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Can Dogs Eat Meatballs? (We Asked A Vet)

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Meatballs are a delicious and popular food enjoyed by people all over the world. But can our furry friends enjoy them too?

To find out, I asked Dr. Littlejohn and looked around online to see what other experts were saying.

So, can dogs eat meatballs? Yes, dogs can eat meatballs in moderation. Stick to homemade meatballs that contain no added spices or harmful ingredients. You should never feed a dog commercially produced meatballs since most are high in fat, salt, and other toxic ingredients like onion, garlic, and spices.

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • What meatballs are safe for dogs to eat and why
  • The dangers associated with dogs eating meatballs
  • What to do if your dog overeats meatballs

Let’s dive in

Can Dogs Eat meatballs

Can Dogs Eat Meatballs?

Meatballs in moderation are okay for dogs to consume, especially if they’re homemade and don’t contain harmful ingredients. For example, meatballs made with ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, and parsley are safe ingredients for dogs to consume.

However, garlic, onions, and other spices should not be included in any meatballs a dog consumes. These ingredients are toxic to dogs and can make them very sick.

In addition, commercially produced meatballs are never a good option. These usually contain high fat, salt, and other toxic ingredients. So, it’s best to avoid these meatballs altogether.

Always be mindful of how much you are feeding them. Even homemade meatballs can be high in fat and salt.

Moderation is the key to keeping your dog healthy while allowing them to enjoy some tasty treats, like meatballs.

Can Dogs Eat Processed Meatballs?

Processed meats, like those found in most meatballs, are loaded with salt, fat, and other chemicals that can be toxic to dogs. When eaten in excess, these ingredients can cause gastrointestinal problems, pancreatitis, and other health issues. So, it’s best to avoid feeding your dog processed meatballs.

Can Dogs Eat Meatballs With Sauce?

No, dogs should not eat meatballs with sauce. This is because many sauces contain onion and garlic, which can harm dogs.

In addition, many sauces are high in sugar, leading to weight gain and other health problems.

So, its best to avoid feeding your dog meatballs with sauce.

Dangers Of Dogs Eating Meatballs

Many meatball recipes include things like onions, garlic, and spices.

These ingredients can harm dogs and cause upset stomachs or other health problems.

In addition, processed meatballs contain lots of salt and sugar. Consuming lots of salt can lead to dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance.

Consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and in severe cases, pancreatitis.

Although a small amount is unlikely to cause much harm, it’s best to avoid feeding your dog these meatballs.

Related Reading: Can Dogs Eat Beyond Meat (Plant-Based)? Dangers + Tips

Safe Ingredients In Meatballs For Dogs

When feeding your dog meatballs, it’s essential to only use safe ingredients.

Here are some safe ingredients you can use in meatballs for dogs:

  • Ground beef
  • Bread crumbs
  • Eggs
  • Parsley
  • Salt (in moderation)
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil (in moderation)

Can Meatballs Make Dogs Sick?

Yes, meatballs can make dogs sick if they contain harmful ingredients or they overeat.

Overeating can cause digestive problems like diarrhea, vomiting, and bloating. In addition, it can lead to weight gain and obesity.

In severe cases, a dog can get food bloat or pancreatitis. Both of which can be life-threatening.

So, it’s important to only feed your dog meatballs in moderation and ensure they are free from harmful ingredients.

In addition, avoid feeding your dog spoiled meats as this can also make them very sick.

How Many Meatballs Are Too Many For A Dog?

meatballs for dogs

Even dog-safe meatballs will have maximum portioning, just like anything else in the food portioning world! Generally, you can give small dogs up to 1 meatball a week. Larger dog breeds can have up to 2-3 meatballs per week.

Check with your vet on portioning if you are using meatballs for weight gain and muscle mass.

Tips If Your Dog Overeats Meatballs

If your dog overeats meatballs, it’s important to watch for signs of sickness. These can include vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and lethargy. Depending on how many meatballs your dog consumed and how large your dog is, you may want to take them to the vet.

In most cases, a dog who overeats meatballs will be fine. However, there is a slight chance they could develop severe health issues like bloat or pancreatitis.

Look for signs that your dog is unwell and if you’re concerned, consult your veterinarian. Suppose your dog is displaying changes to their normal behavior or vomiting or having diarrhea for more than 48 hours. In that case, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian.

How To Prepare And Serve Meatballs To Dogs

When preparing meatballs for your dog, use safe ingredients and cook them thoroughly.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for dog-safe meatballs:


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Mix ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, and parsley in a bowl.
3. Shape the mixture into small meatballs.
4. Drizzle olive oil over meatballs in a baking dish or on a baking sheet.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
6. Serve to your dog and enjoy!

The goal is to keep the meatballs as plain as possible with as few ingredients as possible. When in doubt, always consult your veterinarian.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Can Dogs Eat Store-Bought Meatballs?

Dogs should avoid eating store-bought meatballs. This is because most store-bought meatballs contain harmful ingredients and are often high in salt and sugar. Instead, dogs should only eat meatballs made explicitly for them and in moderation.

Can Dogs Eat Spaghetti Meatballs?

In moderation, a dog can eat spaghetti meatballs so long as they do not contain any harmful ingredients. For example, if the spaghetti meatballs were made with spices, onion, and garlic, your dog should not be eating them. In addition, these meatballs will be high in fat, so if you deem them safe for your dog to eat keep the amount minimal.

Can Dogs Eat Tomato Sauce?

While tomato sauce isn’t poisonous to dogs, garlic, onion, or other added spices can be dangerous. So when feeding your dog tomato sauce, only give them plain tomato sauce to avoid any health risks. And as always, moderation is key.

How Do You Make Meatballs Dog Friendly

The best way to make meatballs dog friendly is by using all-natural, organic, and lean ingredients.

You’ll want to avoid adding onions, garlic, salt, sugar, or spices, as these can harm dogs.

I also recommend avoiding pork and beef as these can be hard for dogs to digest. Instead, go for chicken or turkey.

Final Thoughts

So, in conclusion, can a dog eat meatballs?

The answer is yes, but only in moderation and with safe ingredients. Be sure to avoid giving your dog store-bought meatballs as they are high in sugar and salt and can contain other harmful ingredients like onions.

In addition, while homemade meatballs made without onions, garlic, or other spices are safe for dogs to eat, it’s important to remember that they should only be given in moderation. Regardless of the ingredients, meatballs can be fatty and, thus, not the best food for dogs to have regularly.

If you have any further questions about feeding meatballs to your dog, be sure to speak with your veterinarian. They will be able to give you specific advice tailored to your dog’s individual needs.

Other posts you may find interesting:

Can Dogs Eat Ravioli? 5 Dangers & Tips If They Overeat

Can Dogs Eat Mutton? Everything You Need To Know