Sausage casings play a significant role in preserving ground meat, creating a specific shape, and contributing to the overall flavor. Depending on what they’re made from, sausage casings can be edible or inedible. But, even if you consume an inedible casing by accident, you most likely won’t experience any problems.
But what about dogs? Can dogs eat sausage casing? If wondering about this, you’re either thinking about giving your furry friend a delicious treat or are worried because they ate one without your permission.
The answer as to whether dogs can eat casing isn’t that simple and depends on numerous factors. There’s no need to worry in most cases, but there are several signs that could indicate a problem. This article will clarify whether consuming sausage casings is harmful to dogs and what you should avoid.
Factors to Consider
A few factors can give you an idea of whether your dog can consume sausage casings.
Types of Sausage Casings
If your dog has eaten a sausage casing or you’re thinking about giving sausages as a treat, the most important factor is whether the casing is natural or artificial.
Namely, natural casings are made from a layer of animals’ intestines called submucosa. These casings are edible and usually very thin, which means dogs can digest them without problems.
Plus, natural casings typically don’t contain chemicals, which is important because dogs have a different and often more sensitive metabolism than humans.
Artificial casings are made of collagen, cellulose, or plastics. Collagen casings are also derived from animals, specifically their hides, bones, and tendons.
They’re less expensive than natural casings and are usually edible. But some kinds of thick collagen casings should be peeled off before consumption.
If your dog consumed a thick collagen casing, monitor them for potential side effects.
Cellulose casings are made of wood pulp or cotton linters that go through a specific manufacturing process. These casings are inedible, and you should always peel them off before giving the sausage to your dog.
The same goes for plastic casings. These are made from different polymers and shouldn’t be consumed.
All casings can be eaten and swallowed, but not all are easily digestible. For example, when we consume sausages, we can determine whether or not a casing is edible based on how hard it is for us to chew it.
But dogs can’t do this. So even if they notice something’s hard to chew, they’ll most likely eat it anyway. That’s why you should always check the casing and peel it off if necessary.
In some cases, even the natural casings can be a problem if not chewed properly, which is why it’s essential to monitor your dog after they eat them.
Dog’s Size, Age, and Overall Health
Another factor to consider is your dog’s size, age, and any existing health conditions.
If it’s a smaller breed, your dog is more likely to experience unwanted symptoms after consuming sausage casings. Of course, this isn’t a universal rule and doesn’t mean bigger dogs are entirely safe.
Regardless of the breed, you should keep an eye on your dog after they have consumed sausage casings.
The same goes for older dogs. Their stomach is more sensitive, so they are more likely to experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
We don’t recommend giving sausage casings to senior dogs or puppies. Although not necessarily harmful, it’s better to be safe than sorry and peel off the casings.
If your dog ate sausage in casings and shows signs of a problem, the issue may not be caused by the casing.
Sausages often contain high levels of fat that can be hard to digest, especially for sensitive dogs, puppies or seniors. Plus, sausages can also be rich in sodium, which may cause your dog to dehydrate or cause kidney and heart damage.
Sausages are rich in protein, and those high protein levels are often why dog owners want to give their pets sausage slices. However, many dog treats also contain a lot of protein, and they are always a better option.
In addition, different spices added to the meat – such as garlic, onions, pepper, or paprika – can also be hard for your dog to digest.
So, if you notice your dog is experiencing unusual symptoms, sausage casings may not be the cause. In some cases, it’s the meat.
Symptoms You Should Monitor
Every dog owner knows that no matter how hard you try to prevent them from doing so, your pet will eventually eat something they’re not supposed to. Although not always harmful, sausage casings can cause different symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
If not digested properly, the casing can cause obstruction, which can manifest itself through these symptoms. The most obvious ones are vomiting and loss of appetite.
What Can You Do?
If your dog consumed a large amount of sausage in casings and you’re worried, here’s what you can do:
Monitor your Dog
Your dog will likely pass the casing in 2-3 days if it hasn’t been digested. However, casings can sometimes cause different symptoms, which is why you should monitor your dog as much as you can in the following days.
Keep the dog hydrated – Dehydration is one of the symptoms caused by obstruction. Enable and encourage your dog to consume fresh, clean water.
Skip a Meal
If you suspect your dog ate quite a bit of sausage casings, it’s best to skip a meal or give them less food than usual. That way, you give their body time to recover from ingesting a large amount of food in a short time and prevent the dog from overeating.
Another option is to give your dog small portions of food throughout the day to see their reaction.
Go to a Vet
If you notice any of the previously mentioned symptoms which become severe, it’s best to take your dog to a veterinarian. The casing may have gotten stuck in the stomach, so the vet may recommend an X-ray.
So, can dogs eat sausage casings? In most cases, yes, but that doesn’t mean they are safe and nutritional.
Natural casings usually don’t cause any problems, which can’t be said for the artificial ones. These casings can cause different side effects and jeopardize your dog’s health.
If you’re not sure whether the casing is natural or artificial, it’s best to peel it off, or better yet, don’t give the sausage to your dog at all. Many dog treats with the same, or higher protein levels are beneficial and safe for your furry friend.