Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni? Is Pepperoni Safe for Dogs to Eat?

It’s a rainy Wednesday night in November. You decide the best place for you and your best pooch is to be on the couch watching movies.

Halfway through the first flick of the evening, you’re hungry so you pause the show and rummage through the ‘fridge, dog at your heels. Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni? Maybe you grab some cream cheese, sliced pepperoni and a box of crackers.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?

The high-fat content may cause pancreatitis in little dogs, and that usually begins with bloody diarrhea.

Finally, you’re back on the couch with your snack and you start munching. Only slightly distracted by the gorgeous star on the screen, you don’t see that your pooch (who’s been making puppy-dog eyes at you for the past 15 minutes) has managed to sneak a few slices of pepperoni right off the coffee table.

You freeze and try to remember how many slices were in the deli bag. It looks like your dog has eaten at least half a dozen of them.

What Happens When Your Dog Eats Pepperoni?

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni (2)

What happens at this point depends largely on the size of your dog. If your pet is medium or large, they may just pass gas, or maybe even vomit. If your dog is a small or toy dog, though, you may be in for a much longer night and possibly a trip to the vet. But pepperoni is meat and meat is what canines eat, right?

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni? Well, yes, it is. However, pepperoni is a highly processed meat with lots of other things added to it. Ingredients such as fennel seeds and mustard seeds are toxic to dogs and can induce vomiting even at small doses. Onions and onion powder are poisonous and can even bring on an acute toxic reaction.

Dogs should never be allowed to ingest any onion, whether it is raw, cooked, or dehydrated. Too much of the “spicy” spices like paprika and black pepper can irritate your dog’s digestive system.

Pepperoni Is a Very Fatty Meat, Which Could Lead to Pancreatitis

Large and medium dogs seem to have no trouble digesting perhaps one or two slices, but small dogs should be kept away from it as much as possible. The high-fat content may cause pancreatitis in little dogs, and that usually begins with bloody diarrhea.

Lastly, besides the spices, other ingredients, and fat content, most brands of pepperoni (and salami, too) are very high in sodium. As important as sodium is for many bodily functions, any dog that gets too much in his diet is at risk for high blood pressure and water retention.

These two problems alone may lead to kidney, liver, and heart disease.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?

So what does all that mean? Well, your dog is more than likely going to be okay. You keep an eye on him for a little while and he seems to be alright. Maybe he only managed to grab one or two slices, because now he’s lying on the floor looking at you like he’s starving.

You laugh and give him a pat on the head on your way back into the kitchen to grab that bag of dog biscuits you picked up at the grocery store. Now you know to keep your dog away from the pepperoni, and any other processed meat while you’re at it, and stick to treats made for dogs.

Proper nutrition for a healthy dog

A dog’s nutrition is a highly important topic. Dogs, for the wonderful creatures that they are still require a lot of care from their owners. Undoubtedly without humans to look after them, domesticated dogs shall perish from the face of the earth.

Modern dogs require very human solutions to go about their lives. Take nutrition as an example, dogs need a steady intake of proteins, carbs, good fats, doggy-vitamins, and minerals just like us but dogs are built differently than humans, some of the foods we cherish and live by might not be good for our dogs.

Nowadays technology has made picking food for your dog very easy. Today you can find dog food products that are formulated to your dog’s specific nutritional requirements. You have multiple choices from which to pick the food for your dog. Here is an advisory on dog food that will be helpful for you.

If you really love your dog, are determined to keep in check their mental and physical wellbeing, you probably mix homemade healthy food in your dog’s food.

As mentioned before dogs are built differently than us, be real careful what you feed to them, for example, ketchup a regular in every household is extremely toxic to dogs but tomatoes might not be.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?

Don’t share your pepperoni!Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?

Dogs are originally carnivores, so meat should be their natural food. However, meat products like sausages and such are not the same as cooked plain meat bites. Pepperoni is a processed type of meat, which means it contains a lot of additional ingredients, in order to last long.

Dogs are the descendants of the mighty wolf! So it’s perfectly logical for them to still have some of the traits their ancestors had. Dogs are meat eaters by nature, something which is easily observed by looking closely at their cool set of canine teeth.

So pepperoni should be good for them, right? A flavorful smoked sausage is a form of processed meat. These types of meats can be easily found in our supermarkets, they are full of flavors but due to the various industrial processes they go through, processed meats are considered harmful to human and dog health.

You might be wondering, isn’t dog food made the same way? Well, you are right! As we touched the above as well not all dog food is made equal! Some shady brands tend to deviate from industry regulations trying to make the most bang for their buck if you know what I mean.

Worry not, the dog food-making process is heavily regulated in the US and Europe so you are good to go. However, the same can’t be said to the processed meat industry, although some bigger brands do adhere to industry standards, using best practices for food processing

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni? What Dog Owners Need To Know

Can dogs eat pepperoni? A thought many pet owners never bother to ponder upon. Since pepperoni is meat, they assume it is safe for dogs to eat. But is it really? Let’s find out.

We are all guilty of feeding our dogs a pepperoni or two when we’re devouring pizza. But have you ever wondered if dogs can eat pepperoni?

 You probably haven’t.

After all, pepperoni is made of meat, and dogs love it, so it must be safe, right?


Pepperoni is a highly processed food, high in sodium and fats. It is unhealthy for dogs and can lead to a number of health risks.

To find out more about ‘can dogs eat pepperoni,‘ continue reading this article. We will tell you everything you need to know.

So, let’s dig right in!

The Dilemma: Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?

No, dogs can’t and shouldn’t eat pepperoni. Keep your dog away from all types of pepperonis like pepperoni jerky, turkey pepperoni, beef pepperoni, pepperoni sticks, salami, bologna slices, hot pepperoni, etc. Dogs shouldn’t even eat pepperoni pizza.

Many human foods are unsafe and unhealthy for dogs to eat. Pepperoni is one of them. It is a highly processed meat containing high amounts of salt (sodium) and other spices like paprika, cayenne, white pepper, etc.

All these ingredients are unhealthy for a dog. Moreover, the high amount of fats in pepperoni is also harmful to dogs.

Eating pepperoni regularly can make your dog develop several health risks, including kidney disease, pancreatitis, gastrointestinal problems, salt poisoning, obesity, and more.

The Grounds: Why Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Pepperoni?

Pepperoni is not poisonous itself, but the ingredients in pepperoni are detrimental to a dog’s health. Even a little consumption can cause significant health issues in some dogs. Here are a few reasons why your dog shouldn’t eat pepperoni:

  1. High in calories: pepperoni may seem like a healthy treat for your doggo, but it is a high-calorie food. Regularly feeding your pup pepperoni can cause rapid weight gain. So, avoid giving your dog pepperoni, even in moderation.
  2. Contains garlic and onion: Most of the pepperoni we get in the stores has onion and garlic in some form for added flavor. Both onion and garlic are toxic to dogs, especially in large quantities. Onion poisoning can damage your dog’s red blood cells and cause anemia. The amount of garlic and onion in a single slice of pepperoni is not a health hazard, but feeding your dog too much pepperoni regularly can cause severe side effects.
  3. High in sodium: Pepperoni is processed food, and like all processed foods, it is high in sodium. The high amount of salt in pepperoni is terrible for your dog as it can lead to dehydration. In worst cases, overconsumption of pepperoni may also lead to kidney damage. This usually happens due to sodium ion poisoning (aka salt poisoning). Some symptoms of sodium poisoning include excessive thirst, dry gums, low appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and urinary issues.
  4. High in fats: Dogs’ stomachs and digestive systems are different from us humans. Dogs have sensitive stomachs and cannot efficiently digest high-saturated fats. Likewise, foods with a fat content are hard to digest for dogs. Thus, eating pepperoni can lead to bloating, upset stomach, and other digestive issues. In the long run, your dog may develop serious health problems like heart disease, pancreatitis, and diabetes.
  5. Contains lots of spices: Pepperonis contains a lot of spices that can be bad for your dog. These spices include paprika, cayenne, black pepper, fennel seeds, and other seasonings. Pepperonis also contains different additives and food preservatives that irritate a dog’s digestive tract. Thus, leading to stomach aches, abdominal discomfort, gastrointestinal issues, etc. So, avoid feeding pepperoni to dogs.

The Dangers: Risks of Eating Pepperoni For Dogs

As stated earlier, there are many reasons why pepperoni is unhealthy for dogs. Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the risks of eating pepperoni for dogs.

  1. Obesity: The high-fat content in pepperonis can cause weight gain and lead to obesity in dogs.
  2. Heart disease: Eating pepperoni regularly can cause many heart-related issues in dogs, such as high blood pressure, dilated cardiomyopathy, and mitral valve disease.
  3. Pancreatitis: Regular or overconsumption of pepperoni can cause inflammation in the pancreas in dogs. This can lead to pancreatitis. Some common symptoms of pancreatitis include the following:
  4. Irregular urination
  5. Increased thirst
  6. Nausea and vomiting
  7. Diarrhea and upset stomach
  8. Abdominal pain

Note: If you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms, contact your vet right away.

The Concern: Is Pepperoni Safe For Dogs?

No, pepperoni is not safe for dogs. Eating a slice or two once in a while won’t cause any harm, but regular and excessive consumption will lead to different health problems.

In some sensitive breeds and smaller dogs like chihuahuas, even a tiny quantity of pepperoni may cause health concerns like vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, etc. So, watch out for the symptoms of pepperoni poisoning if you find your little canine friend munching on some.

The Escape: Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni In Moderation?

Pepperonis are tasty but not safe for your dog. It is advised not to feed pepperoni to dogs at all.

However, feeding your dog a slice or two is not a health hazard. Your dog should be fine if they have a slice or two in a couple of months.

So, next time when your dog runs towards you as you get some pepperoni out from the freezer or heat up leftover pepperoni pizza, do not fall for those manipulative adorable eyes. It is best not to take any chances and avoid giving your dog pepperoni at all.

The Tragedy: What If My Dog Accidentally Eats A Lot Of Pepperoni?

Your dog is at risk of salt poisoning if it accidentally eats a large amount of pepperoni. Long-term regular consumption will cause weight gain and lead to different side effects.

In case of salt poisoning, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible to prevent the condition from worsening. Get your dog thoroughly checked so the vet can catch any other issues early on.

Your vet will recommend the most suitable treatment for the dog’s condition. So, please don’t wait for the symptoms to get better on their own. Always consult a vet in case of pepperoni poisoning.

The Solution: Pepperoni Alternatives For Dogs

If you have a spoilt dog who loves his meaty treats, avoid pepperoni and try these alternatives instead:

  1. Boiled Chicken: Boiled chicken strips are a safe, yummy, and healthy treat for your dogs. It is also affordable and easy to prepare. You can also get the store-bought boiled chicken to feed your dog.
  2. Fish: Raw fish makes a super healthy treat for dogs. It is rich in healthy fats and protein, which will benefit your dog.
  3. Liver: The liver is quite tasty to dogs and also very healthy. Dogs love liver, so you won’t have any problem feeding this meat to your doggies.
  4. Dehydrated meat: You can buy dehydrated meat from the store or prepare some at home if you have a dehydrator. It would be best if you could prepare meat jerky treats at home as they will be much healthier than processed dehydrated meat jerky.
  5. Cooked bacon: Bacon is a super-rich and fatty treat. While it is safe to give bacon to dogs, make sure you only feed it in moderation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Here are some common questions dog owners have about feeding pepperoni to dogs:

Q1. How much pepperoni is too much for dogs?

A couple of slices of pepperoni every once in a while, is more than enough for dogs. Anything more than that and more frequently is not healthy for dogs.

Q2. How much pepperoni can a dog eat?

Dogs can eat pepperoni, but you should not overfeed them. For a small-sized dog, a slice or two is sufficient. However, giant dog breeds can safely eat a few slices every once in a while. Make sure pepperoni is an occasional treat for your dog, not a regular snack.

Q3. Can dogs have a little bit of pepperoni?

Yes, dogs can eat a little bit of pepperoni in a few weeks. Please do not give it to them every other day.

Q4. Can dogs eat raw pepperoni?

No, dogs cannot eat raw pepperoni. Raw or cooked pepperoni are both high in fat, salt, and seasoning. So, avoid giving pepperoni to dogs in any form.

Q5. Can pepperoni make a dog sick?

Yes, your dog can get sick from eating pepperoni. Your dog may experience issues like vomiting, bloating, diarrhea and stomach ache. In the worst-case scenario, dogs can also suffer from obesity, salt poisoning, heart disease, and pancreatitis after consuming too much pepperoni.

Final Words

Most dog owners think that pepperoni is a meat product, so dogs should be able to eat it. Well, they are wrong.

Pepperoni, in any form, is unhealthy for dogs as it contains high amounts of fat, salt, and seasonings. All of these can lead to harmful side effects if consumed by dogs.

So, for those wondering, “is pepperoni bad for dogs?” next time you eat pepperoni, keep it away from your dog!

Jackob Evans

Hi, I’m Jacob. I’ve been a professional blogger for over six years, and in that time, I’ve written countless blogs that have helped millions of people worldwide. A DVM by profession, I have treated and cured thousands of dogs, if not millions.