Can Dogs Eat Pastrami? A Comprehensive Guide


Table of Contents

can dogs eat pastrami

When it comes to our dogs, their health and safety is paramount. As dog owners, we often find ourselves pondering over what foods are safe to share with them. One such query that frequently arises is, “Can dogs eat pastrami?”

Pastrami is a mouthwatering deli meat often enjoyed by humans, but it often raises concerns about whether it’s suitable for dogs. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the topic of dogs and pastrami, exploring both sides of the spectrum to provide you with a well-rounded understanding of the matter.

What Is Pastrami?

Before we address the question ‘Can dogs eat pastrami?’, let’s take a moment to understand what pastrami actually is. Pastrami is a highly flavorful and widely enjoyed deli meat that has its origins deeply rooted in Eastern European culinary traditions. This delectable meat is usually made from beef, although variations using turkey, pork, or other meats can also be found.

The process of making pastrami involves several steps, which contribute to its distinctive taste and texture. While the specifics might vary depending on regional and cultural influences, the general process includes curing the meat with a mixture of various seasonings, resting to allow the flavors to penetrate, smoking to infuse a rich smoky flavor and achieve its reddish-brown color, followed by steaming or boiling to achieve tenderness before thin slicing.

Pastrami’s unique blend of flavors, combined with its tender texture, has made it a popular choice in delis, restaurants, and home kitchens alike, often enjoyed in sandwiches such as the classic pastrami on rye. However, when it comes to dogs, the high sodium, fat, and spice content in pastrami can pose potential health risks. So can dogs eat pastrami?

Can dogs eat Pastrami?

Can dogs eat pastrami? The simple and direct answer is no, dogs should not eat pastrami. While it may be tempting to share your delicious sandwich with your pup, pastrami can pose several risks to their health. Pastrami is a processed meat that often contains high levels of salt, spices, and other seasonings.

A common ingredient in pastrami is garlic, which is hugely toxic to dogs, even in small amounts.

Additionally, it’s usually fatty, which can lead to digestive issues and even contribute to obesity in dogs. The sodium content in pastrami is significantly higher than what is recommended for a dog’s diet, and the spices can be too harsh on their sensitive digestive systems.

Is Pastrami harmful to dogs?

The question “can dogs eat pastrami?” is a common one, and it’s essential to understand the reasons why pastrami can be detrimental to your dog’s health:

  1. High Sodium Content: Dogs have different sodium requirements than humans. The excessive salt content in pastrami can lead to sodium ion poisoning in dogs, resulting in symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, excessive thirst, and even seizures.
  2. Processed Ingredients: Pastrami often contains additives, preservatives, and artificial flavorings that can be harmful to dogs. These additives can cause gastrointestinal distress and allergic reactions.
  3. Fatty Composition: The high fat content in pastrami can lead to pancreatitis in dogs. Pancreatitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the pancreas and can be painful and life-threatening.
  4. Spices and Seasonings: The spices and seasonings used in pastrami can be too intense for a dog’s delicate digestive system. They can lead to upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  5. Bread and Condiments: Sharing a pastrami sandwich with your dog might also mean sharing the bread and condiments, which are not suitable for them either. Bread can be high in carbohydrates and may cause bloating, while condiments like mustard or mayonnaise can contain ingredients harmful to dogs.

What to do if your dog consumes Pastrami

Accidents happen, and if your dog manages to sneak a bite of pastrami, here’s what you should do:

  1. Monitor Their Behavior: Keep a close eye on your dog for any unusual behavior, vomiting, diarrhea, or signs of discomfort. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Ensure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water. This can help dilute any excess sodium and aid in flushing out their system.
  3. Contact Your Vet: If your dog has consumed pastrami or any other potentially harmful food, it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian. They can provide guidance based on your dog’s specific situation.
  4. Adjust Their Diet: If your dog has ingested pastrami, you might need to adjust their diet for a few days to help their digestive system recover. Stick to bland, easily digestible foods recommended by your vet.
  5. Learn From the Experience: Use this incident as a learning opportunity. Be more cautious about what foods your dog can access, and educate family members or anyone else who might feed your dog about the risks associated with certain human foods.

Alternatives to Pastrami for dogs

If you’re looking to treat your dog to something special without compromising their health, there are plenty of dog-friendly alternatives to pastrami that you can explore. These alternatives not only offer a tasty experience for your pup but also keep them safe from the risks associated with processed deli meats.

  1. Lean Cooked Meats: If you’re inclined to share some meat with your dog, opt for lean, cooked meats like boiled chicken or turkey. Remember to remove any skin, bones, or excess fat before offering it to your dog.
  2. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Many dogs enjoy the natural sweetness and crunch of fruits and vegetables. Apples (without seeds), carrots, and green beans can make excellent and healthy treats.
  3. Commercial Dog Treats: There is a wide variety of dog treats available in the market, specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of dogs. Look for treats that are low in sodium and free from harmful additives.
  4. Homemade Treats: If you enjoy cooking, you can create your own dog-friendly treats at home. There are numerous recipes online that use ingredients safe for dogs and allow you to tailor the treats to your pup’s preferences.
  5. Frozen Treats: During warmer months, consider freezing small amounts of low-sodium broth or yogurt in ice cube trays. These frozen treats can provide a refreshing and enjoyable experience for your dog.

Remember that while treats can be a wonderful way to bond with your dog and show them love, they should always be given in moderation and should never replace a nutritious, balanced diet. Each dog has unique dietary requirements, so consult your veterinarian before introducing any new treats into their diet.

The importance of a balanced diet for dogs

Understanding your dog’s nutritional needs is essential for their overall health and well-being. A balanced diet plays a significant role in supporting their immune system, maintaining a healthy weight, and promoting optimal organ function. While it’s tempting to share your own meals with your dog, it’s important to recognize that their dietary needs differ from ours.

A well-balanced dog food that is specifically formulated to meet their nutritional requirements is the best way to ensure your pup receives the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. High-quality dog foods take into account factors such as age, breed, size, activity level, and any specific health considerations your dog may have.

Remember, your dog’s diet is not only about their meals but also includes the treats they receive. Always prioritize treats that are safe and healthy for your furry friend, and avoid the temptation to give them foods that may pose risks to their health, like pastrami.


The question “can dogs eat pastrami” is a vital one for dog owners to consider. While pastrami might be a delectable delight for humans, it’s important to remember that dogs have different dietary needs and sensitivities. The high sodium content, processed ingredients, excessive fat, and intense spices in pastrami make it unsuitable for dogs. Instead of sharing potentially harmful foods with your dog, explore safe and dog-friendly alternatives that cater to their nutritional requirements and taste preferences.

As responsible dog owners, our duty is to prioritize the health and well-being of our beloved pets. So, the next time you’re tempted to share a bite of pastrami with your dog, remember the potential risks and opt for a safer and more suitable treat option.


Scroll to Top