In a word, yes.  It may not be “toxic” in the sense of killing your dog instantly, but eating high quantities of it over a long period of time is going to cause problems for your canine friend.

Pastrami is a type of cured meat that has been seasoned and then smoked or cooked using indirect heat.  It was originally made in Romania from beef, venison, or mutton and later made its way into Turkey and created a new dish called pastirma.

Pastrami is typically made from beef brisket.  The most common way to make it is by rubbing the meat with salt, sugar, and spices such as coriander seeds, black peppercorns, paprika, garlic powder.  After being rubbed down with spices it is allowed to cure for between one day and two weeks.

After the curing process, the meat is then smoked over aromatic woods like hickory or oak.   It is interesting to note that pastrami can be either cooked or raw – there are actually different cuts of beef specifically designed for making pastrami.   

The smoking process takes place over several hours depending on how big the pieces of meat are at approximately 150°F (65°C) for around four hours up to 240°F (115°C) until it reaches an internal temperature of 185°F (85°C).  At this point, it is ready to eat as a sandwich – pastrami on rye bread with some mustard.

The nitrite preservatives used in making pastrami are the main problem for dogs because they can cause, or worsen canine cancer.  Nitrites also combine with amines contained in the beef to form nitrosamines which are carcinogenic.  Nitrites have been shown to be toxic to dogs and can lead to many health problems including vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, internal hemorrhaging, and even death if ingested in large doses.

Cured meats like bacon also contain high levels of sodium so should definitely not be given to your dog either because too much salt can lead to dehydration and other medical problems.


As you can probably tell, I don’t recommend giving your dog pastrami or any other type of cured meat on a regular basis – if at all.   Limit the number of nitrites and salt in your dog’s diet to keep him healthy and active.  If you do give your canine friend some pastrami, just make sure he doesn’t get too much of it or eat it very often.

Is it okay for dogs to eat pastrami?

 Though it is not known exactly what dogs can or cannot eat, all four-legged carnivores have the potential to have problems after ingesting foods that are normally considered bad for people.  For example, chocolate is poisonous to dogs because of the caffeine and fat content – too much chocolate will kill your pet.

What meats are safe for dogs?

Most meats are safe for dogs, though it really depends on the breed of the dog and its size.  It is important to remember that meat contains a lot of protein so your canine friend may become overweight after eating too much of it. Dogs also need vegetables in their diets, just like us! There are recipes you can try out that combine minced meat with vegetables, rice, and other healthy ingredients.  In the end, it is up to you as a responsible pet owner to decide what is best for your canine friend.

Are any meats bad for dogs?

Yes, as we mentioned above there are some meats that should definitely be avoided.  Cured meats like bacon and pastrami contain high levels of sodium and nitrates which put dogs at risk for health problems and even death if ingested in large quantities.  Dogs can also gain weight from eating too much meat so avoid feeding your pet these types of meats on a regular basis.

Can dogs eat corned beef?

Yes, corned beef is actually a type of cured meat similar to pastrami and bacon which means it should be avoided at all costs.  This can cause health problems like vomiting or diarrhea in your dog, and if he ingests too much of it he could even die.

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