Can Dogs Eat Kielbasa? Keen To Know?

Kielbasa sausages hanging in the window
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As you and your dog walk past the butcher’s shop on the daily outing, something new in the window display stops it in its tracks.

Kielbasa sausages adorn the storefront, hanging like meaty Christmas lights in more links than a canine can count.

Your dog stares at the delicacies- then at you, with wide, pleading eyes.

Just as you are about to give in and buy some Kielbasa as an exotic treat for dinner, you wonder,

“Can Dogs eat Kielbasa?”

The simple answer, is NO.

Kielbasa is definitely not fit for dog consumption.

Despite the obvious protein content, there are very little helpful minerals and vitamins within.

The greatest danger that Kielbasa poses to your dog is that it has high fat and sodium content, as well as ingredients such as onion and garlic powder that can be hazardous to a dog.

Fat can cause stomach distress and pancreatitis in the short-term, while excess amounts of sodium can result in dehydration and salt poisoning.

There’s no doubt about it: Feeding your dog Kielbasa will do more harm than good. If you want to give your dog a treat, there are definitely healthier, dog-appropriate alternatives.

What Is Kielbasa, Anyway?

Kielbasa (plural form- Kielbasy) is a term typically referring to any meat sausage originating from Poland. In Britain, the closest term would be a Wiejska sausage.

In America, Kielbasa (also referred to as Polish sausage or Kielbasa Polska) generally describes any meat sausage that is smoked and shaped like a U. In America, Kielbasa are typically made of pork.

Kielbasa is commonly sold precooked. There are various recipes, but some common ingredients include pork or beef, garlic, marjoram, and other spices.

Some varieties of Kielbasa include Mysliwska, Krakowska and Kabanosy.

Nutritional Information of Kielbasa – Major Categories

Kielbasa Nutritional Information (Per 100 Grams)

Name

Amount

Unit

Calories

337

kcal

Carbohydrate

5.0

g

Sugar

2.4

g

Total Fat

29.7

g

Saturated Fat

9.9

g

Monounsaturated Fat

12.6

g

Polyunsaturated Fat

5.4

g

Protein

12.4

g

Sodium

1060

mg

Source: USDA Foodbank Central Database

For every 100 grams of Kielbasa, there is an average 337 calories, 5.0 grams of carbohydrates (of which 2.4 grams is sugar), over 29.7 grams of fat, and 1060 milligrams of sodium!

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There are very tiny amounts of vitamins and minerals contained in 100 grams of Kielbasa.

Furthermore, the amount of protein, totaling 12.4 grams in 100 grams of Kielbasa, is not particularly significant when compared to the amount of fat and sodium your dog will be absorbing.

Can Dogs Have Polish Sausage? The Possible Benefit Of Kielbasa

Can dogs eat kielbasa?
Mariuszjbie, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

There is little to no benefit of feeding your dog any Kielbasa. The only possible reason as to why a dog owner may want to feed their dog any Kielbasa is that it is a somewhat decent protein source.

Unlike liverwurst however, there are very little vitamins, minerals, and any other potentially beneficial nutrients in Kielbasa.

Of course, the nutrients available do depend on the specific Kielbasa recipe.

Source of Protein

The only possible benefit of consuming Kielbasa is that it can potentially supplement your dog’s daily protein intake.

Protein is essential for maintaining healthy immune and musculoskeletal systems. It is a building block of organs and various microscopic structures such as hormones and enzymes.

Kielbasa provides a decent portion of protein as it contains 12.4 grams of protein per 100 grams. A guide by the National Research Council (NRC) suggests an average 33 pound adult dog should eat around 25 grams of protein per day.

Despite the protein content, there are more negative consequences linked to eating Kielbasa than positive ones. Furthermore, there are definitely better sources of protein that are healthier and more appropriate for a dog to consume.

Can Kielbasa Kill A Dog? The Very Real Dangers

Polish Kielbasa baskijska
MOs810, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

The primary problem with Kielbasa is that there is an overabundance of fat and sodium.

Although many of these nutrients are required for the proper functioning and growth of your dog, eating too much of either can lead to various problems.

High Fat Content

Fat is an important ingredient in a dog’s diet for maintaining healthy skin and fur. Certain fats such as the Omega’s, which are found in fish heads, help keep your dog’s eyes and brain in good shape.

It has been advised by the National Academy of Sciences that a typical 33-pound adult dog should consume around 14 grams of fat a day.

Just 100 grams of Kielbasa more than doubles the daily fat allowance for an average 33-pound dog!

The problem with fat is that eating too much can cause issues such as weight gain. The more fatty foods that your dog consumes, the greater the risk of suffering from life-threatening problems.

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In the short-term, the increase in weight leads to increased pressure on their joints and internal organs. In the long term, the excess fat makes your dog prone to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

If your dog consumes Kielbasa too quickly, it can also suffer from acute pancreatitis.

The significant fat content in Kielbasa triggers the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes. As there is so much fat to be processed, too many enzymes accumulate in the pancreas, which then damages cells and causes internal inflammation.

Signs of pancreatitis include vomiting, a hunched back, lethargy, fever, and stomach pain.

Dogs generally should be able to recover after a bout of acute pancreatitis; however, it can become deadly if not treated quickly. In serious cases of pancreatitis, painkillers, IV fluids and anti-inflammatory medication will be required.

High Sodium Content

Salt with wooden scoop

Sodium is essential in small amounts for the proper functioning of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. Sodium also maintains the electrolyte balance in the body, ensuring that cells do not become dehydrated or swell.

According to VetInfo, a typical 30-pound adult dog only requires around 100 milligrams of sodium a day. In only 100 grams of Kielbasa, there is over 1060mg of sodium. That is nearly 11 times the recommended daily sodium intake in a measly 100 grams of Kielbasa!

This reveals the greatest danger of consuming Kielbasa: It is much too salty to be a safe food for your dog to eat.

Excess sodium in your dog’s body can lead to issues such as stomach distress, neurological disorders, and cardiovascular breakdown.

The effects of consuming excess sodium are significantly worse in elderly dogs and dogs with internal organ problems.

Common symptoms of sodium poisoning include:

– Nausea and Vomiting

– Watery Diarrhea

– Tongue Swelling

– Increased Heart Rate

– High Blood Pressure

In extreme cases of sodium poisoning, a dog may suffer from seizures, become unconscious and potentially be at risk of death.

If your dog has consumed any amount of Kielbasa, make sure water is readily available to help remove the excess sodium from their body.

In serious cases where your dog ate a lot of salty food, you may even need to force your dog to take in fluids via ice cubes or by diluting dry dog foods.

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Other Dangers of Kielbasa

Traditional kielbasa

Toxic Ingredients – Garlic and Onion

Aside from the high fat and salt content, Kielbasa can pose a significant risk to your dog due to the ingredients involved. Garlic and onion are commonly added to most Kielbasa recipes, and are unfortunately very toxic to dogs.

Garlic and onion are part of the Allium species of plants, which have the ability to cause life-threatening medical issues in canines.

When garlic and onion are initially consumed, your dog will suffer from inflammation of the digestive tract. Signs of inflammation include nausea, vomiting and nausea.

However, the serious consequences of allium consumption involve its effect on the blood of dogs.

The chemicals within Alliums react with the red blood cells in dogs, causing cell walls to become thinner- and eventual cell death. The lower the number of red blood cells available, the less oxygen that gets carried around the body.

Eating Alliums can cause anemia, lethargy and overall weakness as a result.

As stated by VCA Hospitals, the amount of onions and garlic capable of causing your dog to fall ill is equal to 0.5% of a dog’s body weight.

Whilst it would definitely depend on the quantity of Alliums incorporated into the recipe, eating a chunk of Kielbasa would surely be unhealthy to your dog in this manner.

In Summary

Can Dogs Eat Kielbasa?

The regrettable answer, despite your best intentions, is no.

The high salt and fat content, along with unnecessary exposure to toxic ingredients added into the recipe, make Kielbasa a dangerous snack for canines.

Negative consequences that can result when a dog has eaten Kielbasa can range from simple GI upset, to pancreatitis, to sodium poisoning and red blood cell destruction.

Although Kielbasa can be a decent source of protein, there are definitely better alternatives that are healthier and more appropriate for your dog to consume.

Next time you and your dog pass the butcher’s- skip the sausages and opt for the eye fillet instead!

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