Can Dogs Eat Chorizo?

sliced chorizo

Chorizo is a tasty, seasoned sausage that may get your puppy’s attention. Meat, or animal-based protein, is one of the staples in a dog’s diet, though it’s important to avoid feeding your pup certain types of meats due to added salt, seasoning, spices, and preservatives.

It’s made with ground pork sausage, with a blend of seasoning and spices, to create Mexican chorizo, which is prepared with raw, uncooked pork. There is a smoked version of chorizo called Spanish chorizo.

While your dog may enjoy the scent of chorizo and beg for a sample, there are important reasons why this spicy sausage is not safe for your pup’s health.

Why Chorizo Sausage Is Unsafe for Dogs

Many human food options are dog-friendly, including roast turkey or chicken, fresh fruits, and vegetables. While dogs enjoy a wide variety of flavors, including different types of meat, it’s important to avoid feeding your furry companion certain meat products due to how they are prepared, harmful ingredients, and other factors.

It May Be Raw, Undercooked, or Contaminated

When chorizo, pork, or any type of meat is undercooked or raw, there is a higher risk of contamination, resulting in parasitic infections and stomach problems in dogs. Any raw or undercooked meat can pose a significant risk to your health, and these same risk factors also apply to pets.

Toxic, Harmful Ingredients

There are several ingredients in chorizo that are toxic to dogs, such as garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and high levels of sodium and fat. When chorizo is smoked, flavors are added that can prove harmful to your pup’s health, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, and more serious issues.

Since there is a high level of sodium in chorizo sausage, dogs are at risk of salt poisoning, and in combination with the other toxic ingredients to pups, it’s best to avoid feeding your dog chorizo, even if it’s a small scrap or sample of the spicy food. Smoked or cured meats, such as salami, Italian sausage, and bacon, should also be avoided for this reason.

High-Fat Content

Pork meat, the main ingredient in chorizo, is high in fat, which contributes to excessive weight gain, heart conditions, and other related illnesses, including pancreatitis. It’s best to avoid feeding your pup any food with high amounts of fat, such as butter, cheese, whole milk, and pork.

man feeding a dog

What Happens When Your Dog Eats Chorizo

If you’re serving chorizo sausage at a family picnic or a dinner event, your pup may sneak a bite from a serving tray, or a guest may feed your pup accidentally. When this happens, monitoring your dog for any adverse reactions is important.  

Since chorizo often causes side effects in dogs, you may notice swelling, indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea. As soon as you become aware that your pup consumed a piece of chorizo, offer a fresh bowl of water. Your pet will likely feel dehydrated and initially react to the spiciness of the sausage, and a drink can provide immediate relief.

If your dog appears to be fine, this may be due to eating such a small amount, where the effects are minimal, if at all. It may be challenging to determine how much your puppy ate, so you’ll want to pay close attention to any symptoms of stomach problems, including discomfort or illness. If you notice that your dog begins to feel sick, provide fresh water, and watch for further signs of discomfort, stomach problems, and gastrointestinal irritation.

My Dog Ate Chorizo, What’s the Next Step?

Initially, you may find that your dog feels fine. A tiny morsel of this spicy food may not impact them much, though if your pup ate a large quantity or has a sensitive stomach, you’ll want to monitor them closely. In addition to fresh water, you’ll want to provide mild food to soothe your pup’s tummy and prevent indigestion or food poisoning.

You can prepare a boiled chicken and rice dish to calm your pet’s digestive system, preventing a chorizo reaction. This recipe shouldn’t include any salt or spices and can be fed for up to three days, along with fresh water, to clean your pet’s stomach and give them comfort. If you notice severe symptoms or no relief after two or three days, contact your veterinarian for further assistance.

dog standing on two legs

Alternative Snacks to Feed Your Dog

There are plenty of great snacks you can offer your dog, which are safe, and don’t pose a risk to your pup’s health. Whether you feed your pup snacks on occasion or during obedience training, it’s important to keep your pet’s dog food formula consistent so that your dog receives all the essential nutrients daily. Human food treats should not replace your pup’s regular meals. The following food items, in small portions, are safe for your pet:

  • Boiled or oven-roasted turkey or chicken with no skin, seasoning, or salt
  • Cantaloupe, watermelon, apple, or similar fresh fruits
  • Carrots, green beans, cooked rice, and other mild vegetables, either raw or cooked
  • Low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese, on occasion

Final Thoughts

Chorizo may capture your dog’s attention due to its aroma, especially when it’s freshly prepared or cooked, and while it’s easy to treat your pup to a tasty snack, it’s best to keep these foods out of reach. When you offer your furry companion various other tasty human food options, you’ll minimize the risk of illness while giving your pet a healthy, nourishing treat.

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