Let’s face it, sometimes it’s impossible to prevent our dogs from eating scraps off the floor when we’re in the kitchen. A rogue tomato here, a piece of onion there, things like this just happen when our pups keep a watchful eye on us at dinnertime. Bottom line, it can be dangerous for your dog to eat any amount of pizza, even those leftover pizza scraps. Let’s explore why it can be harmful if your dog eats pizza.
Can Dogs Eat Pizza?
While some components of pizza are safe for dogs to eat, generally dogs should not eat pizza as it can be harmful to their health. Toxicity, blood pressure, heart disease and weight gain are just some of the issues to consider when dogs consume a slice of pizza.
What Pizza Ingredients are Dangerous for Dogs?
As a dog owner, it’s important to know that a majority of pizza toppings are not safe for your dog to eat. From the crust and tomato sauce to the cheese and pepperoni, your dog can suffer serious consequences. Not to mention that onion and garlic, key components in marinara and as toppings, can be toxic for dogs. Read on for more information about what ingredients are most harmful to your dog.
Pizza sauce usually contains tomatoes, olive oil and salt, and often onions and tomatoes. Ripe tomatoes are okay for dogs to eat, according to the American Kennel Club, but the leaves and stems can make the dogs sick. If pizza sauce were made of tomatoes alone, fido may be just fine, but the onions, garlic and herbs you’ll often find in the sauce are toxic to your pet, as well as the salt content that comes along with it. What’s more is that your local pizzeria’s “secret sauce” may contain some added sugar which may lead to obesity, diabetes and dental issues. Let’s examine onions and garlic more closely so you can understand the effects these vegetables (and their powder forms) have on your pet.
Onions and garlic.
Garlic in general, along with onions, chives and leeks, which are all in the Allium family, are toxic to dogs and should never be consumed. Garlic is five times more potent than onions in terms of toxicity so is life-threatening and can damage your pet’s red blood cells and lead to anemia, intestinal problems and pancreatitis. Garlic and onion powder are even more concentrated so should be treated with the same, if not more, concern if consumed. Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten any of these ingredients and watch for adverse reactions including lethargy, weakness, abnormal urine, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and rapid breathing. They may need to induce vomiting or administer activated charcoal to absorb the toxins. Remember that toxicity may not be immediate, so keep a close eye over a few days to see how your dog reacts.
Cheese is high in fat content and calories, so even a small helping can affect your pet’s weight. Pizza may be made with mozzarella, which is lower in fat than other cheeses, but is still made with dairy so naturally has a high calorie content. Dogs may also be lactose intolerant, meaning they are allergic to dairy products, so it’s important to monitor your pet and speak to a vet right away if you notice any adverse reactions. Cheese in small quantities may have beneficial nutrients like protein, calcium, essential fatty acids, vitamin A and B-complex vitamins, but cheese pizza should not be given to dogs due to its contact with other harmful ingredients, like onions, garlic and marinara sauce. Pets with sensitive stomachs should never eat human food and should stick to their diet as directed by their veterinarian.
Pepperoni and other processed meat.
Dogs may be carnivores, but the meat that’s typically found atop a pizza slice is often processed and cured with salt. While a small piece of grilled chicken won’t be a problem, meats like salami, pepperoni and bacon are extremely high in both salt content and fat which can be detrimental to your dog’s digestive system. Too many meat pizza toppings in one sitting can make your dog sick, and feeding your pooch processed meats like this over time will lead to both weight gain and a range of health problems. The hint of spice in cured meats can also lead to immediate stomach trouble, so be on the lookout for signs of discomfort.
The good news is that raw pineapple is a perfectly healthy treat to give your pooch. It’s dog-friendly and loaded with health benefits like manganese, iron potassium, calcium, zinc and phosphorus. That said, oftentimes the pineapple on your Hawaiian pizza isn’t raw; it’s the stuff that’s stored in those syrup-y cans and tubs. It may be sweet and tasty, but those sugars are no good for your dog. An upset stomach and weight gain are just some of the side effects to look out for. But are we really still eating pineapple-covered pizza these days, guys?
Can Dogs Eat Pizza Crust?
It may seem like a fun little reward to give the dogs our pizza crust after we’ve finished eating, but the truth is that it’s not advised to give our dogs table food, especially when it’s loaded with carbs. A little nibble here or there may be okay, but as with human diets, it’s important to use moderation and not give your dog large amounts of carbohydrates. Pizza crusts contain a huge amount of empty calories and have no nutritional value so if you give your dog too much, you open up the door for a variety of health issues. Never, ever let your dogs get ahold of raw bread dough or sneak a bite of some uncooked homemade pizza, though. Raw yeast dough can expand in your dog’s stomach, making it difficult to breathe and potentially cause tissue tearing. Speak to your veterinarian or head to the emergency animal clinic right away if you discover your pet has eaten raw pizza crust.
At the end of the day, if you want to keep your dog as safe as possible, do not let them eat pizza. The dough, sauce, cheese, toppings and seasoning can all make pizza bad for dogs. If they get their paws on pizza, be sure to contact your vet to discuss next steps to ensure your dog’s health is taken care of. Dog owners should stick to dog food, kibble and a peanut butter treat to keep their dog’s body in the best shape possible.