Can Dogs Eat Tamales?

By John Martin - May 7, 2021

Homemade tamales

It is delightful to see your furry friend running with a wagging tail as soon as you say treats. They are fond of food. But, are not prone to all types of food.

This raises the question, can dogs eat tamales? Yes, they can, but it should be avoided. Some ingredients can harm the health of your dog. Let’s look at what tamales are and the right way to feed it to your dog.

What Are Tamales?

Before looking at the appropriateness of feeding your dog tamales, let’s have a look at what tamales are.

Tamales are a popular and delicious Mexican delicacy. It is prepared using corn dough that is commonly called masa. It contains a filling of beef, meat, chicken, and steak covered in a corn husk.

Tamales are usually loaded with ingredients like cheese, salt, salt, and spice nuts. These are not made for the dog’s stomach and cause various health issues. The meat inside can be fed to your dog, but various spices and husks can cause problems.

Can Dogs Eat Tamales?

It is an important responsibility to take care of the health of your pooch. Tamales are not poisonous for your dog. But the question is, are tamales completely safe?

A little Mexican treat for your doggo is not harmful. However, the ingredients like salsa, spices, and majorly the corn huff can possess a lot of health risks to your dog. There is always a high amount of sodium and spices in tamales, which can hinder the digestion of your dog.

While you might want to treat your dog a little, just make sure that it might not be well received. Let us look at some ingredients of tamales that might be harmful to your dog.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Pizza?

Which Ingredients of Tamales Are Harmful to Dogs?

Tamales are loaded with a lot of ingredients. While it might be a perfect holiday food for you, your dog might not process it quite well.

Here is a list of ingredients in tamales that can affect the health of your dog.


Salt is added to both the meat filling and masa in tamales. This means that there is a good and generous amount of sodium present in tamales. While it adds that extra flavor to tamales, is it safe for your dog as well?

A little salt in your dog’s diet is okay. When given in excess amount can possess plenty of health risks. Too much salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems in your dog.

An extra amount of sodium can also lead to sodium poisoning. This is common in situations where it is difficult for the dog to find water for rehydration. Therefore, a high amount of sodium in tamales makes it quite unfit for your pooch.


The fillings of tamales contain many spices, including garlic, onions, salsas, and various other seasonings. These spices are made for human needs and are not suitable for our canine friends.

Garlic and onions can cause a lot of gastrointestinal problems in your dog. The spices are usually hard for your dog to digest. This can cause diarrhea, irritation, and vomiting. It can upset the stomach of your doggy a great deal, causing discomfort.

Saturated Fats

In traditional tamales, a lot of lard is used in the masa. Lard is usually rendered fat from pigs and some other saturated fat sources. Too much of these fats are not healthy for your little buddy.

Saturated fats tend to increase the levels of bad cholesterol in your pooch. This further can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems in your dog. This also puts your dog at a higher risk of inflammation.

Corn Dough of Genetically Mutated Corn

The genetically mutated corns have become quite common and popular. Sometimes the corn used to make corn dough for tamales can be of this kind.

GMO- tainted foods are not healthy for your dog. Feeding your dog tamales made from this corn dough can push them towards a lot of health risks. It can cause poor blood-sugar levels, allergies, neurodegenerative disease, and even cancer.

It might not be the safest option to include this Mexican delicacy in your dog’s diet.

Tamales Husk

Most of the tamales are made using corn husk. Tamales are also often wrapped in corn husks and then steamed. Your dog can easily digest a small piece of the husk, but what if the piece is large?

A large piece of husk is usually difficult for your pooch to digest. It will cause discomfort and will cause a lot of irritation to your doggo. It usually causes nausea, vomiting, and other digestive disorders.

Ingesting husk also leads to choking. It is hard to digest and can cause a choking hazard to your doggy. Usually, these symptoms can be cured with a little help at home. In case the situation does not improve, consult your vet immediately.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Granola?

What Are the Benefits of Feeding Tamales to Your Dog?

Tamales contain many ingredients that can put your dog at a higher risk of certain health disorders. But are there also many health benefits of tamales for your dog?

Let’s have a look.


Tamales contain meats of chicken, beef, pork, etc. These are highly rich in protein. It is estimated that a Tamale has 12g of protein.

The richness of proteins in tamales can be very beneficial for your dog. If it is served in the right amount, tamales can give your dog a good amount of protein in a single serving. This is one benefit of feeding tamales to your pooch.


In addition to being protein-packed, tamales also have a good amount of fiber in it. A good and appropriate amount of fiber can help in the digestion of the food of your doggy. Fiber has the capacity to increase bulk and fiber in the intestine of your dog.

This helps in controlling how fast or slow food passes through the digestive tract of your dog. Given that fiber can be good for your pooch, tamales can be healthy if fed properly.

Vitamins and minerals

Tamales contain a lot of vitamins and minerals. It is rich in calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, and Vitamins such as K, A, B. These vitamins and minerals can help in boosting the immunity of your dog. This can also help in the growth of your little pooch.

The vitamins and minerals present in tamales can help aid the growth and development of teeth and bones. They also help in the fast healing of the wounds.

When it comes to feeding tamales to your dog, there remains some uncertainty. Despite having some high amount of protein, fiber, minerals, and some good proteins, it still poses some health risks.

Let us look at the health risks that might occur due to feeding tamales to your pooch.

It is quite evident from the discussion above that tamales can harm your dog’s health. Here is a list of possible health issues that can arise because of feeding tamales to your doggo.

Cardiovascular Disorders

As mentioned above, the amount of sodium is very generous and high in tamales. This can push your pooch to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. Tamales also contain many saturated fats, which can contribute to your pooch’s bad cholesterol.

An increase in bad cholesterol can also lead to several cardiovascular diseases in your pooch. The saturated fats can also trigger inflammation in your dog.

Sodium Poisoning

Sodium poisoning might sound a little too much, but it is true. There is salt present in both the filling and masa of tamales. Too much sodium content can lead to sodium poisoning in your pooch.

Sodium poisoning is most probable in situations where the dog cannot get instant access to water. This will not give the dog enough time for rehydration.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Tamales contain certain spices that are made only for the human body. These spices include onions, garlic, salsas, and even pine nuts. Feeding these spices to your dog can lead to various digestion related problems.

The spices present in tamales can cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting to your pooch. Tamales are also often loaded with cheese; if your dog is lactose intolerant, this can cause serious problems.

The spices that are added to tamales also contain sulfoxides and disulfides. These can cause the blood cells of your dog to get damaged and lead to anemia.

Choking Hazards

Tamales husk is quite difficult to digest as it is not made for our canine friends’ bodies. If your dog has consumed tamales husk, it can lead to choking.

It is very hard to digest and can be lying in the digestive tract of your dog. This can block everything from functioning. This can cause a lot of discomfort in your pooch. If the situation worsens, you should contact your vet immediately.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Okra?

How to Make Tamales Healthier for Your Dog?

The health issues associated with tamales for dogs are a little concerning and frightening. But our furry friends also need a treat from time to time. So, is there any way in which you can feed this Mexican delicacy to your pooch healthily and safely?

Can tamales be made healthy? The answer is yes. You can make tamales safe and healthy for your pooch in certain ways. Here we will list some ways in which you can do this.

Homemade Tamales

If you think of treating your doggo with this Mexican delicacy, make sure that it is homemade. Making tamales for your dog at home is safe as it will let you choose the right amount of ingredients for your dog.

You can customize it according to your dog, keeping in mind all the health issues. This will also help you to keep the harmful contents of the tamales away from your dog.

Replace the Meat

Tamales contain meat and pork fillings that have a large number of saturated fats. This can pose a high risk of cardiovascular and other health disorders. Replace the meat with healthy alternatives.

You can include white shredded chicken, turkey, beans, and even vegetables. This will make the tamales healthier for your dog. Beans and vegetables also contain a large number of fiber that will help in the digestion of tamales.

In this way, your dog can enjoy a little treat, and you will also not have to worry about health.

Avoid Unnecessary Spices

While preparing tamales for your dog, exclude some spices. Do not include onions, garlic, and salsas.

You should also consider reducing the amount of salt in the tamales to make it safer for your dog. Also, make sure that you don’t include any extra seasonings. This will cause problems in the digestion of your dog.

Exclude the Tamales Husk

Tamales husk possess the highest risk to your dog. Remove the tamale husk and serve only the inside of it to your dog. This will ensure a good change in the diet and is also safer. Tamales husk can cause choking and other digestive issues in your pooch. It is, therefore, better to remove it.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Ranch?

What Should You Do if your Dog Accidentally Consumes Tamales?

It is quite possible that your pooch accidentally consumes a tamale. What should you do in such a case?

Tamales are difficult for your dog to digest, so, naturally, their body will reject it. You should look for particular signs if you suspect your dog of eating tamales.

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Abdominal Pain

Suppose you notice these signs, which means that the husk is causing a blockage in your dog’s body. In such a case, contact your vet immediately and seek professional assistance.

Final Thoughts

As a dog parent, it becomes your utmost responsibility to look after the health of your pooch. Tamales are delicious and a very popular Mexican delicacy but are quite unfit for your dog. Tamales can possess a large number of health risks to your pooch.

Just in case you are feeding your dog tamales, make sure that you cut down on the spices and seasonings. You should also consider removing the husk and serve only the inside to your dog.

Make the tamales at home to make sure that you don’t worry about your dog getting sick, and your dog enjoys his treat as well.