Can Dogs Eat Salami?

By Britt Kascjak

No, dogs cannot eat salami safely. While salami isn’t poisonous for your dog, it is not a food that you should incorporate into your dog’s diet. Containing high levels of fat and sodium, it can make your dog very ill. Some varieties even incorporate potentially harmful ingredients like garlic.

Can My Dog Safely Enjoy Salami?

Are you considering whether you can share your salami sandwich with your dog? Maybe you’re worried because your dog ate salami and you don’t know if he’ll get sick?

If your dog has been begging for a taste of salami, you may want to think twice.

A small bite likely isn’t going to cause any problems. But, there are several reasons why salami is not a healthy human food choice for your dog’s next snack. 

Is Salami Bad for Dogs?

As a type of meat, most people would assume that salami would be a safe choice for dogs. But, you may be surprised to learn that  not all meats are a good choice for your dog’s diet.

Salami contains high levels of salt and fats, both of which can cause health problems.

Some varieties are even prepared with seasonsings that could also make your dog ill. This includes onions and garlic.

If your dog does get into a little salami, you can rest assured that it’s not toxic. But, it’s not a healthy choice to incorporate into your dog’s diet.

Health Risks of Salami for Dogs

Why should you avoid feeding salami to your dog?

This popular meat may cause some serious health complications. These health risks range from minor discomfort to potentially fatal conditions.

Salt Poisoning

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to dogs eating salami is the salt content.

Salt is a health concern for people, but it’s an even bigger concern for dogs. This is due to their smaller size and the fact they have a harder time processing sodium.

If a dog ingests too much salt, it causes the cells of the body to lose moisture. As these cells dry out, it can cause serious damage to the major organs of the body.

Signs of salt poisoning (or sodium toxicity) include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach Pains
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme thirst and urination
  • Tongue swelling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle spasms
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty walking or walking as if intoxicated
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

In more serious cases, salt poisoning can be fatal. If you notice any of these warning signs, contact your veterinarian.

Heart Disease

Your dog’s heart is the engine that drives his body. It provides blood to every organ and system, allowing it to function as needed.

Both the sodium and fat content in salami can contribute to the development of heart disease.

A sudden change in the sodium levels in your dog’s body can put unwanted stress on the heart. The loss of moisture from the cells of the body can also damage the heart mucle.

Another potential cause of heart disease is a diet high in fat and cholesterol.

Research shows that even a single high-fat meal can have a negative impact on a human’s heart health. The same can be said for our dogs.

Weight Gain 

Of course, too much fat can lead to weight gain. This is a concern in humans and also with your dog.

With salami offering such high fat content, consuming too much will add up and fast! This can cause unwanted weight gain.

If your dog’s weight climbs high enough to be considered “obese”, it introduces new health risks.

This includes heart disease as mentioned above. But it also includes diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and many types of cancer.

Health Benefits of Salami for Dogs

Not everything about salami is bad. It does have some health benefits. But, not enough to balance out the health risks that it carries.

Salami is a good source of two important micronutrients, protein and fat.

Fat is a necessary part of a healthy dog diet. It supplies your dog with energy, insulation, and a layer of protection for his vital organs.

But, as already mentioned, it can be a health risk in excess.

Protein serves several important roles in your dog’s health and well-being.

This includes muscle development, tissue repair, and boosting skin and coat health. It also supports a healthy immune system.

What Happens if a Dog Eats Salami?

In the mild side of things Salami can upset your dog’s stomach and possible cause diarrhea or vomiting. Eating foods high in sodium can cause serious health issues like high blood pressure or kidney damage.

How Much Salami Can a Dog Eat?

It is not recommended to feed any salami to furry friend But, most healthy dogs can handle a small piece.

If your dog stole a slice of salami off the counter, he will probably be okay.

But, it is not a food that you should offer as part of his diet or as a treat. There are far safer options that you can choose from instead.

Dogs That Should Avoid Eating Salami

There are some dogs that should avoid eating salami, regardless of the amount. This is due to their increased risk of health problems.

Dogs that suffer from kidney or liver disease are more sensitive to the amount of sodium.

These conditions make it harder for a dog’s body to process sodium. Plus, added sodium in their diet can stress the organs, worsening the disease.

Another group of dogs that should avoid salami are those with heart disease.

This includes those currently living with heart disease. But it also includes high risk breeds and those with a history of heart disease in their line.

Dogs with heart disease are often put on a low-sodium, low-fat diet. Salami would go against every aspect of that.

Can Dogs Eat Store Bought Salami?

There are several forms of store-bought salami that you can choose from. This ranges from basic salami slices to a more flavorful Genoa salami.

Each of these options has it’s own risks to consider.

Can Dogs Eat Salami Slices?

Of the many forms of salami available, salami slices are one of the better choices.

The salami itself isn’t necessarily safer. But, the fact that it is cut into thing slices makes it easier to control the amount that your dog eats.

As a rare treat, salami slices won’t cause long-term health problems for most healthy dogs.

But, there is always the risk that your dog is more sensitive to salt.

While your dog could eat a small piece of a salami slice, it is not recommended. There are too many risks.

Can Dogs Eat Salami Sticks?

No, dogs should not eat salami sticks.

These conveient snack sticks make it easy for your dog to eat a larger quantity. If he steals a salami stick, he is likely going to eat the full stick.

With high salt content, this puts him at risk for dehydration and salt poisoning.

If you suspect that your dog has eaten salami sticks, contact your veterinarian. Let them know how much he has eaten and they will suggest the next best steps.

Keep salami sticks stored somewhere secure and out of your dog’s reach.

Can Dogs Eat Hard Salami?

Hard salami carries the same risks as salami slices. It’s not a food that is recommended for your dog.

Not only does hard salami have high sodium and fat levels, but it’s often made with spices. These spices may be harmless or they may be harmful if ingested.

Has your dog stolen some hard salami? Check the ingredients list.

Take note of any potentially dangerous ingredients such as garlic powder or onion. If there are any ingredients of concern, contact your veterinarian.

Can Dogs Eat Uncured Salami?

Yes. If you are looking for a safer way to give your dog salami, uncured salami is an option.

Salt is used during the curing process, which is why cured salami has so much sodium. Without curing the meat, this salt isn’t added.

But, be cautious.

Read the ingredients carefully to make sure that there are no harmful spices. This includes the use of garlic and onion, which are popular additions.

Uncured salami is still high in fat. If you do feed it to your dog, do so in moderation.

Can dogs eat Pepperoni or Genoa Salami?

Genoa salami and pepperoni are often described as a more flavorful option.

The problem is that their flavor comes from the use of a wider variety of spices. They also have a higher fat content than standard salami.   

While the extra fat gives them a softer texture, it also increases the risk of health problems.

Neither pepperoni or genoa salami are safe for your dog to eat.

Can dogs eat too much salami?

There is no amount of salami that is considered to be safe for your dog to eat. The safest choice is to skip feeding salami altogether.

If your dog does get into salami, a couple of bites will likely be okay.

Keep an eye on him in the coming days and watch for signs of salt poisoning. Contact your veterinarian if you notice anything of concern.

Are All Processed Meats Bad for Dogs?

Processed meat and salty cured meat are not toxic for your dog. But, they are also not a recomended addition to his diet.

This includes

  • Salami
  • Pepperoni
  • Bologna
  • Bacon
  • Ham
  • Cured Sausage
  • Beef Jerkey

These meats all contain dangerously high levels of sodium and fats. The ingredients list may also reveal dangerous preservatives.

If you are choosing a meat as a treat for your dog, there are safer options. Consider chicken, turky, lean ground beef, or roast.

Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Salami?

Going back to the original question, can dogs eat salami? The short answer is no. While salami isn’t toxic to dogs, it’s not a safe choice for your dog’s next snack.

Pet owners should stick to dog food and treats or human foods with low or no sodium.

You should also avoid cooking any foods for your dog with salt or spices. That way you can avoid accidentally making your dog ill.

If you do feel the need to let your dog eat salami, stick to a few slices of uncured salami.

Photo of author
Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.