Skip to Content

Can Dogs Eat Pesto Sauce? The Surprising Truth About This Flavorful Spread (2024)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

can dogs eat pesto sauceYou might be tempted to share that delicious pesto sauce with your pup, but can dogs eat pesto sauce?

The surprising truth is that traditional pesto contains ingredients toxic to dogs like garlic, onions, and high amounts of fat and salt.

Ingesting pesto can lead to symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, breathing issues from garlic poisoning, and even pancreatitis.

If your dog accidentally consumes pesto, induce vomiting and monitor closely.

Safer options include nut-based pestos without garlic or onions.

To keep your furry friend happy and healthy, it’s best to avoid feeding them pesto sauce – unless you want to risk a trip to the vet.

Key Takeaways

  • Whoa there, pup parent! As tempting as that basil-scented pesto smells, it’s a big no-no for Fido’s tummy. Those garlic cloves pack a serious punch that could leave your furry friend breathing heavily or even anemic. Not worth risking that playful prance for a sauce splurge!
  • Imagine your dog’s eager eyes fixated on that gooey, cheesy pesto pasta. As much as they beg, resist the urge to share – that cheese and high-fat content can unleash a fiery storm of pancreatitis pain on their digestive system. Let’s skip the vet visit and save the splurge for a dog-friendly snack, shall we?
  • You may think a lick of pesto is harmless, but those sneaky onions and salt levels could send your pup’s body into a tailspin of toxicity. From vomiting fits to electrolyte imbalances, it’s a risky roller coaster that’s just not worth the ride for your canine compadre.
  • While traditional pesto is off the menu, don’t fret! Get creative with nut-free, vegan pesto alternatives using dog-safe ingredients like parsley, olive oil, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for that cheesy zing. Your pup will be wagging their tail with joy for this herbaceous, pet-approved twist on an Italian classic.

Can Dogs Eat Pesto Sauce?

Can Dogs Eat Pesto Sauce
No, dogs shouldn’t eat pesto sauce as it contains several ingredients that are toxic to them, including garlic, onions, and high amounts of fat and salt. While a small amount may not cause immediate harm, it’s best to avoid giving pesto sauce to your dog to prevent potential health issues.

What is Pesto Sauce

What is Pesto Sauce
You’ve likely enjoyed pesto’s bold, herby flavors tossed with pasta or spread over crusty bread. This flavorful sauce originated in Italy’s Liguria region, where cooks blended basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan, and olive oil into a vibrant green paste.

Today, classic basil pesto remains popular, but variations abound, like sun-dried tomato, arugula, or vegan pesto without cheese. Pesto’s versatility shines when paired with proteins, veggies, pizza, and more.

While calorie-dense from nuts and oils, pesto offers plant-based nutrients like vitamin K from basil and healthy fats. Moderation is key to enjoying pesto’s rich, savory punch without overdoing it.

With its lively flavor profile, pesto adds flair to countless dishes.

Can Dogs Eat Pesto

Can Dogs Eat Pesto
While the aromatic basil in pesto may seem harmless, the presence of garlic, onions, and high-fat ingredients like cheese and nuts can pose serious health risks for your canine companion. It’s imperative to grasp the potential dangers of feeding dogs pesto sauce and take necessary precautions to prevent accidental ingestion.

Garlic Toxicity

You’d never intentionally harm your pup, but garlic toxicity from pesto is a real threat. The key dangers are:

  • Rapid breathing and lethargy
  • Pale gums and weakness
  • Abdominal pain and vomiting
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Potential anemia

High Fat Content

You should also be cautious about pesto’s high fat content. It can lead to obesity risks, pancreatitis concerns, and digestive issues for dogs.

Cheese and Dairy

You’ll also want to mull over your dog’s potential dairy sensitivities. Many dogs have trouble digesting cheese, leading to lactose intolerance and other gastrointestinal issues.

Onions and Leeks

You should avoid including onions or leeks in pesto for dogs, as these allium plants can cause toxicity leading to vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other health risks.

Symptoms of Pesto Toxicity

Symptoms of Pesto Toxicity
If your dog has ingested pesto containing garlic, onions, or high amounts of fat and salt, be on the lookout for signs of toxicity. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, loss of appetite, and in severe cases, pale gums or jaundice indicating damage to red blood cells.

Garlic Poisoning Signs

If your dog ingests pesto containing garlic, watch for garlic toxicity signs like lethargy, vomiting, pale gums, breathing issues, and abdominal pain. Higher doses can destroy red blood cells, causing anemia. Know the toxic garlic dosage for dogs and prevention tips to keep your pup safe.

Pancreatitis Symptoms

If your pup ingests pesto, watch for pancreatitis symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Early treatment prevents complications. Safe, dog-friendly pesto options exist using basil, parsley, and avoiding human foods high in fat.

Salt Toxicity Indicators

If your dog exhibits symptoms like excessive thirst, dry mouth, lack of appetite, and lethargy after ingesting pesto, they may be experiencing salt toxicity. Watch for fluid retention, anemia signs, and electrolyte imbalances indicating hypernatremia or hyponatremia.

First Aid for Pesto Ingestion

First Aid for Pesto Ingestion
If your dog has ingested pesto containing garlic or other toxic ingredients, you should induce vomiting immediately by administering hydrogen peroxide orally or with a syringe. If vomiting doesn’t occur within 20 minutes or if your dog shows signs of distress, seek emergency veterinary care as soon as possible to prevent potentially life-threatening complications.

Inducing Vomiting

If your dog ingests pesto sauce containing garlic, you’ll want to induce vomiting immediately. The recommended dose is:

  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Allow 10 minutes for vomiting, repeating once if needed
  • Monitor closely for signs of garlic toxicity

Seeking veterinary assistance is essential if vomiting doesn’t occur within 20 minutes or symptoms persist.

When to Seek Vet Care

You’ll want to seek vet care if you can’t induce vomiting after 20 minutes or if your pet ingested a toxic dose of garlic.

Blood work may be needed to check for red blood cell destruction.

Monitor for symptoms like lethargy and pale gums over several days.

Garlic powder and ingredients in red or vegan pesto can also cause issues, so pet-proofing your kitchen is wise.

Safe Pesto Alternatives for Dogs

Safe Pesto Alternatives for Dogs
For dog owners seeking safe pesto alternatives, basil and parsley-based pestos provide flavorful options free from garlic and other toxic ingredients. Nut-free and vegan pesto varieties, often made with nutritious ingredients like olive oil, roasted red peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes, offer additional choices for creating tasty, pup-friendly dishes.

Basil and Parsley Pesto

If you want a safe pesto option for your pup, try homemade basil or parsley pesto. Use dog-friendly ingredients like cashew nuts and avoid garlic. Soya beans are also an allergen risk, so it’s best to steer clear. With care, you can whip up a tasty, dog-safe pesto treat.

Nut-Free Pesto

You can make a dog-safe pesto without nuts by using parsley instead of basil. This parsley pesto eliminates the risk of pine nut toxicity while still providing flavor. Simply blend parsley, olive oil, and dog-friendly cheese for a tasty, nutty-flavored pesto your pup can enjoy.

Vegan Pesto Options

For vegan pesto options, try these safe choices:

  1. Cashew-based pesto, but watch the fat content
  2. Soy-free sunflower seed pesto, hypoallergenic
  3. Nutritional yeast pesto, adds a cheesy flavor

Always check labels for hidden allergens like soy.

Preventing Pesto Accidents

Preventing Pesto Accidents
To prevent pesto accidents with your dog, pet-proof your kitchen by storing all food items containing garlic, onions, or high amounts of fat securely out of reach. Proper food storage is paramount, as even small quantities of pesto ingested can lead to severe toxicity in dogs due to the ingredients.

Pet-Proofing the Kitchen

You can prevent pesto accidents by pet-proofing your kitchen. Keep counters clear and use child-proof latches on cabinets. Store pet foods separately and teach your dog the "leave it" command. Familiarize yourself with pet first aid, including inducing vomiting, in case of accidental ingestion. With preparation and vigilance, you can keep your furry friend safe from pet food allergies.

Proper Food Storage

You should also store pesto and other high-risk foods securely. Refrigerate opened jars and put leftovers in airtight containers. Don’t leave food out where curious pups can snatch it. And dispose of pet waste promptly – no leaving it in open trash cans where Fido could snack. Proper food storage is key for pet safety at home.

When to Call the Vet

While pet-proofing and proper food storage help prevent pesto poisoning, you must still know when to call the vet. If your dog ingests any pesto containing garlic, onions, or other toxic ingredients, seek professional help immediately. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear, as garlic toxicity can take days to develop. Watch for:

  1. Lethargy or weakness
  2. Vomiting or diarrhea
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Pale gums or yellowing skin

Even small amounts of garlic are unsafe, so err on the side of caution. Describe the quantity ingested, ingredients, and your dog’s symptoms when you call. With prompt treatment, your vet can induce vomiting, provide supportive care, and prevent serious complications from pesto poisoning.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What should I do if my dog eats pesto?

Envision your dog licking their lips after devouring that fragrant pesto. Remain calm, monitor for vomiting or lethargy, and contact your veterinarian immediately if symptoms arise. With prompt action, you can safeguard your furry friend’s safety.

Can dogs have basil or pesto?

Dogs can safely eat basil, but pesto often contains garlic, which is toxic. Make dog-friendly pesto by omitting garlic, nuts, salt, and onions. Use basil, parsley, dog-friendly cheese, and oil instead.

Can dogs have garlic?

No, you should never feed dogs garlic. It’s highly toxic and can cause anemia, breathing difficulties, and even death. Stick to pet-safe ingredients when making pesto for your furry friend.

Can dogs eat tomato pesto?

Like a culinary minefield, tomato pesto conceals hazards for your pup. Avoid it – the garlic and onions can severely sicken dogs, even in small amounts. Stick to safe herb pestos without alliums for a worry-free treat.

Is homemade pesto safer for dogs?

Homemade pesto can be safer for dogs if you omit ingredients like garlic, onions, and excess salt. Use dog-friendly ingredients like basil, parsley, and small amounts of olive oil or dog cheese. However, it’s still best to consult your vet before feeding pesto to your pup.

How much pesto is too much?

In Shakespearean times, a pup’s portion of pesto should be nay more than a teaspoon or two. Excess can cause pancreatitis and garlic toxicity, leading to anemia. Trust thy vet’s guidance for Fido’s feast.

Can pesto cause long-term health issues?

Yes, pesto’s high fat, salt, and potential toxins like garlic can lead to long-term issues like pancreatitis and anemia if consumed regularly by dogs.

Are some dog breeds more sensitive?

Sure, some breeds may have higher sensitivity. Smaller dogs and those prone to pancreatitis, like Yorkshire Terriers and Miniature Schnauzers, should avoid fatty ingredients like pesto altogether. Always consult your vet for breed-specific advice on safe foods.


Visualize your content pup’s gleaming eyes as you share a delightful meal. Unfortunately, traditional pesto sauce is off the menu for dogs. While you can’t share pesto due to its toxic ingredients for dogs, don’t fret!

Explore nut-free and vegan pesto alternatives for a safe way to let your furry friend indulge. When in doubt about whether dogs can eat pesto sauce, prioritize your pet’s wellbeing by avoiding this flavorful yet potentially harmful spread.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.