Have you been craving some beef tacos or plain-old Mexican tacos? Well, you can surely pick one for yourself as you drive back from the doggy park. After all that chasing and playing fetch with your pooch, you surely deserve a tasty snack. However, as you enjoy this delightful treat, your pooch would surely give you that innocent puppy face asking for some.
Should you really share your snack with your dog?
The answer to this is a big no. Although tacos are safe for your pooch to eat, they aren’t considered healthy in any way. Any type of fast food is never healthy for your pooch, and it’s better that you avoid feeding it to them.
Are Tacos Harmful to Dogs?
There is no harm in allowing your dog to chomp on a bite or two of the Taco. However, there is so much more that you need to keep in mind before you feed your pet tacos. And while you are at it, make sure you check other healthy dog food options that you could feed the pooch as opposed to this fast food.
How Do Dogs Digest Tacos?
We all are aware of the fact that chocolate is great for our health but not so much for a dog. Not every human food item can be fed to a dog. This is why anything you feed your dog should be cross-checked with the veterinarian to ensure it is safe.
Things get more complicated if it’s something that is a mix of different ingredients. While some ingredients might be very healthy for the pooch, others might wreak havoc to their digestive health and whatnot.
When it comes to tacos, it is a mix of different ingredients, and that is why it is important to check out whether the ingredients are safe or harmful for your pooch. Typically, the food we consume normally tends to be loaded with fat, and your dog might be unable to digest it completely.
Feeding them such food items can induce diarrhea, stomach aches, & even lead to potentially severe diseases. There are several chemicals and toxins that your dog might be immune to, but we aren’t. The vice-versa is also true. Not just that, feeding fat-loaded food items to your dog can form an unhealthy habit in the long run.
Tacos won’t kill your pooch, and it might not even make them sick. However, this isn’t something your pooch should consume regularly. Fast food tends to pack in a high amount of unhealthy fat that might not be right for your pooch’s digestive system. Along with this, the list of additives added to the Taco can make it the king of unhealthy food.
Tacos Ingredients: How do they affect your pooch?
Before you place your taco order and try to feed some to your four-legged friend, let us check out the ingredients that go into a classic taco and what could be harmful to your pooch.
Most of the food items by Taco Bell are loaded with onion powder. As is known, onions are very dangerous for dogs and should be avoided completely as they could be deadly for the dogs. So much so that onion can kill off the RBCs.
Avocado is very harmful to your pooch. It consists of a dangerous chemical called persin which, when ingested by dogs, can induce diarrhea and vomiting.
Fast food options generally tend to be loaded in salt, and tacos are no different. Dogs cannot consume the high sodium content as humans can do. Food items loaded with salt tends to dehydrate them.
Garlic tends to have effects that are similar to the onion & are also found within the Taco Bell powder used in the Tacos.
Tacos also have a good amount of sugar to bring in the tangy effect. However, this much sugar fed to your dog regularly can create teeth rot while contributing to weight-related issues.
Jalapenos tend to pack in a lot of heat, but this much heat is overwhelming for the dogs. It can also lead to stomach inflammation, diarrhea, or similar issues.
Tomatoes are generally considered safe for dogs. However, this is only true for the ripe ones. Raw tomatoes must not be fed to dogs as they do contain a chemical named Tomatime that could potentially harm your pooch.
While sour cream might not affect most dogs, it could wreak havoc on the ones that tend to be lactose intolerant. It can create nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting if they are sensitive to milk-related products.
Chili powder added to the tacos can give your dogs issues such as vomiting or diarrhea.
Things to Consider When Feeding Your Dog Tacos
Unfortunately, the ingredient list isn’t the sole factor one must consider when opting to feed the dog tacos. There are several other factors to keep in mind,such as the total calorie count. On a regular day, dogs need to eat about 625 calories.
When you take a look at the Taco Bell menu, an average beef taco packs in about 170 calories. This is a major portion of your dog’s daily requirement. So, you need to keep in mind the calorie count and feed them only the required amount and nothing more in case you want to avoid issues such as obesity.
While a bite or two occasionally won’t make a difference, doing this daily can make your pooch overweight and lead to a plethora of health issues.
Can a dog eat Taco meat?
Taco is considered an unhealthy food choice, but what if you feed them just the meat part? You would think that it’s fine to remove the harmful ingredients and feed them healthy meat. But you aren’t looking at the entire picture here.
Tacos contain about 88 percent beef, and in terms of fast-food standards, this ratio is pretty good. The rest, 12 percent, is comprised of sea salt, onion powder, chili pepper, garlic powder, tomato powder, and sugar.
Now, it’s obvious that post-preparation, you cannot separate the beef from the additives. The portion of additives added is way too high and might not be good for your pooch. In the guise of meat, you surely wouldn’t want to threaten your pooch’s health.
Can Dogs be fed homemade tacos?
Of course, you can serve your homemade dog tacos, but only if it doesn’t come with any add-ons that could harm them. But, it won’t actually be a taco, rather 100 percent beef with some lettuce & plain rice with no seasoning.
What would happen if your dog eats tacos?
With fast food, there is always a chance that it can be unhealthy for your dog. In case your dog has just consumed tacos, make sure you keep an eye on them for a minimum of 24 to 48 hours. Signs of allergy or sickness caused due to tacos would manifest in the form of:
- Abdominal Pain
Apart from this, taco seasonings such as salt can make pooch thirsty or even led to issues such as vomiting or dehydration. Spices such as chili powder, black pepper, red pepper, and paprika can create digestive issues for your pooch and make your pet sick for days.
You also need to keep in mind that the meat must not be undercooked. Such meat could pack in a lot of diseases such as salmonella or any other bacterial contamination that can go undetected in your pooch and surface long after they have consumed the Taco.
So, it is safer to go for alternatives that are healthier and do not cause any concern for your pet.
What can replace tacos for dogs?
In case you have to get yourself a taco, there are healthier options you can try for your dog. Most Taco shops sell black beans that could serve as a healthier alternative for pets. While it surely won’t be as tasty and exciting as the Taco, you need to watch out for your pet’s health.
This doesn’t mean that tacos need to be completely avoided. If you have no other option but to feed them tacos, you can do so without any worries. It won’t harm them or cause an upset stomach. However, you need to make sure that it doesn’t become a regular habit.
Continued consumption of tacos can create toxin build-up in the dog’s body and lead to dire consequences that can even lead to the death of certain pets. The key is to be careful & use the right judgment.
Eating can surely be a fun activity for your dog, but eating right is what will keep them healthy and going well for years. Yes, you can surely feed them a small bite of Taco maybe on Sundays but make sure you consider the pros and cons before toiling with your pooch’s health.
Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.