Can Dogs Eat Salami Safely?

Cute Beagle eats smoked sausage left on the kitchen table.

It’s easy to assume that feeding your dog salami is generally the same as feeding him pepperoni, but that’s not the case. Though they share similar properties, you shouldn’t read an article about pepperoni and conclude it’s safe to feed your canine salami.

One thing they both have in common, however, is that they are best fed to your pup in small amounts only.

You’re going to have a difficult time finding a human food that doesn’t incorporate this general rule of thumb. In this article, we’re going to discuss the complications that may arise from making salami a regular part of your dog’s diet. To give you a hint, the problems are due to the amount of salt and fat that is found in salami. But first, we’ll fill you in on how pepperoni and salami differ.

Organic Uncured Italian Pepperoni Slices Ready to Use

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

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The Differences Between Pepperoni & Salami

You have to really dig to find the differences between pepperoni and salami, or be a master chef de cuisine. The truth is that the major differences are found in only the minute details. Based on how your dog handles certain foods, it’s important to omit using these terms interchangeably.

First and foremost, pepperoni is simply a type of salami, and there are numerous variations of salami. Salami originates from Italian cuisine — as you could’ve probably guessed. It is a cured sausage that is mostly made from air-dried and fermented meat. Pepperoni, on the other hand, is the American version. It is a mixture of cured pork and beef. 

An important thing to remember — especially in terms of your dog — is that salami is traditionally made with items such as salt, white pepper, minced fat, and garlic. Though not toxic to your dog itself, garlic can be lethal when fed in large amounts.

The Truth About Salami

When it comes to your dog and salami, the good news is that salami, by itself, is not toxic to your canine. If your dog happens to consume an unsafe amount of salami, it can come with some symptoms.

Here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Vomiting

The reason behind this is that salami contains an unhealthy amount of salt and fat, among other things. You would abstain from eating salami yourself if put on a heart-healthy diet, so what do you think that means for your dog? 

Too Much Salt In Your Dog’s Diet

Just like humans, dogs need salt in order for their bodies to function properly. Salt is essential for many vital aspects of your dog’s body. These include:

  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Maintaining blood volume
  • Transmitting nerve impulses
  • Maintaining acid/base balance in the body

This is great and all, but too much salt becomes a problem. The problem is called hypernatremia. Hypernatremia is the result of your dog having too much salt in his blood. This is when it starts to get scary. Your dog’s body will try to combat the salt and go into overdrive by doing so. Neurological problems may arise due to the destruction of brain cells. 

With hypernatremia, though, you also have some symptoms to look out for. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, here are the most common signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Lethargy
  • Incoordination
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Naturally, this is the last thing you want for your furry friend. However, too much salami equals an increase of salt in your dog’s diet. Additionally, a high-salt diet can contribute to kidney problems.

The Risk of Kidney Problems

The way kidneys function in human bodies is similar to how they function in your dog. The kidneys are responsible for balancing nutrients and eliminating waste. The problem here, once again, is salt. Not only can incorporating salami into your dog’s regular diet cause hypernatremia, but it can also increase the risk of your dog developing kidney problems. 

This is because the kidneys also help regulate blood pressure and aid in the development of red blood cells. An unhealthy amount of salt can throw these vital functions out of whack. If you suspect your dog may have early signs of kidney disease, look out for these symptoms:

  • Unsuspected weight loss
  • Blood in urine
  • Pale gums
  • Mouth ulcers

Additionally, there are some signs of kidney disease that you saw earlier in this article. They include increased urination, vomiting, and diarrhea. Complications from too much salt are not something you want to see become a problem for your dog. This is why feeding your dog salami only in moderation is important. Salami slices are best if you ultimately choose to give them to your dog at all. 

In addition to salt, salami contains a large amount of fat that your dog may not be able to properly digest. This excess amount of fat can eventually lead to pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is the result of your dog having a high-fat diet over a long period of time. It comes in two forms: acute and chronic. You want to avoid both.

A dog eating pancakes and milk.

Many dogs can become lactose intolerant later in life and if this is the case, it’s best not to feed your dog dairy products.

The symptoms of acute pancreatitis usually involve lethargy, abdominal pain, vomiting, and dehydration. The symptoms for chronic are virtually the same but your dog may develop a lack of appetite as well. If your dog already has pancreatitis or kidney problems, you should avoid salami at all costs, as well as dairy products such as milk and cheese. This will only worsen the condition and will be the reason the vet becomes a frequent destination for you.

The Final Results

As pet owners, you all want to allow your dog the opportunity to rejoice in the same delicacies as you.

Given that fact, however, salami may not be the right choice. The long-term effects just aren’t worth it.

The risks involved such as kidney damage and pancreatitis will only shorten the life of your pooch. Moderation is key. To be more specific, very little is key. This is the proper way to ensure your dog avoids all of the unnecessary problems he can.

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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.