What Sauces Can Dogs Eat

By diets4dogs on
What Sauces Can Dogs Eat

What Sauces Can Dogs Eat

Most store-bought sauces contain ingredients that may be harmful to dogs, such as salt, sugar, garlic, and onions. To ensure your dog’s safety, it is best to avoid giving them commercial sauces. Instead, opt for homemade, dog-safe alternatives such as unseasoned, low-sodium chicken or beef broth, or a vegetable puree with no added spices or seasonings.

Introduction to Dog-Friendly Sauces

Dogs have different dietary needs and restrictions than humans, so as pet owners, it’s essential to understand what’s safe for them to consume. When it comes to sauces, many common options found in the grocery store or atop our dinner plates may contain ingredients that are harmful to our beloved furry friends. This article will delve into the world of dog-safe sauces and provide some alternatives to ensure your dog’s health and happiness.

Understanding Ingredients in Sauces

Sauces are versatile additions to a variety of dishes, but they can also contain ingredients that may not be suitable for our canine companions. Here are some common ingredients to watch out for:

  • Garlic and onions: Both of these ingredients are toxic to dogs and can cause damage to their red blood cells.
  • High amounts of salt: Too much salt can lead to salt poisoning, which can be fatal if left untreated.
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners: These can contribute to obesity, dental issues, and even toxicity in some cases (like the sweetener xylitol).
  • Spices and herbs: Certain spices and herbs can cause gastrointestinal upset or even toxicity in dogs.

Dog-Safe Sauce Alternatives

Fortunately, there are several dog-safe alternatives available that can be made at home with just a few ingredients. These options provide flavor without the risks associated with commercial sauces.

Unseasoned Bone Broth

Unseasoned bone broth is an excellent source of nutrients for dogs; it can make their regular dog food even more delightful. Making the broth at home allows you to control the ingredient list, ensuring it’s free of salt, spices, and other potential irritants.

Pureed Vegetables

Veggies like carrots, green beans, and pumpkin can be pureed and served over your dog’s food for added flavor and nutritional benefits. Just be sure to avoid adding any seasonings to the puree and consult your vet about which vegetables are best for your dog’s diet.

Plain Yogurt or Cottage Cheese

Plain, unsweetened yogurt or cottage cheese can be a tasty and nutritious addition to your dog’s meals. These dairy products contain probiotics, which promote healthy digestion, and are high in calcium and protein. Just make sure to choose options with low or no fat and avoid any that contain added sugars or sweeteners.

Unsweetened Applesauce

Unsweetened applesauce is another dog-safe option that adds a touch of sweetness without the risks associated with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Just make sure to choose a brand without added sugars or make your own at home with just apples and a touch of water.

Moderation is Key

As with any addition to your dog’s diet, moderation is essential. Even with safe sauce alternatives, too much of a good thing can lead to gastrointestinal upset or other health issues. Always consult your veterinarian before introducing new foods into your pet’s diet and observe their reaction to ensure it’s well-tolerated.


Finding safe and tasty sauces for your dog doesn’t have to be challenging. By understanding the ingredients to avoid and exploring dog-friendly alternatives, you can ensure your dog’s food remains both delicious and nutritious. Just remember to consult your vet before making any dietary changes, and always practice moderation when introducing new ingredients into their meals.

Creating Homemade Dog-Friendly Sauces

Making dog-friendly sauces at home not only allows you complete control over the ingredients, but it also gives you the opportunity to customize the flavors to suit your dog’s tastes. By using fresh, healthy ingredients, you can ensure your pet gets the additional nutrients and flavors they crave. Here are a few simple recipes to get you started:

Basic Vegetable Puree

  1. Choose a dog-friendly vegetable such as sweet potatoes, green beans, or carrots.
  2. Wash and peel (if necessary) the vegetables, then chop them into small pieces.
  3. Steam or boil the vegetables until they are tender.
  4. Drain the vegetables and let them cool for a few minutes.
  5. Blend the cooked vegetables in a food processor or blender until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a small amount of water to reach the desired consistency.
  6. Serve the puree over your dog’s food or mix it in thoroughly.

Simple Dog-Friendly Gravy

  1. In a saucepan, combine 2 cups of low-sodium chicken or beef broth with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot powder.
  2. Whisk the ingredients together until the cornstarch or arrowroot powder is fully dissolved.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens to your desired consistency.
  4. Allow the gravy to cool slightly before serving over your dog’s food.

Fruit-Based Sauce

  1. Select dog-safe fruits like blueberries, strawberries, or apples (cored and peeled).
  2. Wash and chop the fruits into small pieces.
  3. Transfer the fruit pieces to a blender or food processor.
  4. Blend until the mixture forms a smooth puree.
  5. If the puree is too thick, add a small amount of water to reach the desired consistency.
  6. Drizzle the fruit sauce over your dog’s food for a tasty treat.

Store-Bought Dog-Friendly Sauces

If making homemade sauces doesn’t fit your schedule or preferences, some pet stores and online retailers offer specially formulated dog-friendly sauces designed to be free of harmful ingredients. Be sure to check the label and consult with your veterinarian before introducing these sauces into your dog’s diet. Always choose options with natural, easy-to-understand ingredients, and minimize additives and unnecessary fillers.

Common Foods to Avoid in Dog Sauces

While exploring creative ways to make your dog’s food more enjoyable, it’s vital to keep your pet’s safety in mind. Here’s a quick list of common foods that should not be included in your dog’s sauces:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Nuts, especially macadamia nuts
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Raw yeast dough
  • Avocado

By carefully selecting the ingredients for your dog’s sauces and consulting with your veterinarian, you can help ensure your canine companion’s diet remains safe, balanced, and enjoyable.

FAQ: What Sauces Can Dogs Eat

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding safe sauces for dogs, including common ingredients to avoid, alternatives to spice up your dog’s meals, and general guidelines to follow when introducing new foods.

1. Can I give my dog store-bought barbecue sauce?

No, most store-bought barbecue sauces contain high levels of salt, sugar, and potentially harmful ingredients like garlic and onion, making them unsafe for dogs.

2. Is it safe to give my dog tomato sauce?

It’s best to avoid giving dogs commercial tomato sauces, as they usually contain ingredients like garlic, onions, and salt, which can be harmful to dogs. Instead, opt for a homemade, dog-safe alternative.

3. Can dogs eat spicy sauces?

No, spicy sauces can be harmful to dogs and may cause stomach upset, irritation, or even toxicity. Stick to mild, dog-safe alternatives free of seasonings and spices.

4. Can I give my dog store-bought gravy?

It’s best to avoid store-bought gravy, as it often contains high levels of salt and potentially harmful ingredients like onion and garlic. Instead, make a simple dog-friendly gravy at home with low-sodium broth and cornstarch or arrowroot powder.

5. What is a good, dog-safe sauce option for added nutrition?

An unseasoned bone broth is a nutritious and dog-safe sauce alternative. It provides additional nutrients like collagen, amino acids, and minerals that can enhance your dog’s diet.

6. Are there any store-bought dog food sauces or gravies?

Yes, some pet stores and online retailers offer specially formulated dog-friendly sauces free of harmful ingredients. Always check the label and consult your veterinarian before introducing these sauces into your dog’s diet.

7. How should I introduce a new sauce into my dog’s diet?

Start by offering a small amount of the sauce to gauge your dog’s reaction. Gradually increase the amount if your dog enjoys it and shows no signs of stomach upset or allergy symptoms. Consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

8. Can I use human food sauces safe for dogs on my own food?

Yes, dog-safe sauce alternatives like homemade vegetable purees, fruit-based sauces, and unsweetened yogurts can be enjoyed by humans as well. Just note that they will likely be less seasoned than typical human sauces.

9. Is cheese sauce safe for dogs?

Cheese sauce generally contains high levels of fat, salt, and potentially harmful ingredients like onions and garlic, making it unsafe for dogs. Alternatively, offer a small amount of plain, low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese as a dog-safe option.

10. What vegetables are safe to use in a puree for dogs?

Vegetables like carrots, green beans, and pumpkin are safe for dogs and make excellent puree options. Be sure to avoid adding any seasonings to the puree and consult your vet about which vegetables are best for your dog’s diet.

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