Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Safely? 

Cute pug dog floating in a pizza pool floatation device

Pepperoni (often the combination of beef or pork with spices) is a staple when it comes to pizza toppings, so much so that one cannot think about a pizza without imagining these circles of reddish, round meat on top of it. And the smell is positively overwhelming when your pepperoni pizza arrives. This last part can attract the attention of your four-legged friend with their “puppy dog eyes” as they beg to have these treats. But, then the question arises, “Can dogs eat pepperoni?”

A Short History of Pepperoni

Pepperoni (as we know it today) has been around since 1919, in New York City at least. It was brought over by Italian immigrants who decided to fuse their Southern European traditions of flavor with American ingredients that they had on hand.  Since then pepperoni has taken the pizzeria world by storm worldwide. It is a classic pizza topping that one cannot escape and many people would not want to.

Organic Uncured Italian Pepperoni Slices Ready to Use

Pepperoni is characteristically soft, slightly smoky, and bright red in color.

The name itself came from the Italian word “peperoni” meaning bell pepper, which was one of the ingredients in the original version of pepperoni. However, the ingredients in the original version are different from what we have today. The American-inspired pepperoni has finer grain meat, either be it pork and beef or turkey, when compared to other Italian meats, making it a softer type of salami. Plus, Italian meats use natural gut casing, while the worldwide version uses artificial casing.

So is Pepperoni Ok for Dogs? It’s Meat So What’s the Harm?

While pepperoni is meat, not all meat can be good for dogs. Some meat-flavored kibble may not even be good for your dog. Pepperoni is processed meat that is often made out of

  • Different types of seeds such as Mustard and Fennel 
  • Sometimes Paprika 
  • Black pepper
  • Onion powder or garlic powder 

These ingredients can make the meat spicy. And spicy food is not good for dogs

Giving your furry buddy a lot of pepperonis could lead to many health issues such as:

  • Kidney damage
  • Acid reflux 
  • An upset stomach
  • Abnormal pain
  • Pancreatitis (this is the more common one) 
  • An increase in urination and thirst 
  • Diarrhea
  • And even vomiting

Plus, it can also damage their food pipe which can be the worst thing for any living animal to deal with.  Another downside of this cured meat is that feeding your dog too much of it could also cause digestive issues due to salt poisoning. Pepperoni is very high in salt/sodium and fat. The fat content in this processed meat product can make it unsafe for dogs that are already overweight. It can make them lazier, making it difficult to get them to exercise as well as other health problems that come with weight gain. 

Pancreatitis and Pepperoni 

Pancreatitis is when the pancreas, next to the stomach of your dog, becomes inflamed and this causes vomiting as well as bloody diarrhea. Small dogs and puppies are more likely to get it when compared to larger dogs. Although, it is not rare for a large dog to experience pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can be brought about due to a high intake of sodium, as well as the high calories of pepperoni. 

Is Pepperoni Toxic to Dogs?

While pepperoni is not safe for dogs it does not mean that it is toxic to them. However, if you have a small dog it is best to never let them eat pepperoni due to its small size and the high amount of fat, salt as well as other spices in it. Their bodies are less likely to handle it. The truth of the matter is that dogs love meat and pepperoni is not an expectation.

Therefore, you can give them a little, tiny taste of the real thing (if they are big dogs) but not regularly. It should not be a part of their diets, and they should not expect it at all. Pepperoni can be used to give them their medicine if their normal dog food does not work. But, it may be better to wrap the pills in pepperoni flavor treats.

A hand giving a treat to a dog.

Giving your dog pepperoni flavored treats is a great way to feed their cravings without any health issues.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Flavored Dog Treats? 

Yes, they can. There are many types of pepperoni flavored dog treats that would be healthier for them. This would be the best opinion especially if they are really drooling due to the scent of the real thing. The treats can suppress their desire to eat a lot of pepperonis without you having to worry about health issues. You may even use them for training your puppy, or you can just feed a few to your small dog. 

Is Pepperoni Ok For Dogs If it’s Made From Turkey? 

There can be many ways to make pepperoni and one of the most popular, outside of beef and pork, is with turkey. However, turkey pepperoni is worse for dogs to eat since it is even higher in sodium when compared to the standard circular meat. 

The Bottom Line 

The question of, “Is pepperoni okay for dogs” has a simple answer. That answer is that it is not okay for them to eat large amounts of it. It would be even better for them to eat none of it. That being said pepperoni is not toxic to dogs, it is just very unhealthy. Pepperoni can have many negative health effects on your dog. But, giving them a tiny piece would not do as much harm unless they are small in size or puppies then it would be best to forget about it. 

Like anything, it is all about moderation. Therefore, letting them have a taste of the real thing should not hurt them but doing it often will. Many alternative treats can give them the taste of pepperoni without the side effects. It would be best to go for these options instead of the real thing. So, next time you order your pizza make sure that your fluffy friends are out of the room. Saying no to their “puppy dog eyes” can be a challenging thing to do regardless if it is your first dog or your tenth.

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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.