Whether you are frying up a pan of breakfast sausage or cooking bratwurst on the barbecue, the smells no doubt have your dog begging for a bite. You might be tempted to share this with your canine pal, but sausage made for people is not a healthy treat option.
Sodium is a mineral found in many foods, and sodium chloride -- table salt -- is found in many sausage varieties. For your dog, sodium is an essential mineral that plays a role in nerve impulses. However, dogs don’t require a lot. The National Research Council of the National Academies recommends 100 milligrams of sodium per day for your dog. Too much sodium can result in restlessness, increased heart rate, increased thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors and seizures. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database, 100 grams of cooked pork sausage contains 895 milligrams of sodium -- well beyond your pooch's recommended daily intake.
In addition to salt, various spices help create the flavor in your sausage of choice. Often, these spices include onion and garlic -- both of which are another doggie no-no. On the mild side, they lead to an upset tummy or diarrhea for your pooch. In severe cases, they cause damage to red blood cells and lead to Heinz body hemolytic anemia. Symptoms include weakness, lethargy, red urine and pale or bluish gums.
Stores offer various dog treats that provide balanced nutrients for your dog. Many of these include flavoring similar to your breakfast sausage or bratwurst. However, you may still be tempted to share your meal when those begging eyes look back at you. If this is the case, consider making him his own sausage or other homemade treat. For example, if he is begging for breakfast sausage, cook him some scrambled eggs instead. If the barbecue is calling his name, place a plain beef patty on the grill just for him.
Another option is creating homemade sausage patties for your dog. Make them in large quantities you can freeze so you have one available each time you cook sausage for yourself. Mix together ground meat, a raw egg and finely chopped vegetables, such as green beans, carrots or sweet potatoes. Mix the ingredients and form into small patties. To cook, place in a greased skillet on the stove-top or a greased pan and bake in a 350-degree oven until the meat cooks thoroughly.
- National Research Council of the National Academies: Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs
- ASPCA: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Nutrient Data For 07064, Pork Sausage, Fresh, Cooked
- Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS: Onions and Dogs: A Lethal Combination
- ExoticPetVet.net: Heinz Body Hemolytic Anemia From Onions
- Veterinary Pathology: Experimental Onion-Induced Hemolytic Anemia in Dogs
- Dog Trick Academy: Make Your Own Dog Treats -- Like Sausage Meat
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images