I had a family member with a Dauschhaund. She had fed the dog processed meats, including bologna and hot dogs, so often that they insisted on it every night before bed. A hot dog, which is ironic for a Weiner dog, isn’t it, or a few pieces of bologna were their bedtime snack.
It seemed like a fine idea at first. However, over time, the dog began to have health issues. He was losing his fur, and developing rough scaly patches that were very itchy. His energy levels declined, and he also developed arthritis.
I always wondered if there was a link between the two. Could bologna make a dog sick, or cause skin issues over time?
Can dogs eat bologna?
Dogs can eat bologna. The real question is, is it good for them? There are some foods for humans that are good for dogs, while others can be toxic. Where does bologna fall on the spectrum?
What is Bologna?
Have you ever stopped to wonder exactly what is in your lunchmeat? Bologna is made from a combination of meat and meat parts. Organs like the heart and liver are combined with skeletal muscle that is difficult to eat in its natural form.
It’s highly processed and ground into a paste. Spices, including a lot of salt, are added. Then it’s formed into what we know as bologna.
One slice of bologna contains 86 calories, with 62 of them being from fat. It has 6 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein per slice. It also contains 269 mg of sodium.
Dogs need at least 10% of their diet from protein and at least 5% fat. Most sources recommend much higher amounts of protein and fat in the diet.
However, they do maintain the 2 to 1 ratio. This means for every fat calorie your dog eats, they need two calories from protein.
Another concern with bologna is it has very little nutritional value. It provides a small amount of protein, a high amount of fat, and almost no vitamins and minerals. It’s also high in salt and nitrates, which are also problematic for dogs.
Omega 3s vs. Omega 6
A high fat diet can lead to problems like pancreatitis and obesity. However, that’s not the only issue when it comes to fats.
Both Omega 3s and Omega 6s are essential for your dog’s health. Omega 6s are pro-inflammatory, while Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory. This is one of the many reasons why a balance between them must be achieved for your dog’s health.
A diet too high in Omega 6s can cause inflammation, skin problems, and a host of other health problems.
Just like Omega fatty acids, your dog needs salt in their diet. However, just like humans, too much salt can make them sick. Dogs have a much lower need for salt than we do, because they don’t sweat in the same way we do.
Salt becomes toxic to dogs at 2 grams per pound of body weight. It’s rare for a dog to consume so much salt that they develop salt poisoning, which is potentially fatal. However, regularly eating more salt than recommended can also lead to health problems.
Humans are recommended to consume between 1,500mg – 2,300mg of sodium each day. A dog weighing 33 pounds should consume no more than 200 mg per day. This means that one slice of bologna is over most dogs daily salt allowance.
Keep in mind that dog food and treats also contain sodium, so the added salt in bologna can put them significantly over their daily limit.
Nitrates are also necessary for health. Certain vegetables, including celery and beets, are high in nitrates. Of course, this is much different than the nitrates produced in a lab, and placed in meats.
The good news is that nitrate poisoning is very rare in dogs. It’s common in ruminant animals like cows and sheep, but dogs and humans can tolerate them pretty well in moderate amounts.
High amounts of nitrates have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer in both humans and dogs. Bologna is high in nitrates, because it’s used as a preservative.
What happens if dogs eat bologna?
There are many potential problems that can occur if a dog eats bologna. A few bites of bologna are unlikely to cause problems. However, regular consumption or large amounts can cause health issues for your pooch.
Bologna can cause stomach issues for a few reasons. First, it’s high in fat. High fat foods can cause your dog to have vomiting and diarrhea, particularly if they are not accustomed to high fat foods.
If your pooch isn’t used to consuming bologna or other processed meats, this can also cause stomach upset. Dogs diets need to be changed slowly. Introducing a new food in a large amount is almost sure to cause stomach problems, because their stomach needs time to adjust.
When feeding any new food to your dog, begin with a small amount. If it’s a healthy food, you can increase the amount over time.
High Fat Intake
A diet high in fat can lead to obesity and an increased risk of pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is most common in dogs who eat high amounts of unhealthy fats, or a diet high in fats and carbohydrates.
Symptoms of pancreatitis includevomiting, fever, diarrhea, lethargy, and decreased appetite.
High Omega 6 Intake
A high intake of Omega 6s can cause several problems for your pooch. It’s important that they get the correct ratio of Omega 6s to Omega 3s. A diet high in Omega 6s can cause heart problems, cancer, arthritis, skin problems, bowel diseases, and decreased immune system function.
High Salt Intake
The first sign your dog has had too much salt is extreme thirst. They will crave water, because it helps flush the salt from their system. Salt also pulls water from the cells, leading to dehydration if there’s too much in their system, which also leads to an increased water intake. The higher water intake will lead to increased urination as well.
This can be a sign of mild salt poisoning. If your dog displays other symptoms, the salt poisoning is severe and needs immediate medical treatment.
These symptoms include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Loss of coordination or muscle weakness
These symptoms can lead to coma and death in severe cases.
A diet high in nitrates leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. A single meal that’s high in nitrates is unlikely to be a problem. However, a diet high in nitrates can certainly cause health issues over time.
How much bologna is too much for a dog?
Bologna is never a good idea for a dog. There’s no real nutritional value. However, small amounts are unlikely to b3e harmful when given occasionally. The bottom line is that giving your dog an occasional bite of your bologna sandwich is probably ok, but it’s not a good idea to give them an entire slice, or feed it to them on a regular basis.
What to do if my dog eats bologna?
In most cases, what you need to do is stop feeding your dog bologna. Most dogs who consume bologna are fine in the short term. It’s much more common for them to develop issues when fed bologna on a regular basis.
In either case, let’s take a look at what to do if your dog eats bologna.
Bologna As a Regular Part of the Diet
If you’ve been feeding your dog bologna on a regular basis, it’s best to visit the vet. Chronic consumption of bologna increases your dog’s risk of hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and obesity.
Begin feeding your pooch a healthier diet, and get them a physical. This will allow you to catch any potential health problems before they become more serious.
Stomach Upset Due to Consuming Bologna
The most common short term issue from a dog eating bologna is stomach upset. When dogs eat something that’s not a regular part of their diet, it can cause stomach problems.
This is why if you are changing your dog’s diet, you should change it slowly, instead of all at once.
Mild vomiting and diarrhea due to dietary indiscretion, or eating things they shouldn’t, can be treated at home. If they are experiencing dehydration, bloody diarrhea, or fever, call your vet.
Famotide can help calm your dog’s stomach. They can take .5 mg per pound of body weight. A 20 pound dog can have 1 10 mg tablet. Do not exceed more than 20 mg at a time for dogs weighing 40 pounds or more. The dose can be repeated every 12 hours.
Pepto can also calm their stomach. Give 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds. Do not exceed 4 teaspoons for dogs weighing over 40 pounds. The dosage can be repeated in 6-8 hours.
High Omega 6
If you suspect your dog’s diet is too high in Omega 6s, you’ll need to reduce them and add more Omega 3s. Omega 3s are found in fatty fish, including sardines and tuna. Omega 3 supplements for dogs are also available.
Salt poisoning is rare, but it’s important to know what to do if your dog experiences it. If your dog is experiencing mild symptoms, monitor them and offer plenty of water. Severe symptoms must be treated by a vet immediately. The survival rate for severe salt poisoning is 50%.
If you are concerned about your dog’s symptoms, bring them to the vet immediately, or give them a call. Your vet will discuss your dog’s symptoms, and let you know if you should bring them in for treatment.