Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?

Why is pepperoni bad and what should you do if your dog gets the pizza
| Updated: December 19, 2023
Husky watching a woman eat pizza - can dogs eat pepperoni?

When you think about pepperoni, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Probably Pizza, right? Or, my personal favorite, on a grilled cheese. However you eat pepperoni, your dog has likely been around it a few times. Maybe even begged for it.

Did you give them some? Perhaps you wondered, “Can dogs eat pepperoni?”

To answer your question, no, dogs shouldn’t eat any pepperoni. It’s high in salt, fat, and is spicy – all of which dogs should avoid. But it also contains potentially toxic ingredients!

Let’s take a closer look at why pepperoni is bad for dogs, as well as what to do if they eat it and safer alternatives.

Do Dogs Like Pepperoni?


All dogs are different, including their taste preferences. Some dogs may not like the spiciness, while others think eating that delicious-smelling cured meat is worth it. However, in my personal experience, I don’t think I’ve met a dog that would willingly steer clear of pepperoni.

As dog owners, we know just because a dog likes something does not mean it’s good for them. So it’s up to us to put their best interests first. After all, there are many human foods that dogs shouldn’t have!

Why Pepperoni is Bad for Dogs

The easiest way to see why pepperoni is bad for dogs is to break down what pepperoni actually is.

  • Pork: Pork is generally safe for dogs if cooked and plain (spice-less). Raw pork can contain E. Coli, Trichinella worms, Salmonella, and other bacteria/parasites.
  • Beef: Lean beef is actually quite good for dogs. It is high in protein and offers many vitamins. But again, when giving it to a dog, it should be cooked plain.
  • Paprika: While paprika is not toxic to dogs, it can still be dangerous. Dogs are more sensitive to spicy foods than we are; even a little bit of paprika can cause excessive thirst, diarrhea, gas, and an upset stomach.
  • Garlic: According to petMD, garlic is considered toxic to dogs because of its potential to cause hemolytic anemia.
  • Other Spices: Depending on the pepperoni, a range of different spices that are toxic or unhealthy for dogs can be included. Mustard seeds, for example, are toxic to dogs and often seen as a pepperoni ingredient.

While we expect dogs to eat meat, pepperoni is not strictly meat nor does it use low-fat lean cuts of meat that would be safer. The mix of spices adds an additional toxicity factor that means pepperoni should be kept away from dogs. Additionally, pepperoni is a cured meat, cured with salt. Too much salt can increase your dog’s blood pressure and cause dehydration.

What Can Happen if Your Dog Eats Pepperoni?


Dogs get ahold of all sorts of things they shouldn’t, despite our best efforts sometimes. Maybe you were caught up watching Liverpool crush Man United and the pepperoni pizza was left unattended.

If your dog eats pepperoni, don’t panic just yet! The first thing to do is figure out how much they ate. In small amounts, it’s unlikely that anything harmful will happen to your pup.

Monitor them closely, if you begin to see symptoms or your dog is acting like he/she is in pain, contact your vet.

Symptoms to Watch Out For

If your dog eats pepperoni, you should watch out for the following symptoms, which can indicate a severe or life-threatening condition:

  • Excessive Thirst
  • Increased Urination
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Pale or blue gums
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures or tremors
  • Loss of consciousness or coma

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, you should call your vet or an emergency animal clinic right away, as your dog may need urgent care and intervention.

Dog Safe Alternatives to Pepperoni


If you want to treat your dog with something tasty and healthy, you should avoid giving them pepperoni or any other human foods that are high in salt, fat, or spices. Instead, opt for dog-safe alternatives, such as:

  • Lean meats: You can give your dog small amounts of cooked chicken, turkey, or beef, as long as they are plain and without any bones, skin, or seasonings. These meats are high in protein and low in fat, and they can provide your dog with essential amino acids and minerals.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Some fruits are safe and healthy for dogs!
  • Dog treats:

Remember always to check the label and ingredients of any food or treat you give to your dog. You should also limit the amount and frequency of treats you give your dog, as they can add extra calories and cause weight gain and obesity.

Chase Roseberry Author Image
Chase Roseberry

Chase’s life has been a remarkable journey into the world of animals. From his time spent working with an equine Veterinarian, raising exotic snakes, and live coral aquaculture, his diverse background fuels his passion for the animal kingdom.

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