Because of the long shelf life, affordable price, and availability, potted meat is one of the most popular preserved meat foods. Plus, potted meat is quite enticing and has a convenient and spreadable consistency. But what about potted meat for dogs?
Can dogs eat potted meat? No, dogs should not eat potted meat. While some potted meat recipes are safer than others, the general rule of the thumb is that potted meat is not dog-friendly. Simply put, potted meat is too high in salt, sugar, and fats. Plus, some versions contain spices and potentially toxic ingredients.
In this article, we will talk about dogs and potted meat. We will explain what potted meat is and then go through its ingredients. We will review each ingredient and its potential dangers for dogs. Finally, we will give tips on what to do in case of accidents and whether dogs should eat plant-based meats.
What Is Potted Meat?
Potted meat is a specific canned food product made with preserved meat and various spices and seasonings. The meats are cooked and then pureed, grounded, or minced.
Different potted meat recipes include different types of meat such as pork, beef, chicken, turkey, or even organ meats. Manufacturers include unhealthy amounts of salt, fat, and artificial preservatives to make potted meat.
Is Potted Meat Good for Dogs?
The only benefits of potted meat (not just for dogs but humans too) are the easy availability, budget-friendly price, and relatively satisfying taste. However, if talking about whether potted meat is good for dogs, the answer is a definite no. Potted meat does not contain unique nutrients and has no health-boosting effects – it is like an empty calorie, offering more risks benefits.
Because of the taste (which dogs find irresistible), the only justified reason for giving dogs potted meat is using it as a pill pocket. Namely, you can use a teaspoon amount of potted meat to hide a pill or tablet. As pet parents, you all know how hard it can be to give dogs medications. Potted meat has a strong scent that will mask the med’s presence.
However, if using potted meat as a pill pocket, you need to be extra careful about the type of potted meat you are buying – low-sodium, free from artificial additives, and with no added spices. Also, it is advisable to go for a meat option with fewer fats, such as chicken or turkey instead of pork and beef.
Why Shouldn’t Dogs Eat Potted Meat?
Some of the ingredients and the manufacturing process (preservation and canning) make potted meat a no-go for dogs. To help you better understand why potted meat is bad, let’s review the potentially troublesome ingredients and their consequences.
Reason number 1: Digestive upsets
Potted meat is not found on the canine food pyramid, meaning it is not a natural food option for dogs. While it is true that dogs are carnivores, it is also true that they need their meat either raw or minimally processed. Potted meat, just like any other processed human food, can upset the dog’s sensitive stomach.
Reason number 2: Too much salt
Potted meat is heavily salted. Dogs need small amounts of salt for normal body processes. However, in excess amounts, salt is a hazardous nutrient. Overeating salt can make the dog dehydrated (especially if its kidney function is compromised) or, in severe cases, even cause salt poisoning, which is a life-threatening emergency.
Reason number 3: High in sugar
Do not be fooled by the salty nature of the food. Potted meat contains added sugars as well. Dogs do not need sugars for survival. Sugar can be used as a quick energy boost in some overly active dogs. However, sugar is generally considered risky and can trigger short-term issues (hyperactivity, moodiness, irritability, and agitation) and long-term consequences (tooth decay, weight gain, obesity, diabetes).
Reason number 4: Fat overload
In addition to the original meat fat, potted meat recipes include added fats and oils. Together, the overall fat content is way more than dogs need and are capable of processing. Eating too many fats can trigger pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation), which is a potentially life-threatening situation, especially if left untreated. Long-term overconsumption of fats leads to weight gain, obesity, and associated complications.
Reason number 5: Meat allergies
It may sound unusual, but meats are common allergens in dogs. Basically, all meats can trigger allergies in dogs, but chicken and beef seem to be some of the most usual culprits. The issue with potted meat is that many brands do not specify the exact meat type within the product and simply say meat product or organ meat. Therefore, it is easy to get potted meat that can trigger an allergic reaction in your dog.
Reason number 6: Spices, seasonings, and herbs
To improve the overall flavor of the potted milk, manufacturers add a variety of spices, seasonings, and aromatic herbs. While some of them are safe for dogs, most are troublesome. For example, one of the most popular spices – black pepper, can trigger havoc on the dog’s stomach and even cause bleeding ulcers. All spices can damage the digestive tract lining, leading to life-threatening ulcerations and perforations.
Reason number 7: Garlic and onion
Many potted meat recipes include garlic and onion as taste enhancers. All Allium family members (garlic, onion, leek, chives) are toxic to dogs and in all their forms (including the powder form used in potted meat). Garlic and onion contain chemical compounds which damage the erythrocytes (red blood cells). The damaged cells are removed from circulation throwing the dog at risk of anemia. Intoxications with garlic and onion are considered medical emergencies.
Reason number 8: Artificial additives
Last but not least, all canned foods contain artificial additives – colors, emulsifiers, flavors, preservatives. Artificial additives are harmful, and prolonged consumption increases the dog’s risk of developing cancer. The same applies to humans, as additives are proven carcinogens.
What Happens if A Dog Eats Potted Meat?
What happens after a dog eats potted meat depends on the ingredients used in the recipe, the consumed amount, and the dog’s size and overall health.
In the best-case scenario, there will be no side effects or maybe a mild digestive upset. In the worst-case scenario, you will need to make an urgent vet visit due to pancreatitis, severe digestive upset, or even intoxication (garlic, onion, or salt).
Either way, if your dog stole potted meat or ate a significant amount, it is best advised to call the vet or make a visit to the clinic. When you are a pet parent, it is always better to err on the side of caution.
What Can I Give My Dog Instead of Potted Meat?
Just because potted meat is not safe for dogs does not mean you cannot reward your dog with a similarly-tasting but way healthier food. Namely, you can prepare a homemade and dog-friendly version of potted meat.
To prepare such a delicacy, buy high-quality, preferably organic chicken meat and boil it (plain and free from oil and spices). After boiling the meat, put it in a food processor to get a paste-like texture. To enhance the taste, you can use chicken broth to improve the consistency.
Then, let the food cool down and serve it to your dog. The chicken and broth mixture can be served alone, on top of the dog’s regular kibble (as a food topper), or mixed with other ingredients (rice, carrots, broccoli) into a complete and balanced meal.
Can Dogs Eat Plant-Based Meat?
The short answer is that dogs cannot eat plant-based meat. Beyond meat, versions are not toxic to dogs, but they are not beneficial either. Namely, dogs are carnivores and need protein-rich meats to thrive – grow and develop.
While it is possible to raise dogs on vegetarian and vegan diets, such lifestyles would require significant supplementations with vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids. Plus, there is another issue with plant-based meats. Namely, store-bought versions are high in preservatives and spices, which can be harmful to dogs.
Bottom line, plant-based meat is not the ideal choice for dogs. Occasional bite-sized chunks in the form of treats are not harmful, but anything more than that is highly inadvisable.
Summing Up: Can Dogs Eat Potted Meat?
The final verdict on potted meat for dogs is a big no-no. Potted meat is a heavily processed food and is not part of the dog’s natural diet. Plus, potted meat is often too high in certain nutrients and can contain potentially harmful or even toxic ingredients to dogs.
Therefore, it is best advised to keep potted meat away from your dog’s food bowl. In case of accidental ingestions, you should call the vet immediately and ask for further instructions.
Luckily, not being able to eat potted meat is not the end of the world for your dog. There is a variety of meats and meat products you can safely feed to your dogs. They will contribute to its overall health, and you will not have to be worried about possible side effects and risks.