Dogs love to eat human snacks, especially those that are rich and fatty. Can dogs eat mayonnaise?
Many human foods appeal to dogs, but not all of them are safe for canines to eat! Some may have ingredients that can be safe for us, but toxic for them. But is mayonnaise safe for dogs to eat?
Mayonnaise is safe for dogs, because it doesn’t contain any ingredients that are toxic to dogs. It is safe to feed your canine friends without any risk of poisoning, but if fed in large quantities, it can cause gastrointestinal problems due to the high fat content.
Knowing what foods are safe for dogs is important as a dog owner, but knowing the quantity in which it is safe is also equally important.
We looked into what foods dogs can eat safely and how much of each they can consume during our research. Based on our findings, and the opinions of professionals, we came to our conclusion.
Is Mayo Safe for Dogs?
The ingredients in mayo are not necessarily bad for dogs. In fact, mayo is just an emulsion of oil and egg yolks, with the addition of vinegar or lemon juice to add some flavor. Sometimes, it also includes mustard or herbs.
When talking about the danger of feeding mayo to dogs, there is none. The ingredients in mayo are not toxic and do not pose any risk of poisoning for dogs, so many people might think it is otherwise safe for them to consume.
This may be true, if you are feeding your dog a small amount of mayo at a time, but otherwise not really. Mayo has very high fat content, which can be extremely problematic if fed to dogs in excess.
Dogs are carnivores, so they tend to eat meat but also enjoy dairy products like cheese, cream and mayo. Just like some people will enjoy the taste of mayo on their sandwiches and salads, dogs also enjoy mayonnaise.
Some dogs may even love mayo.
But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for them.
There are three major concerns around feeding dogs mayonnaise.
Mayonnaise has very high egg content, and the condiment is not cooked during preparation either. This means that the risk of picking up salmonella is high. When bought at a store, the chances of salmonella poisoning goes down, since mayonnaise that is manufactured in factories will have preservatives and other such ingredients that bring the chances down.
However, these are still not zero. Mayonnaise – especially homemade mayonnaise – comes with the risk of salmonella poisoning, and this can be dangerous for your pet. With salmonella poisoning, your dog may end up lethargic and tired, and may exhibit symptoms like fever, weight loss, diarrhea and dehydration. There may also be some severe symptoms like tachycardia and swollen lymph nodes.
If your dog shows any of these symptoms, it is vital that you rush over to a vet to get them checked out as soon as possible. If the symptoms become worse, their recovery can become difficult.
Most mayonnaise will have eggs that are blended with different artificial products. Artificial products are not just unhealthy, they may also trigger allergic reactions. The allergen details written on mayo packs are usually for humans, and you never know what ingredient can trigger allergies in your dog.
With artificial products that are less likely to be consumed by dogs on a daily basis anyway, the chances of an allergic reaction also go up.
Even homemade mayo is not necessarily healthy for dogs, since the ingredients used may still have artificial flavorings, and other such things. Ideally, you’d just keep your dog away from mayo as much as possible.
On top of the artificial products used in mayonnaise, many manufacturers also use soy in their mayo. Soy allergies are very common dogs of all ages and breeds, and this can be dangerous.
High Fat Content
While salmonella poisoning and allergic reactions are up to chance, the negative effect of high fat content is not. Mayonnaise has very high fat content, and feeding it to your dog can very well disrupt their diet and lead to imbalances.
Mayonnaise is mainly a combination of empty calories, of which most come from fat, with some low-nutrition ingredients.
Empty calories are already a waste on humans and only serve to put on weight, but they can have the same effect in dogs. Obese dogs can have trouble with, and even feel pain when moving and performing any kind of activity. This can result in lethargy and other bodily harm such as joint problems, diabetes and metabolic disorders.
Consuming food with high fat content, such as mayonnaise, can have some serious consequences on your dog’s health.
While this may not necessarily apply to all dogs, some dogs have a genetic tendency towards pancreatitis. Some with a history of pancreatitis or other gastrointestinal issues may be more sensitive towards food with higher fat content.
If your dog is part of this category and they end up consuming too much mayo, you should get your vet to perform tests to make sure your dog’s pancreas is not affected.
Even for dogs who do not have such a medical history, because mayo is rich and fatty, it can result in gastrointestinal issues if too much is consumed. A tablespoon or so is fine, but too much can cause sickness, and you should get your dog to the vet if they end up consuming too much mayo.
How Much Mayo Can Dogs Eat?
We’ve established that mayo is not the best thing to feed your dogs, but dogs do happen to like it too. Besides that, while mayo can have negative consequences for some dogs in the form of allergic reactions, it does not have any outright toxic ingredients that can be bad for them.
So, just as it is for you, mayo can be healthy for dogs in small quantities. Remember, anything is only good in moderation – you shouldn’t feed too much mayo to your dogs, and small, controlled amounts are fine.
In fact, the occasional lick as a treat is fine, and can be a reward for many dogs without any real harm. However, you shouldn’t offer it as a treat often, since this regular consumption can cause problems.
Alternatives to Mayonnaise
Mayo is clearly not the best option to feed your dog, but you can find alternatives as treats for them.
Yogurt has only about 10% of the fat content that mayo does, but it has the same creamy texture. Yogurt that doesn’t have sugar is fine to feed your dog, but make sure that there are no artificial sweeteners. These can be toxic to dogs, and can make them very sick.
Peanut butter is also a good alternative. Though this is also quite fatty, you can mix a tablespoon or so in your dog’s food and make a delicious snack. Again, make sure there are no sweeteners or added sugar in the peanut butter you feed your dog.
Low-fat cottage cheese is also a good option. While full-fat can be too much, low-fat is a good alternative that contains probiotics and proteins that can be beneficial to your dog when consumed in controlled quantities.
So, while dogs can eat mayo, it is best not to feed it to them, especially in large quantities. The occasional lick off your plate shouldn’t be a problem, but if you let it become a habit, you could be putting your dog at risk for a number of health problems.
Everything is only suitable in moderation, and this also goes for your dog’s treats. You know your dog and their sensitivities best, so make sure that your dog’s food is safe for them – including their special snacks.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright