoni on your kitchen floor and your dog pounced at it before you had the chance to, it’s unlikely your dog will suffer any of these symptoms. 

Although it’s never ideal, pepperoni for dogs is most dangerous if they’ve consumed a large quantity of it and, have consumed it regularly over a prolonged period.

chocolate toy poodle eats food from a bowl
A chocolate Toy Poodle eating from a ceramic bowl

What Will Happen if My Dog Eats Pepperoni?

Let’s say you were making a sandwich, and your dog got at the pepperoni package while your back was turned. Or maybe you were sharing a pizza with a friend, and they slipped your dog a slice, not knowing that pepperoni was bad for dogs.

You’ve done your darndest to make sure never to give your dog pepperoni but, now that they’ve eaten it, what should you do?

Well, the good news is that you shouldn’t need to worry too much! Unless your dog has eaten a large amount of pepperoni, everything should be just fine. After a slice or two of pepperoni, your dog probably won’t be in any kind of discomfort. Of course, keep an eye on them afterward to make sure they aren’t exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, just in case.

If your dog has eaten a large quantity of pepperoni (let’s say, an entire package), you should take the following steps.

Accidents happen, and that’s perfectly ok! Now that you know the signs to look for if your dog has eaten pepperoni, you’ll be equipped and confident in handling the situation.

labradoodle looks up at camera
This Apricot Mini Labradoodle is looking up at the camera, because he thinks he might get a treat (he did).

Is There Any Kind of Pepperoni That is Safe for Dogs?

As we all know, there are many kinds of pepperoni. There are pepperoni slices, pepperoni sticks, mild pepperoni, spicy pepperoni, pepperoni jerky, and even turkey pepperoni! 

Are any of these varieties safe for dogs?

The short answer is no. Ideally, you shouldn’t feed your dog any kind of pepperoni, whether it be slices, sticks, spicy or mild. That said, while no pepperoni is healthy for dogs, some pepperoni is worse than others!

Here’s a breakdown of different kinds of pepperoni and their level of safety when it comes to your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Spicy Pepperoni?

Spicy pepperoni is the worst kind of pepperoni to give to a dog. Like fat and salt, dogs do not digest spices well. So, while it’s hard enough for your dog to digest the fat and salt content in a regular pepperoni slice, it will be even harder for them to digest spicy pepperoni!

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Pepperoni?

Although turkey pepperoni is often lower in fat than regular pepperoni, it’s likely to contain spices and should therefore be left off your dog’s menu.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Slices?

Your dog shouldn’t consume pepperoni slices due to the high amounts of sodium and fat. You should allow your dog one slice every couple of months at most.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Sticks?

You should limit your dog’s consumption to a tiny piece of a pepperoni stick once every few months, as a maximum.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Jerky?

Pepperoni jerky should also be limited. Again, you may feed your dog a little bit of pepperoni jerky once every few months if you like, but no more than that.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Pizza?

A dog eating pizza is a bad thing (pepperoni pizza or otherwise!). The high sodium, spice and fat content will cause digestive issues.

gray poodle happy at the vet
A gray Poodle happy at the vet. Toy or a small Miniature size.

The Most Important Things to Remember About Dogs and Pepperoni

 Let’s do a quick recap on all the things you should know about dogs and pepperoni.

  • Dogs should not eat pepperoni
  • Pepperoni is not good for dogs due to its high sodium, fat, and spice content
  • Ingesting pepperoni can cause your dog to experience uncomfortable side effects
  • If your dog does eat pepperoni, watch them closely to make sure they’re ok. If not, call a vet
  • Spicy or hot pepperoni is the worst kind of pepperoni to feed your dog
  • Although zero pepperoni is ideal, you can feed your dog one slice or piece of pepperoni every few months without putting their health at risk

Bottom line? Dogs should not eat pepperoni because the nutritional content of pepperoni is not compatible with a dog’s digestive system. Fortunately, as noted here by Reader’s Digest, there are plenty of other foods that are perfectly healthy for dogs!

Last but not least, if your dog has eaten pepperoni and appears to be in distress, the first thing to do is contact your veterinarian!

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