Pizza rolls are breaded and bite-sized pizza pockets filled with melted cheese, diced pepperoni, and tomato sauce. They are an incredibly delicious, almost addictive frozen food product invented by Jeno Pulucci, a food industry entrepreneur specializing in Chinese delicacies.
If you are a pizza rolls fan, chances are you have at least once been tempted to share a roll or two with your dog. However, you were not sure whether pizza rolls are a dog-friendly frozen product.
So, can dogs eat pizza rolls? Sadly, the answer is no. Dogs cannot eat pizza rolls. Simply put, the dog’s digestive system is not built to digest the ingredients pizza roles are made from. Plus, based on the exact recipe, some components can be toxic to dogs.
To learn more about why you should not put on pizza rolls your dog’s menu, keep reading as we will explain everything you need to know. What is more, we will tell you what you can give your dog instead of pizza rolls.
CAN DOGS EAT PIZZA ROLLS… AND WHY NOT?
To illustrate all the concerns regarding dogs and pizza rolls, we will review and explain each ingredient used in the preparation process.
DOG PIZZA ROLLS: THE PASTRY WRAPPING
The pastry wrapping (or crust) is a simple pizza dough made of flour and water. Both ingredients are safe for dogs, thus making the wrapping safe for dogs. However, there are three caveats worth reviewing:
- Some manufacturers add the spices into the dough mixture (we will explain the spices hazards shortly)
- The crust is nothing but empty calories.
- Unbaked dough and freshly baked (still warm) pastry are toxic to dogs.
Lack of nutritional value
The crust is made entirely of carbs, and dogs do not need carbs to thrive. Simply put, the crust or wrapping is classified as an empty calorie food. This means that eating the crust adds calories without offering any nutritional value.
Bloating and alcohol poisoning
The raw dough rises – it rises in the mixing bowl, in the oven, and in the dog’s intestines. If a dog eats raw dough that is not done raising, it will continue to do so inside the stomach or intestines.
The dough rising causes bloating, and the more bloated the dog becomes, the less likely it is to pass the dough. It is a charming cycle that usually culminates in intestinal blockage, thus warranting surgical intervention.
What is more, as the dough rises, it produces significant levels of ethanol (alcohol). When the ethanol enters the bloodstream, the dog experiences alcoholic poisoning – just like a person who had few extra drinks.
To differentiate this issue from the old-fashioned alcoholic poisoning in people, veterinarians refer to it as dough toxicosis.
A dog with dough toxicosis will exhibit the following signs and symptoms:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Lack of coordination
- Abdominal bloating
- Loss of muscle function
If left untreated, dough toxicosis can lead to lethal consequences such as cardiac arrest and gastric rupture.
DOG PIZZA ROLLS: THE PEPPERONI
Dogs are omnivores, so eating pepperoni is natural, right? Well, not exactly. Pepperonis belong to the meat group but are not the type of meat dogs would naturally eat in the wild.
When it comes to pepperoni for dogs, there are three main concerns:
- High-fat content
- High sodium content
- Added spices
High pancreatitis risk
Fats are an essential macronutrient dogs need for normal body functioning and maintaining optimal energy levels. However, excess amounts can be detrimental to the dog’s health.
Eating extra fatty foods causes digestive upsets in the short run and pancreatitis in the long run.
Digestive upsets due to fatty foods are usually self-limiting – resolve after a few days of eating bland diets and keeping the dog hydrated.
Pancreatitis is a much more complex topic. Pancreatitis is a painful inflammation of the pancreas that can be acute or chronic. In simple words, overeating on pepperoni in a single episode may result in digestive upset and acute pancreatitis.
If the dog eats smaller amounts of pepperoni frequently and over a prolonged time, it is likely to develop chronic pancreatitis.
Left untreated, pancreatitis can have lethal consequences.
High sodium levels and salt poisoning
Overeating salt can culminate in salt poisoning. Salt poisoning is a life-threatening condition that requires prompt veterinary attention.
Salt poisoning manifests with:
- Lack of appetite
- Lack of coordination
- Excessive thirst and urination
- Tremors and seizures
Some types of flavored pepperoni contain different spices and seasonings. The dog’s digestive system cannot handle spices. All spices are dangerous, and some spices (powdered garlic, onion) can even be toxic.
DOG PIZZA ROLLS: THE CHEESE
Some cheese types are safer for dogs, but in general, cheese is something dogs are not supposed to eat, at least not regularly. Low-fat and low-sodium cheese options like cottage cheese and mozzarella are considered healthier and safer cheeses for dogs.
Just like pepperoni, cheese is not suited for dogs because of its high fat and salt content. However, cheese contains two additional risky nutrients – lactose and casein.
Fats, tummy issues, pancreatitis, and obesity
The concerns are the same – tummy troubles and pancreatitis based on the offered amounts and serving frequencies. Plus, overeating cheese leads to unnecessary weight gain and obesity, thus increasing the risk for many severe health problems.
Too much salt and kidney damage
Cheese is rich in salt but not as loaded as the above-reviewed pepperoni. In simple terms, the salt amount in cheese is rarely enough to cause salt poisoning. However, if cheese is fed too frequently, the salt may trigger kidney damage.
Lactose is a specific sugar found in milk and most dairy products. Cheese is not as rich in lactose as whole milk, but it does contain particular amounts.
Like people, many dogs are incapable of digesting lactose because they lack the enzyme lactase – responsible for breaking down the milk sugars. Although the lactose amounts in cheese are not high, they are enough to trigger issues in sensitive dogs.
If a dog with lactose intolerance is fed cheese, it will develop tummy issues manifested with:
- Profuse diarrhea
- Excessive gassiness (flatulence).
Casein and cheese addiction
Cheese is considered to be an addictive food. This feature is due to casein – a specific milk protein that breaks down into casomorphin compounds.
The casomorphins trigger the brain’s dopamine receptors which result in cravings.
A dog that craves cheese might refuse its regular food leading to nutritional deficiencies and malnourishment.
DOG PIZZA ROLLS: THE TOMATO SAUCE
It may seem like stating the prominent, but tomato sauce is made of tomatoes. This fruit (yes, tomatoes are fruits) is an extensively debated topic in the pet parent community.
This is because tomatoes contain a toxic compound called alpha-tomatine. However, alpha-tomatine is concentrated in the green parts (leaves, vines) and unripe tomatoes. Simply put, deep red and well-ripe tomatoes do not contain alpha-tomatine and are safe for dogs.
However, tomato sauce is not safe – it contains added salt, sugars, spices, and tons of additives.
The primary safety concern is the presence of artificial sweeteners, particularly xylitol. Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, and xylitol poisoning manifests with:
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels)
- Extreme weakness
It should be noted that not all tomato sauce brands use xylitol in their recipe. Some brands use other artificial sweeteners or regular sugar.
DOG PIZZA ROLLS: THE EXTRA TOPPINGS
Some popular pizza toppings can be hard to digest, while others can be toxic.
Olives, broccoli, corn, pineapples, mushrooms – manufacturers are pretty creative when enriching pizza and pizza rolls. Traditionally, pizza rolls do not contain any of these toppings, but some newer brands add them in their recipes.
Garlic, onions, and chives are frequently used pizza toppings that are highly toxic to dogs. The amount consumed can trigger symptoms whose severity ranges from mild digestive upsets to severe and life-threatening anemia and kidney damage.
DOG PIZZA ROLLS: THE SPICES
Pizza rolls are spiced up with various spices – the exact mixture depending on the manufacturer. However, these are the most frequently added spices:
- Salt – as already explained it can cause salt poisoning
- Oregano – in larger amounts causes oregano poisoning, which manifests with mild digestive disturbances
- Pepper (black and red) – can be abrasive and cause ulcerations in the digestive tract lining
- Garlic – causes anemia
- Cinnamon – if ingested, causes tummy troubles and if inhaled, causes difficulty breathing, coughing, sneezing, and choking.
- Nutmeg – is toxic and causes increased blood pressure and heart rate, disorientation, dehydration, and seizures.
HELP! MY DOG ATE PIZZA ROLLS…
Accidents happen – for example, your dog stole some pizza rolls from the counter, or you dropped a roll, and your dog managed to pick it up before you did.
In such cases, the right course of action would be to get your dog and the pizza rolls box and head toward the vet’s office.
The vet will examine your dog and check the ingredients listed on the box to see whether there is a potentially toxic substance.
More often than not, the intoxication and tummy trouble signs do not become apparent until few hours after indigestion. However, the “wait and see” approach is not recommended.
Visiting the vet as soon as possible is vital – the vet can prevent specific issues from developing, or if already developing, stop them before it is too late.
DOG-FRIENDLY PIZZA ROLLS ALTERNATIVES
As promised, here is the dog-friendly pizza recipe.
- 1 cup wheat flour (you can use spelt or whole-grain flour)
- 1/3 cup white flour
- 1/4 cup water
- One small ball of fresh mozzarella
- One small fistful of sundried tomatoes
- One pinch or a small fistful of basil
- Preheat the oven (375⁰F)
- Chop the mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil
- Mix the two flour types in a deep bowl and add the chopped ingredients
- Add the water and stir until a dry dough forms (if too wet, add flour, and if too crumbly, add water)
- Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough and cut circular pieces with a glass rim (you can even make small crust-like indents with a knife)
- Put the dough rounds on a baking sheet and bake for around 20 minutes
- Place the treat on a cooling rack and let them cool down before serving.
Storing and serving
The pizza treats can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or frozen. If freezing them, make sure they are well defrosted before serving.
If your dog gulps down on food or is too small, you can crush the treats into smaller, bite-sized chunks.
These ingredients are enough for 12 treats. Here is a short analysis of the nutritional value (for the entire recipe, not per single treat):
- Calories: 1207
- Carbohydrates: 158 grams
- Proteins: 61 grams
- Fat: 41 grams.
It is worth mentioning that just because this recipe is safe for dogs does not mean you should let your dog overeat. Just like in people, eating a few extra pizza slices will quickly add few extra pounds to your dog and move the scale numbers up. Then you can both say your abs goodbye.
All in all, pizza rolls are a no-go for dogs. Even if the ingredients used in the exact recipe are not directly toxic, they are hard to digest and will likely cause tummy troubles.
However, just because dogs cannot eat store-bought pizza rolls, it does not mean they cannot enjoy pizza in general. Luckily, there are dog-friendly pizza recipes, and all it takes is to put the apron on and start cooking.
Can pizza rolls kill dogs?
Sadly, the answer is yes; pizza rolls can kill dogs if their filling or topping contains a toxic ingredient. However, pizza rolls triggered intoxications are far less common than pizza rolls started digestive issues.
Can pepperoni kill a dog?
The chances of pepperoni killing a dog extremely low. However, it can make a dog sick and in need of immediate veterinary care. The most common consequence of eating pepperoni is stomach upset manifested with vomiting and diarrhea.
How much pepperoni can a dog eat?
The correct answer is none – dogs should not eat pepperonis. However, eating one thin slice now and then (few times a year) is not considered to be dangerous.
Can pizza crust kill dogs?
The crust is, in fact, the safest pizza part for dogs, especially if free from the toppings and spices. The most significant crust-related risk is mouth cuts if the dog decides to gulp down on as much crust as possible.
What kind of pizza can dogs eat?
Dogs can eat homemade pizza containing ingredients that are safe for dogs. However, pizza is not a staple food for dogs – it is a treat and should be offered in small amounts and on special occasions.