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Can Dogs Eat Ketchup? When Is Ketchup Harmful to Dogs?

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Raymond Umpa

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Can Dogs Eat Ketchup

Do you put ketchup in almost anything that you eat? Well, we won’t be surprised if you do – this condiment won’t be a global food staple if not for its rich flavor and flexibility.

No wonder even dogs love ketchup. But as a dog owner, we know this question keeps running inside your mind, “Can dogs eat ketchup?”

Can Dogs Eat Ketchup?

If you insist on getting answers in black and white, or yes or no, then, we’d have to say “No.” But why is that so? Is ketchup bad for your four-legged friends? Can ketchup kill dogs?

To put it bluntly, ketchup is not toxic to dogs, but it is also not good for dogs, either. So, if your dog eats or licks small quantities of tomato ketchup from a platter, he should be okay. But should you add ketchup to your dog’s diet? Definitely not.

Ketchup is usually made from tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and seasonings that can even contain some toxic compounds. When your dog consumes ketchup that is packed with these potentially harmful ingredients, there’s a high chance that he will get sick.

And that’s why it’s best for dog owners to just simply not let their dog eat ketchup even as an occasional treat. Don’t be guilty of keeping this condiment to yourself.

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There are a lot of healthier and safer dog treats out there and a lot of tasty dog foods that will make your dog wolf with delight.  

Besides, your dog is definitely not missing something if you don’t let him eat ketchup. By looking at its ingredients, you will know that ketchup doesn’t really offer substantial nutritional value. In fact, we can even say that is basically just empty calories with zero nutritional value for your dog.

To understand this, let’s go back to ketchup’s primary ingredients starting with vinegar.

Vinegar, especially distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar, are not toxic to dogs. Vinegar is also known to offer different health benefits in dogs from preventing ear infections, and treating minor irritations.

Vinegar also promotes good digestion, and offers several other nutritional benefits from its magnesium, iron, and potassium content.

However, most dogs can’t usually tolerate vinegar. This condiment can lead to an upset stomach, especially in small dogs with sensitive tummies, as well as those with kidney damage.

The next primary ingredient used in making ketchup is sugar. And it’s not new to us that sugar is not a dog’s best friend.

When a dog consumes food with high sugar levels, it can lead to unhealthy weight gain, obesity, dental problems, and other health issues. Diabetic dogs who find ketchup a tasty treat should definitely be extra careful.

Finally, commercial or homemade ketchup won’t be complete without the seasonings. These ingredients add that much-needed kick of flavors that we, humans, are longing for.

Some commercial tomato ketchup sold in stores also has garlic powder and onion powder, which are both bad for dogs.

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When Is Ketchup Harmful to Dogs?

Tomato fruit is the main ingredient in making ketchup, and it is not toxic for dogs. However, as mentioned earlier, commercial ketchup contains artificial flavors, preservatives, and they often have other ingredients that can be harmful to your four legged friends.

When is tomato ketchup harmful to your dog? With ketchup’s high salt and sugar levels, it is definitely bad for your dog’s health to give them this condiment regularly and in large quantities. This sugary condiment contains almost no dietary fiber that is good for your pup’s digestion, and it can only increase your dog’s weight.

Ketchup’s high sodium content is also a red flag. It’s common knowledge among dog owners that sodium is one of a canine’s worst enemies. Too much sodium in a dog’s diet can lead to several health complications such as kidney failure, high blood pressure, and cardiac disorders.

A little bit of salt won’t cause serious problems in dogs, but if your dog consumes a significant amount of salt regularly, he may be at risk for seizures, coma, or even death.

Common symptoms of salt poisoning in canines that you should watch out for include seizures swelling stumbling loss of appetite nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, excessive thirst or urination, and coma.

Additionally, as mentioned earlier, commercial ketchup also contains garlic powder and onion powder, which are both toxic to dogs. In particular, onion powder contains certain compounds that can harm a dog’s red blood cells, which can consequently lead to anemia.

Garlic powder is as notorious as onion powder in wrecking a dog’s red blood cells. Garlic contains thiosulfate, which can cause hemolytic anemia in dogs. The signs of garlic poisoning that you should watch out for include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression, and dehydration.

Other than all of these ingredients, ketchup also contains xanthan gum, which acts as a stabilizer or a thickener. This ingredient is safe for dogs in moderation, but it can cause diarrhea when consumed in large quantities. Hence, it’s another valid reason not to give too much ketchup to your pup.

Finally, even if it seems that sugar is one of the main problems with ketchup, you should never fall prey to variants that are labeled “sugar free.” As always, sugarless products are a no-no for dogs, because they most likely contain artificial sweeteners or sugar substitute, such as xylitol or birch sugar.  

And if you’ve been reading about toxic substances in dogs, you should know by heart that xylitol is toxic to your canine companion.

When Is Ketchup Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Only when it's a homemade ketchup. Ketchup is a highly processed food that you shouldn’t be feeding your dog. But again, if your dog eats a little bit of ketchup, especially when he grabs some from your hot dogs, he should just be fine.

So, is ketchup good for dogs in moderation? Well, we won’t say that it’s good because as mentioned earlier, without the toxic ingredients, it’s basically empty calories that could only contribute to your dog’s weight.

Nonetheless, ketchup is safe for dogs to eat as an occasional treat as long as you give natural ketchup that doesn’t contain onion, garlic, xylitol, and other harmful ingredients.

And of course, if it’s your first time to offer ketchup to your dog, you should observe his response because it is not uncommon for dogs to experience allergic reactions after eating ketchup.

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Are Tomatoes Bad for Dogs? Can Dogs Eat Tomato Sauces?

We’ve established that ketchup is not a healthy and safe food choice for your four-legged friends. So, does that mean that you should also avoid giving pure tomato sauce, and other tomato-based products to your dog?

According to experts, while it is safe for dogs to consume red ripe tomatoes occasionally, you should be extra careful that he doesn’t roam around your garden unattended, especially if you have tomato plants.

It turns out that tomatoes, as well as other vegetables in the nightshade family such as peppers, eggplant, and potatoes, contain potentially toxic compounds.

In particular, the green parts of a tomato plant such as its leaves, stem, as well as its flowers contain toxic substances in dogs called solanine and tomatine.

So, if you are going to offer tomatoes to your dog, even in moderation, you should stick to the red, ripe variants, and stay away from unripe tomatoes. Green tomatoes also have a higher concentration of these toxic substances, so, it’s best to stay away from them, too.

The common symptoms of tomatine poisoning in dogs are vomiting and diarrhea. However, when a dog consumes large quantities of the tomato plant, he may also experience depression, muscle weakness, dilated pupils, hypersalivation, or an abnormal heart rate. This is a medical emergency that warrants an immediate trip to the ER or the nearest veterinary clinic.  

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Other Related Foods

Can Dogs Eat Ketchup Chips?

No, you should not give ketchup chips or ketchup-flavored potato chips, to your dog. These chips have high sodium and fat content, and might also contain other toxic ingredients such as onion powder.

Can Dogs Eat French Fries?

No, dogs can’t eat french fries. While fries alone are not toxic to your dog, you shouldn’t still give them to your pup. Fries are deep-fried, and they are also coated with salt. The combination of high salt and fat content in this popular human snack makes it unhealthy and even harmful for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Mustard?

No, dogs should not eat mustard. The primary ingredients of this equally popular condiment, the actual mustard seeds, are toxic to dogs. However, if your dog simply licks a small amount of mustard from your hotdog sandwich, he should just be fine.

Health issues start to come by once your dog consumes a significant amount of mustard. When this happens, your dog may experience gastroenteritis, which can present itself in the form of diarrhea or diarrhea with vomiting. Other accompanying symptoms include abdominal pain, lethargy, blood in feces, and restlessness.

Can Dogs Eat Eggs?

Eggs and ketchup go well together. However, while eggs are perfectly safe for dogs, ketchup, as repeatedly discussed in this article, is not healthy for dogs. So, if you are going to give eggs to your pup, do it without adding ketchup.

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