Ketchup is probably the most popular condiment in the world, everyone loves a bit of ketchup on their dinner. Some people love to put it on everything. If your one of them people like me, that likes to put ketchup on your dinner, what would happen if your dog helped himself to some ketchup?
Can Dogs Eat Ketchup?
Technically ketchup is not toxic to dogs, we are talking about plain ketchup here. Although some ketchups can be harmful to your dog, a lot of ketchup brands contain a lot of questionable ingredients, even the “healthy” or “organic” ones.
A lot of different kinds ketchup from the supermarket can contain many different spices and powders. Some of them being onion powder, allspice, a lot of salt, garlic, all these are not good for your dog, with some of them actually being toxic.
The problem when buying ketchup that has been mass-produced or bought from a supermarket is the ingredients list on the bottles or jars. They are not designed for dogs; they are meant for humans. So when they say “Natural Flavors or Spices” this could be any flavoring or spices. There is no way to know what they have put in there, which can be worrying.
Some brands contain a preservative called Xanthan Gum as well. This is used as a paste to thicken the ketchup; this is to be avoided at all costs.
Different flavored kinds of ketchup can contain more toxic ingredients such as hot and spicy, jalapeno, sriracha flavor. These ingredients can be harmful to your dog. A little bit probably will not hurt them, but you really cannot be sure, especially if they are a small breed.
So yes, plain ketchup can be safe for dogs to eat, although there is a lot to take into consideration. Ketchup has no nutritional value at all. If you have to feed your dog ketchup, it should only be in a very small portion and on a rare treat basis. But we will repeat, there really is no point in feeding your dog ketchup at all.
Knowing The Risks With Ketchup
Feeding your dog too much ketchup can have some serious risks. They could have an allergic reaction, as you truly do not know what is in ketchup. They can also get a condition called hemolytic anemia, which is not a very nice condition at all.
Sadly, you will never know if your dog is allergic to a certain ketchup before it happens, because of the number of different ingredients in them. You are better of leaving it alone in our personal opinion.
Ketchup contains a high amount of salt and dogs do not have a good tolerance for salt, just like humans but worse. Dogs can easily suffer from salt poisoning if they are given food with too much salt.
Check out the below table from the USDA FoodData Central Database. Showing the high amount of sugar and the crazy high amount of sodium in ketchup. This is not good for your dog, especially the salt levels. For such a small thing, ketchup can cause a lot of health issues if eaten on a regular basis.
100g Serving of Heinz Tomato Ketchup
Salt is in everything and dogs already receive the correct sodium count they need for their diet in their dog food. Any added salt is just increasing their chances of salt poisoning. Some of the symptoms to keep an eye on are:
- Extreme Thirst
- Low energy
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive urination
- Kidney problems
Another situation you need to be careful of is giving your dog an excessive amount of sugar. This will happen if you feed your dog ketchup on a regular basis. Which will cause your dog to gain weight and become obese, which can lead to some serious medical problems like diabetes, joint issues, and heart issues.
Your Dog Should Never Eat, Light, or Calorie-Free Ketchup!
Now you may be thinking, well if too much sugar is a problem why not just let him have a sugar-free version? The answer to this is NO!!
You should never feed your dog any sugar-free, light/lite, or calorie-free ketchup.
These types of ketchup will contain artificial sweeteners, which have Xylitol in it.
Xylitol is very toxic to dogs to the extent that it can kill your dog. Xylitol can cause your dog to have low blood sugar, which can happen very quickly. Not to mention the other side effect that it can cause.
What happens is Xylitol can cause your dog to have a large amount of insulin released into their body. This will cause them to vomit and/or be weak, to start with, leading to more serious problems. If you suspect your dog has eaten xylitol, you should take your dog to a local veterinarian or emergency clinic straight away.
Xylitol is deadly to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Ketchup Packets?
Ketchup packets usually found in fast-food restaurants are even more questionable as they are filled with unknown spices along with preservatives and artificial ingredients. What you need to worry about as well though is, the dog will not just eat the ketchup out of the packet. They will probably eat the entire plastic packet as well.
It is easy just to leave a ketchup packet laying around, we all get more ketchup packets than we actually need. By leaving them around, you are giving your dog a chance to eat the whole packet.
If this happens, we recommend you see a veterinarian straight away. Eating a whole ketchup packet is not good for your dog’s digestion system, especially if it gets stuck. You should keep an eye on them and see if they are struggling to go for a number two or have vomited.
Mixing mineral oil into their food can help them with their bowels, as it lubricates them. If you do not see any ketchup packets pass through after several days, you should definitely go see a veterinarian.
What about ketchup With, Mayo or Mustard?
Some other condiments people like to put with their ketchup are mustard and mayo, can dogs eat these condiments? Well, mayo is just like ketchup, it is not advised for your dog to eat it, but if they have had a little bit then they should be fine.
With mustard you should keep it away from dogs, mustard can cause vomiting and does have a moderate toxic aspect, as it can make dogs vomit. So mustard is the worst of the 3.
At the end of the day, we do not recommend you feed your dog any type of ketchup. There are too many risks and is not worth it.
If your dog has sneaked a bit of ketchup, then there should not be much to worry about. As long as it was only a small portion and was plain ketchup.
If your dog has eaten a lot of plain ketchup, you may need to take them to your local vet.
If your dog has eaten some ketchup that has something toxic to them in it, then you will need to take your dog to your local veterinarian straight away.
Other options will be your local emergency clinic or ringing the ASPCA on (888) 426-4435. (There will be a $60 fee)