When it comes to cooking, we usually make a little extra for our dogs – especially if we are cooking meat. There are some things we cook that aren’t healthy for our dogs to eat and we need to make sure that we’re keeping our four-legged friends as healthy as we possibly can.
If your home is anything like most with a dog, you know that the dog will always follow you to the kitchen and want a piece of whatever you’re eating.
Lunchmeat is a common item in many of our fridges, and many times we don’t think twice about putting it on our sandwiches or snacking on a couple pieces here and there.
Can dogs eat lunchmeat?
The overall verdict on your dog eating lunchmeat of any kind is no – it’s really not good for them to eat.
Why shouldn’t my dog eat lunchmeat?
Lunchmeat is full of additives, fillers, sodium and nitrates that are not good for your dog to consume. Lunchmeat isn’t specifically designed for dogs to eat, so if you want to make sure your dog is eating the most nutritionally sound food for them lunchmeat isn’t it.
Why are the ingredients in lunchmeat harmful for dogs?
There are some ingredients in lunchmeat that are harmful to humans and dogs, alike. Even though dogs are technically carnivores, lunchmeat is full of additives and fillers that meat isn’t supposed to have in it.
Some of these fillers and additives can cause cancer, heart disease and even diabetes in dogs if your dog consumes too much of them. Since dogs don’t always know when they should stop eating, they can eat far more than 50 grams in just one sitting.
Where does 50 grams come from? Well, if dogs eat more than 50 grams of lunchmeat in one day it can greatly increase their chances of developing cancer.
Which ingredients in lunchmeat are harmful for dogs?
Lunchmeat is meat, but there are also a large number of other ingredients in it that change the nutritional value and these additional ingredients make it harmful for dogs.
This is put into the meat to enhance the taste of the meat. Dogs don’t need to consume extra glucose and sugar, and consuming too much of it can actually lead to diabetes in dogs.
To help preserve the meats and give them a longer shelf life, lunchmeats contain a large amount of salt. For us, salt is a very tasty ingredient and can make us want more of a certain food.
For dogs, though, they don’t do well with even a little bit of salt in their diet. Salt will make your dogs thirstier, which leas them to consume a lot more water than normal and drink so much they bloat.
For dogs, salt is not a natural ingredient in their diet and it’s important to keep the amount to a minimum.
Some lunchmeats have extra spice added to them to make them taste better or add extra flavour, but these spices may be troublesome for your dog. They might not be able to digest the spices very well and it could up giving them some tummy troubles.
What many dog owners aren’t aware of is that some kinds of lunchmeat contain listeria. It may not affect us as humans, and so we can consumer the lunchmeat on a regular basis, but for your dog this isn’t good news.
Lunchmeat with listeria in it can cause listeriosis in your dog. These bacteria can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and fever in your dog. In some of the rarer and more serious cases, these bacteria can cause severe neurological issues in your dog.
What to do if your dog eats lunch meat?
Accidents happen, and we know dogs can sometimes get into foods they aren’t supposed to. If your dog accidentally consumes a bunch of lunchmeats there’s no need to rush them to the emergency vet – they can stay at home.
The most common side effect of your dog consuming too much lunchmeat is an upset tummy and diarrhea. Diarrhea on its own isn’t dangerous, but if it continues on it can lead to sever dehydration and cause your dog to lose electrolytes.
In some cases, you can give your dog a small amount of Pepto Bismol, but you should absolutely always check with your vet to make sure this option is right for your dog and it is safe to give.
If your dog continues to have digestive issues or digestive distress, you can potentially change their diet for a couple days to help. Your vet may prescribe something like a plain, cooked chicken and rice diet to help settle down their stomach.
Additionally, you can add in some canned pumpkin to your dog’s food – provided it doesn’t have any added spices – as it can help with digestive distress.
If your dog has consumed a lot of lunchmeat they will likely very thirsty and want to drink a lot of water. It’s important to let them drink, but make sure they don’t gulp down their water too quickly as drinking too much too quickly can cause your dog to bloat.
Another over the counter option for dogs with upset diarrhea or digestive troubles is tums. You need to speak with your vet about whether this option is right for your dog, and the dosage you should be giving.
Tums help to reduce the amount of stomach acid your dog will be experiencing after consuming too much lunchmeat.
Are there any lunchmeats safe for dogs?
It’s nice to be able to give your dog a little treat once in a while – they love meat and they love sharing in what you have so if there is an option for a dog safe lunchmeat then why not?
Most lunchmeats are made with similar ingredients: large amounts of salt, corn syrup and spices – all of which are not really healthy for your dog to consume.
If you regularly make sandwiches with lunchmeat and want to share a little with your best friend, you can give your dog some lunchmeat. It’s important that you only give your dog a tiny, tiny amount and to make sure they don’t consume it on a regular basis.
As long as it’s not a regular thing and they don’t eat entire packages of it then your dog should be just fine. It is important to note, though, that every dog is unique and your dog may have special dietary requirements so if you have any concerns check with your vet before feeding your dog lunchmeat.
Turkey is a very common kind of lunch meat, and when it comes to feeding your dog it could be one of the better choices. Turkey, usually, has a tenth the amount of salt that other lunchmeats like ham have and it takes less processing to make it into a lunchmeat.
Additionally, dogs need a diet with adequate protein and sliced turkey can have as much as 25g of protein in every 100g serving. Turkey lunchmeat is also much lower in fat content than many of the other options for deli meats, so it is considered to be one of the leaner and healthier meats available.
Finally, when compared to meats like salami, turkey is very low in salt content so your dog is less likely to consume as much water as quickly and you can avoid your dog bloating.
What about cheese slices?
Depending on the kind of cheese you’re eating, you can share it with your dog. When it comes to cheese slices, you will want to make sure they are made of real cheese. Cheese, though, should be given in moderate amounts as too much of it can cause constipation in dogs just like it can in humans.
As dog owners, we definitely want what is best for our four-legged best friends. They want to share in everything we do and quite often follow us to the kitchen to see what we’re doing, so why not share our little snack with them?
For the most part, lunchmeat shouldn’t be shared with your dog. In small amounts, though, your dog can definitely have a little treat now and then.
There are some kinds of lunchmeat – like ham or salami – that aren’t really good for your dog as they’re the highest in fat and salt content. Other options, like sliced turkey, has more protein in it and less grams of fat per serving so it is a healthier option for your dog should you want to give it to them as an occasional treat.
Keeping our dogs healthy while giving them occasional treats will make life a little more exciting for your furry friend, but we want to make sure their treats aren’t going to cause long term health issues or make them sick.
If you have any questions about what kind of treats are best for your dog specifically, you can always contact your vet to talk about their diet and to ask for recommendations.