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Can Dogs Eat Kielbasa? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQs

Chantelle Fowler

By Chantelle Fowler

Can Dogs Eat Kielbasa

Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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Kielbasa sausage can be a lovely addition to your casseroles or charcuterie boards. This Poland-made pork or pork/beef smoked sausages have a delicious, distinctive garlic taste with just the right amount of salt and spices. So, the next time you’re making a kielbasa-based meal, you might wonder if you can share a bite or two with your very interested puppy-eyed dog.

Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Keep reading to learn more about why dogs shouldn’t eat kielbasa.

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The 3 Reasons Dogs Should Not Eat Kielbasa

No, dogs shouldn’t eat kielbasa as much as we’re sure they want to. Let’s look a little more closely at why this food should strictly be for human consumption only.

Grilling Kielbasa
Image Credit: Jumpstory

1. Sodium & Fat

This Polish sausage is high in sodium and fat. According to My Food Data, a two-ounce serving of kielbasa contains 16.7 grams of fat and 593.1 mg of sodium.1 This means that this portion has 21% of the daily recommended value of fat and 26% of the daily recommended value of sodium for adult humans. Dogs are much smaller, so their fat and sodium needs are much lower than ours.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, a 33-pound dog should take in roughly 14 grams of fat per day.2 So that two ounces of kielbasa alone would be over the daily recommended fat allowance for a dog that size. The NAS also suggests dogs have only 200 mg of sodium daily. Two ounces of the sausage will almost triple the daily recommended amount.

Too frequent consumption of either fat or sodium can cause serious health issues in dogs, such as salt poisoning and heart disease.3

sick australian shepherd dog lying on the floor
Image Credit: Stéphanie Briand, Pixabay

2. High in Calories

That same two-ounce portion of kielbasa contains approximately 189 calories, 80% of which come from fat. In comparison, a two-ounce serving of chicken breast is just 68 calories, 21% of which come from fat.

As with humans, too many calories in and not enough out will spell weight gain for your dog. Considering 25–30% of the general dog population is obese, the fewer nutritionally-empty calories you feed your pet, the better.4

Obese dogs are at an increased risk of developing cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, bladder stones, and hypertension.5

3. Herbs & Seasoning

Kielbasa also contains numerous spices, herbs, and seasonings that can harm dogs.

Garlic is a common ingredient added to this sausage. Unfortunately, as tasty as garlic is, it is toxic for dogs in both raw and cooked forms. Garlic is in the Allium genus of plants that contains N-propyl disulfides and thiosulfates. When your dog’s body metabolizes these, it can cause red blood cell damage. So, if your dog eats enough garlic and doesn’t get medical attention, it can kill them. Thankfully, it’s highly unlikely your dog will get enough garlic from kielbasa to cause a life-threatening reaction. Still, we recommend monitoring your pet if you know it’s eaten a piece of garlic-containing sausage.

Onions are also a member of the Allium genus and, as such, are considered toxic for dogs. Kielbasa often contains onion powder. Thankfully, PetMD reports that onion poisoning is most often seen in dogs that consume more than 0.5% of their body weight in onions. The exact amount necessary to produce toxic effects in your dog will depend on its weight and other factors.

According to PetMD, certain dogs may be more susceptible to onion poisoning, including Japanese breeds, those on certain medications, and those with concurrent diseases like diabetes or anemia.

Image Credit: Jumpstory

Are There Any Benefits of Feeding Dogs Kielbasa?

There really aren’t any benefits to offering your pup kielbasa. Some people might believe that it supplies a decent dose of protein, which is beneficial for the maintenance of muscles. However, while kielbasa may be meat, it is not a significant protein source.

A two-ounce portion of this sausage contains just 7 grams of protein. In comparison, a two-ounce serving of cooked chicken breast contains 18.2 grams of protein, and two ounces of lean pork offers 17.6 grams.

What Do I Do If My Dog Ate Kielbasa?

If you gave your pup a bite or two of kielbasa, it’s unlikely to experience any lasting problems. However, since your pup’s digestive system isn’t really designed for digesting food this high in fat or sodium, you may be looking at gastrointestinal side effects like vomiting or diarrhea. Also, it’s important to remember that some dogs may be more prone to the toxic effects of garlic and onions than others.

However, if your dog ate a lot of kielbasa, there may be more serious consequences. We always like to err on the side of caution and recommend speaking to your vet for further advice.

If you think your dog may have gotten into your kielbasa when you weren’t looking, keep an eye out for symptoms like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Labored breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
a sick dog lying on the wooden floor
Image Credit: Kittima05, Shutterstock

What Are Healthier Alternatives?

We know how hard it can be to resist the classic puppy dog eyes. So if you still want to be able to offer your pup something from your plate, make a healthier and more nutritious choice than kielbasa.

Some better options include:

  • Plain yogurt
  • Lean, plain meat
  • Fish
  • Cheese
  • Pumpkin
  • Eggs
  • Unsalted peanut butter
  • Plain popcorn
  • Green beans
  • Watermelon
Siberian husky dog puppy eating a meat
Image Credit: Tati Argent, Shutterstock

Divider 5Final Thoughts

Though your dog may be begging for a taste of your delicious kielbasa, we highly recommend not taking the risk. Your dog can eat plenty of other foods with significantly less risk (or none at all). If your dog is attracted to the scent of your sausage, maybe consider offering lean ground beef or chicken. Both will be aromatic like kielbasa but much healthier.

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