There’s puppies, and then there’s pizza—which is man’s best friend? Well, we think the better question is, why should man be limited to just one BFF? Much like pizza, friendship is all-inclusive! The more friends (or pizza toppings), the merrier. Here at Eat The Pizza, we love pizza (obviously) and we love pups. Yet, the traditional human-friendly pizza isn’t so friendly for our canine friends.
There’s something seriously wrong with a world that denies pups—our dear friends—the miracle that is pizza! So we’re on a mission to make things right in the world by making a PUP PIZZA! This week is the 3rd birthday of our precious rescue pup, Kristen. So, naturally, we’ve pizza-fied some of her favorite foods to make a dog-friendly pizza!
Now, in general, it’s not smart to share a slice of pizza with your dog, but Kristen is also a special case. She has liver disease, which means we have to be very careful about the foods that she eats. So, the puppizza we’re sharing is great for dogs with liver disease, or if you’re fairly cautious with your dog’s diet—or if you’re just looking for a safe, tasty pizza to share with your pup! We’ve got the recipe for you to try down below. In case you need convincing, let us remind you of why your canine companion is so awesome and pizza-worthy:
If you’ve spent some time with a dog, you know that they’re smart. Research suggests that dogs’ mental abilities are about on par with a 2-year-old human child—even smarter in some areas!
- Dogs can count up to four or five, and can even notice errors in simple addition problems (like 1+1=1 or 1+1=3).
- Dogs can understand lots of words. The average dog can learn 165 words and signals, while “super dogs” can learn up to 250! After you make today’s recipe, we think your pooch will learn “pizza” pretty quickly. (“Super dogs” refers to dogs in the top 20% of dog intelligence: border collies, poodles, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Dobermans, Shetland sheepdogs, and Labrador retrievers.)
- Dogs are sneaky and can intentionally deceive other dogs or people while they’re playing in order to get treats! (Warning: keep both eyes on your pizza at all times.)
- Dogs watch TV. Researchers have found that domestic dogs aren’t (always) just staring blankly at the TV screen. Pups can actually perceive TV images like we do, and even recognize images of animals or sounds of dogs like they would in real life. There’s even a channel known as DogTV, specially designed for canines and the way their eyes see.
- Dogs get jealous when their owner gives attention to something else—another dog, a toy dog, a book, maybe a pizza—and they will compete for their owner’s attention and try to win it back!
Dogs also have some basic emotions like human toddlers, such as happiness, anger, and even disgust. (That means be smart about your puppizza toppings, folks.) But, pups don’t deal with more complex feelings like guilt—that boils down to a more basic sense of fear. In terms of social smarts, dogs are actually closer to human teenager thinking! They’re concerned with things like their status in the pack and who’s dating who. And, probably, wanting pizza for dinner.
So pups are pretty darn smart, but they’ve also got a certain je ne sais quoi. Do you ever feel like your dog just gets you? Like they’re the only being that truly understands. Or maybe you’ve suspected that he/she is psychic? Well, you’re not wrong. They actually can sense what we’re feeling.
Dogs are able to tell the difference between happy and angry facial expressions, then can even respond to our feelings with empathy! During a series of experiments, strangers (people who didn’t know the dogs involved) pretended to cry, and the dogs responded by sniffing, licking, and nuzzling the strangers. Pups have even learned to people-watch to gauge who’s mean and who’s nice. When dogs watched their owners struggle with a task and saw another person refuse to help, the dogs were more likely to ignore that not-nice person and decline the treats they offered.
But, these aren’t even the super-est of a puppy’s perceptive powers. Dogs can also sense:
- Storms: They can feel the electromagnetic force a storm creates before it hits, hear thunder from miles away, and even smell the electrical current in the air.
- Earthquakes: Like plenty of animals, dogs will show signs of distress before a quake, maybe because they hear rocks crumbling under the ground, or they may even feel seismic activities in their paws!
- A Baby Coming: Dogs often predict when a woman will go into labor and start to follow her closely wherever she goes, perhaps because they can sense the physical change going on in the body or because of a distinct “labor scent.”
- Seizures: There are service dogs trained to alert their owners before they’re about to have a seizure, and some even lie on top of their owners during the seizure to protect them and summon help if they can. Not all dogs are trained to do this, but all pups instinctively can sense seizures—perhaps because they sense changes in the brain’s electrical conductivity.
- Illnesses: Though it’s too subtle for us to detect, dogs often can sniff the faint odors we give off when we have an illness like cancer or diabetes.
Your pooch is a superhero! And, with so many super powers, that pooch needs some serious fuel. As the saying goes: “With great power, comes great pizza-tivity.”
The USA has the largest pet dog population of any country, with nearly 70 million pet pups across the country! Brazil ranks second with over 35 million pet dogs, followed by China, then Russia, and then Japan. Across the world, we love pups. And with good reason(s)! If, somehow, you’re still not convinced that your pup deserves a puppizza (or if you’re just loving the learning), we’ve got some more for ya. Check out these mind-beagle-ing facts that’ll help you get to know your pooch better:
- Don’t Sweat It: Dogs actually can’t sweat anywhere except through the pads of their feet! (Some people say their dog’s feet smell like Fritos, which may just be your dog’s natural B.O.) Because dogs can’t really sweat, they also stick their tongues out and start panting when they’re warm—it’s one of the only ways they can cool down.
- Get Your Kicks: Ever seen your dog kick and claw at the grass after doing their business? They’re not just doing a cute dance—they’re marking territory! Your pup has scent glands in his/her paws and kicks the grass in order to transfer their scent into the ground near their pile (because, obviously, the scent of their pee/dookie won’t cut it once it dries up).
- The Right Spot: If you’ve seen your dog search and circle endlessly for “the right spot” to poop, it’s because they’re highly sensitive to Earth’s magnetic field. Dogs actually prefer to do their business with their bodies in alignment with the North-South axis of the magnetic field!
- Take a Spin: When your dog spins around and circles an area indoors before lying down, they’re trying to make themselves at home. It’s thought that this is an instinctual denning ritual: sniffing a spot, digging a bit with the front paws, turning around several times, then lowering down into the “nest.”
- It’s a Colorful Life: Contrary to popular belief, dogs actually don’t see the world in black and white. We have trichromatic vision, so we see a full spectrum of colors made from different shades and combinations of red, green, and blue. Dogs have dichromatic vision, which means they see a range of yellow and blue colors, but can’t see the range of colors from green to red.
- Night Vision: Dogs’ eyes contain a special membrane—the tapetum lucidum—that allows them to see in the dark.
- Third Eye(lid): Believe it or not, dogs actually have three eyelids: an upper lid, a lower lid, and a third lid known as the nictitating membrane or “haw,” which keeps the eye moist and protected.
- Listen Up: Humans can hear sounds in a frequency range from 20 up to 20,000 Hertz (Hz). Dogs can hear sounds of much higher pitches—from 40,000 to 60,000 Hz! Plenty of sounds that a pup can hear, we can’t. A dog whistle produces a pitch between 16,000 to 22,000 Hz, which is out of range for most human’s ears, but in the middle range of a dog’s hearing. Plus, a dog can hear about 4 times the distance that we can!
- Pumped Up Ears: Dogs have at least 18 different muscles that control their ear movements! Sometimes, they might move their ears even when they’re sleeping because they can hear things like the high-frequency pulse of the crystal resonator in digital alarm clocks, or the bodily vibrations of termites in the walls.
- Super Sniffers: A dog’s sense of smell is anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000,000 times more powerful than ours. For perspective, that means a dog could sniff out a single rotten apple in two million barrels of apples! Compared to the smell-centers in our brains, the part of a dog’s brain dedicated to analyzing smells is (proportionally) 40 times larger.
- Wet Noses: A pup’s nose secretes a thin layer of mucous that absorbs scents, then they lick their noses to sample those scents in their mouth!
- Tiny Tasters: While humans have approximately 9,000 taste buds, dogs only have around 1,700.
- Whisker Business: A dog’s whiskers are sensing devices, used to help them better “see” the size, shape, or speed of nearby objects, as well as feel vibrations in the air to sense approaching dangers.
- Dog-Dreaming: Like humans, dogs go into slow wave sleep (SWS), have rapid eye movement (REM), and even dream in that state! If you see twitching and moving paws while your pup is sleeping, he/she is dreaming.
- Cuddle Puppy: Almost 1 in every 2 dogs in the U.S. sleeps in their owner’s bed.
- Sheepdog Shout-Out: There are rumors that there’s an ultrasonic whistle—only audible to dogs—at the end of the song “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles, recorded by Paul McCartney for his Shetland sheepdog.
Can Dogs Eat Pizza?
Unfortunately, the human pizza we know and love that arrives hot and fresh at our door isn’t meant to be shared with our dogs. Why?
- Onions & Garlic: Generally, onions and/or garlic are used in pizza sauce, or even as toppings. Both onions and garlic are part of the Allium family, and enough allium can be toxic in dogs because their bodies aren’t able to break down the allium. While onions are potentially dangerous, garlic can be even more risky because it’s stronger in flavor and in allium content. Allium toxicity can range from tummy troubles to serious blood cell issues.
- Pepperoni & Bacon: Pepperoni’s spicy flavor may be painful to dogs and cause them digestive problems. Plus, some pepperoni contains garlic/onion flavoring. Both pepperoni and bacon are rich in fat, and too much fat is not good for pups! It can cause digestive problems, and even lead to pancreatitis over time.
- Mushrooms: While some mushrooms are fine for dogs to eat, other mushrooms can be deadly for dogs. It’s not worth the risk!
- Oil: Sometimes oil is used in pizza dough, in the baking process, or drizzled on top. Oil is high in fat, which is hard for dogs’ bodies to process and not healthy for them!
- Salt & Spices: Too much salt is not good for dogs—their bodies can’t handle it and it can be toxic. Other pizza seasonings and spices can also cause stomach problems and be potentially dangerous.
- Cheese: Now, cheese isn’t the worst thing for your pup, but it isn’t something they should eat regularly or in large amounts. Cheese contains lactose, and most dogs are pretty close to lactose intolerant, meaning they can’t break it down. It can lead to stomach discomfort, and too much of it can lead to more serious issues like vomiting. Cheese is also high in fat so it’s not good for dogs!
- Dough: So, we’re left with the dough, which should be fine for dogs—right? Well, before you pass your leftover crust to your pup, consider that most pizza crusts are made with oil, salt, or other seasonings. Also, that dough really doesn’t provide your pup with any of the good nutrients that it needs!
If your dog ate some pizza or you’ve shared it in the past, don’t panic. A small slice is not enough to cause toxicity or major health problems. That doesn’t mean you should feed your dog pizza, even on occasion, because there’s always a risk involved. But, if you did or it happened on accident, don’t panic—just learn from it!
If your pup ate a large amount of pizza, you’ll likely see some strange symptoms of sickness or potential toxicity (tired, lack of energy, vomiting, diarrhea), depending on what was in the pizza. If you notice these, it’s time to contact your vet. If you know that your dog consumed a lot (like they got their paws on an entire pizza when you weren’t looking), then don’t wait to see symptoms! Just get in touch with the vet ASAP.
Every Dog Has Its Pizza Day
We get it. We’re pizza freaks! We want to share all of the delicious pizza with our precious pup. Maybe you’re a pizza dog, too. (Pizza dog: (n) someone who eats pizza for practically every meal; often lets the pizza grease stay on the sides of the mouth; may have sauce between his teeth.) But, it’s just too risky to give human pizza to our pups. To avoid this stress, you can make a special puppizza just for your dog!
We’ve got one recipe for you, but you can also get creative with your own ideas. Choose simple, dog-friendly ingredients and toppings, items like coconut flour, eggs, or sweet potato. Because, while we want to make our pups happy, we also want them to live happy lives! So, for all you pizza dogs, order your pizza, get this recipe in the oven before yours arrives, and chow down with your puppy pizza pal.
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 egg
- 1 cup unsalted broth
- canned pumpkin purée (as your "sauce")
- grated/shredded carrots
- green beans, chopped
- apples, chopped
- shredded mozzarella cheese
- fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)
Whisk together egg and unsalted broth. Add coconut flour and mix into a dough.
Roll out on a floured surface and form into a circular shape. Or, if your dough is crumbly like ours, just press it down into a circle on your pizza pan.
Place on a pizza pan, lined with parchment.
Spread on canned pumpkin “sauce” and add toppings.
Bake 20 to 30 minutes, until cheese is melted. (Monitor to be sure crust doesn’t turn to a crisp or burn!)Remove from oven, allow to cool, and let your pup Eat The Pizza!
Yields 1 Puppizza