Can dogs eat bologna? This simple question requires a more complex answer.
Occasionally giving your dog small amounts of bologna may be acceptable. However, if this becomes a habit, your dog’s health will eventually suffer.
People love bologna for many reasons. It’s tasty, easy to incorporate into the diet, doesn’t require cooking or added preparation, and is less costly than some other cuts of meat. Who hasn’t had a tasty bologna sandwich in their lifetime?
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to go easy when feeding your dog bologna. Unfortunately, this tasty snack delivers very few nutrients and high amounts of fat and nitrates. Too much salt in your dog’s diet is another no-no.
In fact, dogs with food allergies may not tolerate it at all.
Keep reading to fully understand the long-term health consequences of feeding your dog too many luncheon meats, including bologna.
What Nobody Wants to Hear
Bologna (like hot dogs and other luncheon meat) has been coined “mystery meat” for a reason.
The ingredients are byproducts of chicken, beef, pork and sometimes other meat products that are otherwise hard to sell on their own. People eat specific cuts of meat, but are generally not interested in the “whole” animal.
Instead, manufacturers can convert those things into a paste. Flavor is then infused into the paste with peppercorns, pistachios, pickling spice, etc. It may not sound that bad, but the overly processed meat is very high in salt and unhealthy nitrates.
In some brands, corn syrup is added to the mixture to perk up the taste. What you have left is a product with very little nutritional value other than a small amount of protein.
Adding it as a staple to your dog’s diet is a no-no. Your dog needs a specific combination of protein, vitamins, and minerals and amino acids to stay healthy and strong.
The Making of Bologna Sausage
Bologna is made by extracting raw skeletal muscle from the bones of pigs or other livestock. The cut of meat is made up of muscle fibers and connective tissues and is found in many highly processed meats like hotdogs, pre-cooked sausage, and bologna.
Rather than waste meat byproducts like internal organs, manufacturers can incorporate them into pastes like the one used to make bologna.
Curious? It’s easy to find out what has been added to bologna. In fact, the USDA requires the byproducts to be individually named, as well as the species they come from, on the ingredient list.
9 Serious Diet-Related Health Problems in Dogs
Small amounts of bologna are generally okay as long as they don’t make up the majority of the dog’s diet. However, feeding bologna to your dog on a regular basis can cause serious health complications.
Bologna isn’t considered a toxic food for dogs, but the additives, salt, fat, and calories can add up to trouble. Examples of potential health issues include:
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. This interferes with its primary function which is to secrete digestive enzymes. The pancreas is also responsible for dispensing insulin to balance sugar in the body.
This condition can be mild or severe. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and lethargy.
2. HEART DISEASE
Unfortunately, heart disease in dogs is common. The two main heart conditions are myocardial disease and chronic valvular disease.
Myocardial disease is characterized by weakness or thickening of the heart muscle. This causes the heart to pump less efficiently.
Chronic valvular disease is, essentially, a leaking heart valve. As a result of this condition, blood is not pumped around the body in an efficient manner.
Factors that can cause heart disease in dogs include:
- Nutritional deficits
Common symptoms of heart disease in dogs include:
- Frequent coughing
- Difficulty breathing
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Lack of energy
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Swelling of the abdomen
3. KIDNEY DISEASE
Some causes of kidney disease in dogs include the following:
- Cushing’s Disease
- Addison’s Disease
- Renal hypertension
- High blood pressure
- Kidney stones
- Urinary Tract Infections caused by bacteria
- Toxic substances (antifreeze, certain medications, grapes, etc.)
Bologna doesn’t directly cause heart disease or kidney dysfunction in dogs. However, the added sugars, fat, nitrates, and salt can upset the delicate nutritional balance. Over time, these dietary insufficiencies create stress on the immune function.
Lack of vital nutrients over the long haul leave the body unable to adequately fight off disease
Obesity isn’t a disease, but it can wreak havoc on your dog’s health. Too many high fat/high sugar foods can cause a dog to pack on too much weight. While larger dogs may be able to handle a few extra pounds, smaller dogs cannot.
Generally speaking, obesity should be avoided in dogs of any size or age.
Bologna isn’t the direct cause of cancer in humans or dogs. However, the added nitrates, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives used in luncheon meats may contribute to ill health over a period of time.
Theoretically, overly processed foods like bologna are thought to contribute to stomach cancer in humans and dogs.
6. POOR GROWTH (LACK OF NUTRITION IN PUPPIES)
Growing puppies need a very specific diet for their breed. Puppies grow very quickly and need adequate nutrition to support normal bone and muscle growth
7. INTESTINAL BLOCKAGES
An intestinal blockage happens when dogs swallow anything that is too big for their bodies to process through the digestive system. In some cases, this could be toys, organic material (pine cones, etc) or even large amounts of food.
Feeding your dog small amounts of bologna by hand should not cause an intestinal blockage. However, if your dog were to get a hold of a large block of luncheon meat and swallow it whole (it happens!), he/she may wind up with a serious blockage.
The other scenario would be if a dog were to eat too much bologna at one time. This could cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
8. POTENTIAL CHOKING HAZARD
Depending on the size of the dog, luncheon meats like hot dogs can create a choking hazard. Dogs eat like children. They chew once and then swallow whole.
The mere shape of a hotdog is a prime culprit in choking incidents.
This requires immediate first aid to remove the object from the throat. Other foods that pose a choking risk for dogs include cooked pork bones and turkey bones (they can splinter and break apart in the dog’s mouth).
9. ABDOMINAL PAIN
Too much bologna in any diet is probably going to create gastrointestinal upset. It’s okay to treat your dog occasionally, but sometimes the occasional treat turns into a regular habit.
The high amounts of fat, unhealthy nitrates, and high amounts of salt in bologna can quickly make a dog very sick if given in large amounts.
Dog Treats – A Healthy Alternative
The good news is that pet parents can still offer treats to their dogs. Just be sure to do it in a healthy way. Thankfully, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of products designed specifically with a dog’s health in mind.
It’s always tempting to give our furry friend people food. Unfortunately, it’s not always a good idea. Simple things like raw dough can cause serious health consequences for our pets.
A few ideas include:
Knead Love Bakeshop allows you to purchase a “mix” that you can use to create your own healthy dog treats.
One mix makes about 24 large treats.
These treats do not have any preservatives and are made with all-natural ingredients. There is no salt and definitely no nitrates in this product!
Heed Foods were designed to protect your dog’s gut health. It has 20% more protein than competitors and contains very clean, simple ingredients.
There is no corn, wheat, soy, or legumes in this food. In fact, Heed Foods is made with a healthy blend of prebiotics including ph-balancing, poop-firming Thyme Extract, Chicory Root, and Kelp (high fiber).
Step Away From the Baloney
It’s not rocket science to understand how processed meat can be so bad for dogs and humans.
It’s hard not to give in to those sweet little doggy faces, but it’s important to try. Small amounts of these foods shouldn’t pose an immediate health risk to your dog. The consequences of this kind of diet rears it’s ugly head over a period of time.
Many pet owners love to give table scraps (human food) to dogs. It’s a special moment that feels like a celebration of the love we have for our dogs. Unfortunately, it can wreak havoc on the dog’s digestive system.
At the end of the day, the fewer table scraps fed to a dog, the better. Dogs are natural meat lovers. If you still want to give them people food, opt for healthier alternatives like lean meat or unseasoned white turkey meat.
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