Can Dogs Eat BBQ Sauce? Everything You Need to Know

By: Ashley DavidsonUpdated:

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Lynn Karlin

Can Dogs Eat BBQ Sauce? Everything You Need to Know

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Summer is here, and the delicious smell of BBQ is in the air. While you’re slathering some more BBQ sauce on your second helping of ribs, your dog is giving you that look hoping you’ll give them a taste of the good stuff.

But can dogs eat BBQ sauce? Unfortunately for your pup, no. We spoke with Dr. Laura Robinson, DVM, associate veterinarian at Antonio Animal Hospital in Southern California to understand why BBQ sauce isn’t good for dogs and what to do if your dog eats BBQ sauce.

Why Is BBQ Sauce Dangerous for Dogs?

Read More BBQ Safety Tips

If you’ve ever asked yourself “will BBQ sauce hurt my dog?”, the short answer is yes, BBQ sauce is bad for dogs. Although letting your pup have a tiny taste of BBQ sauce off your finger isn’t likely to make them sick, Dr. Robinson does not recommend any amount of BBQ sauce for dogs because many contain ingredients that aren’t safe for your furry friend.

Here are some of the ingredients that make BBQ sauce bad for dogs:

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Sugar
  • Acidic ingredients, like vinegar and lemon juice
  • Spicy things, like peppers and hot sauce
Onion and garlic are particularly troublesome for dogs because they’re considered toxic and can cause anemia. Symptoms of anemia include pale gums, lethargy, abnormal breathing, increased heart rate, weakness, jaundice and black stools. Sugar and acidic or spicy ingredients can cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and lack of appetite.

What Do I Do If My Dog Ate BBQ Sauce?

While we know the answer to “can dogs eat BBQ sauce?” is a definite “no,” we also know that even the best-behaved dogs sometimes eat things that are bad for them.

Dr. Robinson says dogs usually need to eat a large amount of BBQ sauce to get sick, but some dogs are more sensitive than others, so any amount–even a few licks–should be considered dangerous.

If your dog experiences any of the above symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately. However, if you saw your dog ate BBQ sauce, don’t wait for symptoms to appear. While your dog may appear to be fine, it’s best to call your vet as a precaution. And do not try to induce vomiting yourself. Your vet will do this if needed.

Depending on the size and breed of your dog and the amount of BBQ sauce ingested, your vet may simply prescribe a bland diet and antacids while you monitor your pup at home. But if your dog ate a lot of BBQ sauce, it may require medical intervention.

Have more questions about your pet's behavior? Get expert advice through Chewy’s Connect With a Vet service, available daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.

Are There Any Dog-Friendly BBQ Sauce Recipes?

If you’re looking for a safe BBQ sauce for dogs and cats, check out our Chewy Eats recipes below for a yummy, homemade treat.

bbq sauce recipe for dogs
bbq sauce recipe for cats

But Wait! I Have More Questions…

Q: Why do dogs like the taste of BBQ sauce?


Dr. Robinson says that BBQ sauce has chemicals that activate dogs’ taste receptors in a way that makes it super yummy, so they believe they’re getting a treat. It’s the same reaction that makes some humans love sugar.

Q: Can dogs have ribs with BBQ sauce?

A: No. While licking a little BBQ sauce isn’t likely to be harmful, dogs should never eat anything with bones because they’re a choking hazard and can cause a gastrointestinal obstruction.

Q: What is the healthiest sauce for dogs?

A: If you want to add a little extra flavor to your dog’s regular food, Dr. Robinson recommends a plain broth or gravy that doesn’t include ingredients such as garlic, onion, salt, seasonings, sugar or oil. The safest option for your pup is to feed them broths and gravies formulated specifically for dogs, such as this Solid Gold Beef Bone Broth with Turmeric Dog Food Topper.

Q: Can dogs eat BBQ chicken?

A: No, dogs should not eat BBQ chicken, especially if it has bones, like chicken wings. If you want to feed your dog chicken, the best way is to boil it and serve it plain.

While dogs cannot eat BBQ sauce, that doesn’t mean they can’t join you in all the summer cookout fun! Consider throwing some pet-safe kabobs on the grill or, if you have a pool, your pup will love these pool games for dogs.

Just remember that before adding any new foods to your pet’s diet, always consult with your veterinarian to make sure it’s a safe addition given their health, diet needs and current medications. Your vet will tell you if your dog can eat the new food and the appropriate serving size. If you suspect your pet is sick, please call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your regular veterinarian when possible as they can make the best recommendations for your pet.


By: Ashley DavidsonUpdated: