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No, BBQ sauce is not safe for dogs to eat. The ingredients and spices in BBQ sauce can be harmful to your pup. However, it is not fatal, and you don’t have to worry if your dog gets a small taste of the sauce – but high quantities are a definite no-no.

BBQ Sauce on the table
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Caution: This food is generally considered risky by the veterinary community. Dogs should not eat this food and should be monitored for adverse effects.

Food Safety Unsafe, but not toxic in small quantity
Nutritional Issues High quantity of salt, sugar, spices, and acidic ingredients
Potential Risk Liver damage, pancreatitis, yeast infection
Poisoning Symptoms Vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite
Every dog is different. For specific feeding guidelines, including quantities and beneficial foods that are best for your dog, please consult your vet.

Common Ingredients in BBQ Sauce

  • Salt – an increased amount of salt is not good for dogs; high concentrations of sodium can cause dehydration, liver damage, or even liver failure.
  • Sugar – high quantity of sugar can promote yeast infections in dogs and alter their blood sugar levels, thus increasing their chance of developing diabetes
  • Vinegar – vinegar has a strong smell and can be difficult for the dog to digest, causing them to have an upset stomach and develop kidney issues.
  • Onion and Garlic – both are toxic for dogs and can cause anemia
  • Spices – spices and spicy ingredients can cause vomiting, dehydration, diarrhea, and lack of appetite.

How Much is BBQ Sauce Bad for Dogs?

If you find them licking a small amount of BBQ sauce from somewhere, there is no need to worry – a tiny bit of is generally not enough to be dangerous. Consider anything less than a teaspoon a tiny amount. There’s so many BBQ sauce varieties, and almost every ingredient can be harmful to your dog, it is important to note that as a dog owner, you must never feed BBQ sauce, or meats with a BBQ sauce marinade, to your dog.

Tip: if you want to give your dog BBQ meat, simply run the meat under some warm water and scrape off any sauce or dry rub.

Signs That My Dog Ate Too Much BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce does not instantly cause any reactions, and you might find your dog perfectly normal for a while – but this also depends on the dog. Generally, after consuming too much BBQ sauce, a dog may show symptoms like:

  • Lack of appétit
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating

Actions to Take

Make sure your dog is away from the bottom of the sauce at all; in case you find them sneaking a few licks of the sauce, take the bottle away and wait to check for any symptoms. If your dog feels slightly sick, rush them to the doctor ASAP.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • BBQ Sauce is dangerous for dogs because it contains several ingredients that can be toxic to dogs; BBQ sauce is human food and should be kept away from dogs.

  • You must not feed BBQ sauce to your dog at all; however, if you do find them eating less than a teaspoon, there is generally no reason to be concerned.

  • Yes, but only if the BBQ meat is smoked or grilled without sauce or dry rubs, with no oil, spices, or additional ingredients. Otherwise, if it contains any sauce or additional ingredients, it’s not safe for dogs.

About the Writer
Dan Greco , Dog Dad

Having been a dog dad for 5 years, I know how hard it is to make sure your dog gets the right nutrients and stays away from hazardous foods. With the help of a veterinarian who specializes in nutrition, I created this blog to help dog owners quickly access food information they need.

photo of vet holding a pup
About the Contributor
Dr. Hillary Wolfe , Veterinarian & Certified Food Therapist

Dr. Wolfe holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University and holds nutrition certifications from the NAVC and CIVT. Her business, Tula Veterinary Nutrition, hosts online courses that teach owners how to cook for their pet for optimal health and longevity. Follow her on Instagram at @doctorwolfe.dvm for dog nutrition tips, recipes and insights.