Is Meat Tenderizer Safe For Dogs?

putting meat tenderizer on dry kibble

In moderation, unseasoned meat tenderizer is safe for dogs to eat. Although there are no reported adverse effects of meat tenderizer for dogs, the high sodium content will lead to excessive thirst. On days you feed your dog meat tenderizer, be sure they have access to plenty of water.

If you’ve never heard of adding meat tenderizer to your dog’s food, it might sound like strange advice at first. However, there are a number of legitimate reasons dog owners should consider it.

Your vet may suggest adding a little meat tenderizer to your dog’s food if they are suffering from coprophagia. Nobody wants their dog eating their own poop, especially when they love to lick your face! Adding meat tenderizer to your dog’s food may provide a solution to this issue. 

But how can something like meat tenderizer stop Fido from eating his own feces? Dogs love eating sources of protein. Meat tenderizer helps break down protein in your dog’s food as it travels through the digestive tract. This leaves less protein to be carried through their poop. Since there’s less protein in their feces, there won’t be as much of a temptation to eat it. 

What type of Meat Tenderizer is Safe For Dogs?

If you are going to feed your dog meat tenderizer, make sure it is unseasoned. Seasoned meat tenderizers may contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Some seasoned meat tenderizers contain garlic or onions, both of which are big no-nos, so always double-check to make sure these ingredients are not in the meat tenderizer before you buy it.

Let’s look at some typical ingredients you can expect to see in unseasoned meat tenderizer.

Sodium

Sodium refers to the salt content and does have the potential to be dangerous if your dog has ingested an extreme amount. 

However, the levels of sodium present in meat tenderizer should not be a problem for your dog as long as they have plenty of water. 

Sodium will often make your pup thirsty, but unless they are unable to get a steady water supply, they should not become dehydrated. If you notice signs of dehydration in your dog, take them to the vet immediately.

Bromelain

Bromelain is the active ingredient in some meat tenderizers. It is the compound that breaks down proteins. 

Bromelain is often extracted from pineapples and used for a multitude of health issues in humans. Studies have shown that bromelain can help with pain and inflammation and even speed up healing. Of course, these benefits are based on humans, it’s not yet known if dogs get these benefits as well. 

However, it is confirmed that bromelain can break down proteins that are present in dog food, which is exactly what we want. 

Bromelain is safe for dogs, but a good rule of thumb is everything in moderation. Since it does work by breaking down proteins, keep an eye on your dog’s mouth to make sure it isn’t making them sore.

Papain

Just like bromelain, papain is a compound that helps break down proteins. However, instead of being sourced from pineapple, papain comes from papaya. 

This ingredient is more common than bromelain, so you may see it more often when checking the ingredients of meat tenderizer before purchase. 

Just like bromelain, it shouldn’t affect your dog’s health, but still monitor them to make sure everything is good!

MSG

Monosodium glutamate is a preservation agent that is present in a lot of human food. It has been found in high amounts in food from Asian cultures, and you can even buy large quantities of it online. It is also present in many meat tenderizers. 

MSG can definitely make your dog thirsty, so ALWAYS make sure that they have unlimited access to water if you are using meat tenderizer on their food.

Why Dogs May Eat Their Poop

As you can see, meat tenderizer is a harmless and easy way to stop your dog from eating its own poop. It’s gross to see your best friend chowing down on food that they have already… digested. 

However, it may not solve the problem if your dog is eating their own poop for a reason that does not have to do with taste. 

Coprophagia has more than one cause. If you are unsure why your dog is eating their poop, it is always best to consult a veterinarian.

Isolation Woes

If your dog is locked up all day, they can go stir-crazy, just like their humans. A lack of stimulation and exercise is never good for an animal, whatever the species. 

If your dog eats their poop, it could be due to isolation. Isolation can make animals act up in many ways, including eating poop. 

Give your dog ways to mix up their monotony by going on walks, getting them enrichment toys (puzzle toys), or limiting crate time.

Fear of Getting in Trouble

You may have been a little too aggressive with your dog when teaching them not to “go” in the house. If your dog eats their poop, they could be trying to hide that they went at all out of fear of retribution. 

If this is the case, you need to take the time to build trust with your dog, or they will not stop eating poop. 

Mistrust of their owner can also lead to other issues. When disciplining your pup, do not be too aggressive with them.

Poop-Food Confusion

If your dog does not have a clean space to eat their food, they can easily confuse other smells with their food. They may poop next to where they eat, and if their feces does not get picked up, the resulting mix of scents will lead them to think that their poop is also part of their meal. This is simple to fix. All you need to do is pick up after your dog and move their bowl to a different location.

Protecting a Sick Friend

Your dog could be eating another dog’s poop as a measure of protection. If they live with another dog that is sick, or perhaps aging, your dog could be eating their poop to clean up after them. 

The scent that sick dogs leave in their feces is identifiable by predators, so the theory goes that dogs will eat the poop of sick dogs in the pack to protect them from being hunted. 

Other Medical Conditions

While this list may explain why your dog eats poop, it is certainly not exhaustive. There are many possibilities why your dog wants to eat poop. 

If you do not believe that their reason for coprophagia is included here, go to the vet. Poop eating can also be a sign of other serious medical conditions. 

Parasites, vitamin deficiency, or even diabetes could be the culprit. Do not take any risks with the health of your best friend. Consult a veterinary professional if you have questions.

Meat Tenderizer is Safe For Dogs in Moderation

Meat tenderizer is an excellent way to stop your dog from eating their own poop if they think it still has taste. 

Be sure to use it in moderation, though there are no documented risks. Give your pup unlimited water, as they can quickly become thirsty when eating something like meat tenderizer. Also, make sure you buy unseasoned tenderizer. 

If this does not solve your dog’s coprophagia, they may have another issue going on that would require attention from the vet. 

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