Can Dogs Eat Gyro Meat? Revealing the Safety and Risks

Meat is an essential ingredient in a dog’s diet. And you would think that every meat is perfectly fine for dogs, even the one that is part of the delicious Greek gyro. But can dogs eat gyro meat?

Dogs should avoid gyro meat, as it’s often seasoned with spices like onion and garlic that are harmful to them. The high-fat content can lead to digestive issues. Luckily, there are some great alternatives that your dog will love. 

What is gyro meat and how is it traditionally prepared?

Gyro meat is a mouthwatering delicacy originating from Mediterranean cuisine, particularly popular in Greek street food. It is traditionally made by stacking seasoned meat, usually a combination of lamb, beef, or chicken, onto a vertical rotisserie. The seasoning used for this meat can include stuff like salt, pepper, or garlic. Oregano, thyme, and cumin can also be added.

As the meat slowly cooks and develops a crispy exterior, it is thinly sliced off and served on pita bread or with various accompaniments like fresh vegetables, sauces, and tzatziki.

What are the nutritional needs of dogs?

Before we figure out if dogs and gyro meat go together, we first need to know the average dog-friendly diet. Dogs are omnivores, meaning they need a balanced diet comprising proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. 

Protein is vital for muscle maintenance and growth, while fats provide energy and support healthy skin and coat. Usually, dogs should eat dog food that is low in grains, because it doesn’t offer them too many benefits.

What nutrients does gyro meat provide for dogs?

The main benefit dogs would get from eating this meat is protein. No matter, if it’s lamb, pork, or chicken, the high-protein content of the meat, is definitely good for dogs. Healthy fats are also part of the ingredient list.

This meat is also filled with vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and essential amino acids. A huge benefit dogs get from eating meat is a feeling of satiety. Some dogs don’t know when to stop eating when hungry, but eating this meat will relieve them of this hunger.

What are the potential health implications of feeding gyro meat to dogs?

While gyro meat might seem tempting for your canine companion, it’s crucial to be aware of the dangers it poses.

Choking hazard

Dogs eat fast and most don’t pay attention to what they are eating. This is why you, as the owner, need to be careful of what you are offering. If you are preparing the meat yourself, make sure to get rid of all bones as they can get stuck in the dog’s windpipe. Then, before offering the meat, make sure you give bite-sized pieces that can get easily ingested. 

If some food gets stuck, you will see your dog panic and become out of breath. This is dangerous and requires help from a vet. You can also perform the Heimlich Maneuver on your dog. The New Ulm Regional Veterinary Center explains how to do this properly:

Firmly but gently pull your dog into your lap and roll them onto their back, then using the palm of your hand apply pressure right beneath the rib cage and push firmly inwards and upwards 5 times in a thrusting motion. Roll your dog back onto their side and check their mouth for the food or object that was causing the issue.

Weight gain and pancreatitis

Even though it’s really tasty, gyro meat is really bad for dogs because it has a lot of calories. If dogs intake more calories than they spend, they will start gaining weight over time. Weight gain can lead to obesity. And from there, your dog is exposed to developing other health conditions, especially of the cardiovascular system.

This meat is also filled with fats, which ingested in high amounts cause pancreatitis. This is an inflammation of the pancreas and causes severe abdominal pain and digestive issues. If not treated properly, it can even kill your dog.

High sodium and other spices

To make it as delicious as it is, this meat is covered in salt and spices. Salt is especially bad for dogs as they can only eat a little amount daily. If they eat too much of it, they will show symptoms of sodium toxicity. They can become dehydrated and even suffer from high blood pressure in the long run.

Gyro meat is not safe for dogs also because of the onion and garlic powder that is often used. They contain thiosulfate, an ingredient that destroys red blood cells and causes hemolytic anemia in dogs.

What to do if your dog eats this meat?

If you drop some meat by mistake and your dog picks it up, you shouldn’t panic. Instead, try to figure out how much it ate and how dangerous that can be. Take the food away from the dog if possible and monitor for symptoms. Give some water to the dog to prevent dehydration from the salt. If the dog is choking or showing signs of pet allergies, instant treatment will be needed. 

You should call your vet and ask for instructions on how to deal with the situation. Tell them all the information you have about how it happened. Sometimes, you will need to get the dog to their office for further diagnostics and treatment. In severe cases, the dog might need to be hospitalized for a few days.

What are safe alternatives to gyro meat for dogs?

There are many other safe food for dogs that can offer the same benefit and avoid all of the drawbacks of this particular meat. Opt for lean cuts of cooked, unseasoned meat like chicken, turkey, or beef. Cooked lamb can also be given in moderation. If you are cooking them, make sure you remove all the bones, skin, and excess fat beforehand.

Besides meats, many other foods are beneficial for dogs. For example, well-cooked vegetables like carrots, broccoli, or green beans are tasty and nutritious. Some foods are even considered therapeutic for dogs. For example, pumpkin is great for dogs with diarrhea.

How can dogs safely consume gyro meat?

If you do want to give some of this meat to your dog, the best thing you can do is to prepare it yourself. Get some lean lamb, beef, or chicken meat and put it on a rotisserie. Don’t use any spices or herbs, just use the meat plain as is. 

Make sure the meat is cooked thoroughly to eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria. “Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb, and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source.“, recommends the Food Safety and Inspection Service.

After cooking, thinly slice the meat and then serve it. You can also mix it with some rice or cooked vegetables. When introducing gyro meat to your dog’s diet, start with small portions and observe their reactions. Make sure you offer the meat in moderate amounts and don’t overfeed it.

Can dogs eat gyro meat? – Final thoughts

This delicious Greek meat delicacy is perfect for any person that wants a nutritious and filling lunch. But unfortunately, dogs can not eat it as they get hurt by the additional ingredients in the meat.

The salt, spices, and fats can be toxic to dogs if ingested in larger amounts. If they eat fast and in large amounts, dogs can also choke on the meat.

So it is best to avoid giving this meat to dogs altogether. If you do want to give it, you can prepare it yourself and avoid adding all the other stuff that is dangerous to your dog. You can also substitute it with other dog-friendly foods like cooked chicken or lamb meat.


Are certain breeds more sensitive to ingredients in gyro meat?

The breed of the dog does not affect the sensitivity to toxins very much. However, it is logical to think that larger dogs can eat a bit more than smaller dogs before they start experiencing symptoms.

How long after a dog eats a gyro meat do they get sick?

Dogs can eat gyro meat and then develop symptoms right after eating if they are allergic or choking. Otherwise, long-term symptoms can appear anywhere from 3 hours to 24 hours after ingestion.

At what age can dogs start eating gyro meat?

We wouldn’t recommend giving this meat to a puppy at all. However, other types of meat can be fed to a puppy at the age of 3-4 weeks. It helps them get enough protein to grow up strong and healthy.

More dog nutrition resources

Here are a few other resources talking about giving certain foods to dogs and the effect they have on their health.

You can find a lot more information on the types of food you can feed your dog on our site Dogisa!

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