Can Dogs Eat pepperoni? (everything You need to Know)

By Bethany Tate

Pepperoni should not be given to dogs as a snack. It’s not recommended by canine experts due to its high fat and sodium content. The highly processed meat also contains spices such as garlic and onion that are bad for your pet. Consuming too much can cause serious side effects like kidney damage and pancreatitis.

Pepperoni is a tasty snack that few dogs will pass up. Have you ever asked yourself, though, “can dogs eat pepperoni?” 

If you’re not sure whether you can share the spicy meat with them, you’ll likely worry if they “somehow” ingest some. Not to worry, however. We have you covered. 

Once you finish this article, you will never have to wonder whether that large pepperoni pizza is sharable. Scroll on below to see whether we recommend pepperoni as a snack for your pup. 

Can You Feed Your Dog Pepperoni?

The short answer is no. Pepperoni is not a suitable treat whether freely given or passed under the table. The long answer of why it’s not okay may surprise you. 

What is Pepperoni: Is It Just Meat?

Pepperoni is a combination of cured beef and pork. It is highly processed so that it stays good for extended periods. It also contains several spices to give it its signature “spicey” flavor. Basic ingredients include: 

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt
  • Mustard seeds
  • Paprika
  • Fennel seeds
  • Black pepper
  • Chili peppers

Technically, pepperoni is a type of sausage unless it’s labeled “beef pepperoni”. 

Is Pepperoni Good For Dogs?

As carnivorous creatures, canines will drool over the small meat discs that smell oh so good. Unfortunately, pepperoni is not a good snack for them regularly. 

On the other hand, dogs can have a slice or two every once in a while without any adverse effects. This depends on the individual dog, their diet, and your vet’s recommendation, however. 

When it comes to the topic of pepperoni and dogs, there is usually a lot of questions. The most common being about the type of pepperoni. For example, can they have sticks? What about slices? 

Let’s take a closer look.

Can dogs eat Hot Pepperoni?

Spicy or Hot pepperoni is one form of cured meat you want to stay away from completely. This type contains extra spices like paprika and chili peppers. Both cause digestive issues such as diarrhea. 

Can dogs eat Pepperoni Jerky? 

As long as the jerky is not spicy and contains no garlic or onion powder, it is okay to give them a small piece every so often. The problem with jerky is it’s cured even more than regular pepperoni. To do this, the manufacturers add a lot of sodium which can have negative effects on your precious pooch. 

Can dogs eat pepperoni slices?

Sliced pepperoni is the most common form of this treat. Like jerky, tossing your pet a mini red frisbee every so often is not going to cause a lot of harm. Where you run into trouble, however, is when you give in to those puppy eyes too often. 

Pepperoni slices contain garlic powder and onion powder. Both of these don’t react well in your dog’s stomach. On top of that, it has high concentrations of sodium and fat that affect their digestive system.

Can dogs eat Pepperoni Sticks?

Pepperoni sticks are the second most common form of this meat. Like the slices, it’s okay to break your furball off a small piece. It should not be more than once a week, however. The same drawbacks for slices are the same here. 

Can dogs eat Domino’s Pizza Pepperoni?

Pepperoni pizza, whether from Domino’s or homemade, is a definite no-go. All of the pepperoni problems exist, plus you add a few more from the sauce, dough, and cheese. For example, pizza sauce and pizza dough are typically loaded with garlic and onion powder. They can also contain high amounts of sugar. 

The cheese, although okay alone once in a while, adds way too much fat to the mix. It can be hard to say no to your furry friend when that fresh, hot pizza walks through the door. For their well-being, though, it’s better to have an alternative on hand. 

How Much Pepperoni Is Safe For Dogs

As we discussed above, you shouldn’t give pepperoni to your pet regularly. They can have it as an occasional treat, however. Many pet parents save it for occasions when an “extra special” treat is required. Like after a vet visit, for example. 

As a general rule, you don’t want to feed your dog pepperoni more than once a month. 

Again, this rule applies to slices or sticks. As long as they don’t contain any spicy ingredients, garlic, and onion powder. In addition to that, if your pooch is currently watching their figure, it’s not a good idea. 

Also, you should consult your vet before you add any human foods or treats to their regular diet. 

Why Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Pepperoni

Even though canines are naturally meat-eaters, not all meats are good for them. Dogs do best with a bland diet that has few seasonings. They also thrive on meats high in healthy fats and proteins. 

Pepperoni doesn’t fall into this category. The unhealthy ingredients in pepperoni are fat, sodium, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika or chili peppers

Fat: Your pup requires healthy fat in their diet to give them energy. It also helps their fur and skin, among other things. Pepperoni has a lot of unhealthy fat that can quickly cause weight gain. In fact, it has about 500 calories per 100 grams. 

Garlic and Onion Powder: Both garlic and onions are vegetables that are part of the allium family. This branch of the veggie family is toxic to dogs even if it’s in the form of powder. It generally takes 100 grams of onion to cause toxic effects, but each dog has a different tolerance. 

Sodium: Too much salt has the same effect on your dog as it does on you. It makes them thirsty and can easily dehydrate them. It also means that you will be taking them out more often to relieve themself. A more serious issue, however, is salt poisoning which can be fatal if not caught early

Paprika: Paprika and chili peppers can cause your pet to have an upset stomach. They eat a bland diet, so too much spiciness can have you taking them out for another reason; if they make it out at all. 

Side Effects Of Eating Too Much

Side effects of eating pepperoni can be wide and varied depending on your dog and how much they ate. It can also depend on your dog’s breed, age, size, and weight. Take a look at the most common ailments associated with too much pepperoni consumption. 

  • Weight gain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Salt poisoning
  • Kidney damage
  • Pancreatitis
  • High blood pressure

The last three are the most severe. Too much sodium can cause your dog’s blood pressure to increase eventually causing heart disease. It can also cause continuous digestive issues which leads to pancreatitis

Kidney disease and damage are also the fault of salt. It can happen in severe cases of dehydration. Either way, staying away from this spicy salami is a good idea to keep your pup’s sodium intake to a healthy amount. 

What To Do If My Dog Eats Too Much Pepperoni?

If your pooch manages to eat a bag of pepperoni, it doesn’t mean kidney disease or pancreatitis right away. They still may need some medical attention, though. Before we go over what you need to do, you need to know what signs and symptoms are indicators of too much pepperoni. 

Does Pepperoni Cause Diarrhea? Signs And Symptoms To Look For: 

Knowing what signs and symptoms to look for is always helpful when you have an ill pet.

  • Lethargy
  • Unusual Thirst.
  • Extra Pee Breaks
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain

What To Do 

Here comes the bad news. There is not a whole lot you can do to ease your pet’s pain if they overindulged on pepperoni. At least for the majority of cases, that is. 

For the most part, a stolen pepperoni stick or a few nicked slices is not going to do more than make their belly sick. If you see signs of pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, monitor them to make sure they are not getting worse. 

Most dogs will be over it within 24 hours, so if it’s not getting better, call your vet. In addition to that, if the symptoms worsen within the first few hours, you need to seek the help of a professional. 

Other than that, make sure that have access to plenty of water, and take them on extra potty breaks. Keep them calm and comfortable. Also, if they want to eat, make sure you are proving them a bland, single-protein meal. 

The real issues come up if you feed your dog pepperoni regularly. If that is the case and these symptoms arise, seek out medical/vet help for your pooch as soon as possible. 

Alternative Types Of Pepperoni

Many pet parents are also eager to know if they can add pepperoni alternatives to their pet’s diet. Look at the four most common pepperoni alternates and whether they can be a canine snack. 

Can dogs eat Turkey Pepperoni? 

Many people love turkey pepperoni as it’s a lower-fat option than the regular. Just because it’s healthier for humans doesn’t mean it will be healthier for our pups, though. Although turkey is a leaner meat, it’s still not an acceptable treat for your pet. As a matter of fact, turkey pepperoni is higher in sodium than the original. Unfortunately, this is a no-go. 

Can dogs eat Low Sodium Pepperoni?

Low salt alternatives can also seem like the right way to go. Again, however, it is not. To make up for the loss of taste low-sodium creates, they add more spices like garlic and onion. As both of these ingredients can be toxic to your pet, it is not a great way to go. 

Typically, low-salt options have artificial preservatives, too. This is because there is not as much salt curing the meat. 

Can dogs eat Keto Pepperoni?

Keto pepperoni, from what we can tell, is also turkey pepperoni. It contains the same ingredients and species that can be harmful to your dog. One great thing about spices for humans is that they contain virtually no fat or calories. Therefore, many “diet roni” recipes are chock-full of garlic, onions, and paprika.  

Can dogs eat Reduced-Fat Pepperoni?

This option can vary depending on the brand. It’s likely high in sodium, and the ingredients we’ve talked about above. 

The other issue is artificial ingredients like sweeteners and preservatives. Canines are not accustomed to artificial dyes, sweeteners, colors, and preservatives. They can also cause digestive issues. 

Safe & Healthy Alternatives For Your Dog

If you want to share pepperoni with your dog there are many dog-friendly alternatives you can try. It will make it possible to have pizza without enduring puppy eyes. 

First, many dog treats taste and smell just like pepperoni. The most popular of which is Pup-Peroni

A couple of others we like are True Chew Pepperoni Sticks and Blue Buffalo Pepperoni Sticks

For an extra fun treat, you can get the pepperoni-flavored Kong filling, and let your pet have a blast! 

If you prefer to go the natural route, you can try some of these meats as an extra special treat. Small bite-sized pieces are far better than pepperoni. 

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Liver
  • Lean Steak
  • Dehydrated meats

All of these are healthy and acceptable snacks for your pooch. Cook them plain without any seasoning, oils, or other ingredients. You can even feed them small raw pieces as it’s perfectly safe for dogs to eat raw meat. 

Can dogs eat pepperoni: the final verdict

As a general rule, pepperoni is not recommended as a treat for your dog. Giving them a small piece from time to time is acceptable, but not too often. The fat, sodium, and seasoning in the meat can cause your pal digestive issues. 

Instead, find something healthier and more nutritious such as Pup-Peroni or Blue Buffalo Pepperoni Sticks

We hope this article answers all your pepperoni questions. 

Before you go, though, we want to hear from you! What is your favorite healthy treat for your pup? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Bethany Tate
Writing and analyzing data are her superpowers. Dogs, nature, and trail running are her oxygen. Bethany passionately believes pets make the world a better place. Her world is made better by Nemo, her pet dachshund.