That was until I noticed that she would be lethargic after a few hours. I didn’t make the connection at first, but the second time it happened, my gut told me something was wrong.
The following weekend, she actually vomited. Alarmed, I called up our vet and asked just one question: Can dogs have pizza crust?
His answer was simple: Pizza crust is not just bad but bordering on dangerous for dogs.
Why Is Pizza Crust Dangerous for Dogs to Eat?
Technically, pizza crust is similar to bread in the sense that dough is the main ingredient and baking is the cooking process.
However, pizza crust contains significantly higher amounts of salt and oil. Some recipes even call for garlic, onions, and herbs not just as toppings but also in the crust itself.
All these ingredients can cause a myriad of health issues for your canine. These range from mild to serious, such as stomach upset, inflamed pancreas or pancreatitis, and seizures.
Side Effects of Oils and Fats
Olive oil, commonly used in making the pizza crust, is actually good for your furry baby’s health. But when they have a sensitive tummy, it can irritate their gastrointestinal tract. The good thing is that it results in vomiting and diarrhea, which expel the ingested substance.
Unfortunately, pizza dough requires animal and vegetable fats for volume, taste and tenderness. Some examples are lard, margarine, tallow, shortening, and butter.
Consuming a large amount of fats could result in inflammation of your pet’s pancreas. Regular consumption of pizza crust leads to an accumulation of oils, and they may suffer from pancreatitis. Symptoms of this condition include fever, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
The Link Between Pizza Crust and Canine Obesity
The high carbohydrate content in pizza crust provides low to zero nutritional value. It may make your pet feel full without any room left for food that offers more health benefits.
Regular consumption of pizza crust, or eating plenty of it at one time, may make your pet overweight. Too much carbs might not be readily burned as fuel for energy, and the excess will be stored in their body as fat.
Obesity can induce other, more serious health issues in your four-legged pal, such as joint pain, diabetes, and liver problems. If your pet is a Labrador retriever or a pug, then they are particularly vulnerable to becoming overweight. So are senior dogs.
Can Eating Pizza Crust be Life-Threatening for Dogs?
The short and simple answer is yes. However, it depends on a case-to-case basis as some canines are stronger and have a higher tolerance than others.
Generally, though, puppies and older dogs are more vulnerable to illnesses. So, if you own one, you should be more careful with what you feed them. I recommend not giving them pizza crust at any time.
Below are three instances when you should be concerned that your loyal companion might have an adverse reaction to pizza crust.
Garlic and Onion Toxicity
These bulbs are basic toppings on pizza, but some bakers include them in the dough for more flavor.
Completely safe for humans, garlic and onion in fresh, dried, or powdered form may be harmful to canines. And if your fur baby is particularly vulnerable, even a small amount can cause great damage to its health.
Symptoms of garlic or onion toxicity include lethargy, red or brown urine, hyper-salivation, weakness, pale gums, incoordination, vomiting, and diarrhea.
What is it about these plants that make them toxic to dogs? Both belong to the Allium species, which also includes leeks, shallots, chives, and scallions. They can harm your pet’s red blood cells and render them incapable of carrying oxygen to the rest of their body.
Eating garlic or onion may also cause your pet anemia, or a low count of red blood cells, which may occur a few days after ingestion. When the condition becomes acute, it could lead to damage to their internal organs, or organ failure, and maybe even death.
Other serious health problems your dog can experience from garlic and onion consumption are difficulty breathing and severe dehydration. If they don’t receive treatment at once, they may go into a coma and then eventually die.
Possible Salt Poisoning
Too much sodium may cause water retention in your furry pal’s blood vessels, which spikes their blood pressure.
But a more serious effect of too much salt is toxicity. Yes, salt can be poisonous and potentially lethal to dogs. If your fur baby exhibits lethargy, excessive thirst, and incoordination following pizza crust consumption, contact your vet right away.
Other symptoms of salt poisoning are vomiting and diarrhea, or seizure, tremors, and coma in severe cases. When these happen, call your Pet Poison Helpline immediately for advice on life-saving remedies.
Eating Raw Pizza Dough – Go to the Vet ASAP!
If your dog consumes raw pizza dough, consider it an emergency situation. The raw yeast content will likely rise in their stomach, causing it to expand, and then make breathing difficult. Tearing of stomach tissues may also occur.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), raw bread dough can be toxic to dogs due to its ethanol byproduct. Ethanol intoxication can cause hypothermia, tremors, seizures, and coma in canines.
Are Pizza Toppings Safer for Dogs to Eat Than the Crust?
Unfortunately, the answer to this too is no. A lot of these ingredients are normally okay for your dog to eat, including meat and vegetables. However, they become unhealthy when topped on pizzas because their non-fresh versions are used.
Here are some examples of pizza toppings you shouldn’t give to your four-legged best friend, and why they can be harmful to their health:
High Sodium in Processed Meat and Preserved Veggies
Pepperoni, sausage, and ham are processed with large amounts of salt in order to extend their shelf life. As I’ve mentioned above, too much salt can lead to gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, obesity, and even heart disease in your pet.
And it’s not just meat that pizza manufacturers need to preserve. Pickled vegetables and tomato sauce are equally high in sodium. Salt also makes these ingredients flavorful and aromatic. It’s one of the reasons why pizza is irresistible.
If the salt content in pizza crust can be lethal to your dog, imagine what the salt in processed meat and preserved veggies might do to them. Pizza dough is relatively fresher than its toppings, which contain sodium for a longer time.
Based on this comparison, it’s possible that your pet will react negatively to pizza toppings faster than they would to the crust.
The Problem with Cheese
Pizza is synonymous with cheese. Personally, I think that pizza without cheese isn’t pizza, plain and simple. My beagle, Chelsea, would strongly agree. The question is, how does cheese impact her health?
As a rule, cheese is not bad for your dog. On the contrary, it contains nutrients their body needs, such as Vitamins A and B complex, protein, calcium, and essential fatty acids.
In fact, some trainers even use cheese as treats to motivate dogs in training. It is also very effective in disguising medication.
However, the type of cheese you feed your pet matters, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Cheese with high-fat content can cause your dog to gain weight when consumed often, and this could lead to obesity. I also mentioned in some paragraphs above how too much fat may bring about pancreatitis in your fur baby.
Another issue with dogs eating cheese is lactose intolerance. For doggies with high sensitivity, the adverse reactions could be severe even if they consume just a little. They will find it difficult to digest cheese and may experience diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestive issues.
Unsure about your four-legged companion’s level of tolerance to lactose? Give them a small cube the first time they eat cheese. Then, observe their reaction and check for symptoms of intestinal upset. If they take it well, you can relax. But experts advise giving your canine cheese in moderation.
There is a way around all this: Know your cheese. Choose low-fat variations like cottage cheese, mozzarella, and soft goat cheese. Cottage cheese, in particular, has lower sodium, fat, and lactose content. This means the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and intestinal upset decreases if you choose to feed them cottage cheese.
Oh, and one more thing: Some cheeses are mixed with herbs, garlic, and onions. And we both already know how these plants can be dangerous to your dog.
Most people I know love pizza. I do, too, and so does my Chelsea. But I love her more than all the pizzas in the world. And now I know it’s not something I should be feeding her. So, I choose to indulge my craving outside our home.
There are so many treats we can still enjoy eating together. Chicken, eggs, and broccoli are a few of our favorites. We’re also both happier and more energetic with our healthy food!