Most people think they know that dogs can eat pork. Pork is a common protein found in dog foods, so it’s naturally assumed that pork is always safe for dogs to eat. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The pork in your dog’s kibble and the pork humans eat are not equal. This is because human food comes with different forms and seasonings, which can make pork less healthy for dogs. Therefore, if you think feeding your dog pork on a regular basis is safe, you might want to think again.
Can Dogs Eat Pork?
Yes, pork is safe for dogs to eat. However, there are a lot of instances where it becomes dangerous for dogs. Plain pork is fine for dogs to eat, but humans rarely eat pork without spices and seasoning. Therefore, in order to serve your dog healthy pork, you’ll likely have to cook them their own plain pork. Feeding your dog pork off your plate is definitely not recommended.
It’s important to note that seasonings like onion powder, nutmeg, and garlic powder are extremely toxic for dogs. Common condiments like BBQ sauce also have added flavoring, like onions and garlic. Onions and garlic are just as toxic for dogs as chocolate is, so make sure you never let your dog get a hold of your seasoned pork. If they steal it off your plate while your back is turned, you should take them to the vet immediately just to be safe.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Pork?
Raw diets are becoming more popular for dogs. Oftentimes, raw diets are healthier than traditional kibble diets. However, raw food often comes with risks, especially raw pork. Trichinosis is an infection transferred through raw or undercooked pork meat. Raw pork can have the parasite trichinella spiralis larvae on it, which will infect your dog if they eat the meat. This infection more commonly affects dogs than humans, so you should avoid serving your dog raw pork if possible. Fresh diets can often be a safer way to give your dog a healthier diet.
If your dog gets this infection, you might notice vomiting, diarrhea, elevated fevers, lethargy, or muscle inflammation. If your dog has a weaker immune system, these symptoms will be more severe. This health concern can be avoided altogether if you don’t allow your dog to eat raw pork.
Pork bones should also be avoided if possible. Dogs love to chew on raw bones, but pork bones can be fragile and brittle once they dry out. They could break while your dog is gnawing on them, causing a choking hazard. The pieces will often splinter into sharp pieces too, which could damage your dog’s esophagus and internal organs.
Benefits of Serving Pork
Like all meats, pork is a great source of protein for dogs. It also contains amino acids, which are essential for dog nutrition. On top of that, it has thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, which is an essential mineral for cell function. For these reasons, pork is a good protein to use in dog food. However, it’s too risky to serve regular pork to your dog unless you’re certain it’s fully cooked and free of seasoning.
When it comes to dog food, pork is often a preferred choice over chicken. Chicken is one of the most common dog allergies despite being so popular. So, pork can be a great alternative for dogs that are allergic to chicken. For some dogs, pork can be good for their digestion, but that’s not the case for all dogs. The main reason pork isn’t used more often for dog food is because the majority of pork goes to human consumption, so there isn’t an abundant amount left for dogs.
Risks of Serving Pork
Raw pork and pork covered in seasoning are clearly hazardous for dogs, but those aren’t the only risks of serving pork to dogs. First of all, pork is rich in a type of fat that’s difficult for dogs to digest. This could lead to indigestion or inflammation of the pancreas. Additionally, some dogs are allergic to specific proteins, and pork is a common allergen. If your dog has never tasted pork before, you need to make sure you feed it to them in small portions first to make sure they don’t have any allergic reactions.
Preserved pork, such as bacon or ham, is also dangerous for dogs. Processed meats have been known to potentially cause cancer for dogs. On top of that, bacon is an extremely fatty food with a high salt content, making it too much for your dog to handle. Dogs often adore the juicy flavor of bacon, but eating too much bacon could cause pancreatitis, which could be deadly for your pup.
Ham is also dangerous because it has a high salt content too. This could cause your dog to be extra thirsty after consuming ham, which could lead to a condition called bloat. Bloat is when your dog’s stomach expands by filling up with gas, food, or fluid. In extreme cases, this condition could be fatal. So, even though bacon and ham come from the same animal as pork, it’s important to note that they’re not safe like plain cooked pork is.
Alternatives to Pork
Even though pork is best avoided, there are plenty of other meat sources to choose from. The most popular meat source to serve your dog is chicken. Chicken is often easy to digest, and it contains natural vitamins, minerals, fats, and amino acids. As long as the chicken is served plain and unseasoned, it should be safe for your dog to digest. However, it’s important to note that some dogs could be allergic to chicken, so only serve it in small amounts at first. Beef is another popular protein that many dogs enjoy, which should also be plain like all other meats.
It can be difficult to say no to a begging dog, but sometimes, it’s essential. Dogs can eat pork, but it’s not always the safest, healthiest choice for them. If you’re ever unsure about the human foods your dog can eat, always research it before serving it to your dog. This can help protect your dog from any sudden health concerns.