Can Dogs Eat Bologna? Everything You Need to Know

Yes, dogs can eat bologna in small amounts occasionally. As dogs are natural meat lovers, they will love the flavor of bologna. However, it is not a nutritional or healthy snack for your canine to enjoy in the long run. For this reason, it is better to avoid feeding him this snack altogether to prevent him from the habit of consuming it constantly.

What is bologna? 

Bologna meat originated in the Italian city of Bologna. But it is known there by the name ‘Mortadella.’ Alternatively, it is also called ‘Baloney’. Bologna is a thick sausage often topped with fat pieces, spices, peppercorns, cut pistachios, and corn syrup. However, in the US, bologna is the favorite luncheon meat usually stuffed between sandwiches. 

Additionally, the USDA regulations mandate that all the cooked sausages be reduced to tiny particles. As a result, bologna is made into a meat paste with a combination of waste meat byproducts mixed with a small percentage of meat. For this reason, it is called “the mystery meat.” Further, bolognas are processed to enhance their flavor through the addition of nitrates and sodium. 

Is bologna Safe for Dogs?  

Yes, dogs can safely consume bologna meat as it is non-toxic. However, bologna meat is fully processed and includes spices, fat, nitrates, salt, and sugar. This makes the meat a high-calorie food, unsuitable for dogs when eaten too often. Also, it is best to avoid feeding the meat to dogs with allergies.

Why is bologna Good for Dogs? 

Bologna sausages are usually made of meat products such as pork, chicken, and beef. These products contribute moderate proteins to your canine’s health, conditioning his lean muscles. Additionally, the proteins offered by bologna meat are more than an egg. However, this moderate benefit doesn’t offset its harmful effects.  

Why is bologna Bad for Dogs? 

The nutritional profile of bologna contains the following ingredients that may adversely affect your dog’s health if fed excessively for an extended period: 

  1. High fat and calorie content:   

Bologna is made by drawing out the raw skeletal muscles from the bones of the livestock. Further, the meat cut contains muscle fibers and connective tissues. It is a low-grade meat that is often unhealthy for your canine. The inferior ingredients increase omega-6 fatty acids that are not adequately balanced with omega-3 fatty acids, adversely impacting the immune system and resulting in skin diseases. Moreover, a couple of ounces of bologna contains fat as high as a cup of ice cream. Therefore, consuming a higher fat content means your dog will add more calories than his daily requirement, leading to obesity, heart disease, and cancer.  

Symptoms of consuming a high-fat food: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Painful inflammation of the pancreas resulting in pancreatitis 

Feeding food with high calories and fat to your pet results in the following disorders:


Inflammation of the pancreas disturbs the secretion of digestive enzymes and insulin production. This disturbance causes fluctuation in the blood sugar levels, which may lead to a life-threatening condition in your canine. Symptoms of pancreatitis include: 

  • Fever 
  • Vomiting 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Lethargy 


Symptoms of Obesity include:

  • Lethargic and inactive 
  • Incapable of movement.    

Heart disease

Symptoms of heart disease in dogs: 

  • Frequent coughing 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Reduced ability to exercise 
  • Lack of energy 
  • Reduced appetite 
  • Weight loss or weight gain 
  • Abdominal swelling 
  1. Nitrates:  

Sodium nitrate is used mainly to process meat products and prevent bacterial contamination. It also aids in giving a distinct flavor and pink color to the meat. However, the presence of sodium nitrate is linked with the possibility of causing cancer and heart diseases in your Dog. 

Toxicity And Cancer 

Sodium nitrate, when consumed, reacts with your dog’s saliva and the acidic environment of his gut. The reaction forms nitrosamines, which are believed to be carcinogenic. In addition, nitrosamine increases the risk of gastric cancer in dogs. They are also formed when processed products with nitrites are heated at high temperatures. 

Nitrosamines can cause 

  • Reproductive toxicity 
  • Developmental toxicity 
  • Organ system toxicity 

Dogs, when exposed to nitrosamines, develop tumors in the: 

  • Liver 
  • Lungs 
  • Upper respiratory system 
  • Nasal cavity 
  • Blood vessels 
  1. Sodium Chloride:  

Sodium chloride or table salt is added to improve the flavor of processed meats like bologna. Additionally, processed meats are commonly called salt bombs as they contain more than 30 mg of salt per slice of 2 g. As a result of excessive salt intake, your canine may suffer from 

Short-term effects such as: 

  • Increased thirst 
  • Frequent urination  
  • Bloating 

Long term effects include: 

  • Hypertension 
  • Heart disease 
  • Stomach ulcers and cancers 
  • Sodium-ion poisoning 

Symptoms of sodium poisoning in your pet include: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea  
  • Tremors 
  • Disturbing seizures might occur 
  1. Corn syrup 

Corn syrup is added to bologna sausage to enhance its taste. But it contains a high sugar content that could lead to the following diseases. 

  • Gum and dental diseases 
  • Diarrhea
  • Obesity 
  • Heart disease  
  • Arthritis  
  • Diabetes  

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs:  

  • Weight loss,  
  • Excessive thirst,  
  • Increased urination 

Seek a vet’s help immediately if you suspect these symptoms in your Dog, as diabetes may lead to the following disorders:  

  • Diabetic cataract 
  • Cancer 
  • Severe Obesity 
  • Hyperadrenocorticism 
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Chronic inflammation 
  • Cardiac insufficiency 
  • Hyperlipidemia 
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency 
  • Renal and liver insufficiency 

Symptoms of Dental issues in Dogs: 

  • Bad breath 
  • Bacteria accumulation 
  • A dental cavity in dogs 
  1. Seasonings such as garlic and onion powder:

The preparation of bologna often includes Onion and garlic that are toxic to pets and may cause poisoning.

Symptoms of onion/ Garlic Poisoning 

  • Vomiting 
  • Anemia caused by rupturing of the red blood cells 
  • Blood in the urine (red or brown colored urine) 
  • Weakness 
  • Pale gums 
  • Panting 
  • Rapid heart rate 
  1. BHA and BHT 

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are synthetic antioxidants used to preserve processed meats like bologna. However, recent studies have revealed that these fake antioxidants adversely affect the liver, kidney, and thyroid. They also impact neurological functions and are associated with the development of cancer. 

How much bologna to feed your Dog? 

Serving a piece of bologna occasionally as a treat will not harm your pet. However, please do not add bologna to your dog’s daily diet. 

What if my Dog ate bologna? 

If your dog consumed a small amount of bologna sausage, your pet might not experience any symptoms. However, in case if your pet consumed bologna excessively, your canine may exhibit gastrointestinal distress such as: 

  • Vomiting,  
  • Stomach pain 
  • Diarrhea 

If you notice the symptoms mentioned above, it is better to stop feeding bolognas to your pet further and ensure he stays hydrated. 

Also, there are chances for your pet to eat the wrapper of sliced bolognas. Kindly check for gastrointestinal distress as it may result in intestinal blockages.

Due to the presence of fat, nitrates, salt, and corn syrup, prolonged consumption of bolognas can cause malfunctioning of kidneys and other chronic diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in dogs.

Therefore, contact your vet immediately if you observe abnormal behavior in your pet after feeding bologna meat.   

Alternatives to bologna 

You can get quality dog treats that are grain-free, meaty, and packed with excellent vitamins and minerals to feed your canine companion. Alternatively, some of the healthy meat options for dogs include: 

  • Canned Tuna 
  • Canned Salmon 
  • Roasted chicken 
  • Veggies 
  • Beef liver 
  • Tripe 
  • Turkey 
  • Lamb 

Homemade Turkey Dog Treat Recipe 

If you want to try giving your dog some homemade dog treat recipe with turkey, you may try the following: 

  • One unbaked loaf of bread or pizza crust 
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth 
  • 1-2 teaspoons flour 
  • 3/4 cup cooked turkey chopped into small pieces 
  • 1/2 cup cooked vegetables 
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds 

Cooking Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  
  2. Roll out the dough and with the help of cookie cutter cut into 3″ circles.  
  3. In a pan, stir the broth and flour, until flour dissolves.  
  4. Heat on medium until mixture thickens.  
  5. Add the turkey and vegetables. Cook until the mixture is thoroughly heated.  
  6. Simmer for a few minutes.  
  7. Add a few teaspoons of the turkey-veggie mixture onto each circle.  
  8. Roll the sides thoroughly and make them as little balls.
  9. Blend the cheese and sesame seeds in a separate bowl.  
  10. Roll or sprinkle each ball with this mixture.  
  11. Assemble the balls on a baking sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.  

Allow this turkey dog treat recipe to cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

Frequently Asked Question 

What are the other types of processed meat to avoid for dogs? 

  • Ham 
  • Pastrami 
  • Hot dogs 
  • Sausage 
  • various loafs such as macaroni loaf, cheese loaf, olive loaf, etc. 

Final Thoughts: 

Dogs can eat bologna moderately as a treat provided, they are not allergic to any meat ingredients. However, it is best to limit or entirely avoid serving bolognas to your dogs as they are processed meats. 

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