Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?

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can dogs eat pepperoni

So some friends came over for pepperoni pizza. Your dog made everybody laugh and got a thin slice of pepperoni as a reward. It’s still meat, right? But now you may be wondering — can dogs eat pepperoni?

One thin slice is unlikely to hurt your dog unless they are sensitive to it. Several pepperoni slices carry significant health risks for your dog.

Is Pepperoni Good For Dogs?

Pepperoni is not suitable for dogs and should be avoided.

Can dogs eat pepperoni? One slice won’t kill them, but a few slices are already bad for a dog’s health. Pepperoni is high in sodium and fat. Some of the additional ingredients can cause severe and even life-threatening diseases to your dog.

Why Is Pepperoni Bad For Dogs?

Pepperoni ingredients can cause many health problems for dogs. Some of the ingredients are downright toxic. If ingested regularly, they can cause stomach upset, pancreatitis, high blood pressure, anemia, coma, and even death.

Below are the regular pepperoni ingredients to watch out for.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are not good for anyone and definitely not for dogs.

One regular slice of pepperoni (0.07 oz) has 0.03 oz of fats, and 0.01 oz are saturated. Fourteen slices (1 oz) have 0.46 oz of fats, and 0.17 oz are saturated.

According to NRC, a dog’s daily needs for total fats are as follows:

  • Puppies and young dogs: 0.74 oz
  • Adult dogs: 0.49 oz.

This means that mere 14 slices of pepperoni fulfill all the needed fat for adult dogs, with an incredibly high amount of saturated fats.

Will your dog get heart disease if they are fed with pepperoni? No.

Dogs have a naturally better HDL: LDL cholesterol ratio. They are highly resistant to heart disease. However, all the fat can upset the stomach and cause obesity, potentially even diabetes, and pancreatitis.


Pepperoni is very high in sodium and can cause sodium toxicity in dogs.

One thin slice of pepperoni has 0.001 oz sodium, whereas a 3.53 oz pack boasts 0.06 oz sodium. In dogs, sodium poisoning typically occurs at 0.07 to 0.10 oz of sodium per kilogram of body weight; 0.14 oz of sodium per kilogram is fatal.

For an 88 lbs dog, 2.8 oz of sodium leads to salt toxicity. If they can’t access fresh water, even less.

Sodium toxicity causes dehydration, high blood pressure, organ failure, and even death.


Pepperoni can have a lot of seasoning. Some of the seasonings can be highly toxic to dogs.

For example, garlic is a common seasoning in pepperoni. Garlic is a part of the Allium family, same as onions, leeks, chives, and shallots.

It is also one of the worst foods to give your dog because of the toxicity. Just 0.53 to 1.06 oz of onions or garlic per kilogram of dog’s body weight is highly poisonous.

Since a clove is usually 0.14 to 0.25 oz, your pooch would have to eat a lot for toxicity to kick in. However, the effects of garlic are cumulative. If your dog eats it regularly, even in small doses, it will cause toxicity over time.

Onion and garlic are significantly more potent in powdered form. Garlic powder is a concentrated form of garlic, and it’s often used with pepperoni.

One teaspoon of garlic powder equals eight fresh cloves, so this amount could easily harm your dog and cause serious problems. Symptoms of garlic toxicity are severe — gastroenteritis, damage to red blood cells, anemia, kidney failure, and even death.


Pepperoni will naturally include peppers. On the whole, peppers are not poisonous like salt and garlic but can irritate your dog.

The symptoms can include stomach upset, diarrhea, severe digestive problems and excessive gas. With spicier peppers, e.g. cayenne, your dog can experience a burning sensation in the mouth and throat.


Pepperoni’s flavor and color are created with sodium nitrates. Sodium nitrates themselves aren’t problematic, but they can convert to nitrites and then to nitric oxide.

While nitric oxide mainly affects cattle, one study found elevated nitric oxide levels in dogs with mammary tumors.

High In Calories

Pepperoni is high in fats and therefore very high in calories. For dogs on weight management, it can be very easy to exceed their daily caloric recommendations if they eat pepperoni regularly.

Excessive weight and obesity lead to arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health issues.

Low nutritional value

While pepperoni can provide some nutritional benefits, they are minimal.

Proteins are predominant in pepperoni, but the risks far outweigh the tiny amount of proteins your dog may get. It’s much better to choose lean meats and other high-quality sources that won’t put your dog’s life at risk.

pepperoni slices

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?

No, dogs should not eat pepperoni. Pepperoni already has high fat and sodium content. Depending on seasonings, pepperoni can be highly toxic and unsafe for dogs.

Feeding your dog pepperoni leads to digestive issues, salt toxicity, pancreatitis, kidney damage, and even life-threatening conditions.

Can Dogs Eat Hot Pepperoni?

No, don’t feed hot pepperoni to your dog. Dogs have a hard time digesting spicy foods and it can cause additional irritation.

Ingesting hot pepperoni could lead to stomach upset, digestive issues, and dehydration. If your dog ate hot pepperoni, give them plenty of water.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Jerky?

You should avoid giving pepperoni jerky to your dog. If you must, don’t give it more than once every few months.

If dogs eat pepperoni jerky, make sure it is not with garlic or onions because they are toxic to them.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Slices?

It’s best not to feed your dog pepperoni slices. One pepperoni slice every few months is more than enough. 

Too many pepperoni brands are very high in salt and fat, and they are best avoided. If a dog eats pepperoni slices, they may experience digestive issues and other health problems.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Sticks?

Pepperoni sticks are also very high in fat and sodium, so you should not give them to your dog. If your dogs eat pepperoni sticks, give them only a small part of the stick every few months, but no more than that.

Sticks from a pet store are a much better option — they are delicious, healthy and dogs will love them.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey Pepperoni?

You can give your dog minimal amounts of turkey pepperoni, just like with the traditional one. This means that you shouldn’t feed your dog turkey pepperoni more than one slice every few months.

Turkey pepperoni is also high in fat and sodium and can contain harmful spices. Check the ingredients — if the turkey pepperoni has garlic or onion, don’t feed it to your dog.

If your dog is allergic to poultry, don’t feed them turkey pepperoni.

pepperoni pizza

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni Pizza?

You should never give pepperoni pizza to your dog.

Pizza crust and sauce contain both garlic and onion. These are concentrated forms, and both garlic and onion are toxic to dogs. Pizza is also high in sugar, fat, and sodium.

If dogs eat pepperoni pizza, it can lead to an upset stomach and long-term health problems.

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni With a Specific Meat?

There are several types of pepperoni, but the main ones are made with pork and turkey meat.

Pork poses risks of its own, like parasites and bacteria. However, bear in mind that turkey meat is suitable for your dog only when it’s plain. Turkey in pepperoni has even more salt than pork.

Ultimately, it is not so much about the meat — but the other ingredients and seasoning. All types of pepperoni are high in fat and sodium, and some of them have seasonings that are toxic to your dog.

So, which type of pepperoni is safe for your dog? None. It would be best if you avoided pepperoni altogether.

How Often Can I Give My Dog Pepperoni?

You shouldn’t feed your dog pepperoni at all. But, if you must, choose a traditional pepperoni with no extra seasoning and especially no garlic or onion.

One slice of pepperoni every few months is unlikely to harm your dog. But even this recommendation depends on the dog breed.

Can dogs eat pepperoni occasionally? For larger dogs, 1-3 slices of pepperoni every few months can be ok. With smaller dog breeds, you should never give them pepperoni.

If Your Dog Ate Pepperoni?

If you suspect your dog ate pepperoni, there are several steps you need to take:

Pay attention to symptoms

Symptoms of pepperoni poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Reduced appetite

If your dog ate pepperoni in large quantities, these could develop into:

  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors
  • Dehydration
  • Drooling
  • Difficult breathing
  • Unusual body temperature
  • Oddly-colored gums — either pale, blue, or yellow

If your dog is arching back in addition to these symptoms, it might be a sign of pancreatitis. Vomiting is another symptom you should pay attention to.

Pay special attention to garlic poisoning symptoms since these can take a few days to develop.

Address Digestive Issues

Few pieces of pepperoni are enough to cause major gastrointestinal problems. If your dog refuses to eat, vomits, and has loose stools, you might need to take action.

The vets recommend that in these cases, you withhold food for 12 hours. If the dog stops vomiting within that period, you can sip them some water. Remember that fasting is not advised for puppies, smaller breeds, or dogs with existing health issues.

The vet will usually prescribe a bland diet, to which you can add a small amount of fiber or probiotics. Your dog mustn’t get dehydrated, so make sure they drink enough water — if they can.

Over time, you can bring your pooch back to a regular diet. But do it slowly.

The best practice is to start off with 75% of the previous (bland) menu and 25% of the regular diet. After two days, you can change the ratio — decrease new diet, and increase old food by 25%. Repeat this process every two days until your dog is 100% back on the old diet.

Still, bear in mind that this approach might not be the best. Stomach problems can also point to other underlying issues — pancreatitis, bloat, or even parasites. If your dog collapses, or you see blood in stool or vomit, it’s best to take your pet to the vet clinic immediately.

Take Quick Action Against Potential Poisoning

Food poisoning, sodium toxicity, and garlic poisoning are among the worst things that can happen if your dog ate pepperoni. These require immediate action:

Step 1: Take the dog into another room and move all the pepperoni out of sight.

Step 2: Remove any remaining pepperoni out of the dog’s mouth or face.

Step 3: Grab a sample of what they ate.

Step 4: Don’t give them food or home remedies. Don’t induce vomiting unless instructed by the vet.

Step 5: If the dog ate high amounts of pepperoni, take them to the vet clinic immediately.

Sodium and garlic toxicity are severe conditions and can cause organ failure, anemia, or even death.

Pepperoni Poisoning Treatments For Dogs

The treatments for pepperoni poisoning depend on the pre-existing conditions and the amount of ingested pepperoni.

Salt Poisoning

Symptoms of salt poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and an abnormal fluid buildup in a dog’s body. Dogs can also become lethargic and wobbly.

In case of sodium poisoning, take your dog to the vet immediately. Sodium poisoning can cause kidney failure and seizures. It can also lead to coma and death in severe cases.

Treatment usually consists of hospitalization, oxygen therapy, IV, and electrolytes.

Digestive Problems And Pancreatitis

The treatment for digestive issues and pancreatitis flare-up will depend on the symptoms. If the symptoms are mild, the vet may prescribe pain relief and anti-sickness medicine.

However, the dog may have to stay in the vet clinic for further observation and treatment in severe cases. Pancreatitis is usually a very painful and dangerous condition.

Kidney Damage

If a dog eats pepperoni and already has problems with kidneys, the vet will usually prescribe fluid therapy and antibiotics. They might also order dialysis to remove toxins from the dog’s body.

Pepperoni Alternatives For Dogs

Your pooch shouldn’t eat pepperoni, but they can still have some delicious (and safe!) treats. Choose one of the alternatives below, so you don’t feel guilty about that pepperoni pizza you ate:

Meat-Flavored Treats

Choose organic or natural treats since they are the safest option. These treats shouldn’t take more than 5-10% of your dog’s total calories.

Cooked Plain Meat

You can use pork, chicken, or beef to reward your dog. Remember to remove the fat, skin, and bones and boil the meat without additional spices and seasoning.

Cut the meat into small pieces so your dog can swallow them easily, and let them cool down before serving.

Homemade Meat Jerky

Another thing you can do is make your own meat jerky! Pay attention to their shelf life: homemade jerkies last up to 2 weeks at room temperature and 1-2 months if refrigerated. It’s also cheaper than buying it from a pet shop.

Pepperoni Isn’t Worth It

So, can dogs eat pepperoni? It’s just not worth it. The dangers of pepperoni are clear, and the risks outweigh any potential benefits. It’s best to avoid this meat altogether if you want your dog to live a long life filled with happiness.

If you’re still set on feeding them pepperoni, make sure that they don’t get more than one thin slice every few months – otherwise, they might end up in trouble!

Besides, you can make up for it with delicious homemade treats that your dog will love. Or use many dog-friendly human foods.


Does pepperoni give dogs diarrhea?

Pepperoni is a spicy food that can cause digestive problems for your dog. A dog will likely have diarrhea and vomiting if they eat pepperoni.

What if a dog eats pizza?

Pizza is highly unhealthy food. It is high in fat, sodium and can have ingredients that are toxic to dogs. If your dog ate pizza, call the vet immediately.

Can dogs eat pepperoni and salami?

Salami, pepperoni, and bologna are not good choices for your dog or high-quality food. They can cause many health issues. It’s better to choose high-quality meat instead.

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As a dog breeder's daughter, I've always been surrounded by many dogs of many breeds. I've made it my job to learn about our furry best friends and share my findings with other conscious dog owners. My Bichon is called Piper by the way :)

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