Can Dogs Eat Barbecue Sauce?

A kitchen is incomplete without a barbecue sauce that adds flavor to the life of food — whether we marinate, baste, or just grill it up. With overwhelming flavors we add to our dishes regularly, Barbecue sauce is a clear frontrunner among others.

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However, it calls our attention when we feed food to our dogs with preservatives and additives only humans can appreciate. Hence, the question is, can dogs eat Barbecue sauce?

As integral as it is, this article inquires into how we can feed our dogs safely and how we can maintain our dog’s health by answering the question.

What is Barbecue Sauce? 

The kitchen is incomplete without a Barbecue sauce that spices up our dishes. A Barbecue sauce is a complex mixture of various ingredients — but natural and artificial — such as vinegar, garlic salt, onion powder, chili powder for heat, tomatoes, and spices like oregano to enhance a distinct flavor. Also, sugar comes into play in adding sweetness to the sauce.

Generally, chefs featured in kitchen vlogs use Barbecue sauce for marinating or basting. It is also a key ingredient in grilling, particularly for those who prepare chicken wings and ribs.

Nevertheless, the winning presence of Barbecue creates a unique flavor that cannot be found in bottled sauces.

Food family of Barbecue Sauce 

According to the USDA, barbecue sauce belongs to soups, sauces, and gravies nutritional food groups. There are similar types of sauces from the same food family, such as ketchup (vegetable sauce), steak, and Worcestershire sauce.

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These sauces are known for their preservatives and additives. With that being said, we arrive at this inquiry: is barbecue sauce safe for dogs?

Can dogs eat Barbecue Sauce? 

It depends on the mixture of the ingredients of a barbecue sauce and the preparation involved.

Yes, dogs can safely eat if the barbecue sauce mixture is natural without added preservatives and additives harmful to dogs. What are these? We can find these in the form of onion and garlic powder, sugar substitutes such as salt, baking soda, and MSG.

On the contrary, dogs can’t safely eat if the barbecue sauce mixture is purely manufactured and artificial, like the ingredients mentioned above. 

Remember that dogs cannot tolerate preservatives, additives, and other ingredients only humans can digest. So it’s in the best interest for dogs to eat foods with barbecue sauce in a safe way.

To answer the question here is how:

Best Ways to Feed your Dogs with Barbecue Sauce

There is three simple yet best ways to feed your dogs with barbecue sauce without harming their health:

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Create an organic barbecue sauce

First, it is best to make your own Barbecue sauce. You need a natural preservative for this method, such as salt or vinegar (apple cider works). Vinegar can be mixed with honey and water for added sweetness, if necessary.

Moreover, adding spices like oregano into the mixture will bring out the deep flavors needed in any Barbecue sauce.

Add barbecue sauce gradually.

Second, it is best to feed your dogs with ingredients not entirely mixed into a barbecue sauce. For example, you can use the meat of chicken wings or ribs when cooking them to grill and marinate. However, do avoid using sauces directly as this will add too much sugar to their diet.

Separate barbecue sauce with the treat

Third, it is best to serve your dogs with Barbecue sauce as a dip. In this case, you can make a separate dish and add small amounts of barbecue sauce into the mixture of water or broth — if necessary — for added flavor in serving.

This way, there are no preservatives or additives that might harm their health.

Reasons Why Dogs Can Eat Barbecue Sauce

Organic barbecue sauce triumphs over artificial ones. The more you keep it natural, the more you prevent harm from your dogs. So, here are reasons why dogs can eat barbecue sauce:

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Adds appetite to your dog’s diet

Barbecue sauce brings out the flavor of meaty ribs or wings cooked in preparation for grilling and marinating; this adds appetite to your dog’s diet. Moreover, this adds delight to their taste buds — especially those who have a picky palate.

This way, you can keep them healthy without having to find another solution.

Improves the quality of your dog’s coat and skin

Barbecue sauce consists of ingredients known for improving the healthiness of a person’s hair, including vitamins A, C, E, K; omega-fatty acids like linoleic acid (LA) alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); minerals like zinc, copper, iron; and amino acids. This will improve the quality of a dog’s hair coat as well as its skin.

Antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties

The ginger powder commonly included in the making of barbecue sauce has antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. This will prevent harmful bacteria from growing on the meat of chicken wings or ribs while cooking for grilling and marinating.

Plus, it will prevent the growth of harmful bacteria on your dog’s skin.

Possible Concerns When Eating a Barbecue Sauce 

A dog may naturally react to the flavor or taste of a barbecue sauce. But if it’s more than the reaction, here are possible health concerns:

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Dehydration is the possible leading concern that may manifest to your dog’s health. Here, barbecue sauce contains a high level of sugar, which is harmful to your dog’s health.

Moreover, this added sugar in a Barbecue sauce might be too much for your dog to handle as it may cause dehydration and other possible severe health conditions such as kidney failure or canine diabetes.

Intestinal blockage

Another concern that you need to address when feeding your dogs with barbecue sauce is an intestinal blockage. Here, dogs cannot tolerate the same ingredients to make a Barbecue sauce, such as preservatives and additives.

Moreover, these may cause gastrointestinal obstructions to your dog’s digestive tract. This way, it will not be able to absorb vitamins and nutrients nor expel waste materials properly from their bodies which can cause more severe health problems.

Gas Formation 

As another possible concern, when feeding your dogs with Barbecue sauce, the gas formation can happen since they cannot tolerate the same ingredients added to make a barbecue sauce.

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This may cause the gas formation and abdominal discomfort, leading to vomiting or diarrhea due to indigestion.

Signs your dog is sick from eating Barbecue Sauce

The previous paragraph talks about the possible long-term concerns your dog may encounter. Now, what are some obvious signs that your dog may experience from eating barbecue sauce?

Acid Reflux 

Did you know that dogs, too, may experience acid reflux? A study shows that about 60% of dogs are experiencing acid reflux, which results in vomiting and other digestive problems.

The most common cause is eating food with preservatives or additives mixed in it. This includes barbecue sauce — especially if your dog has a sensitive stomach.


Your pet may experience nausea when they eat something spicy like Barbecue sauce. This is because of the strong spices and flavors of this added food ingredient, which may cause their stomach to hurt or feel uneasy.

Moreover, your dog’s attempt to vomit out anything harmful from its system will only worsen its condition as it can cause other health problems like dehydration.

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Breathing difficulties 

Lastly, breathing difficulties can happen to your dog if you feed them barbecue sauce. This is because of the spices and flavors that come with this added food ingredient which may cause their stomach to hurt, or worse — affect their respiratory system.

What to do if your dog is sick from eating Barbecue Sauce?

Do not panic. Be calm and still. When signs are actually showing surprisingly, don’t hesitate to bring your dog to the nearest vet clinic. At first, you may consider it as not alarming. But when you left overlooked, its emergence can cost more than a dog’s life.

Nevertheless, make sure to coordinate with your veterinarian about the table diet of your dog, especially in the use of barbecue sauce for your dog’s treat.

Avoid these similar foods from this family.

We earlier mentioned that this family sauce is known for its preservative and additives. So, here are some names to familiarize:

Rib Sauce

Not only does it have high sugar content, but it also has a strong acidic flavor. This is not good for your dog’s health as this can cause acid reflux or abdominal discomfort.

Shrimp Sauce 

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This may be delicious to eat, especially with shrimps — the main ingredient of its sauce. However, dogs cannot digest crustaceans such as shrimps and other shellfish. This can cause indigestion, intestinal blockage, or worse — the formation of gas in their stomachs.


This is very popular among kids, including dogs. This condiment can increase your dog’s blood pressure and lead to potential health problems like stomach ulcers or heart disease.

How to Make Barbecue Sauce Safe To Eat?

Your preparation matters in achieving the safe barbecue sauce to offer to your dogs. Here are some things to consider:

Homemade sauce 

When making your own barbecue sauce, always and always use organic ingredients. You can use organic applesauce or plain yogurt as an alternative to sugar and vinegar.

Another option is tomato paste which can add a rich flavor to your dog’s treat. Ensure that you avoid using any spices or flavors that can be too much for your dog’s system.

Monitor its reactions

Continuously monitor your dog’s reactions after feeding them barbecue sauce. When your dog manifests signs of indigestion, it is best to give them a break from this food for 24 hours or more to have your dog’s stomach recover.

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It’s good to have an alternative feeding of barbecue sauce to maintain your dog’s appetite.

Ask for your vet’s advice.

Dietary bits of advice, including the table diet for your dog, is crucial. Remember that dogs have different digestive systems, and each may react differently to a particular food ingredient.

Discuss with your veterinarian which condiments are suitable for feeding and how much of it is safe per day or week, depending on the type and breed you have in hand.

Key Takeaways

As this article ends, we have agreed and answered our quest: dogs can eat barbecue sauce — in the most organic, purely natural, without added preservatives and additives served.

Let this be a reminder that dogs have different reactions to ingredients included in their treats. Letting a dog eat barbecue is not always safe all the time, but there are ways to make it safer for them without compromising their health through making an organic homemade sauce, monitoring your dog’s reaction, and asking for your vet’s advice.

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Indeed, a kitchen is incomplete without flavors like barbecue sauce. So as a life of a man without dogs — a man’s best friend.

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