Can Dogs Eat Tamales?

Even at Mexican restaurants, the stodgy, mouthwatering, and comfortable taco, made of masa dough stuffed with fillings, was once regarded as a special occasion dish. The region that formerly belonged to well-known Mexican meals like chicken enchiladas is now progressively being taken over by it as an everyday delight. Specialty eateries carry a variety of Tamales, and enthusiasts have their go-to ingredients. Simply put, tamale is gradually becoming more popular! But may we give it to our dog friends?

We’ll soon find out, but first, let’s grasp the fundamentals.

What are Tamales?

Traditional Mexican treats called tamales are fashioned with a corn dough filling called masa and stuffed with a variety of meats. Lard is added to the corn mixture, which is then mixed until it is fluffy. It is then placed on a tender corn husk and packed with chicken, beef, steak, or pig in salsa, cheese, poblanos, or pine nuts. The husk and masa shell are the only ingredients that remain constant in tamales’ many different recipes, which date back to 7000 B.C. during the Mayan and Aztec civilizations.

Can Dogs Eat Tamale?

Yes, Dogs can safely eat tamales. Therefore, giving your dog a small amount of this delicious Mexican treat won’t harm him. The sodium, fat, salsa, and spices that are used in some corn masa recipes, however, have the potential to upset your dog’s stomach and lead to other health issues. Your dog companion may choke on the corn husk that was used to wrap the tamale.

You have a duty as a dog parent to ensure that your puppy is in good health. This is why you need to be aware of how the meal may effect your dog’s body and mental processes when you watch him eat a tamale or any other novel food.

Advantages for your dog’s health that come from eating some tamales:

Fiber and protein

Since most Tamales are made of high-protein meats like chicken, beef, steak, and pork, your dog will probably consume a lot of the recommended daily allowance of protein when he eats a Tamale. One tamale is said to contain about 12 g of protein, which is perfect for helping your dog’s body transfer nutrients and support cell repair. Since tamales are high in fiber (one tamale is thought to contain up to 6g of fiber), they can aid with your dog’s digestion. If you’re wondering how fiber can help your dog’s digestion, you need to know that fiber increases the volume and water in your dog’s intestines, slowing or accelerating the rate at which food moves through his digestive system.

Minerals and Vitamins

The wide variety of vitamins and minerals found in tamales, such as calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, B, and K, can all help to strengthen your dog’s immune system, promote the growth and development of healthy bones and teeth, and hasten the healing of wounds.

Potential Health Concerns

While it’s fine for dogs to consume some tamales, there are several aspects of this flavorful Mexican meal that aren’t great for your dog’s health.


Tamales are cooked with substantial amounts of salt given that masa and meat fillings are frequently both salted. However, consuming too much salt can result in a number of health problems for your dog, including raised blood pressure and an increased risk of cardiovascular illnesses. Dogs who consume too much salt may get sodium poisoning, especially if they are unable to quickly access clean water to rehydrate themselves.


Tamales are only safe for your dog if the fillings are free of ingredients like salsa, onion, and garlic. Dogs’ gastrointestinal tracts may become irritated by human spices like garlic, onions, etc., leading to diarrhea and vomiting. Spices can harm your dog’s red blood cells and result in anemia because they include sulfur compounds like sulfoxides and disulfides.

Unhealthy Fats

Lard, which is essentially rendered pig and other saturated fat sources, is frequently used to produce the masa in traditional Tamales. These fats increase your dog’s levels of “bad” cholesterol, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, and cause inflammation in dogs.


Tamale is thought to contain about 285 calories. However, to maintain a healthy weight, the majority of dogs require roughly 25–30 calories per pound. So giving your dog a lot of Tamales to eat could lead to calorie overload.

Corn dough infected with GMOs

Tamales are typically made with corn dough, which raises further health concerns regarding feeding them to dogs. And 88% of the corn grown in the US and Mexico has undergone genetic modification. Giving your dog Tamales might therefore be analogous to giving him GMO food. There is concern that GMO-contaminated foods may contribute to a variety of health problems in dogs, including poor blood glucose management, cancer, infertility, allergies, and neurological diseases, even though these assertions are not backed by scientific evidence.

Risk of Choking after Consuming Husk

If your dog ingests a small piece of husk, it will be properly digested and your dog won’t experience any problems. But if he consumed a sizable chunk, the dog might have symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. To begin with, even though maize husk is not inherently poisonous to dogs, if your dog ingests a sizable piece, it could result in an obstruction. If it does, a dog’s digestive system can find it challenging to chew on. Symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite are brought on by this. The best news is that these symptoms might go away without surgery or other medical intervention. However, seek quick assistance from your veterinarian if the symptoms worsen.

How to Make Dog Tamales Healthier

You can prepare your own tamales rather of purchasing the generally unhealthy commercial variety if you want to share some with your canine companion without subjecting him to some of the concerns highlighted above. Here are some practical suggestions to help you and your dog enjoy Tamales in a healthier way:

  • Substitute leaner fillings such shredded white chicken, shrimp, turkey, beans, and vegetables for the meat and pork fillings. The nutrient and fiber content of your Tamales will also increase with the addition of beans and veggie fillings, which is good for your dog.
  • Modest amounts of soft, low-fat cheese can be used in place of the corn dough’s substantial amounts of lard or vegetable shortening. Make sure your dog isn’t lactose intolerant before deciding to use the cheese.
  • Keep seasonings to a minimum and use less salt.

Despite the fact that these adjustments may dramatically affect the flavor of your Tamales, your dog will benefit from them.

Frequently Asked Questions about dogs & tamales

Q: Are corn tamales good for dogs?

A: While plain, unseasoned corn can be a safe and healthy addition to a dog’s diet in moderation, corn tamales are typically prepared with additional ingredients like spices, oils, and often contain fillings that may not be suitable for dogs. It is best to avoid feeding corn tamales to dogs due to potential seasoning and ingredient issues.

Q: What happens if my dog eats a hot tamale?

A: If a dog consumes a hot tamale, it can lead to various issues depending on the specific ingredients and spices used. Spicy foods can cause digestive upset, including diarrhea, vomiting, or discomfort. Additionally, some ingredients commonly used in tamales, such as onions or garlic, can be toxic to dogs. It is important to monitor your dog and consult with a veterinarian if any concerning symptoms arise.

Q: Is tamale safe to eat?

A: Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish made of masa dough filled with various ingredients. While tamales are generally safe for human consumption, they may contain spices, seasonings, or ingredients that can be harmful to dogs. It is not recommended to feed tamales to dogs due to potential seasoning, spice, or filling issues. It is best to provide dogs with a balanced diet of dog-specific food and treats.