Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni? | PUPPYFAQS

Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni?

can dogs eat pepperoni
(Last Updated On: December 15, 2022)

No dog in their right mind would turn their nose up at the irresistible smell and taste of pepperoni. 

If your dog starts to stare at you while you eat your pizza pleadingly, you may find yourself wondering – can dogs eat pepperoni? 

In this article, we will look at what ingredients go into making pepperoni, and whether it is a safe food to feed to your dog.

safe for dogs to eat

Yes, dogs can eat Pepperoni in moderation. 

If regularly consumed, pepperoni puts your dog at risk for digestive issues, salt poisoning, kidney damage, or pancreatitis. Most processed meats have high levels of sodium and may contain unhealthy spices like onion & garlic salt.

In this article, we will discuss:

  • What is pepperoni?
  • Is it safe for dogs to eat pepperoni?
  • Will pepperoni make a dog sick?
  • Why is pepperoni unhealthy for dogs?
  • What can I offer my dog as an alternative to pepperoni?

What Is Pepperoni?

Pepperoni is an American variety of salami derived from meat. It is bright red, and characteristically soft, with a slightly smoky flavor that makes it smell and taste irresistible if you like intense spicy flavors. 

When cooked, the pepperoni gets even better, as it becomes crispy and chewy, adding a boost of robust flavor and texture to a meal. 

Pepperoni is a popular thinly sliced topping for pizzas, as a little bit goes a long way in terms of flavor and those tasty but fatty juices that mix so well with mantled cheese. 

Essentially pepperoni is a highly processed cured mixture of pork and beef meat, seasoned with plenty of paprika and other chili peppers, so it has a bit of a spicy kick to it too. It also contains additives and preservatives.

is pepperoni safe for dogs

Is It Safe For My Dog To Eat Pepperoni?

The most significant portion of a healthy dog’s meal should be meat, but not all meats are made equally, especially when it comes to meats that are highly processed. 

You may be thinking – but it’s okay to feed a dog sausages. Not necessarily. Sausages can contain a very high amount of fat, which is not healthy for your dog. 

When it comes to the cured varieties of sausages, there are even more things to take into account when thinking about the health of your dog.

Pepperoni isn’t a toxic food for dogs, but it isn’t the right choice either. 

When it comes to cured dry sausage, a few slices aren’t going to cause your dog any immediate problems, but too big a helping is likely to make your dog sick, and regular treats can affect your dog’s long-term health. 

The best way to think of pepperoni when it comes to feeding it to your dog is a rare treat or an accident to be avoided.

Related Post: Can dogs eat black olives?

Will Pepperoni Make My Dog Sick?

As mentioned above, large quantities of any cured dry meat will make your dog sick. But even small amounts can harm a dog that has never had spicy sausage before. 

It’s never a good idea to feed dogs spicy foods, as their digestive systems aren’t designed to cope with it.

There are a lot of ingredients that go into making pepperoni, including mustard seeds, fennel seeds, garlic powder, black pepper, paprika, and more. 

A healthy dog’s diet consists of somewhat bland flavors and a few “extra” ingredients as is needed.

If you feed your dog pepperoni, and either your dog’s stomach isn’t able to handle a small amount, or you have fed them too much, your dog is likely to either feel very sick and vomit, or have an unpleasant (for you and your dog) case of diarrhea. 

A dog’s digestive system isn’t designed to process all of these spices. While pepperoni may seem harmless and taste great, your dog isn’t going to thank you for it afterward. 

See Also: Can dogs eat Onions?

Feeding your dog pepperoni might seem like a treat, but for your dog, it will be more like a punishment when he has to deal with the gastric after-effects and discomfort that comes with it.

should dogs consume pepperoni

Why Is Pepperoni Unhealthy For Your Dog?

The fact that pepperoni is spicy and contains a variety of ingredients that are likely to upset your dog’s stomach isn’t the only reason that pepperoni is not the right choice of food or treat for your dog.

Did you know that pepperoni contains nearly 500 calories per 100g? Pepperoni is a very fatty type of meat, and extremely high in low-quality calories. 

See Also: Can dogs eat tortillas?

It is crucial to be careful when feeding a dog high-calorie foods because it doesn’t take much before those extra calories can start harming their health.

Obesity in dogs is one of the leading health problems that can lead to and exacerbate so many other severe health conditions. 

The smaller your dog, the more likely it will be for them to put on too much weight from over-feeding and consuming extra treats regularly. 

Bigger dogs are also very susceptible to weight gain when they are not provided with the full amount of exercise they need to burn off and use the calories they are consuming.

Feeding foods like pepperoni in place of treats can have a severe impact on your dog’s weight if used as treats regularly.

It would be best if you also were wary of different types of pepperoni. Don’t be fooled by pepperoni that is made from turkey, thinking that this may be a healthier option. 

Turkey pepperoni contains even more sodium than the original pepperoni recipe, and too much salt in your dog’s diet can lead to an array of health problems.

Feeding rich, fatty, and salty foods like pepperoni to a dog can put a strain on the digestive system and lead to pancreatitis, which is a painful chronic condition. 

Other health problems may include diabetes and organ issues such as heart disease or kidney and liver failure.

What Can I Offer My Dog As An Alternative To Pepperoni?

If you are looking for a great-tasting, high protein healthy option for your dog that isn’t pepperoni, there are plenty of alternatives to think about. 

Sometimes when training your dog, you need that high-value treat to keep their attention. Other times perhaps you want to offer your dog a tasty reward for being such a good boy.

is pepperoni safe for dogs

Check out some of these super-tasty high-value healthy dog treat options:

  • Chicken – You cannot go wrong with simple chicken. The great thing about chicken is that it is easy to find in your local butcher’s or a supermarket, and it very affordable. Because it is conventional meat on the human dinner table too, it’s easy to put some aside for the dog in a Tupperware container and store in the fridge for when you need it. When feeding chicken to your dog, it is best kept as bland as possible. You can bake, steam, or roast it, keeping in mind that any extra oils added will increase the fat content. If your dog enjoys a natural raw diet, you can even feed raw chicken carcasses to them without having to worry about bones splintering or harming your dog, and it is great for their oral health when fed like this regularly. Chicken is also the perfect choice of meat for puppies as it is gentle on their digestive systems, and they love it!
  • Fish – Dogs love a tasty bit of fish, whether it is cooked salmon, tuna, or sardines. Fish is super healthy when fed as a treat as cooked without the use of spices or sauce. Cooked fish is just as tasty for your dog.
  • Liver – Liver treats are a popular choice for dog training treats, not to mention super healthy. You can buy air-dried liver pieces that are the perfect size for training treats, and what’s more, they won’t make a big smelly mess in your doggy treats bag!
  • Dehydrated Meat – If you have a dehydrator at home, you can easily make a wide variety of meat jerky treats for your dog. They are 100% healthy, as you know exactly what single ingredients your treats contain. Alternatively, you can use your oven or microwave to dehydrate meat or even veggies that your dog will love like sweet potato.


Despite it seeming like a good chunk of pepperoni would send your dog to heaven, you should think twice before “treating” your dog to a food that is inevitably going to lead to making them feeling quite unwell. 

There are so many healthier options to choose from, that your dog will appreciate just as much. 

It isn’t necessary to risk your dog’s long-term health by turning to spicy over-seasoned meats that dogs’ bodies are not designed to cope with. 

Hopefully, you will avoid pepperoni now and opt for some of the tasty but healthy alternatives from our list above! Trust me; your dog will love it just as much.

can dogs eat pepperoni


I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs. I have always loved animals, especially puppies. So when my family got our first dog 15 years ago, it was love at first sight. We named her Sassy because she was so small, cute, and had a sassy personality! Once we got her home, I wanted to know everything about caring for her, so I researched online. Eventually, this led me to create the PUPPYFAQS website, where I write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies and the latest news in the world of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local shelter, which is run by volunteers who are passionate about helping homeless dogs find their forever homes. If I'm not working or volunteering for dogs, you can find me spending time with my family, friends, and my puppy. I have been writing professionally online since 2009. In addition to PUPPYFAQS, I also write for several other pet-related publications.

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