Pizza is one of the most famous and popular dishes in the world. Every year, billions of pizzas are eaten worldwide, from ready-to-eat to gourmet at posh Italian restaurants. For many people, pizza is their favorite food, but can dogs eat it too?
Pizza is usually unsuitable for dogs and can even be dangerous. The pizza dough contains sugar and salt, which are unhealthy for dogs. The pizza sauce often contains garlic and onions, both of which are toxic to dogs. And many toppings are also unhealthy for dogs, not to mention high in fat. Ready-to-eat pizza, in particular, is not a good idea for dogs. And raw pizza dough can even be dangerous for them.
Of course, if you like pizza as much as most people do, you’ll want your dog to enjoy it. However, it is not recommended to do that at all.
Even though different pizzas differ significantly in toppings, even the essential ingredients harm dogs. Therefore, it is better to do without them entirely.
This article will discuss which parts of the pizza harm dogs, why they are problematic, and whether making a dog-friendly pizza yourself is possible.
We also explain what you should do if your dog eats a pizza slice.
Why is Pizza Bad for Dogs?
Pizza usually consists of dough, sauce, and various toppings. All these parts of the pizza can be problematic for dogs.
That’s why it’s vital to know what your pizza is made of and ensure it doesn’t contain toxic ingredients that could land your dog at the vet.
Why is Pizza Dough Bad for Dogs?
A traditional pizza dough usually contains wheat flour, yeast, salt, sugar, water, and oil.
Sugar and salt are the primary problems for dogs; both are not good in excessive amounts.
Especially in ready-to-eat pizza or pizza from delivery service, sugar and salt can be present in large quantities. This makes both varieties of pizza even less suitable for dogs.
Why is Pizza Sauce Bad for Dogs?
Pizza is traditionally spread with a tomato sauce that usually contains garlic and possibly onions, spices, sugar, and salt.
These ingredients are all bad for dogs. Both garlic and onions are actually toxic to dogs.
When dogs ingest garlic or onions, their red blood cells are damaged or destroyed, and the dog becomes anemic, meaning it has too few red blood cells.
Anemia can cause dogs to become lethargic, tired, and stop eating their food.
Sugar and salt are only safe for dogs in small amounts and add up quickly on the average pizza because they are often added to the dough, sauce, and toppings.
In addition, the spices in the sauce, such as chili, can cause stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
What Pizza Toppings Are Bad for Dogs?
There are many different pizza toppings, and there are almost no limits to the imagination when topping a pizza. However, most toppings are rich, greasy, highly processed, and contain much sugar and salt.
Salami, for example, is a fatty and salty processed meat that is unhealthy for dogs.
Fresh vegetables sound good, but when pizzas are prepared, they are often cooked in rich oils and with spices that irritate a dog’s stomach.
What Pizza Toppings Are Suitable for Dogs?
Cheese is found on almost every pizza, and mozzarella is often used. Fortunately, most cheeses are safe for dogs. However, never give your dog blue cheese because it is unsafe for them.
Dogs usually like cheese and can eat a small amount of it without hesitation.
Exceptions are dogs with lactose intolerance or dogs with sensitive stomachs. If you are unsure if cheese is appropriate for your dog, it is best to ask your veterinarian.
For most dogs, cheese is suitable as a treat for training or to hide medication. Mozzarella is a particularly good type of cheese for dogs because it is low in fat and salt.
So you can take the cheese off the pizza and feed it to your dog. Ensure the cheese is not mixed with other pizza toppings or pizza sauce. In that case, it is better not to share it with your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Pizza Dough?
Raw pizza dough contains yeast that ferments and causes the dough to rise. When the dog eats raw pizza dough, the dough continues to grow in the dog’s stomach.
This can cause the stomach to bloat, cutting off blood supply to vital organs.
If the dog spends a lot of time eating, it can take up so much space inside the dog that the chest can’t properly expand, making it difficult to breathe.
Similar to bread dough, the fermentation of yeast in raw pizza dough produces alcohol. Dogs are more sensitive to alcohol than humans and can suffer alcohol poisoning if they eat raw dough.
Therefore, if you make homemade pizza, keep your dog away from the dough while it rises. Make sure your dog can’t get to the dough.
Call your veterinarian if you are concerned that your dog may have eaten raw dough.
Can You Make Pizza for Dogs Yourself?
In theory, you could make a dog-friendly pizza yourself, but in practice, it’s not very realistic.
You would have to make a pizza with only dog-friendly ingredients, a sugar- and salt-free dough, no sauce, and plain cooked meat and vegetables.
But is it worth the effort? Dogs don’t perceive their food as we do, and your dog wouldn’t get more excited about the food just because it’s shaped like a pizza.
Also, a whole pizza would be way too much for one dog. So you would probably have to throw some of it away since such a dog pizza would not be very inviting to humans.
Your dog is just as grateful for plain cooked vegetables or meat without dough underneath. And that’s much easier to prepare in appropriate portions and serve to your dog.
So, it is possible to make dog-friendly pizza, but it’s unnecessary, and your dog won’t really appreciate it.
What Should You Do When Dogs Eat Pizza?
Raw pizza dough is dangerous and can quickly lead to serious health problems. Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog has eaten raw dough.
If your dog eats a piece of ready-made pizza, it can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. If he has eaten a lot of pizza, it is a good idea to seek advice from your veterinarian.
Your dog may need treatment to induce vomiting so he doesn’t get worse or to manage symptoms like stomach pain or diarrhea.
High-fat foods like pizza can trigger pancreatitis. You should see your veterinarian if your dog feels unwell after eating unfamiliar or inappropriate food.
It is very unlikely that a small bite of pizza will cause immediate harm to your dog. Therefore, it might be tempting to make an exception.
Please think twice about this. The more often you give your dog an unhealthy treat, the more likely you are to harm him.
Unhealthy foods can lead to various diseases and shorten your dog’s life. So don’t give your dog pizza. Many alternative foods are just as delicious but harmless.
Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Pizza?
Pizza is not a good choice as a meal dough for dogs or a suitable treat for in-between meals.
Most pizzas contain several ingredients that are unhealthy for dogs. All parts of the pizza, from the dough to the toppings, contain ingredients unsuitable for dogs.
So, it’s best to stick to healthier options if you want to treat your dog to a snack.