Who doesn’t like pizza? There are so many different ways you can enjoy this tasty dish from homemade to carryout to frozen and baked in the oven; made with meats, veggies, vegan, or organic ingredients. Not to mention the different sauces and cheeses you can choose! You know who else likes pizza? Your dog.
Raise your hand if your dog has tried to steal your pizza. My guess is that most dog lovers have had this happen to them. With all of the delicious toppings on pizza, the flavors and smells, pizza is a favorite for many dogs. But is it safe for dogs to eat? It depends.
Can your dog eat pizza?
Let’s ignore the fact, for now, that your dog has probably already eaten some pizza. Instead, let’s consider if it’s safe for him to eat pizza. This depends on the ingredients on your pizza. Common pizza ingredients might include:
- Green peppers
- Ground beef
None of these ingredients will harm your dog with the possible exception of onions and garlic. Since these items are only used in small amounts on a pizza, they pose little risk for most dogs. If your dog manages to eat an entire onion pizza he might experience some problems, however. Otherwise, if your dog eats a small amount of a pizza consisting of some of these common ingredients, it shouldn’t pose much of a risk to him. If you want to be extra careful and you know you will be giving some of your pizza to your dog, order a pizza without any onions or hot peppers. Garlic is usually added to the pizza sauce so unless you order a pizza without sauce, it’s hard to be garlic-free.
Pizza dough can be more problematic, especially if it’s uncooked. Baked dough in a pizza crust should be fine. It is basically just bread. If your dog eats some pizza, including the crust, it shouldn’t be a problem for him as long as he doesn’t eat too much. However, uncooked pizza dough is usually a yeast dough. Not only can eating raw pizza dough make your dog sick but it can also make a human sick. There’s a chance that it carries bacterial contamination such as Salmonella or e. Coli, for one thing. Since it has active dry yeast that has not been cooked, the yeast continues to ferment after your dog eats the dough. That means it ferments in the digestive system. It produces carbon dioxide and alcohol in the body. It can make your dog bloated and in some cases kind of drunk. That might sound humorous but it’s not a laughing matter when you have to rush your dog to the emergency veterinarian because he’s sick and staggering around after eating the pizza dough.
So, a baked piece of pizza crust is okay for your dog but raw pizza dough is definitely a NO.
How much pizza can your dog have? Use your best judgment. Some dogs will steal an entire pizza if they can manage it. (I had one dog who somehow stole a whole frozen pizza out of my oven when I left the door open for it to cool. She didn’t leave a single crumb behind and didn’t make a sound.) Dogs are not very good at eating in moderation so you need to limit how much pizza you let your dog have. If you have a large dog, half a slice or a small slice of pizza might be a good amount. For a smaller dog, you could give a couple of bites.
Unless your dog has a food allergy or sensitivity, most dogs can eat small amounts of pizza and pizza crust without much difficulty, as long as they contain common ingredients. You may want to avoid onions on your pizza if you are concerned about them. We do urge you to avoid letting your dog have raw pizza dough. It can be very dangerous for dogs – and for humans. Use your best judgment about how much pizza you let your dog have.