Can Dogs Eat Bologna Meat Benefits and 7 Potential Side Effects

Can Dogs Eat Bologna Meat? Benefits and 7 Potential Side Effects

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

It’s technically true that dogs can eat bologna meat and it’s not toxic to them, meaning a small amount of it will not cause immediate harm to them. But dog owners should only give their dogs bologna sausages as a rare treat and in moderation.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Eat Bologna Meat? Benefits and 7 Potential Side Effects“.

Every day many people eat bologna as part of their sandwiches but can dogs eat bologna meat and is it safe for dogs to consume bologna meat? Are there any side effects to giving dogs bologna sausage? What are the benefits of doing so? Lets explore the evidence further.

Can Dogs Eat Bologna Meat Benefits and 7 Potential Side Effects

The answer to the question “can I give my dog bologna meat?” is YES – dogs can eat bologna sausage without any problems as long as you give it in moderation. This product should not be a staple in the diet of your dog mostly because of some questionable ingredients.

Dogs or humans should not eat bologna meat in general as it is not healthy or nutritious. However dogs do enjoy the taste of bologna and if it is given as an occasional treat it is completely safe. Having said that there are some things you should know about this product.

What is bologna?

Bologna meat or bologna sausage (sometimes referred to as baloney) originated in Bologna however it is known there as mortadella. A typical bologna is a thick sausage flavored with fats pistachios and peppercorns.

Most of us think of bologna as luncheon meat suitable for sandwiches. As a ‘meat paste’ bologna sausages are classified in the same category as hot dogs in the US.

This is what American bologna sausage looks like:

A combination of meat ingredients turned into a paste is how American bologna is sometimes referred to as “mystery meat.” Although the end product may taste good it isnot filled with the healthiest ingredients.

Its usually best to steer clear of bologna meat if you want your dog to have a healthy nutrient-rich diet. Like most other processed meats (pastrami salami hot dogs etc. ) it has been altered through a variety of processes to enhance and preserve its flavor.

Research suggests that people and dogs do not benefit from eating processed meat:

  1. They increase chance of cancer and cardiovascular disease
  2. They cause high blood pressure and heart disease
  3. They are linked to chronic diseases like COPD
  4. They may cause stomach and bowel cancer 
  5. They contain nitrosamines that increase risk of cancer
  6. They are high in salt and may cause hypertension and cancer 

The following is a very brief overview of the science of bologna meat and that of all other processed meats that this sausage is a part of. You can see that there are many reasons why you should not consume bologna meat even if it is not directly harmful.

But do dogs benefit from bologna meat and what specific considerations should dog owners keep in mind if they feed their pets bologna meat? Read on for more information.

Can Dogs Eat Bologna Meat?

In light of all the above can dogs eat bologna sausage in general? Its technically true that dogs can eat bologna meat and its not toxic to them meaning a small amount of it will not cause immediate harm to them.

But dog owners should only give their dogs bologna sausages as a rare treat and in moderation.

The meat in Bologna is processed and filled with fats and salts. Accordingly its generally best to stay away from this meat altogether as evidenced by the above scientific evidence.

The following are some of the most common contents of bologna sausages:

  • Usually made of pork chicken and beef products
  • It has high levels of fat
  • Moderate protein amounts
  • Its high in calories
  • Elevated levels of nitrates
  • Its high in sodium
  • Little to no vitamins and minerals
  • Sometimes has corn syrup

Bologna meat does not provide any nutritional value to dogs aside from the little protein it contains. Despite its lack of resemblance to the real meat its often seen as a cheap way to include meat in your diet or as “soul” food.

1 Benefit of Bologna Meat for Dogs

Given everything I have mentioned above I think its pretty clear that dogs should not eat bologna. I feel however that I must mention one small sembenefit of bologna sausage:

1. Bologna meat provides a moderate level of protein

In general bologna sausages contain moderate amounts of protein usually more than an egg. As your dogs body builds cells and tissue it needs amino acids from protein to do so.

Bologna meat can provide your dog with only one benefit: protein. Other food options are healthier and safer for dogs and provide as much protein as canned food. Overall this small “benefit” of bologna meat does not outweigh the potential side effects.

“So can I give my dog bologna sausage?”

Technically you can feed your dog bologna meat. Due to bolognas poor nutritional quality and higher risk of diseases down the road it is not recommended to feed it to dogs.

Having said that if your dog ate a piece of bologna by chance it is not a problem. There is no danger to dogs from bologna meat and they can digest it easily. You should still avoid feeding your dog bologna sausages on a regular basis.

Bottom Line: Bologna meat is not toxic to pets but its low nutritional content and unhealthy ingredients should keep it out of your pets diet.

7 Potential Side Effects of Bologna Meat for Dogs

(and most other processed meats)

The many different harmful effects of eating processed meats like bologna sausage have already been discussed many of which have been proven in studies. Following are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to bologna meat for dogs:

1. The high fat and calorie content in bologna meat is unhealthy for dogs

The high calories in Bologna come from the fat content and those are not the good fats your dog needs.

Similar to hot dogs bologna is made from low-quality meat leftovers lard and other ingredients that you would not eat on your own. A serving of two ounces of bologna is almost as fattening as a cup of ice cream.

Several diseases such as cancer heart disease chronic diseases and weight gain have been linked to the consumption of this type of food.

2. Nitrates may cause serious illnesses and cancers in dogs

In processed meats like bologna sausage nitrates are a chemical compound that gives cured meat its pink color and preserves its flavor and smell.

In addition they are used as preservatives to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in meat. Nitrate is naturally occurring and can benefit humans and dogs. Nevertheless nitrates found in processed meats have been linked to an increased risk of digestive and bowel cancer.

3. Bologna meat is too high in sodium chloride for dogs

Bologna sausage for example contains high levels of sodium chloride also known as table salt which can be harmful to dogs if consumed in large quantities.

Although used to improve flavor too much salt can lead to serious illnesses in dogs such as hypertension and heart disease according to studies. A high sodium intake is associated with a greater risk of stomach cancers and ulcers.

4. Too much bologna meat can lead to pancreatitis in dogs

It is an inflammation of the dogs pancreas that interferes with its primary function which is to secrete digestive enzymes and dispense insulin to balance blood sugar levels.

Your dog can suffer from mild pancreatitis or severe life-threatening conditions. Vomiting diarrhea fever abdominal pain and lethargy are symptoms of pancreatitis. The condition is very common mainly because people give their pets bad food.

The chances of recurrence of canine pancreatitis are high in dogs who recover from this illness and they suffer for life from it.

5. Gastrointestinal distress is a potential issue for the dog

Dogs are not accustomed to or biologically prepared to digest processed meats such as bologna sausage which is full of fat and salt.

If you consume too much bologna meat you may experience stomach upset stomach pain vomiting or diarrhea. Of course this is the least of your concerns if you give too much of this food.

6. Corn syrup is an additive in some bologna meat

The manufacturers of some bologna sausages add corn syrup to make the meat taste better and this is another very serious health concern for dogs.

Too much corn syrup can cause dogs to develop serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease because corn syrup is made from corn starch.

7. BHA and BHT may cause serious health problems in dogs

Among the synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives in some processed meats such as bologna meat are BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene).

In both humans and animals links have been found between BHA and BHT and liver kidney and thyroid issues. “Fake” antioxidants may also have an impact on neurological function as well as contribute to the development of cancer.

Can My Dog Eat Bologna Meat?

As a result dogs are not toxic and are unlikely to suffer health problems from eating bologna sausages (unless given too much).

Even so bologna is not the best snack option for dogs since it is too salty for them. Besides being high in fat nitrates salt and sugar bologna meat also contains a lot of processed stuff which makes it not a good treat for dogs.

Research has shown that processed meats such as bologna sausage may cause multiple illnesses diseases and cancers so it is best to avoid them altogether.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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