Can Dogs Eat Pizza?
When you order pizza for takeout or delivery, you may notice your dog’s longing gaze at the gooey cheese and delicious aroma of your meal. It’s not uncommon for many people to feed pizza crust or a small slice of pizza to their dogs, though some significant risks are considered.
When dogs eat pizza occasionally or in a small portion, you won’t likely see any adverse reaction. However, some possible risks may impact your dog’s health due to specific ingredients, allergies, or raw pizza dough.
Before you decide to treat your pup to a slice of baked pie, it’s essential to determine if there are harmful ingredients and the potential for an upset stomach or health problems.
The Risks of Feeding Pizza to Your Dog
A basic pizza with whole wheat crust, plain tomato sauce, and low-fat mozzarella cheese is the best option for your pet. These ingredients are safe, provided the tomato sauce doesn’t include herbs, onions, garlic, or sodium, which is common in many sauce varieties.
These added flavors may enhance the taste of your pizza sauce, though they pose a risk to your dog and may be toxic or harmful. For this reason, it’s best to ensure that the sauce is low in salt and sugar and contains no added flavors. Ideally, a homemade pizza sauce made with ripe tomatoes is the healthiest option for dogs.
Wheat and Gluten Allergies
The pizza crust is typically made of wheat flour or whole grain flour, yeast, and water, which may not pose much risk unless your dog has an allergy to wheat, gluten, or yeast. It’s also essential to make sure that pizza dough is cooked well so that the yeast doesn’t ferment in your pet’s stomach, which may cause severe indigestion and illness. Fortunately, there are plenty of pizza dough recipes that are gluten-free, wheat-free, and alternative to yeast.
As long as your pizza is well cooked and your pet doesn’t have any allergies, a small slice or piece of pizza is harmless. If your dog manages to taste a sample of raw dough, it’s essential to contact your veterinarian right away to avoid any potential reaction.
Harmful and Toxic Ingredients
A natural, homemade pizza can be a healthy alternative to store-bought or restaurant varieties. However, some of the ingredients or toppings may pose a severe risk to your dog’s health. While some of the following food items are not as dangerous as others, they should be skipped or replaced with an alternative topping.
- Bacon, sausage, and other smoked meats are high in sodium and additives that should be replaced with cooked chicken, turkey, or lean ground beef
- Anchovies are often packed in oil and salt, which means they should be avoided unless packed in water without any additives.
- Onions and garlic, even in small amounts, can be toxic to dogs
- Cheese that’s high in fat and sodium, including cheddar, brie, and some goat cheeses, including varieties that contain herbs and spices, are best to skip altogether.
If you become aware of any toppings or ingredients that cause a reaction in your dog, either through other human food treats or snacks, it’s best to leave these options off the pizza. When your dog experiences a reaction after consuming a slice or a few pizza bites, it’s essential to contact your veterinarian, even if it’s just pizza crust.
Signs of indigestion and other health problems include diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, breathing difficulties, stomach pain, and overall discomfort. While many of these symptoms may last temporarily, there is a chance they may worsen, which should be addressed with a veterinarian.
Healthy Pizza Toppings Safe for Your Dog
If you make a plain cheese pizza from scratch or order a delicious pie from a local pizzeria without any additional flavors or toppings, this is generally safe for dogs in a small amount. Aside from the basics, choosing toppings that are nutritious for your pet is essential, so there is little or no risk of harm when enjoying a small slice.
- Mushrooms are safe and healthy, containing lots of fiber and nutrients.
- Green peppers are high in antioxidants and fiber, ideal for a balanced diet.
- Cooked meats, such as ham or chicken, are great options if they do not contain high levels of sodium, spices, or herbs
- Pepperoni is an acceptable option in small portions, though like most processed meats, it’s best to avoid it if your pet follows a diet plan to support a healthy weight or treat heart disease or high blood pressure.
- Black olives offer essential fatty acids, vitamins, and fiber, which makes them an excellent option for pizza
- Spinach is rich in iron, calcium, and fiber, which makes it a top choice for pizza
- Pineapple is a tasty and beneficial topping for dogs, especially pets with joint pain or inflammation.
- Tomatoes make a great pizza topping, in addition to the sauce, and contain fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants which are suitable for your dog’s health.
Overall, a pizza with natural, low-sodium, sugar-free toppings and ingredients is best. While there are many health-conscious toppings to add to a pizza, it’s best to avoid feeding your pup a slice of pie regularly and instead offer it as an occasional treat or reward.
How Much Pizza Is Acceptable?
The amount of pizza your dog can safely consume depends on its size, weight, and age. In most cases, a medium or large-breed adult dog can enjoy one small slice of pizza without any adverse effects. A small or miniature breed dog should be given half or a quarter pizza slice as a snack.
It’s also important to limit how often your pet snacks on pizza. Even the healthiest pizza options can be higher in fat, salt, and carbohydrates than proper dog food, designed especially for your pet’s metabolism and optimal health.
While human food is a great snack option for dogs, with nutrients and great taste, it’s key to treat pizza, cheese, fresh fruit, and cooked meats as additional to your pet’s regular formula instead of a meal replacement. By doing this, your dog will look forward to those occasions where they can share a bite or two of pizza with their owner.
Like many human food products, pizza is a tasty treat that’s best when limited as a snack for your dog. While there are many great toppings and nutrients available on a pizza, it often contains processed ingredients, a higher sodium level, and ingredients that may pose a risk, even if minimal.
While it’s essential to monitor the types of items included on your pizza before you decide to treat your dog, it’s also vital to monitor your pet for any reactions, which are the most common allergies or indigestion.
As you become familiar with food options, your pet can easily digest any food sensitivities or allergies. You’ll also have more assurance about which foods are best for your pet and which options to avoid. A morsel of pepperoni pizza, leftover pizza crust, or a pizza roll can make a nice occasional snack or treat for your furry friend.