Can Dogs Eat Pizza?
Frozen, delivery, homemade, whatever kind of pizza you enjoy is a delicious treat. It’s comfort food for many and a savior when cooking becomes too much to bear for most. Americans eat billions of pizzas every year, and who can blame them? Even humans can hardly resist the appetizing pizza pie.
Pizza is extremely versatile. You can have crusts with garlic butter and gooey cheese, load it down with as many veggies and meats as you please, and top it with even more goodies. Contrary to preconceived notions, pizza can be very nutritious for humans depending on the ingredients. Normal pizza from fast food places and in the frozen section carries the highest caloric content. When we opt for healthier ingredients and more vegetables, the number of calories, carbs, sugar, and sodium decreases.
Nevertheless, mouthwatering pizza is difficult enough for us to resist, and the same can be said for our dogs. The incredible aroma is enough to make our furry friends snatch a slice of pizza clean off our plates. The question is: is it safe for them to eat it?
Why You Shouldn’t Feed Your Dog Pizza
Whether your dog can eat pizza or not is a complicated question. The answer is yes, and no. The biggest problem with dogs eating our pizza is the ingredients. When you strip a pizza down to its main components (crust, sauce, and cheese), each of these is a multifaceted ingredient that may be harmful to dogs.
Crusts essentially contain flour, yeast, sugar, oil, salt, and water. The sugar and salt contents may be too much for your dog to handle in and of itself, especially if it came from the frozen aisle. Store-bought foods tend to be more processed, which means there are higher levels of salt and sugar that could cause serious problems for your dog. If you want to feed your dog pizza, a cauliflower crust is a great place to start because it’s more nutritious and contains more fiber.
The sauce is usually tomato-based, and tomatoes are fine for your dog in small amounts. However, what sometimes makes tomato sauce so yummy for us is the addition of garlic, which is an allium that is extremely poisonous to dogs. Furthermore, the sauce contains extra sugar and salt content as well, adding even more possible dangers. Instead of pizza sauce, try blending fresh tomatoes, carrots, and celery without adding any extra salt.
Cheese is a more docile ingredient, being used in some households as a training tool. However, some cheeses could contain fungi that dogs can be sensitive to, and some others are excessively fatty and overly processed. Fatty foods can give our dogs upset stomachs, to begin with, but too much fat could lead to pancreatitis. A dog’s pancreas helps the rest of the digestive system do its job adequately, and when it has to work overtime, it can become inflamed. In addition, some dogs might be lactose intolerant which would mean you shouldn’t feed them any type of cheese. Dogs can eat mozzarella cheese safely, so a sprinkling of that will be ok if they aren’t lactose intolerant.
Our omnivore dogs love chicken and cooked veggies. If you’re eating a chicken pizza (without garlic) and you decide to pluck off a piece and give it to your dog, they should be fine. The same goes for the bell peppers or spinach on your pizza. Contrarily, if you’re eating pizza that contains onions, you should avoid giving them a taste test.
Onion is an allium like garlic and is very toxic to our dogs. They contain a poisonous principle called N-propyl disulfide that hinders a dog’s ability to produce healthy red blood cells. Their red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to the rest of their bodies, which could make them anemic.
Dogs are notorious meat eaters, so meats like beef, turkey, and chicken are healthy for dogs to eat. They contain essential proteins that are easily digested and help them develop. Processed meats found on pizzas, however, can contain harmful additives. Ham, sausage, and pepperoni on pizza have extra salt and fat content which, you guessed it, can be bad or deadly for a dog to eat. If you want to make homemade pizza for your dog, cooked chicken or ground beef can serve as their meat topping.
Pizza offers a handful of empty calories, which is why even we humans only eat it in moderation. Empty calories just mean it’s full of caloric value without any nutritional value and will just cause weight gain. The most common and preventable disease in dogs is obesity which involves up to 30% of the dog population in North America. Obesity will cause our dogs to have shorter lifespans and a collection of diseases.
The combined salt content in pizza can lead to an array of health issues for dogs. The excessive salt content in a dog’s diet can lead to dehydration and high blood pressure, for starters. Hypertension has its own set of devastating symptoms, like sudden blindness, bloody urine, and heart arrhythmias. Further progression of hypertension and elevated salt intake could cause kidney failure in dogs. Once a dog becomes ill with kidney failure, treatment can become entirely supportive and will be very hard to recover from.
When we get pizza from some of our favorite places, they can be sitting in loads of grease. A little bit of grease may not be enough to harm a dog, but it can be easy for them to overindulge. Greasy foods could cause a few stomach issues to arise, like vomiting and diarrhea. Too much consumption of grease could lead to more dire consequences, like pancreatitis.
Overall, dogs shouldn’t be given slices of pizza off our plates. We can make pizza for them that’s nutritious and delicious with ingredients that aren’t harmful in any way. Homemade pizzas can have as many or as little toppings as they can handle, and can always be substituted with beneficial food choices.
What Your Dog Can Eat – Safe Ingredients
So, can dogs eat pizza? Yes, and no. You can give your dog pizza safely if you make it yourself with healthy ingredients they can digest. Alternative ingredients could include vegetables, fruits, beans, seafood, and some nuts. Dogs can eat berries, melons, apples, cherries, and bananas. Fruits are safe as long as their cores, pits, and stems are removed.
Dogs can have veggies like green beans, kale, broccoli, and carrots. Most veggies are filled with valuable vitamins and minerals that are great for dogs. They can also find lots of healthy nutrients in seafood, like crab, shrimp, lobster; and tuna. These foods will just need to be cooked properly. Another type of food dogs can eat are beans, which also need to be cooked thoroughly before dogs can truly enjoy them. Dogs can eat Lima beans, soybeans, kidney beans, and navy beans.
Dogs can eat peanuts, cashews, and pistachios without worrying about toxicity. Most nuts aren’t toxic to dogs, except macadamia nuts and walnuts. Nevertheless, nuts should not be seasoned, salted, or shelled when given to dogs.
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