Can My Dog Eat Pizza?

Should you really split that slice? 🍕

dog and pizza

If you ever leave a pizza box out, chances are your dog will try to get into it.

If he does, what happens now? Can dogs even eat pizza?

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Stefanie Schwartz, a veterinary behaviorist at Pet Behavior Medicine and Civilized Pet in California, to find out if there’s a way to safely share a slice with your BFF.

Should dogs eat pizza?

While a plain cheese pizza itself isn’t toxic, it’s not exactly the best snack for your dog. Plus, some pizza toppings can be unhealthy, or dangerous, for dogs.

“It's a very heavy load of carbohydrates and fatty cheeses,” Dr. Schwartz told The Dodo. “Depending on what the toppings are, [it can also have] spicy, fatty meat [like] pepperoni.”

If you find yourself tempted to share a slice with your pup, it’s important that you understand any dietary limitations your dog might have — and never let him eat too much.

“It's always a question of knowing your dog and what they can digest,” Dr. Schwartz said. “If you want to give it to them, a tiny little bit as a special treat, then I think that's OK, but stay away from the cheese and the toppings.”

Is pizza bad for dogs?

Pizza can be particularly problematic for dogs with digestive issues and food sensitivities.

“That can cause problems in dogs who have sensitivities to wheat flour, sensitivity to dairy [or] sensitivity to spices,” Dr. Schwartz said. “Some dogs just don't tolerate spice.”

Pizza can have a ton of fat, so even if your dog doesn’t have any dietary restrictions, it can still cause him issues.

“There's high [amounts of] fat just from the cheese,” Dr. Schwartz said. “Even if they don't have dairy or gluten issues or wheat sensitivities ... there's still high fat in that cheese, and so dogs can get pancreatitis.”

Can dogs eat pizza crust?

Dogs can have a little, tiny piece of pizza crust every once in a while, but too much can be unhealthy.

You don’t want to bog down your pup with a ton of carbs, which is really what pizza crust is all about.

And it’s especially not a good idea to slide your dog a piece of crust if he’s sensitive to wheat or gluten.

“Personally, I don't eat the pizza crust and I give my dogs a tiny, little taste of that, which they look forward to,” Dr. Schwartz said. “But I don't give them any of the meat of that pizza ... that has the cheese and the sauce and garlic.”

Can dogs eat pizza sauce?

When trying to figure out if your dog can eat pizza sauce, it really depends on the sauce.

Some pizza sauces are OK for dogs, while others can be potentially toxic.

“Tomato sauce is, in theory, very healthy,” Dr. Schwartz said. “It's when they start putting in the high salt and the flavoring and the garlic spices that it could become an issue.”

That means most store-bought jars and the stuff that comes on your delivery pizza aren’t the best options.

However, a plain, low-sodium tomato sauce will be way easier on your dog’s system.

Pizza toppings your dog shouldn’t eat

If you’re planning on slipping your pup a tiny bit of that pizza you ordered, there are a couple toppings you absolutely can’t give your dog.

“Certainly not onion and not garlic,” Dr. Schwartz said. That’s because onion and garlic are both toxic to dogs.

You should also avoid giving your pup any toppings that are heavily processed or ones that are spicy. (So basically, most of them.)

“I would stay away from the spicy pepperonis,” Dr. Schwartz explained. “Even though some people are proud that their dogs like spicy food, it's still not ideal for their digestive systems, and can be very irritating.”

Pizza toppings your dog can eat

If you like the idea of peeling some pizza toppings off your own slice to sneak to your BFF, just make sure you order ones that are actually safe for him to eat.

“Stick to the bland toppings,” Dr. Schwartz said. “Just simple, simple foods that are processed as little as possible.”

These can include things like:

  • Plain, unseasoned chicken
  • Pineapple
  • Bell peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Plain, no-salt tomato paste

How to make dog-friendly pizza

Since most pizza places don’t have low-carb, low-fat or unseasoned ingredients, you could always take matters into your own hands with a DIY dog-friendly pizza.

According to Dr. Schwartz, using a cauliflower pizza crust could actually be an easier-to-digest option than typical crust. (Just make sure to check the ingredients for anything potentially toxic.)

Since fat is the problematic part of pizza cheese, you could always try an option with a smaller fat content. And don’t forget to steer clear of super salty pizza sauce and toppings.

“There's no-salt tomato paste, just plain,” Dr. Schwartz explained. “And you could do, like, low-fat cheese and boiled chicken. You know, something very simple, and broccoli. That would probably be most dogs' fantasy.”

If you’d rather stay on the safer side — and really feel like owning your Super-Extra Pet Parent (TM) title — you could always top a cauliflower crust with food designed specifically for your dog.

“You can make a dog food pizza if you wanted to, with canned dog food,” Dr. Schwartz said.

Like these Pedigree Choice Cuts from Amazon for $11.64

Whether you decide to make your pup the healthiest pizza possible or sneak him a piece of crust from your takeout box, it’s important to remember to only give him teeny-tiny amounts.

“Good things in moderation,” Dr. Schwartz said.

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