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Oh no! You just caught your dog snout-deep in a pizza box, and now you're worried if dogs can eat pizza? If your dog eats pizza crust, will they get sick? Is tomato sauce okay for them to eat? Whether your dog just ate your leftover crusts, or they wolfed down an entire pie, toppings and all, here's what you should know.
Are Pizza Ingredients Bad for Dogs?
Even with low-fat cheeses like mozzarella, the traditional pizza topper, it's never good for them to have too much cheese. Cheese is typically high in fat content and calories, which can lead to feeding too many calories to your pet.
What if your dog just got a big lick of marinara? The good news is that sauce is often made from ripe tomatoes, which are fine for dogs to eat, says the American Kennel Club. It's the green parts, like the leaves and stem, that make dogs sick. However, pizza sauce isn't made from tomatoes alone. Some of its other ingredients, like garlic and herbs, could be harmful to your dog. Additionally, many store-bought pizza sauces have added sugar. Eating too much sugar over time can result in obesity (a risk factor for the development of diabetes) and dental issues, says DogTime.
Crust & Dough
If your dog ate pizza crust, there's room for concern. The crust may contain ingredients that are dangerous for dogs to consume, such as onions, garlic and herbs.
Eating raw pizza dough is a more urgent matter. If your dog sneaked some of your uncooked homemade pizza, head to the veterinarian or emergency animal clinic right away. Raw yeast dough can expand in your pet's stomach, causing serious breathing difficulties and potentially causing tissue tearing. The ASPCA reports that raw bread dough may even cause your dog to become intoxicated. This is due to the ethanol byproduct that yeast produces.
Can Dogs Eat Pizza Toppings?
If the pizza your dog ate included toppings, there's reason to be concerned. Many common pizza toppings, like onions and garlic, are considered unhealthy — and some may be toxic — to dogs. Additionally, pepperoni, sardines and sausages all have high salt and fat. Eating too much salt may raise your dog's blood pressure or aggravate underlying heart disease.
The bottom line is that you should never give pizza to your dog, whether as a meal or a treat. They might experience a slight stomach upset if they're sensitive to dairy, due to the excess fat, but overall in many cases dogs are fine. If your dog ate a large amount of pizza and you're concerned, call your veterinarian to schedule an exam.
Keep in mind that even small bites of human food are packed with extra calories that, over time, can lead to weight problems and a host of issues resulting from excess weight. So, keep your pizza out of your pooch's reach.
Erin Ollila is a pet enthusiast who believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.