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Eating meat is very natural for dogs, and commercially prepared foods contain ingredients like chicken and beef. So it’s no wonder that owners are curious about whether pork is safe for pups to consume.

Is it Safe for Dogs to Eat Pork?

Plain, cooked 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. Seasonings and spice rubs that contain the following ingredients are extremely dangerous because they are highly toxic to dogs if ingested:

Avoid feeding your dog food cooked in condiments such as barbecue sauce. 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 barbecue sauce, keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms that may arise; if they do develop a reaction, contact your vet immediately.

Dalmatian eyeing a piece of meat on a skewer.
Alphotographic/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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 a parasite infection known as trichinosis. An infection transmitted by pork meat, it can occur when a dog eats the muscles of animals infected with the trichinella parasites. This more commonly affects humans than dogs. The infection will only produce subtle symptoms in dogs, including:

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, including pork, rabbit, and lamb, may cause allergic reactions.

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. That can also cause choking. And while uncooked bones have a lower chance of splintering, they still might do so. If your dog enjoys a good bone, consider a high-quality, edible dental bone as an alternative.

Weimaraner bone
Brian goodman/Getty Images Plus

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 may cause increased thirst and 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. Ham’s high salt content can cause dogs to become dehydrated and drink an excessive amount of water. This puts pressure on other organs, which potentially can be life threatening.

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.

Related article: The 8 Biggest Dog Food Myths
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