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Can Dogs Eat Mayo?

If you’ve ever walked down the dog food aisle of your local pet supply store, you’ve likely realized that certain dairy products are frequently in the ingredient list of many canine commercial diets. But can your furry friend eat foods made from dairy? More specifically, we want to know – can dogs eat mayo?

If you want to add a human food such as mayo to your dog’s diet, read this article first!

brown dog licking mayo off of face

Dr. Jess describes the risks and the benefits of feeding mayo to your dog, as well as which types of mayo dogs can eat (if any!), and which is best left out of their food dish.

Dog food companies commonly use dairy as one of their many ingredients.

However, dog food experts have arguments regarding the safety of serving certain dairy products to dogs.

Well, is delicious, creamy mayo really a health threat to the dogs or are we over-reacting about this?

Let me, the veterinarian, explain my thoughts…

It’s always the best idea to double-check which foods your dog can and can not eat because many foods that are safe and healthy for humans are actually very harmful for your dog to eat, or even poisonous or deadly to them. Taste is never worth the risk of harming your pet.

That’s why I am so glad that you are here making an informed decision before feeding your dog mayo!

If you missed it, check out my article on if dogs can eat different forms of fish here!

What Do Dogs Eat?

Some dogs are not picky at all about what they eat. They’ll eat whatever you offer them- they’re like vacuum cleaners sucking up anything you put in front of them and then some!

Some dogs are on the pickier side of things. Pickier pups can be harder to properly feed because they just won’t eat any food we give them. Try feeding a picky dog something like okra!

A common canine diet for pet dogs consists of a complete dry or wet feed and possibly some form of supplements in some specific cases (however, not all pet dogs need supplements).

Foraging can also be included in the diet if the dog is allowed to roam, or the dog is feral, and of course there are treats that are a part of many dog’s diets!

The diet of every dog breed will very when you are looking into a healthy and complete diet for your pup. So it is important to know when offering food to your dog, what constitutes a healthy choice, and what does not.

An improper diet could put your dog at risk of having problems properly digesting their food and absorbing nutrients correctly. And we don’t want that now do we???

So let’s talk specifically about mayo, since that’s why you clicked over here today, and talk about how it could affect your dog’s overall health and well-being.

mayo with lemon in bowl

What is Mayonaisse?

Mayonnaise, or mayo for short, is a thick, creamy dressing that the majority of people use as a condiment on things like sandwiches and burgers, as well as in dips, dressings, and sauces.

It’s made up of oil, egg yolks, and vinegar or lemon juice, as well as other spices at times. Mayo combines and beats ingredients and mixes into an emulsion.

The taste is one that is smooth, creamy, and savory.  Sometimes it is mixed with garlic or herbs to give it even more flavor.

Mayo looks like the consistency of ketchup or a lovely barbecue sauce.  It ranges in color from bright white, to a mellow yellow or off-white, depending on the ratio of ingredients used in making it.

Mayonnaise is a common ingredient in many recipes and meals that pet owners may want to share with their dogs.

But, can your furry friend safely eat mayonnaise?

Can You Feed Mayo To Dogs?

While mayo is not toxic to dogs, it’s nutritional qualities make it not a good choice for your dog.  In fact, too much mayo could lead to some health problems. 

Let me dive a little deeper and explain myself so you can make an informed decision on whether or not you should let fido lick off of your mayo spoon.

Do Dogs Like Mayo?

Dogs are natural carnivores. Most dogs also like the taste of dairy products such as cheese, cream, and – you guessed it – mayo.

The flavor of mayo is usually a delicious one for most dogs, just like a large sample of people love mayo on everything from burgers and sandwiches to using it as an ingredient in baked goods.

So yes, most dogs like the taste of mayo. Some dogs even LOVE it.

Can Mayo Be Harmful to Dogs?

Before we can decide whether mayo is safe to feed our dogs, we need to first understand some of the risks involved if we do feed our dogs mayo.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t have any concerns with feeding your dog mayo though.

There are 3 major reasons why many experts say that you should not feed your dog mayo. These three big factors include:

Harmful Reason #1: Salmonella Poisoning

Mayonnaise is egg-based.  So it should come to know surprise that one of the main dangers is the risk of picking up salmonella.

It is extremely unlikely that salmonella is going to be contracted from a store-bought mayo, but it is possible.  It is way more likely to contract salmonella from a mayo that is homemade. 

Count yourself lucky if you and your family have never had to endure food poisoning.  It’s not fun for humans or for your pet.

The symptoms of food poisoning in dogs are similar to symptoms we think of when discussing human food poisoning. 

Symptoms in dogs include: lethargy/increased tiredness, fever, weight loss, diarrhea and/or vomiting, dehydration, mucus/slimy stool, increased heart rate (tachycardia), and enlarged/swollen lymph nodes.  

Food poisoning can show its ugly head with just one of these signs or it can be multiple symptoms – it changes on a case-by-case basis.

If you are worried that your dog has food poisoning, contact your veterinarian immediately to find out next steps.  They will likely want to examine your dog and get them on the path to recovery right away before their symptoms become worse.

Harmful Reason #2: Artificial Ingredients

Mayonnaise is produced from eggs blended with different types of seasonings. Many store-bought and homemade mayo products have highly artificial products in them.

Any of these ingredients, artificial or not, can be cause for an allergic reaction.  Anything that your dog puts in their mouth and consumes is fair game for an allergic reaction. 

Then you add on to it by giving them artificial ingredients that they do not commonly consume, and you are way more likely to observe a food allergy or an allergic reaction.

yellow lab licking mayo from spoon

Harmful Reason #3: High fat Content

Given the high-fat content of mayonnaise, feeding it to a dog could easily lead to an excess of fat in the diet.

As with many other processed condiments, mayonnaise is a combination of a few low-nutritional ingredients along with a lot of empty calories, many of which are calories from fat.

Empty calories are just a waste, especially around the waistline.  Obesity can have a negative impact on your dog’s quantity and quality of life.

Dogs who carry extra weight often discover it to be difficult or even painful to be up moving and active, which can lead to lethargy, depression, and problems with their joints, heart and other internal organs, diabetes, some cancers, and metabolic disorders..

Consuming high-fat foods such as mayonnaise on a regular basis may lead to serious chronic diseases and health conditions that you and your dog do not want to deal with. 

Harmful Reason #4: Soy

We’ve talked about the potential risks of contracting bacterial infections from eggs and the high-fat content of mayo that can lead to obesity and other medical troubles.  But another realistic threat can come in the form of soy.

Some mayo manufacturers use soybeans in their mayonnaise. And wouldn’t you know…soy allergies are not too uncommon in dogs of all ages and breeds.

Allergic Reaction to Mayo:

A dog can develop an intolerance or an allergy to any food, so there is always the possibility that your dog is allergic to mayo, more specifically, an ingredient used to create the mayo.

If you suspect your dog is allergic to mayo do NOT feed this product to your dog.

If your dog is allergic to mayo and accidentally ingests it, go to your nearest animal emergency room immediately.

If your dog is allergic and soy is ingested, the dog’s body may treat the soy protein as a severe allergen and attack it, using the dog’s own immune system. 

When this happens, the attack sets off a hypersensitivity reaction and can result in any of the following symptoms:

Common symptoms of adverse/allergic reaction to food:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Itching/Increased grooming
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • etc.

How Much Mayo Can Dogs Eat?

Mayo, given in small amounts periodically, is most likely just as healthy for your dog as it is for you.

Moderation is key; never go overboard when feeding mayo to your dogs. Small amounts every once in a while is okay for most dogs.

Dogs can have mayo but only one or two times per week in small, controlled amounts.

Is Mayo Beneficial For Dogs?

The random lick of mayo as a treat is totally fine – it will not harm your dog. 

However, there’s no need to offer it regularly or in large quantities, as this can cause some major health issues for your pup.

Dogs should not consume mayonnaise on a regular basis.

It is too fatty, and a high-calorie food that can easily trigger severe short-term (such as pancreatitis, also known as an angry, inflamed pancreas) and long-term (such as obesity) health issues if you offer it too often to your pouch.

Basically, if your dog consumed a bit of mayo, you don’t need to drive them straight to the vet to get their stomach pumped. 

However, you should do your best to keep the mayonnaise away from your dog in the future and watch for adverse effects (listed below) from the mayo they did consume.  

If they start showing any odd signs of being affected by this new food, contact your local veterinarian to get more information on what to do next.

cup of mayo in white bowl

Types of Mayo Dogs Can Eat:

There are certain types of mayo that all dogs should stay away from completely – not even a lick of it. Mayo with garlic, onion, or other spices can be harmful to your dog, so do not feed flavored mayo to your dog ever.

And remember, even the regular mayo can have its ill-effects, so don’t offer it to fido very often and when you do, make it just a quick little lick.

Can Dogs Eat Homemade Mayo?

Homemade mayo can have the same negative effects on your dog that store-bought mayo does.

So my answer is to steer clear of homemade mayo as well as the store-bought stuff.

How to Serve Mayo to Dogs:

As convenient as it might be to just let your dog have mayo, that’s not the safest option for your pup. So the answer to this is… you don’t. You don’t give your dog mayo. I can not recommend it.

Keep the following in mind when serving food to your dog:

And remember that dogs need more than a bowl or plate of mayo – they need a complete and balanced diet.

Whichever complete food you choose for your dog, it needs to have the AAFCO label indicating the diet is complete and balanced for your dog’s life stage.

AAFCO approved foods have gone through testing and compliance to make sure that the diet is safe and healthy for your pet.

Dogs already get everything that they need from their kibble or canned food.

How Much Mayo Can My Dog Have?

Can dogs eat mayo? As I mentioned previously, it depends…  

Small amounts of mayo is okay if given periodically.

Adult dogs should not eat mayo more than once or twice a week, in small amounts.

There is a big difference between feeding your dog mayo occasionally as a treat and making it a staple part of their diet. Treat mayo as a every-one-in-a-while special treat.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Too much of a good thing can be an issue. Too much mayo can lead to obesity and other health problems.

Talk to your vet about the appropriate serving size of mayo for your dog.

Can Puppies Eat Mayo?

I would never advise a puppy owner to feed mayo to their puppy. No way.

Your pup’s first months of life should consist of specialized puppy diets approved by your local veterinarian upon puppy exam.

Puppies tend to have an even more delicate digestive system than adult dogs so giving your puppy mayo might cause diarrhea, vomiting, or other adverse signs.

What to do if Dog Eats Mayo:

If it is just a lick or two of mayo, just watch them for the rest of the day just in case, for any signs of adverse reaction. 

If you are concerned with this small amount, of course, contact your veterinarian right away.  Most dogs can tolerate a small amount of mayo on occasion and do just fine.  

If it is a large amount of mayo, contact your veterinarian right away to discuss details and what to do next. 

It is extremely likely that your vet will request that you bring your dog in immediately to get evaluated.

Summary:

If you are concerned about feeding your pet dog mayo or you feel that the mayo that they have already snacked on didn’t go well, contact your veterinarian for more guidance on what to do next.

Trust me, us vets are happy to help!

veterinarian signature

The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.

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