Can Dogs Eat Taco Meat? Are all Meats Dog-Friendly?

Introduction

No, dogs cannot eat taco meat. Just because dogs are carnivores does not mean they can eat all types of meats. Taco meat is particularly dangerous for dogs because of two components – the fat content and the onions.

Even if you are extra careful and prepare the taco meat without onions or onion powder, the grease within the mixture is more than dogs can handle. Therefore, taco meat is not something you should be feeding your dog.

Why is Taco Meat Bad for Dogs?

As noted, the main dangers of taco meat for dogs stem from two ingredients. However, they trigger an array of potential issues. Here is a short review of the reasons taco meat is bad for dogs.

Pancreatitis Risk

Grease is abundant in taco meat. In small amounts, grease, or better said, fats are beneficial to dogs. However, in excess amounts, they cause issues. The most imminent danger of grease is its potential to trigger pancreatitis – acute inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis is very painful and, if left untreated, can be life-threatening.

Weight Gain and Obesity

Too many fats will make your dog chubby. Putting extra body weight increases the risk of several diseases and conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, and certain types of cancer. Also, adding weight aggravates co-existing problems like joint issues (arthritis and hip dysplasia).

taco meat

Onion Poisoning

The biggest risk of taco meat for dogs is onion poisoning. Dogs cannot metabolize onions and other members of the Allium family (such as garlic, leeks, chives). All forms of onion are toxic to dogs (raw, cooked, powdered) as they contain a compound called N-propyl disulfide. It should also be noted that onion toxicity can develop if large dogs eat small amounts of onions over a prolonged period of time.

Too Many Spices

Last but not least, taco meat is heavily seasoned and rich in a variety of spices. The dog’s stomach is not equipped for processing spices, and too much can wreak havoc. In more severe cases, spices may trigger serious gastroenteritis followed by the formation of erosions and bleeding ulcers in the digestive tract. 

Signs Your Dog Has Eaten Taco Meat

The signs after your dog ate taco meat depend on several factors – the amount of taco meat consumed the dog’s size, the dog’s overall health, and the ingredients in the taco meat recipe.

In cases of gastrointestinal upset, the dog will show the following symptoms and signs:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Disinterest in everyday activities.

In cases of pancreatitis, severe abdominal pain and white-colored diarrhea will be striking. The other signs of digestive upset are also possible.

Worst-case scenario, dogs experiencing onion toxicity, will show:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Mouth irritation
  • Excessive drooling
  • Overall weakness
  • Abdominal pain signs
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Panting (tachypnea)
  • Pale or bluish gums
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Collapse.

If your dog is showing one or more of these signs and symptoms, call your trusted veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline.

sad dog lying near his bowl

What to Do If My Dog Ate Taco Meat?

If your dog ate taco meat, it is critical to seek veterinary attention. However, before calling the vet, it would be useful to assess the situation. Namely, try to determine how much taco meat your dog ate and the exact ingredients in the meat.

This would be much easier if you prepared the meat at home. On the other hand, if using a store-bought version, you need to read the label.

The more information you give the veterinarian, the easier it will be to give correct instructions. More often than not, even if the dog ate a small amount of taco meat, the veterinarian will recommend an in-person visit. In more severe cases, an emergency trip to the vet’s office is warranted.

Summary

All things considered, dogs cannot eat taco meat. In fact, the term cannot is used loosely – the exact term would be must not. Taco meat is hazardous to dogs as it contains high-fat content and onions.

Luckily, there are many safe meat-based food options for dogs. Keep in mind that dogs need a versatile, rich, and nutritionally balanced diet. Certain human foods can be used but in moderation and on rare occasions.     

Sources

  1. Arthritis in Dogs, Robin Downing, DVM, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CRPP, 2021
  2. Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: All-in-One Guide, Tiffany Tupler, DVM, 2020
  3. Pancreatitis in dogs, PDSA, 2020
  4. Onion Poisoning in Dogs, Grace Park, 2021

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Ivana Crnec

Ivana Crnec

Dr. Ivana Crnec is a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine, a passionate writer and a devoted pet parent. Specializing in domestic carnivores, her professional experience ranges from preventative medicine and routine wellness care through diagnosing and treating conditions to emergency and specialty care
Bitola, Macedonia