Can Dogs Eat Meatballs?

Are you cooking some meatballs to go with your Spaghetti or perhaps making a meatball sub, and your dog is at your ankles begging for a bite?

Well, you aren’t alone, and many dog owners wonder whether they should cook up an extra meatball for their dog and whether it is suitable for them to eat.

While it may seem obvious that meatballs are safe for dogs because they are made up of meat, there are a few complications you may want to understand.


Can Dogs Eat Meatballs?

Yes, dogs can safely eat most meatballs in moderation, and most will enjoy doing so. This includes meatballs made from various different meat ingredients such as Pork, Beef, Lamb, and Chicken.

Most smaller and medium dogs would be best suited to a single meatball, but some larger dogs may eat several depending on their appetite.

However, all meatballs are not equal, and dog owners must be careful which meatballs they feed their dogs to avoid health issues.

Which meatballs are suitable for dogs can depend upon the ingredients within the Meatballs as well as how they are prepared and cooked.

Which Meatballs Can Dogs Not Eat?

The problem with many processed meatballs is that they contain other ingredients outside of their primary meat ingredients like Pork or Beef.

For example, Ikea’s famous meatballs have the following ingredients present:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Eggs
  • Whole Milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper

While most of these ingredients are not problematic, some of the secondary ingredients in meatballs like Garlic and Onions can be a problem as both of them are toxic to dogs in large quantities.

While the quantity found in a single meatball is far from large, it is probably to avoid these meatballs as some dogs may have a poor reaction to even a small quantity.

If you are considering processed meatballs, we’d recommend reviewing the ingredient list of those to see what secondary ingredients they contain.

As for how to prepare Meatballs, dog owners are generally advised to avoid feeding their dog’s fried food, so you may not want to fry your meatballs and instead opt to bake them or grill them.

The issue with fried foods for dogs is that they contain high levels of oil and fat, which can make the meatballs very calorie-dense, which can lead to weight issues for some dogs.

Fried Meatballs

Homemade Meatballs For Dogs

The best meatballs to feed to your dog are those that have been homemade. This is as you will know exactly what ingredients are present within the meatball and can size and cook them to best suit your dog.

As we mentioned earlier, we would recommend avoiding some ingredients when making homemade meatballs such as Garlic or Onions, but others are acceptable inclusions such as Eggs or small amounts of plant-based ingredients like rice or even breadcrumbs.

You could prepare these homemade meatballs in bulk and then freeze a portion of them, allowing you to feed them to your dog on a regular basis without constant preparation.

Meatball Nutrition For Dogs

The nutrition provided by meatballs for dogs varies significantly depending upon the core meat ingredient the meatballs are made from.

For example, a Chicken meatball usually contains between 5-7g of protein and 1-2g of fat.

However, a Pork meatball contains a slightly different nutritional profile with 5-7g of protein and 2-3g of fat.

Regardless of type, the high levels of protein and fat in meatballs are a beneficial addition to the diet of most dogs and can help top up the levels found in their traditional dog food.

If your dog is susceptible to weight gain, you may want to stick to leaner meats like Chicken or Turkey rather than red meats like Beef or Lamb.

Outside of their protein and fat content, these meat ingredients can often provide vitamins and minerals such as Iron, Selenium, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin B6.

Leave a Reply