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

is pepperoni bad for dogs

Some polls have shown that 50% of pizzas ordered included pepperoni as a topping!  Pepperoni is great on pizzas, on cheese boards for wine night, and in an abundance of recipes!  If we love pepperoni so much, it would be safe to assume our dogs would too!  Before we share, there are a few important questions we should ask.  First, can dogs eat pepperoni?  Second, is pepperoni bad for dogs?  Let’s find out the answers to these!

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Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni? (The Short Answer)

No, it’s best not to share this food with your dog.  There are very few health benefits to pepperoni.  You could argue that it contains a decent amount of protein, which is healthy for dogs, but that’s about it.  On the other hand, pepperoni is high in calories, fat, and sodium which all negatively impact your dog’s health.  Pepperoni also has the potential to include toxic ingredients such as onion or garlic powder.  While one or two accidental slices most likely is not the end of the world, there’s a ton of better options to give your pet! 

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 Pepperoni Good For Dogs?

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

No, pepperoni really isn’t good for dogs.  One of the only benefits about it is that it does contain a decent amount of protein. 

On average, there are about 0.5 grams of protein in each slice of pepperoni.  This isn’t a ton, but protein is an important part of your dog’s diet.  Protein is made up of amino acids which are considered the building blocks in the body.  There are 22 essential amino acids that dogs need.  They can synthesize 12 on their own, but the other 10 they must get from the foods they eat.  These help with building healthy cells, tissues, and repairing organs.  Not only that, but proteins are important in the production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies! 

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Is Pepperoni Bad for Dogs?

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

Yes, pepperoni is bad for dogs!  While there are a few nutritional benefits, the negatives outweigh the positives by a landslide.  Pepperoni is high in calories, fat, and sodium!  Additionally, it may have some spices and seasonings added to it that can be dangerous to dogs. 

In just one small slice of pepperoni, there are 10 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 35 mg of sodium.  You may be thinking that doesn’t seem all that bad and those numbers aren’t too large.  Remember, this is in just one small piece of pepperoni!  Consider this—if you have a 30 pound dog, they would need around 750-900 calories per day depending on activity level, age, etc.  They would also need a maximum of 100 mg of sodium in one day.  One slice of pepperoni is equivalent to 35% of their recommended daily intake of sodium!  That means that 3 slices basically would have them at their maximum sodium allotment for the entire day! 

Individual recipes of pepperoni may vary.  Some can include red pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, pepper, garlic, or onion powder, just to name a few.  Some of these ingredients may cause an upset stomach, while others can be toxic.  The spices such as red pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper all have the potential to irritate your dog’s stomach.  Spicier foods don’t always agree well with your dog’s stomach and can lead to discomfort or diarrhea.  More dangerously, onion and garlic powder can be in pepperoni and these ingredients are toxic to dogs.  If your dog ingests some pepperoni with onion or garlic powder in it, you should monitor them closely and seek veterinary advice. 

If your dog accidentally gets some pepperoni, they should be okay, depending on how much they ingested.  One or two slices should be fine, assuming there is no garlic or onion powder in it.  However, if your dog got a lot more than a few slices, you should monitor them for signs of sodium ion poisoning which include increased thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy.  If any of these symptoms start to develop, you should seek professional help immediately. 

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Other Foods to Avoid:

Similarly to how Pepperoni isn’t good for dogs, neither are these related foods.

Other Varieties & Related Foods:

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Pizza?

No, dogs should not be allowed to eat pepperoni pizza.  Let’s break it down into the main components of pizza.  First, as previously established, pepperoni isn’t healthy for dogs.  Additionally, the crust of the pizza, which is essentially just bread, is technically safe for dogs but it is high in calories and carbohydrates which can push your pup over their recommended caloric intake for the day rather quickly.  However, dogs can eat cheese!  Certain kinds, such as mozzarella, are better than others.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my pizza and I’m sure my pup would too, but there’s just too many negatives to justify giving your dog any. 

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Pepperoni?

No, dogs shouldn’t eat turkey pepperoni either.  Turkey pepperoni does have on average less fat than pepperoni made out of pork or beef, but it usually contains just as much, if not more, sodium in it!  Turkey pepperoni is likely to contain added spices or seasonings as well, which may include some that irritate your dog’s stomach or are toxic to them. 

Are Pepperoni Sticks Safe for Your Pup?

No, dogs should not eat pepperoni sticks.  When you search, “pepperoni sticks” on Google, an abundance of store-bought products and homemade recipes appear.  The common underlying similarity is that they all contain pepperoni in some way shape or form.  Therefore, no type of these is healthy for dogs for the reasons previously discussed. 

Can Dogs Have Pepperoni Slices?

No, dogs should not eat pepperoni slices!  Just one slice of pepperoni contains 35 mg of sodium!  One slice also has a decent amount of fat and calories.  There are so many dog-friendly human foods, but pepperoni slices simply aren’t one of them. 

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Have Pepperoni?

No, dogs probably shouldn’t have pepperoni.  While it does have protein in it, it’s a higher-calorie snack with fats and sodium in it that makes it unhealthy for dogs.  There is the added potential for unsafe ingredients to be put in the pepperoni as well.  Additions such as onion or garlic are toxic to dogs.  A slice won’t be harmful to your dog, but it’s strongly recommended to avoid giving it to your dog frequently to avoid possible complications. 

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.