Eating meat is very natural for dogs, so it’s no surprise when they’re looking toward their owner wanting to share what’s on the plate. Because of a dog’s carnivorous nature, owners don’t usually second-guess whether giving their dog some meat is a good idea, they just do it. With commercially prepared foods containing ingredients like chicken and beef, why wouldn’t we think all meats, in moderation, are fair game?
Is it Safe for Dogs to Eat Pork?
While this is an area some owners might debate, the answer is a little more involved than just a straight yes or no. It is safe to eat pork, but there are certain conditions that must be adhered to if you plan to feed your dog the “other white meat.” Plain pork is safe for dogs to eat, as long as you keep it simple and leave off the bells and whistles people tend to cook with. Add-ons, such as seasonings and spice rubs that contain the following, are extremely dangerous, due to the fact they are highly toxic if ingested:
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
If you like to use condiments such as BBQ sauce, you should be aware that it is not recommended for dogs and should be avoided. Many sauces are high in salt and sugar and contain added flavoring, such as garlic and onion. If your dog happens to eat a piece of pork covered in BBQ sauce, keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms that may arise and if they do develop a reaction contact your vet immediately.
Can I Feed My Dog Raw Pork?
Eating raw or undercooked pork is not safe for dogs or humans, due to the parasite trichinella spiralis larvae, which can cause the parasite infection known as trichinosis. An infection transmitted by pork meat, it can occur when a dog eats the muscles of animals that are infected with the trichinella parasites. This more commonly affects humans than dogs. The infection of Trichinella spiralis will only produce subtle symptoms in dogs:
Not all these symptoms are present in dogs; typically, pets with a weaker immune system will have more severe symptoms.
How Much Pork Can a Dog Eat?
Like any other food you try out for the first time, feed your dog a small amount to see if there’s any reaction. Certain meats are more likely to cause allergic reactions, including pork, rabbit, and lamb.
Pork is also rich with a type of fat that is difficult for dogs to digest, which can lead to indigestion and inflammation of the pancreas.
Can I Give My Dog Pork Bones?
Although it may be tempting to toss your dog that leftover bone after dinner, think twice before you do. Even though dogs love to chew on them, it’s not 100 percent safe. Once cooked, the bone dries out, causing it to become fragile and brittle. When gnawed on, it can splinter off into sharp pieces, causing damage to the esophagus and internal organs, and this can also cause choking. And while uncooked bones have a lower chance of splintering, it’s still possible. If your dog enjoys a good bone, consider a high-quality, edible dental bone as an alternative.
Is Preserved Pork, Such as Ham and Bacon, Safe for My Dog to Eat?
The answer to both of these meats is no! In 2015, the World Health Organization found that processed meats such as bacon and sausage were known carcinogens linked to cancer. Bacon is an incredibly rich and fatty food with a high salt content, which can prove to be too much for a dog’s stomach to handle. Eating a large amount can cause pancreatitis, which can be fatal.
Ham also has a dangerously high salt content, which may cause increased thirst which could lead to a deadly condition called “bloat.” Bloat occurs when a dog’s stomach fills up with gas, food, or fluid, making it expand. Due to the high salt content in ham, dogs will become dehydrated and drink an excessive amount of water. Pressure is put on other organs, which potentially can be life threatening. Even though pork, ham, and bacon come from the meat of the same animal, there clearly are differences to be aware of.
What Is an Alternative Meat to Feed My Dog?
Chicken is an extra source of protein to add to your dog’s diet. It is easy to digest and filled with essential vitamins, minerals, fats, and amino acids. Veterinarians recommend feeding your dog plain, unseasoned, boiled chicken when they’re experiencing gastrointestinal issues.