Can Dogs Have Teriyaki Sauce?

Photo by Kathy Maister on Flickr

Teriyaki sauce is added to a variety of foods. You can get food with teriyaki sauce on it at your favorite sandwich shop, Japanese restaurant, or even beef jerky.

It’s not unheard of for home chefs to pull out a bottle of teriyaki sauce to give their favorite dishes the sweet kick that can quickly transform the most boring meal into something truly delicious.

You’re not the only one who thinks that teriyaki sauce tastes and smells delicious. How can a dog refuse a bit or two of your favorite teriyaki seasoned foods when you’re not looking?

The problem is, it’s hard to know if your teriyaki sauce-infused food is good or bad for your dog.

As with anything concerning your furry best friend, it’s always good to be cautious since oftentimes, people food can pose serious health threats to your dog.

What is teriyaki sauce, and what are its origins?

Teriyaki sauce is a Japanese-style sauce that is sweeter than the typical soy and Worcestershire sauces Americans use. The sweet teriyaki sauce is served with beef, chicken, vegetables, and other foods.

The word teriyaki is an Anglicized version of the Japanese word “teri” which means shine, and “yaki” which means broiled or grilled.

What are the ingredients in teriyaki sauce?

The original version of teriyaki sauce is made from sugar, soy sauce, sake and mirin. Today’s versions of teriyaki sauce contain a wide variety of ingredients. As with all processed foods, you need to pay close attention to the product label to know what’s in it.

The major food companies are geniuses at slipping something into a food that would otherwise not normally be in there. Here are two common teriyaki sauces that you can find on almost any supermarket shelf. You’ll notice that the ingredients are quite similar.

Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce

Ingredients

Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Sugar, Water, Vegetable Oil (Soybean and/or Canola), Onion*, Salt, Sesame Seeds, Garlic*, Ginger Puree (Ginger, Water), Ginger*.*Dried

Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce

Soy Sauce (Water, Soybeans, Wheat, Salt), Wine, Sugar, Water, Salt, Vinegar, Sodium Benzoate: Less Than 1/10 of 1% as A Preservative, Onion Powder, Natural Flavors, Succinic Acid, Garlic Powder

Are any of the ingredients toxic to dogs?

There are quite a few ingredients in teriyaki sauce that aren’t good for dogs. You can go down the list and see that teriyaki sauce isn’t exactly healthy food for humans, and it’s the same for dogs as well. 

Let’s take a look at a few of the ingredients that pose the worst health risks to your dog.

Sugar

In itself, sugar isn’t bad for dogs. Just like it isn’t bad for you. However, if your dog eats too much sugar, it can have the same health problems as you do. The problem is, it takes far less sugar to damage a dog’s health than it does a person.

Remember, dogs are smaller, and they can’t process some things as we do. A little sugar won’t harm your dog, but keep in mind that most teriyaki sauces are loaded with sugar.

Can you stop at eating just one bite of chicken with teriyaki sauce on it? No, you can’t, and neither can your dog if they get ahold of the stuff.

Onion and garlic

The real thing to worry about when it comes to teriyaki sauce is the onion and garlic powders. Onions and garlic belong to the allium family, and both can be toxic to dogs.

Onion and garlic are neurotoxins for dogs and can cause signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing.

In reality, onions and garlic are toxic to most animals. Dogs aren’t the only pets that can be poisoned by onions or garlic. Cats are just as sensitive to them as dogs are. 

Sodium

As with almost every processed food out there, you have to be worried about sodium. If you’re the type who reads the labels often on products, you know that they’re loaded with sodium.

Teriyaki sauce is no different, and it too is filled to the brim with salt. It’s surprising how much sodium teriyaki sauce has in it, considering how sweet it is. You probably don’t think of it as being salty, but it is.

The shocking sodium truth about teriyaki sauce

The two teriyaki sauce brands listed above have just over 25% of your daily sodium in them per serving. How many people eat more than one serving of sauce?

Worse yet, how much of the sauce did your dog eat?

It’s feasible that your dog ate twice the amount a human should. If that’s the case, you know that your dog is in the danger zone when it comes to its sodium intake.

After all, dogs need far less salt than humans do every day.

If a food is unhealthy because of sodium levels for humans, it’s worse for dogs

Any high sodium food, including teriyaki sauce, is bad for humans. As a general rule, if a high sodium food is bad for you, it’s even worse for your dog.

Truthfully, teriyaki sauce is one of the worst foods out there for dogs. It’s not just high in sodium; it contains several other harmful and toxic ingredients to dogs.

Sugar-free Teriyaki sauce with xylitol can kill your dog

You might immediately think that the sugar-free teriyaki sauces are safer for your dog. Nothing could be further from the truth. The sauces contain xylitol along with all the other terrible stuff. Just because there’s no sugar in the sauce doesn’t mean that it’s healthier for you or your dog. In this case, the sugar-free version of teriyaki sauce is even worse for your dog than the full-blown sugar-laden version.

What is xylitol?

Xylitol is a common artificial sweetener that has been linked to killing dogs. It’s a toxin and can cause damage throughout the digestive system; it also causes liver damage. Xylitol is basically sugar alcohol. Many people use it because they think it’s better than sugar. I’m not one of them. It’s still a sweetener and should be used in moderation.

If your dog eats xylitol, the most common symptom is extreme lethargy right away. Later on, he may have a drop in blood sugar. This can lead to seizures and even coma. If your dog eats this sauce or any other food with xylitol in it, you need to get him into the vet right away. Don’t wait because it can be deadly very quickly.

Can dogs eat teriyaki chicken without sauce?

The short answer to that question is yes. The sauce is the major concern, but still, you want to avoid your dog eating this dish. It’s a bad idea to get your dog accustomed to eating the same food as you. Eventually, they will sneak up on your plate and get some of the teriyaki chicken with the sauce. All it takes is for you to move your head for five seconds, and your dog is chowing down on your favorite Japanese dish. It’s not worth it in the end. 

Don’t even take the risk of allowing your dog to get near teriyaki chicken

Bad habits begin when you allow stuff to creep in that shouldn’t. It’s never a good idea to allow your dog to begin to develop a bad habit. You’re only asking for trouble as time goes on. It’s best to avoid any future problems by not allowing your dog to get anywhere near teriyaki chicken.

Is Kikkoman teriyaki sauce safe for dogs to eat?

Kikkoman is one of the leading brands of teriyaki sauce. It’s not safe for your dog to eat for all the reasons listed above. The sugar is too much for your dog, and the onion and garlic powders are strictly off-limits.

It doesn’t seem to have xylitol in it, but it has onion and garlic, and it is very salty

Kikkoman teriyaki sauce is not sugar-free, and that means it doesn’t have xylitol. However, it still has loads of sugar and salt. Let’s not forget the onion and garlic powder that can wreak all kinds of havoc on your dog’s body. Kikkoman teriyaki sauce is delicious, and that’s why it’s one of the most popular sauces to buy; however, it’s still as dangerous as all of the other sauces.

Is BBQ sauce a dog-friendly sauce?

You’ll find that BBQ sauce shares several similarities with teriyaki sauce. Here are two of the most famous American bottled BBQ sauces.

Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients

High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Tomato Paste, Modified Food Starch, Contains Less Than 2% of Salt, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Natural Smoke Flavor, Spices, Caramel Color, Sodium Benzoate as A Preservative, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Garlic*, Sugar, Tamarind, Natural Flavor. *Dried

Kraft Hickory Smoke Slow-Simmered Barbecue Sauce and Dip

Ingredients

Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Molasses, Vinegar, Salt, Contains Less Than 2% of Modified Food Starch, Natural Hickory Smoked Flavor, Mustard Flour, Dried Onion, Spices, Dried Garlic, Potassium Sorbate (To Preserve Freshness)

As you can see, they have garlic, onion, salt, and sugar. So, with that in mind, you can safely say that BBQ sauce is just as bad for your dog as teriyaki sauce. You also have to be leery of any processed food that lists spices and natural ingredients without telling you what they are.

It’s impossible to know if the spices they use are harmful to your dog without knowing what they are.

Should dogs be given teriyaki sauce?

Teriyaki sauce is not something that your dog should put in its mouth. Should you be putting it into your mouth? That’s a discussion for a whole different time.

Highly processed foods such as teriyaki sauce are fine in moderation; the problem is, most people don’t eat them in moderation. As far as your dog is concerned, teriyaki sauce isn’t good for them. If your dog accidentally eats some, pay close attention to how they’re acting.

If you notice your dog seems lethargic or sick, quickly get them to the vet because time is of the essence.