Can Dogs Eat Pizza?

Pizza is one of our favorite fast foods, who doesn’t love to indulge in a cheesy feast takeout with the family at the weekend? 

A cheeky pizza here and there is harmless enough for us humans, but have you ever wondered – can dogs eat pizza? 

Before you chuck your pizza crusts your dog’s way, carry on reading the rest of this article to find out what pizza is doing to your dog.

safe for dogs to eat

Yes, dogs can eat Pizza in moderation, occasionally. 

Don't give your dog any garlic, onions, tomatoes and sauce. Pizza is not the healthiest food for your dog. Giving your dogs a piece of the crust in limited amounts should be fine.

  • Should you feed pizza crusts to the dog?
  • How do the basic ingredients of a pizza affect a dog’s health?
  • Why are pizza bases and pizza crusts bad for your dog?
  • Why is cheese bad for dogs?
  • What pizza toppings are toxic for dogs?

Should You Feed Pizza Crusts To The Dog?

Feeding the dog titbits from the table or human food leftovers is a natural thing for people to do. It was how we first came to befriend dogs when they were wild, after all. 

Feeding the dog titbits and leftovers can make us feel good for several reasons. Perhaps we want to include a pet at mealtimes, or we feel guilty eating while the dog watches us? 

We might want to reward our pet dogs. We may even tell ourselves that we are eco-friendly by not putting food that has been left over to waste.

The problem is that our titbits and leftovers are not as healthy, wholesome, and natural as the food that we used to eat back in the days when dogs would scavenge from us before they became man’s best friend and pets in our homes. 

Related Topic: Can dogs eat beef jerky?

Today the leftovers we are more likely to offer our dogs are chips smeared with salty condiments and pizza crusts!

If your leftovers consist of plainly cooked meat and maybe a few harmless vegetables, then your dog would be in for a real treat. 

Unfortunately, a lot of human food is high in ingredients that are not healthy for us, never mind for our dogs.

is pizza safe for dogs?

How Do The Basic Ingredients Of A Pizza Affect A Dog’s Health?

Let’s look at the three main components of a basic pizza and evaluate how these might affect our dogs’ health.

What are the main ingredients of Pizza

  • Bread dough
  • Tomato-Based Sauce
  • Meat toppings
  • Vegetable toppings
  • Cheese

Most pizzas nowadays, of course, contain far more ingredients than this, but let us focus on these first, just to get an idea of how a pizza could be detrimental to your dog’s health.

Firstly, none of these food groups are what dogs should be eating. A dog’s digestive system is designed to consume other animals, preferably raw, along with all of the gory bits and bones. 

This is the kind of food that a dog would thrive on and thoroughly enjoy. There is nothing about a pizza that even remotely resembles the carcass of a dead animal.

Let’s look in more detail at the ingredients.

Why Are Pizza Bases & Pizza Crusts Bad For Your Dog?

We will, first of all, take a look at the bread base. Bread seems harmless and straightforward enough. However, a healthy dog’s diet is high in protein, not in carbohydrates. 

A dog’s digestive system is not adequately adapted to deal with large amounts of carbohydrates. 

The carbs you do give to your dogs should be in the form of vegetables that have been partially cooked to break down some of the natural fibers and make it easier for your dog to gain access to the nutrients in the vegetables

Plain bread has no nutritional value for your dog, and pizza bases and pizza crusts are even worse than ordinary loafed bread because of all the hidden ingredients.

pepperoni pizza

Here are some of the hidden ingredients that can go into making a pizza base taste so good:

  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Seasonings

Many of these extra seasonings can be harmful to your dog, and it can be difficult to tell precisely what they are just from reading the pizza packaging.

Feeding your dog too many carbs, especially bad carbs like bread, can lead to significant weight gain very quickly. 

Obesity in dogs is one of the leading causes of so many health-related problems, including heart disease, diabetes, kidney and liver disease, just to name a few. 

Extra weight can also put unnecessary pressure on joints contributing to painful conditions like arthritis, as your dog gets older.

Why Is Cheese Bad For Dogs?

One of the main reasons we love pizza is the cheese. We love cheese so much that we have pizzas with double and triple cheese topping options, and even stuffed cheese crusts! 

It’s no surprise that dogs love cheese too when they can get their paws on it. The gooey, salty goodness is too much to resist. Cheese is everything but “good,” though.

Cheese is extremely high in fat, and this can significantly impact your dog if they are fed cheesy titbits too often. 

Related Topics: Can dogs eat carrots?

Most dogs are a lot smaller than people, and their stomachs are tiny. When you think of the smaller dog breeds, can you even begin to imagine the dog equivalent of just one slice of pizza? 

That would probably include enough calories and sodium for an entire week or more!

A small amount of cheese, every once in awhile isn’t going to harm your dog, but there is a lot of cheese on a slice of pizza. 

If your dog isn’t used to eating cheese, it may not agree with their digestive system, and this can lead to diarrhea. 

Dogs can also be lactose intolerant or have an allergy, in which case they will be looking at an upset stomach, which is painful and very unpleasant for your dog.

Some people use small pieces of cheese, as high-value training treats, but the key is to keep them very small indeed! 

This is especially true when using cheese as training treats as you can go through a lot of treats in one training session. 

Other people will use a piece of cheese to disguise medication that they need to feed to their dog. 

The cheese itself isn’t dangerous or toxic food, but it isn’t healthy or suitable for your dog either.

should dogs eat pizza?

What Pizza Toppings Are Toxic For Dogs?

Finally, let us take a look in detail at the full range of toxic and other undesirable pizza toppings that your dog could be exposed to if you allow people to feed pizza to them. 

Onions & Garlic

These are both toxic ingredients and should be avoided when it comes to food for dogs. 

Both ingredients are regularly used as pizza toppings or to make the tomato sauce base topping. A pizza base sauce is rarely just tomato.

If your dog consumes a small amount of onion or garlic, you won’t have to rush them to the vet like if they eat a few grapes or raisins, which are toxic in minimal amounts. 

But consuming onions and garlic regularly can lead to your dog developing a condition over time called hemolytic anemia, which destroys red blood cells. Severe onion poisoning can be fatal for a dog.

Garlic, on the other hand, is often said to have some health benefits for dogs, but only when consumed in the right quantities. 

Opinions are mixed on this subject, so to be on the safe side, it is best to avoid both of these ingredients altogether.

Meat Pizza Toppings

As described earlier, a healthy dog’s diet should consist mostly of protein. The problem with the meat toppings usually associated with pizzas, though, is that they are highly seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices. 

Salami and pepperoni, for example, are incredibly high in sodium and fat. 

Dogs can be at risk of salt poisoning if they are given free access to salty cured meats like salami or cured hams, increasing the risk of kidney damage and painful pancreatitis.

Chicken is another popular topping on pizzas, but again, these are also highly seasoned and not a healthy option for your dog.

Vegetable Pizza Toppings

We have said that it is suitable for dogs to consume a certain amount of fresh vegetables in their diet, so what about the vegetables found on pizzas? 

There must be something about a pizza that we can offer our dogs, right?

It is wise to be very cautious when it comes to what vegetables you offer your dog as some can be toxic or make your dog unwell.

Here is a list pointing out some vegetables to avoid:

  • Mushrooms – Some mushrooms can be fatal for your dog, so if you don’t know what kind of mushrooms you have on your pizza, it’s best to avoid feeding them to your dog altogether.

  • Peppers – if your dog consumes more than a few pieces of spicy pepper, they could experience some nasty digestive problems ranging from mild to severe.

  • Sundried tomatoes – regular tomatoes should be avoided, but sundried tomatoes contain a higher amount of oil and salt, both of which are considered unhealthy for your dog.

  • Spinach – This is not necessarily harmful to dogs, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the spinach on your pizza is a healthy option for your dog. When spinach is cooked, it loses most of its nutritional value, and dogs find it very difficult to digest raw spinach. It is a pointless ingredient for a dog. They aren’t going to bite your hand off for an of soggy spinach-like they would for melted cheese after all.

Summary

Pizza is an excellent treat for the family, but not such a great treat for your furry family members. 

Pizza slices, pizza leftovers, and even just plain old pizza crusts are best avoided. Why not just give your dog his dinner at the same time as you and the family are enjoying pizza? 

He is sure to enjoy it just as much, and you won’t have to worry or feel guilty about how bad the pizza you gave him is for his health!

can dogs eat pizza?
(Last Updated On: June 12, 2020)
Liz
 

I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs and somehow manage to have time to pursue another of my passions - writing. I’m the primary contributor and editor of PUPPY FAQS. I love to write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local dog shelter. If you have a question that needs answering, please leave a comment below, and I will do my best to explain it.

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