An array of junk food, such as pizza, donuts, and cookies.

Can Dogs Eat Junk Food? The Mystery Unraveled

5 mins |

Many people are totally obsessed with junk food. And dogs are not immune to junk food, either. Even the smell of it makes them go crazy. But can dogs eat junk food?

Dogs cannot and should not eat junk food. Like most things, food that humans should consume in moderation should be even more restricted for dogs. So, while sharing your junk food with your dog may be tempting, it’s important to remember dogs have different dietary needs than humans. 

What Is Junk Food, And Why Is It Bad For Dogs?

A closeup of junk food, including pizza and cheeseburgers.
This is quite a feast.

Junk food can be defined as any food or snack with little to no nutritional value and is usually high in saturated fats, sugar, and sodium. Junk food can include, but isn’t limited to, chips, candy, biscuits, pastries, or any kind of burger. 

Generally speaking, anything that has been processed can be considered junk food as well. 

But why exactly is junk food considered bad for dogs?

For starters, most junk food consists of a high level of sodium. And while food that contains 0.3% sodium supports normal growth and development, any food that exceeds sodium can cause some health problems in dogs. 

Also, you should avoid giving your dog sugary treats or cookies because it leads to obesity, and obesity leads to diabetes, potentially leading to blindness. 

The Effects Of Junk Food On Dogs

Every dog, no matter its size or breed, is at risk of getting sick when ingesting something harmful. While some dogs are more prone to the side effects of eating junk food, some may have built up some tolerance for it. 

However, we believe it’s imperative to stop feeding your dog your favorite chips because they digest food very differently from us. And if you do enjoy giving them a bite or two of your favorite meal, take a look at what can happen if your dog becomes addicted to junk food. 


We all know that cookies and anything chocolatey are off-limits to dogs, but what about meat or chips? Are they, too, bad for their health? 

Any junk food can cause an increase in blood sugar, which can eventually lead to diabetes. In addition, if your dog consumes too much junk food, it can develop a condition called canine diabetes mellitus


Dogs that eat pastries, chips, or anything in the junk food category, also eat regular daily meals. So, while you think a bite won’t make a difference, you might be surprised at how easy it is for a dog to gain weight from eating human food. 

Eating large amounts of junk food can cause obesity in dogs which can lead to other health issues such as joint problems or heart disease

It Can Cause Digestive Problems

Usually, the junk food we can consume daily is too fatty for a dog to digest it properly. 

Moreover, junk food can cause digestive problems in dogs. So, feeding your dog junk food for a given period may lead to vomiting or, more severely, pancreatitis

This can be due to the ingredients used, such as added sugars and preservatives, or simply because it needs to be more easily digestible for your dog’s system. 

Despite obesity or digestive problems, junk food reinforces begging behavior or even refusing to eat the food on their plates.

How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating Junk Food?

We know dogs love to eat the same things as us, but most human food can lead to severe side effects. 

But how can you resist those puppy eyes and drooling face every time you take a bite from that juicy burger? That’s where we step in.

The best way to prevent your dog from eating junk food is to make sure that it is kept out of their reach at all times. But before anything else, you cannot succumb to the temptation of giving even a tiny piece of your food. 

So, stop feeding your best friend anything other than their wet or dry food

If you can, avoid giving them table scraps containing junk food. It can also be helpful to keep treats and snacks for your dog separate from the ones for humans.

Stick to this routine for at least 10 days, but if you manage to keep this up for 21 days (enough to break or build a habit), it would be amazing. 

So, don’t just stay in bed; start with day one this instant. And do not fall for those puppy eyes. Remember, this is for their health and for you to have them by your side for many years. 

What To Do If Your Dog Has Overeaten Junk Food?

If your dog has overeaten junk food, it is a good idea to take them straight to the vet. The vet can help determine what can be done and advise getting your pet back on track with its diet.

Usually, when they overeat junk food, the sodium level in their body is higher than it should be. So, there is a high chance of experiencing sodium poisoning. In that case, your dog will show symptoms like:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Dehydration

The symptoms can present themselves shortly after consuming junk food, and you should take your dog to the vet. 

Key Takeaways: Can Dogs Eat Junk Food?

Junk food can harm dogs and lead to several health issues. It can also cause problems such as obesity, diabetes, and digestive issues. The best way to keep your dog healthy is to provide them with a balanced and nutritious diet.

So, has your pet ever overeaten junk food? Tell us about it in the section below!

Sandra is a veterinary undergraduate student based in Macedonia. She combines her two passions: veterinary medicine and writing, and she also tends to raise awareness about animal welfare as much as she can. As a student, she has attended many seminars and conferences related to the veterinary profession, and currently, she is focused on veterinary content writing. Although she owns a cat, she strongly claims that “dogs are her favorite people”.