A delicious fried mix of onions, potatoes, and corned beef, corn beef hash is a great example of how a lip-smacking dish can come together from mere leftovers!
While all that fat and spice is definitely going to have your taste buds singing, is it the same for your furry friend? If you’ve wondered whether doggos can and should be fed corned beef hash, read on for a quick 101.
To truly understand whether corned beef hash is toxic to Fido or not, it’s essential to understand what exactly goes into corned beef hash.
As mentioned earlier, corned beef hash is made using potatoes, onions, and corned beef. Spices are also added to the mix, which is then fried.
Of the four ingredients mentioned above, three could be potentially toxic or harmful to your dog—spices, onions, and corned beef itself.
Whether fresh or not, corned beef is on the list of absolute no-nos for dogs.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of corned beef is that it is made using extremely fatty cuts of beef (usually the brisket cut) that are brined in a solution of salt (usually rock salt), with spices sometimes added in.
Since the meat remains soaked in the mixture till it is sufficiently cured, it soaks up high amounts of sodium, as well as any other ingredients added to the brining solution, such as saltpeter, sugar, and spices such as mustard seeds, cloves, pepper, and allspice.
Dogs don’t require as much sodium as their hoomans, which means that their bodies can’t tolerate excessive amounts of the mineral. Therefore, high amounts of sodium are extremely harmful to canines and can cause salt poisoning.
Another harmful aspect of corned beef is the high amount of fat in the meat. Beef fat isn’t harmful to dogs and can be a good source of vitamins (B vitamins, primarily) and minerals, but only if fed in the right and safe quantity.
Also, if the meat isn’t cured properly, it could have bacteria growing on it, leading to health issues such as botulism, which in dogs, can cause paralysis and death.
Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Lunch Meat?
Also known as hypernatremia, salt poisoning occurs when excessive amounts of sodium are ingested. Depending on the amount of sodium consumed, symptoms can range from painful to life-threatening (if not immediately treated).
Dogs only require 0.2 grams of sodium in every 1,000 calories they eat—the amount is also influenced by the dog’s size, breed, and underlying health conditions (dogs with kidney and heart diseases may need to eat more sodium).
However, for the average dog that’s around 33 pounds, the sodium intake should be no more than 200 milligrams a day.
Three ounces of corn beef, cooked, can contain a whopping 752 milligrams of sodium, easily setting the stage for a serious case of salt poisoning.
The most common symptoms of salt poisoning are vomiting and dehydration. Some other symptoms to watch out for include:
- Respiratory distress
- An increase in the heart rate
- Pain in the abdomen
- Appetite loss
- Swelling of the tongue and lips
- Dizziness and seizures
- Urinating frequently
All members of the allium family are not just harmful but toxic to dogs, which means that all parts of shallots, chives, garlic, onions, and leeks, from the leaves to the flesh to the juice, should be kept as far away from your dog’s diet as possible, regardless of the form (processed, cooked, raw, powdered, and fried).
This is because these vegetables are storehouses of an element known as N-propyl disulfide, which is extremely harmful to dogs. N-propyl disulfide results in red blood cells breaking down, which eventually leads to the onset of anemia in your furball.
The breakdown of red blood cells is achieved through a two-step process—oxidative stress and destruction of the red blood cells.
First, the toxin causes oxidative stress—it occupies space meant for oxygen in the red blood cells, which diminishes the oxygen-carrying capacity of these cells.
By doing this, N-propyl disulfide tricks the body into believing that the red blood cells are invaders, which causes the body to employ its defenses and destroy the red blood cells through a process called hemolysis.
This eventually results in anemia.
Onion toxicity requires immediate medical attention. Some symptoms by which you can identify onion toxicity:
- Red-tinged urine
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate
- Paleness in the gums
Also Read: Can Dogs Have Sunflower Oil?
Spices are irritants, causing digestive issues by irritating your dog’s tummy. Consuming large amounts of spice can cause issues such as diarrhea and vomiting.
As you’ve seen, corned beef, spices, and onion, the primary ingredients of corned beef hash, are quite harmful to dogs.
Therefore, eating corned beef hash can cause a range of health issues in your dog, such as salt poisoning, obesity, gastrointestinal issues, pancreatitis, and anemia.
Some pet parents swear by some brands of corned beef and their benefits for their furballs, but the wisest thing to do is to not take a risk and avoid corned beef completely, much as your dog seems to enjoy it—all the excitement is just over the general smell of meat and not corned beef per se, anyway.
Dogs are usually attracted to and will eat anything meaty, so you can just feed your dog meat in other safe forms.
If you absolutely must, you may feed your dog a couple of tiny bites of corned beef very occasionally, preferably something with less sodium and seasonings, but keep the hash away.
If your dog has just eaten a tiny bite of corned beef hash, you don’t have anything to worry about—the quantity of toxins is too small to cause any real concern.
However, excessive amounts warrant immediate medical attention. Take your dog to the vet right away.
As best as you can in the situation, try to keep some details handy, such as the amount your dog ate, when your dog ate the food, all the ingredients in the food it ate, your dog’s size and weight, any pain you’ve noticed in your dog, and any other signs such as a lack or excess of eating, drinking, vomiting, and pooping.
Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Strawberry Yogurt?
It may be tempting to share your food with your furbaby (the “puppy dog” eyes definitely don’t make it easier, we know!). However, not every human food is good for your dog, so always make sure you know what food is safe for your dog and what isn’t, including any allergies.
When it comes to canned foods (in this case, corned beef), always read the label so you know if there are any potentially toxic ingredients.
Dogs can be amazingly human-like, but always bear in mind that they’re built quite differently, so what works for our species may not always work for them.