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Can Dogs Eat Ketchup? | Is Ketchup Bad for Dogs?

is ketchup bad for dogs

Ketchup is one of the most common condiments in the world.  In fact, 97% of Americans keep ketchup stocked in their house!   We use ketchup for dipping fries, on a juicy burger, or even on eggs!  No matter how you like your ketchup, you can’t deny it’s a great addition to many meals.  It’s tempting to share a piece of food with ketchup on it when your dog is staring at you with those irresistible puppy eyes.  Should you do it or should you be hesitant?  Can dogs eat ketchup?  Is ketchup bad for dogs?  Read on to find out! 

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Can Dogs Eat Ketchup? (The Short Answer)

No, dogs probably shouldn’t eat ketchup.  It doesn’t have much nutritional value to it, but what it does have is a whole lot of sodium and sugar!  Ketchup also contains trace amounts of foods that are toxic to dogs such as onion powder.  While a small amount isn’t the end of the world, it’s just best to avoid this food when possible. 

It’s important to remember, that even with the best of intentions, accidents happen and dogs can easily eat things they shouldn’t.  Unfortunately, even if those accidents aren’t fatal, they can result in huge, unexpected veterinary expenses.  That’s why we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.

Is Ketchup Good For Dogs?

No ketchup really isn’t good for dogs.  While you could try to argue that ketchup is made out of tomatoes and tomatoes are healthy, ketchup doesn’t have many nutritional benefits.  This sauce is low in calories, but it’s also low in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

One benefit of ketchup is that it contains a decent amount of potassium.  Is 54 mg of potassium worth giving this food to your dog?  Probably not.  There are plenty of other healthy snacks to work additional potassium into your dog’s diet. 

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Is Ketchup Bad for Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat ketchup?” Now, let’s learn about the dangers of feeding your dog this food! Is ketchup bad for dogs?

Ketchup can be potentially dangerous for dogs.  We usually associate tomatoes with ketchup, and while ripe tomatoes are a healthy option for your dog, ketchup isn’t.

Here’s the ingredients list from a bottle of Heinz ketchup in my fridge: tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, and natural flavoring.  A few of these ingredients should stick out to you.  For starters, high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup.  These ingredients aren’t toxic to dogs, but they sure aren’t healthy for them either.  Sometimes, instead of high fructose corn syrup, you’ll see sugar, or other sugar alternatives.  These don’t make it any better.  A common sugar substitute is xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.  You should never give any amount of ketchup containing xylitol to dogs.   Another big one that should stick out is onion powder.   As a dog owner, you’re probably well aware that onions are toxic to dogs

If your dog happens to have some ketchup, you probably shouldn’t panic.  While onion is toxic, it takes about 100 grams per 20 kilograms of a dog’s weight to cause serious toxic effects.  So for a 45 pound dog, about one medium or large sized onion would have serious complications.  The amount of onion powder in a lick of ketchup isn’t nearly that much, but it still should be avoided if at all possible. 

Now that we’ve looked at the ingredients list, let’s take a peek at the nutrition facts.  The serving size is 1 tablespoon.  The sodium content for that one tablespoon is 154mg!  There’s also 4.5 grams of carbohydrates and 3.7 grams of sugar.  The sodium content in ketchup is astronomical!  145 mg of sodium is more sodium than a 30 pound dog needs in an entire day!  Too much salt can have serious effects on a dog’s health.  Sodium ion toxicity can cause lethargy, vomiting, excess thirst, diarrhea, coma, or even death.  Clearly sodium is an ingredient that should only be given in moderation for dogs.  The amount of carbs and sugar doesn’t seem like they’re that bad, but keep in mind this is just in a tablespoon.  I know that I definitely pour out more than a tablespoon when I’m getting a side of ketchup for my fries.  Carbs are metabolized into sugars in the body.  Both carbs and sugar can cause blood glucose to rise.  In diabetic dogs, this can cause a dangerous rise in blood glucose.  In otherwise healthy dogs, excess carbohydrates and sugars aren’t good either as they can cause weight gain which can lead to other health problems. 

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Other Foods to Avoid:

Similarly to how your dog shouldn’t have ketchup, they should stay away from these foods as well.

Other Varieties & Related Foods:

Can Dogs Eat Ketchup and Mustard?

No, dogs should not eat ketchup nor mustard for different reasons.  As mentioned, ketchup contains a ton of salt and sugar which is detrimental to a dog’s health.  Mustard, on the other hand, has toxic elements.  For more information on mustard check out our article, “Can Dogs Eat Mustard?

Can Dogs Eat Tomato Ketchup?

No, dogs should not eat tomato ketchup.  Tomato ketchup is essentially just another common name for regular ketchup.  It contains the same ingredients and nutritional value, meaning it has a lot of sodium and sugar, making it a bad option for dogs. 

Are Ketchup Chips Safe for Your Pup?

No, dogs should not eat ketchup chips.  There are multiple varieties of ketchup-flavored potato chips.   They are high in sodium and fat.  These chips also generally contain onion powder as well.  For our British friends out there, you’re probably thinking of french fries.  Also not the best option for dogs.  French fries are deep fried and have a high fat content and are generally coated with salt.  The combination of the high salt from the fries and from the ketchup isn’t a good mix.  For more information on the types of potatoes dogs can eat, check out our article, “Can Dogs Eat Potatoes?

Are Eggs with Ketchup Safe for Your Pup?

No, dogs shouldn’t eat eggs with ketchup.  Eggs are a great choice for dogs, but ketchup is not.

Can Dogs Eat Ketchup and Mayo?

No, dogs should not eat ketchup and mayo.  Ketchup has onion powder in it and incredibly high sodium levels.  Mayo, on the other hand, offers no nutritional benefits and is high in calories and fat.  This makes both ketchup and mayo not healthy for dogs.

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Ketchup?

No, dogs should not have ketchup.  Ketchup doesn’t offer any real nutritional value which makes it an inadequate snack option.  A small amount every once in a while should not harm your dog, but it is not recommended that you give it to your dog either.  It has a high salt content that can cause sodium toxicity—particularly in small dogs this can happen very easily.

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians and this article should not be taken as medical or veterinary advice.  If you have any questions about your pet’s health or dietary needs, please contact your local veterinarian.