Loving pet parents often wonder if their pupper can enjoy human foods along with them. But it’s tough to determine what is dog-safe.
Can dogs eat chicken wings? Can they have a bite of your pasta? Can dogs eat pizza? Is pizza bad for dogs? It’s hard to know what is safe for them and what you should keep to yourself.
This article takes a look at the consequences of dogs eating pizza, so you know whether or not it’s okay for your dog.
The question “can dogs eat pizza?” is more complicated than it may seem. Unlike other foods you may want to give your dog, pizza can contain a wide array of different ingredients. But to be safe, you should not share a pizza with your dog.
There are different kinds of pizza dough, pizza sauces, and endless possibilities when it comes to pizza toppings. We took a deep dive into the many possibilities to give you an understanding of how safe pizza is for dogs.
Pizza is Italian food, and unfortunately for your puppy, Italians are known for loading up dishes with onions, garlic, and lots of seasoning, all of which are a no-go for your furry friend.
This article will break down the various parts of pizza and discuss if they’re safe to give to your dog.
You should always do a bit of research before sharing any human food with your dog. We know it’s hard to say no when they gaze at you with their big puppy dog eyes.
But for the dog’s health and well-being, make sure you know how different human foods can affect them. For the low down on giving dogs pizza, read this comprehensive article.
Do Dogs Like Pizza?
Before getting into if dogs can eat pizza, let’s determine if dogs even like pizza. The honest answer is it depends on your dog. However, with the salty, cheesy, chewy pizza crusts, the odds of your canine companion disliking pizza are low.
Dogs tend to love salty, greasy foods like pizza, so it’s practically a guarantee your pup will wolf this down if you present it. However, dogs will enjoy certain pizzas more than others.
For example, dogs are more likely to enjoy a meat-lovers supreme or pepperoni pizza, rather than a vegetarian or Hawaiian pizza. But don’t expect your curious and hungry dog to pass up a piece you offer them.
Pizza Ingredients: What Is Safe for Dogs?
Let’s look at what ingredients make up traditional pizzas and how they each may affect your pupper.
Not every pie is the same, so knowing what the different ingredients mean in terms of sharing with your doe-eyed dog ensures you keep them healthy and happy.
The Pizza Dough
Can dogs eat pizza crust? Many dog owners assume the pizza crust is safe for their dogs because it looks plain, but this is not true. Pizza dough often contains salt, garlic, and herbs which can be toxic. Not to mention the plethora of things like carbohydrates, sodium, calories, and fat that could affect them long-term.
But worse than that, pizza bread dough contains yeast and alcohol. If your dog eats raw or undercooked bread dough, it could expand in its stomach and release ethanol, which will intoxicate them. This situation could potentially be fatal, depending on how much they ate.
Worse than raw bread dough is raw pizza dough. The raw pizza dough will rise considerably when it reaches your dog’s stomach, which can distend their belly and cause immense discomfort.
If your dog has even a small amount of raw dough, you should take them to the vet immediately to get the dough out before they begin to digest it.
The Pizza Sauce
What about the flavor pizza sauce that covers your doughy pizza crust? Marinara is the standard, but there are other pizza sauces to consider. Keep reading for a look at different sauces and how they may affect your beloved pup.
Marinara and other tomato sauces use ripe tomatoes, which are perfectly safe for dogs. However, the tomatoes are not the problem, it’s everything they mix in with the tomatoes.
Pizza sauce usually has added sugar, salt, garlic, onion, and herbs, all of which can make your dog sick.
If you make homemade pizza, skip the onions and garlic and reduce the amount of salt, sugar, and herbs to make a more dog-friendly pizza. But if your canine gets a lick of marinara, they’ll be okay.
Alfredo sauce is what they put on “white” pizzas instead of marinara. Alfredo consists of parmesan cheese, milk, butter, garlic, and herbs.
Cheese, milk, butter, and herbs are acceptable for dogs in moderation but dangerous in larger quantities. And the main problem is the garlic, as most alfredo sauces have a hefty amount of garlic.
Alfredo is probably worse for dogs than marinara because of all the dairy and garlic, but both are not ideal. But making the white sauce sans garlic makes it safer.
Traditional pesto sauces use a lot of basil. Luckily, basil is perfectly safe for your dog!
However, pesto also contains garlic and nuts, usually pine nuts or walnuts. These ingredients are toxic for dogs and can cause stomach distress.
A pesto without garlic and nuts is perfectly safe for dogs and will still be a tasty sauce for your pie.
While plain olive oil is not the most popular option for a pizza sauce, it is the safest for your dog! Most pizza sauces contain garlic, but oil doesn’t. Olive oil benefits dogs, as it can improve skin health and makes their coat beautiful and shiny.
In large quantities, olive oil can cause an upset stomach, but it’s hands down the best sauce option for a pie you want to share with your furry friend.
The Pizza Cheese
In case you didn’t know, most dogs adore cheese. From cream cheese to cheddar to muenster and beyond, a dog will likely never turn down a piece of cheese offered to them.
However, most types of cheese are high in fat and salt. Dogs love fat and salt, but they can’t process high quantities as the human body can. Dogs can enjoy most cheeses in moderation, just be careful.
Below are lists of cheeses to help you assess how risky a certain pie is for your dog.
- Blue cheese
- Goat cheese
Technically, all cheese except for blue kinds of cheese is nontoxic. But the cheeses that are non-doggie-safe are high in salt and fat content, so best to avoid them.
Small pieces of cheese are a fun treat for your dog, but they should never have large quantities as they can make them sick or cause significant weight gain.
The Pizza Toppings
Like all human food, some pizza toppings are okay for dogs, while others can be toxic and dangerous.
Pizza topping options are truly endless, and people are always tossing new ingredients on the pie to create innovative creations. When in doubt, search the toppings to see if they’re safe for dogs or toxic.
To help you out, below is a list of doggie-safe toppings and harmful pizza toppings for dogs. These lists include some of the most common pizza toppings but are certainly not comprehensive.
- Sausage (non-spicy)
- Raw pineapple
- Pine nuts
- Bell peppers
- Hot peppers
- Spicy sausage
- Processed meat
A good rule of thumb is never to give them alliums or anything with capsaicin.
Dogs don’t enjoy spice as humans do, so spicy ingredients can make them uncomfortable and cause stomach distress.
If you’re unsure about the safety of a topping, don’t give it to your dog. In the end, it’s best to play it safe.
Consequences of Feeding Your Dog Pizza
The consequences of feeding your dog pizza can be serious. Avoid giving your dog pie, but if they eat some, it’s wise to be aware of the possible outcomes. Below are the bad things that can happen if your dog eats pizza.
Bloating is the direct consequence if your dog ate pizza raw. Pizza bread dough can cause a buildup of yeast in the stomach that releases alcohol and inflates the belly.
This situation is dangerous and should be an immediate concern. If you know your dog ate a small amount of raw dough or a significant amount of cooked dough, seek medical assistance quickly.
The signs of bloating in your dog are hard to identify, but they may exhibit discomfort when they try to lay down or maybe burp more often. So if you’re proofing your pizza dough, keep it out of reach of your pup.
Weight gain is a long-term consequence associated with feeding pizza to your dog. Pizza is high in fat, salt, and sugar, so it has too many calories for a pup. The smaller your dog, the more this will affect them.
Some breeds like golden retrievers, pugs, and beagles are predisposed to obesity, so be especially careful with those breeds. But in general, don’t give pizza to your dog if you want them to maintain a healthy weight.
Garlic and other alliums can cause your dog to become nauseous, leading to vomiting. This vomiting is good because it means they’re getting the harmful ingredient out of their system.
On the other hand, no one wants to vomit, and cleaning up your dog’s vomit is not super fun. And garlic is the trickiest ingredient to avoid because it sneaks its way into practically every aspect of a slice of pizza. Garlic can actually damage your dog’s red blood cells, causing serious health concerns.
Another tummy problem that can occur from your dog eating pizza is diarrhea. Diarrhea typically means your dog is experiencing stomach pains and distress. No pet owner wants that.
You can probably attribute any diarrhea to the cheese on the pizza, so be wary of how much dairy your dog consumes. Most dogs are lactose intolerant.
Constipation is less likely than vomiting or diarrhea, but it can happen if you let your dogs eat pizza crust.
Cooked pizza dough that passes through their system may cause mild blockages and slow the digestive process, making it hard for your dog to do their business. Constipation typically causes stomach pains and discomfort in your pooch.
While this isn’t the most severe consequence, it is annoying. If you give your canine companion pizza once, they’ll always expect to get a bite of your pizza. Rather than scold them in the future, don’t share your pizza!
If Your Dog Eats Pizza
If you gave your dog pizza without thinking or ate a piece by accident, as sneaky dogs tend to do, consider two things: how much did they eat, and what kind of pizza was it?
Depending on the toppings, you may not have much to worry about. And the amount of pizza they eat plays a major role in what your reaction should be. Before rushing to the vet or brushing this off as no big deal, consider these two factors.
How Much Did They Eat?
Pet parents typically know about the main foods that are harmful to dogs, such as chocolate, grapes, and raisins. However, your pet’s digestive system can safely handle small quantities.
For example, if your dog eats a single raisin or manages to sneak a lick of chocolate ice cream, no need to panic.
Even harmful ingredients in trace amounts shouldn’t harm your dog unless they’re small or already have digestive issues. This does not mean you should share any of these foods with your dog, it just means you don’t need to panic.
The same rules apply to pizza. If your dog snags a super small bite of pizza or a corner of a pizza crust, it’s not an emergency.
As mentioned, the appropriate amount corresponds to the size of your dog. If your 100-pound German Shepherd eats half a slice, they will probably be okay. But if your tiny Chihuahua eats half a slice, you may want to monitor them and call your vet.
For any dog, an entire slice or more than one slice is not good. If your dog scarfed down more than one whole piece, you should call your vet and ask them to advise you on the situation.
In extreme circumstances, such as your dog feasting on a whole pizza, you should visit your vet as soon as possible, as they may recommend emptying their stomach.
If you don’t know how much they ate, it’s best to play it safe and contact your vet or keep an eye on them for the rest of the day.
What Was on the Pizza?
If your dog only had half a slice of a piece of pizza, the amount is not concerning. However, you still need to consider what kind of pizza it was, especially the toppings.
You can refer to the toppings listed above to decide how bad the pizza was for your dog. Remember, a small amount of something bad isn’t usually fatal, but if they eat a lot of garlic or onions, they may have digestive issues.
While few things in life are as satisfying as a piping hot slice of za, your dog should probably not partake.
The real enemy here is garlic. As delicious as we humans think it is, it’s one of the most toxic ingredients for dogs, causing an array of problems and discomfort. The second is the bloating from excessive intake of pizza dough.
So play it safe, and keep your food to yourself. Maybe buy some pizza-flavored treats or dog food for your canine friends to enjoy!