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Can Dogs Eat Gravy? Vet Reviewed Facts & Alternatives


Apr 12, 2023
Homemade gravy in a sauce dish with turkey for


Homemade gravy in a sauce dish with turkey for
Dr. Amanda Charles Photo

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Gravy can seem like a treat that many dogs can enjoy. Gravies are often meat-based, and many dogs lap them up enthusiastically. However, it’s generally not recommended for dogs to eat gravy because it can contain harmful ingredients, and it usually doesn’t really have much nutritional value.

There are so many different kinds of gravy recipes that use a variety of ingredients. So, although your dog may be fine after enjoying small amounts of some types of gravy, other types can cause your dog to become unwell with digestive issues or other signs. Fortunately, you can find several different kinds of alternatives which are just as tasty and are much safer for dogs to eat. Feeding your dog nutritious and high-quality foods can improve and sustain your dog’s quality of life and boost its overall well-being.


The 3 Reasons Dogs Should Avoid Gravy

Savory meat based gravy may seem like a tasty addition to your dog’s diet but for several reasons it’s best avoided. Here are some of the reasons we don’t recommend adding it to your dog’s diet.

Gravy Sauce
Image Credit: stockcreations, Shutterstock

1. High-Fat Content

Gravy typically uses some form of animal fat as one of its main ingredients. The fat enables the gravy to maintain a thick consistency as well as boost its savory flavor. As a result, gravy contains a lot of calories. So, it’s definitely not a viable option for dogs that are overweight, obese, or in need of stricter weight management. Feeding high fat foods such as gravy can also contribute to dogs getting a painful condition called pancreatitis.

2. Unsafe Ingredients

Gravy contains different kinds of seasonings. Some ingredients that are used to add more flavor to gravy can be harmful or toxic to dogs. So, even if you find a low-fat gravy, it may not be safe for your dog to eat.

Many gravy recipes contain onions, garlic, and other vegetables in the allium family. All the vegetables in the allium family are toxic to dogs. Alliums contain toxins called disulphides and thiosulfinates which can damage a dog’s red blood cells, causing anemia. All parts and forms of these vegetables can be dangerous for dogs, including powdered versions of them.

Some gravies also use heavy cream or another type of dairy. Most dogs are lactose intolerant, so they have difficulty digesting dairy. If they eat some gravy containing dairy products; they can get an upset stomach and diarrhea.

Some gravy recipes will call for cooking alcohol. While cooking down alcohol lowers its alcohol content, it’s still better to play it safe than sorry and avoid feeding it to your dog. There’s a very low chance that it will experience alcohol poisoning, but the ingredient can still cause an upset stomach.

garlic on a wooden background
Image Credit: MaisonBoutarin, Pixabay

3. Little Nutritional Value

Feeding your dog gravy doesn’t really introduce any nutritional benefits to its diet. We’ve already mentioned that it’s high in fat and calories and it also tends to contain a lot of salt. Although your dog needs a certain amount of salt in their diet for normal cell function they should get that from their normal dog food. Additions of high salt food such as gravy to your dog’s meal has the potential to cause problems for your dog including dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea.divider-paw

The 3 Healthier Alternatives to Gravy

Fortunately, your dog doesn’t have to miss out on eating savory foods. You can find several different kinds of healthier and safer alternatives to gravy. Here are some examples to get your mind jogging on what you can feed your dog instead of gravy.

1. Wet Dog Food

Adding wet dog food to your dog’s regular meal can be a great way to add more moisture to its diet. You don’t have to make the complete switch over to wet food if you’re feeding your dog dry food. You can always mix the wet food with the dry food and use it more as a meal topper than as the main meal. Commercial wet dog food should meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) requirements for a complete and balanced meal for dogs. They’ll contain all the essential vitamins and minerals that dogs need to eat on a daily basis. Just make sure to choose a high-quality recipe.

close up of a dog eating from the bowl
Image Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

2. Commercial Pet Food Topper

Many commercial dog food companies sell their own kind of meal topper gravies. These gravies are specifically formulated for dogs and only use ingredients that are completely safe for them to eat. Many of them also contain nutritious ingredients or are enriched with vitamins and minerals.

3. Unseasoned Bone Broth

Most dogs will enjoy a tasty bone broth, and many pet food brands sell their own bone broth recipes that you can give as a special treat or serve as a meal topper. Just keep in mind that some bone broths can contain a lot of fat. So, if your dog is in need of weight management, make sure to check the ingredients and guaranteed analysis to ensure that the recipe doesn’t have too much fat. divider-dog


It’s not recommended to feed dogs gravy because it’s a risky food. It can contain a lot of fat and most likely has ingredients in it that are harmful to dogs. So, it’s much safer and more beneficial to feed dogs other alternatives, particularly wet dog food and meal toppers from reputable pet food brands.

It’s often helpful to have a stash of gravy meal toppers in your pantry so that you’re prepared for the next time you have gravy and your dog’s giving irresistible puppy eyes. You can just rip open a packet and rest assured that you’re feeding your dog a safer and more nutritious alternative that’s also enjoyable for your dog to eat.

Featured Image  Credit: Elena Veselova, Shutterstock

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