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Can Dogs Eat Bratwurst? Vet Reviewed Explanation & FAQs

Melissa Gunter

By Melissa Gunter

Can Dogs Eat Bratwurst

Vet approved

Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

BVMS, MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Summer is right around the corner. Soon, splashing in the pool, hanging outside with friends, and cookouts will be all the rage again. For some families, the idea of tossing some tasty food on the grill while enjoying a nice day is an every-weekend endeavor. When the grill is smoking, one of the most popular items cooking on it is often a bratwurst. These tasty sausages go great with popular summer side dishes and are easy to munch while you’re taking part in activities.

But what about our dogs, who love spending the summer by our sides? Can dogs eat bratwurst? Is it healthy for them? Unfortunately, when it comes to the yummy bratwurst, the answer is no, your dog shouldn’t eat them. Like with many foods out there that we enjoy, bratwurst simply isn’t healthy for your dog and can make them quite sick. Let’s learn more about the dangers of feeding your pooch bratwurst so you can learn why this sausage should be avoided.

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What Is Bratwurst?

For those who aren’t familiar with bratwurst, it originated in Germany. It is a sausage that is prepared from cuts of pork, beef, and even veal. Often, bratwurst has a nice smoky flavor to it. Brats are also seasoned with herbs and spices to give them a flavor that sets them apart from other smoked sausages available in stores.

When it comes to preparing bratwurst, there are several options. As we’ve already mentioned, grilling is a popular way to cook them. You can also fry brats on the stovetop or bake them in the oven. Bratwurst and sauerkraut are a favorite in Germany and other countries. It also goes great with many of our favorite summer sides like potato salad, baked beans, and salad.

bratwurst sausages cooking on a grill
Photo Credit: Skitterphoto, Pexels

The 3 Reasons Bratwurst Is Dangerous for Dogs

As most dog parents know, dogs are facultative carnivores that love a nice piece of meat. Knowing this makes us more likely to share a small bite of whatever meat we’ve prepared, whether it be a juicy steak or tasty chicken. While some meats are totally safe for your dog, some aren’t. Sausages, including bratwurst, are one of those types of meat that you shouldn’t offer your pooch. Let’s take a close look at the dangers of letting your dog enjoy this type of meat so you can avoid sharing when it’s on your plate.

1. Fat Content

You may think your dog has an iron stomach and can eat anything, but that isn’t the case. In reality, a dog’s stomach and digestive system are sensitive to changes. Bratwurst, or any sausage for that matter, has a lot of fat content in it, especially saturated fats. Lots of these fats at one time can be difficult for your dog’s digestive system to process and make them sick. A diet that is high in fat can also cause more serious issues for your dogs such as obesity and heart disease. It’s best to avoid foods that are high in fat so your dog can stay happy and healthy instead of sluggish and tired.

2. Salt Content

If you’re a fan of bratwurst or any type of sausage, you are aware of the high salt content inside. Too much salt is not good for us, and it can be even worse for your dog. As a processed food, salt is used to help preserve bratwurst for a longer shelf life. For dogs, this hidden salt can be quite dangerous. Excess salt can cause an electrolyte imbalance for your dog. It can also cause gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and discomfort. Unfortunately, too much salt in one sitting can lead to salt toxicity which is difficult to treat and can be fatal for some dogs. Fortunately dogs would need to eat many bratwurst (about 2.5 links per kg of dog) at a time to reach toxic levels.

grilled bratwurst sausages on a cleaver with garlic, salt and rosemary
Photo Credit: Mironov Vladimir, Shutterstock

3. Added Ingredients

Bratwursts are seasoned before they are sold. You may not notice every flavor in the brat you’re eating, but your dog’s stomach will. Certain seasonings, spices, and herbs are very dangerous for dogs. Two of the most notorious are garlic and onions. You may not chop onions and garlic to add to your bratwurst, but more often than not, there is garlic and onion powder included in the seasoning. These spices are part of the Allium family and are known for causing toxicity and poisoning in dogs. Beyond stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea, exposure to this family of herbs can cause hemolytic anemia and even death in severe cases.

What Do I Do If My Dog Eats Bratwurst?

Some dogs are quite sneaky. We are also not perfect, and can accidentally drop things. If your dog manages to get to a plate of bratwurst or you drop a piece on the ground, it’s time to assess the situation. How much did they eat? How big is your dog? If you have a smaller breed of dog, a small amount of bratwurst could be a problem. If they eat an excessive amount, you should take them to the vet to be checked out. The same goes for large breeds. A random piece hitting the floor shouldn’t cause too much damage, but if they consume a considerable amount, there could be issues.

If your dog accidentally eats bratwurst, watch for these signs and contact your veterinarian if your dog displays them:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
veterinarian examining a sick Rhodesian ridgeback dog
Photo Credit: Zontica, Shutterstock

Are Any Sausages Safe for Dogs?

While you may want your dog to enjoy the same tasty meals you do, it’s not in their best interest when it comes to sausages. Any sausage, including breakfast sausage, smoked sausage, Vienna sausage, and a host of others on the market are high in sodium and fat content. Many use the same spices as bratwurst and pose just as serious of a threat to your dog’s health. Instead of taking the chance, simply avoid sausages altogether to keep your pooch healthier.

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Final Thoughts

If you’re a fan of bratwurst, feeling those big doggy eyes watching as you eat may tempt you to share your meal. In some cases, that may not be a bad thing. When it comes to bratwurst, it is. Dogs don’t do well with this processed food and many of the things hidden inside can lead to serious issues for your pet. Instead of sharing your bratwurst meal, grab your pal some doggy treats that you know are safe.

Featured Photo Credit: mali maeder, Pexels

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