Can Dogs Eat Falafel?

Curious about the question, ‘Can dogs eat falafel?’ Picture this: your dog sneaks a bite, and you’re left wondering about potential risks. While chickpeas are usually safe, various falafel ingredients might be a cause for concern. Join us as we explore the dos and don’ts to keep your furry friend safe and well-fed.

What Is Falafel?

Falafel is a beloved Middle Eastern dish, consisting of deep-fried patties or balls. Typically enjoyed in a pita or with toppings like hot sauce and salads, it’s a human treat. However, caution is advised for dogs. The majority of falafel ingredients are unsafe for them. Feeding your dog falafel, unless heavily modified, is not recommended due to potential risks associated with its components.

Why Is Falafel Bad for Dogs?

Falafel, while centered around chickpeas, poses a significant threat to dogs due to the inclusion of toxic ingredients, notably garlic and onions. Both garlic and onions belong to the Allium family, which also includes chives, leeks, and shallots—all proven to be poisonous to both dogs and cats.

Whether cooked or raw, these Allium foods contain N-propyl disulfide, a compound that can harm red blood cells and lead to anemia. Dogs are at risk of gastroenteritis upon ingestion of onions and/or garlic. Symptoms of poisoning may include pale gums, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, drooling, loss of coordination, increased heart rate, and changes in urine color.

The presence of these harmful ingredients in falafel emphasizes the importance of keeping this Middle Eastern delicacy away from dogs. Additionally, spices like cayenne pepper, commonly found in falafel, while not toxic, can cause upset stomachs and irritation if in contact with the skin, eyes, or nose of a dog. Therefore, it’s crucial to exercise caution and refrain from sharing falafel with our canine companions.

What Are Some Common Ingredients in Falafel?

Falafel is a popular dish with a rich history, but when it comes to sharing it with your furry friend, caution is key. Let’s break down some common ingredients found in falafel and their impact on your canine companion.

1. Chickpeas:

Ground chickpeas are generally safe for dogs. However, before introducing them to your pup’s diet, be mindful of potential allergies. Fresh chickpeas are the safest, while hummus, dried, or canned chickpeas can pose risks due to added ingredients or high sodium levels.

Assuming your dog tolerates chickpeas well, they can offer essential vitamins and minerals, promoting heart health and providing a protein-fiber combo for muscle and digestive health. Remember, moderation is key.

2. Fava Beans:

Fava beans, an occasional falafel substitute, are a no-go for dogs. They contain phytohemagglutinin (PHA), a compound toxic to canines. Excessive consumption may lead to stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.

3. Onions and Garlic:

These flavorful additions to falafel are perilous for dogs. Consumption can result in digestive issues, drooling, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. More concerning is their potential to damage red blood cells, leading to anemia. Watch for signs like increased heart rate, weight loss, and pale gums, and seek veterinary attention if needed.

4. Salt and Pepper:

While salt is essential for your dog’s diet, excess can be harmful. Seasonings like salt and pepper found in falafel may cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, excessive thirst, and, in severe cases, discoordination or seizures. It’s best to keep salty snacks out of your dog’s regular menu.

In summary, while some falafel ingredients can be safely shared with your dog in moderation, others pose potential health risks. Always monitor your pet for any adverse reactions and consult your veterinarian if you have concerns about specific ingredients. Your dog’s well-being is as important as enjoying a tasty meal together.

Why Is Falafel Bad for Dogs?

Falafel can be harmful to dogs due to several ingredients, particularly garlic and onions. While chickpeas, the main component of falafel, are generally safe for dogs in moderation, the inclusion of garlic and onions makes the overall dish unsuitable for canine consumption. Both garlic and onions belong to the Allium family, which also includes chives, leeks, and shallots—all known to be toxic to dogs and cats. Even if these ingredients are cooked, they can still pose a threat to your dog’s health.

The problem arises from a compound called N-propyl disulfide found in Allium foods, which can harm red blood cells and lead to anemia in dogs. Consumption of onions and garlic may also put dogs at risk of gastroenteritis. Symptoms of poisoning include pale gums, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, drooling, loss of coordination, fast breathing, an increased heart rate, and changes in urine color. Given these risks, it’s essential to keep dogs away from falafel that contains garlic and onions.

Beyond Allium ingredients, falafel often includes spices like cayenne pepper. While cayenne pepper itself is not toxic to dogs, it may cause an upset stomach and a burning sensation if ingested. Additionally, contact with cayenne pepper on the skin, eyes, or nose can lead to irritation in these areas. Therefore, pet owners should exercise caution and avoid sharing falafel or similar dishes with their dogs to ensure their furry friends’ well-being.

What to Do If Your Dog Ate Falafel?

If your dog has consumed a small amount of falafel with only a minimal quantity of garlic and onion, it might not have a significant impact, potentially causing no more than a brief stomach upset. In such cases, the discomfort usually passes quickly, and your dog may not show severe symptoms.

Even though the effects might be minor, it’s advisable to inform your veterinarian about the situation. Your vet can provide guidance on whether a check-up is necessary. Keep a close eye on your dog, and if any signs of illness emerge, seek veterinary treatment promptly.

On the other hand, if your dog has ingested a substantial amount of falafel, there is a higher risk of experiencing adverse effects. Even if your dog appears fine initially, it’s crucial to contact your vet immediately. They can assess the situation and determine the appropriate course of action, as larger quantities of falafel, especially with garlic and onions, pose a greater danger to your dog’s health. Swift veterinary intervention is essential to address potential issues and ensure your dog’s well-being.


In conclusion, while falafel may be a delicious addition to family dinners, it’s important to acknowledge that certain ingredients in this savory dish can pose risks to your dog’s health, particularly in larger quantities. To ensure your furry friend’s well-being, it’s advisable to exclude falafel from their diet.

If your dog has a fondness for chickpeas, opt for a safer approach by offering them cooked, plain chickpeas in small amounts, devoid of added seasonings. It’s crucial to steer clear of canned chickpeas, as these are often highly processed. Instead, choose fresh chickpeas to provide a wholesome and dog-friendly treat. By being mindful of your dog’s dietary needs, you can still share enjoyable moments without compromising their health.

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Brenda Thompson

Brenda Thompson is an expert in dog behavior with over a decade of experience, and she is also passionate about working with cats and birds. In addition to contributing pet content to, she is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. Brenda received her Bachelor of Science in Biological and Biomedical Sciences & Philosophy from Colorado College in 2014. She has taken classes in writing and remote animal behavior consulting, as well as courses on how to manage aggressive dogs and litter box issues. In 2016, she obtained her dog behavior consulting certification and joined the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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