Can dogs eat pork?
With the popularity and variety that pork provides us, it’s no wonder pork has long been considered the other white meat. And since we love it so much, it makes sense we would want to share this delightful food with our canine counterparts! But can dogs eat pork safely?
The answer isn’t so black and white. After all, there are bacon-flavored dog treats crowding the shelves of most pet food supply stores, and what dog doesn’t drool over the breakfast sausage sizzling in the skillet?
Love pork or hate pork, you know it’s one of the world’s most consumed meats. Unfortunately, you also probably know that pork is certainly not the healthiest food option out there for people or for pets.
With that in mind, it’s a good thing you’re here asking “can dogs eat pork?”. Today, we are answering that question and taking a closer look at the pros and cons of pork for your pooch.
Can Dogs Eat Pork? Benefits And Downfalls of Pork For Fido
Pork is considered the most commonly consumed meat throughout the world.
As we mentioned briefly above, pork is one of the most commonly consumed meats throughout not only the United States but also throughout the world. In fact, there has been evidence of pork farming dating as far back as 5,000 BC.
But can dogs eat pork, and what is pork, really?
Pork is the meat that comes from domesticated pigs, and it’s one of the most common meats used in breakfast dishes like bacon and sausage, as well as in dinner and snack foods, salad toppers, sandwiches, holidays meals, and more.
Unfortunately, pork gets a bad rep, but that’s not necessarily due to the meat itself. In fact, experts found that minimally processed, low-fat pork that is cooked with little to no seasoning and that is sourced from high-quality sources can actually have a number of health benefits for both you and your four-legged friend.
So, can dogs eat pork? Maybe they should from time to time!
Pork is rich in a number of vitamins and minerals like zinc and iron, and it’s also a good source of quality protein. Nutritionally, 100 grams of cooked pork can contain around 25.7 grams of protein, 297 calories, 20.8 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of fiber.
While these are good numbers, the dangers of pork typically come in the traditional ways we humans like to prepare it, which is wise to keep in mind when asking can dogs eat pork.
Bacon and sausage, for example, can be very high in grease and sodium, and ham is often fatty, salty, and seasoned.
Cooked pork chops are generally fried or cooked in grease or with savory seasonings, all of which are not healthy for our dogs or for ourselves if we’re being honest.
Still, we do love our pork and so do our dogs. And if you’re here looking into can dogs eat pork, the good news is that there are a few ways you can go about preparing the “other white meat” to make it not only safe but also healthy for Fido.
With that being said, keep in mind that pork – even in its healthiest form – can still make your dog sick if not given in moderation. Keep reading to learn more.
Can Dogs Eat Pork Or Will Pork Make My Dog Sick?
There are certain forms of pork that can make your dog sick.
While the answer to can dogs eat pork may be a yes, that doesn’t mean that all pork is safe for dogs. Unfortunately, some forms of pork can make dogs sick, so it’s important to do your research and have a good idea of which kinds of pork dogs can eat and which kinds of pork dogs should stay away from.
We should note here when looking into can dogs eat pork that ham, sausage, and bacon are not the safest varieties of pork for dogs. In fact, according to a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015, processed meats like ham, sausage, and bacon have been linked to cancer and other chronic illnesses that can affect your dog.
Furthermore, when asking can dogs eat pork, we should note that bacon is known to be greasy, fatty, and high in salt, all of which can lead to serious gastrointestinal issues for your dog like pancreatitis and bloat.
Consuming salty, fatty, or processed foods like ham, bacon, or sausage can also lead to a number of other health issues in your pup like:
- Upset Stomach
- Joint Stiffness
- And Muscle Inflammation
What You Should Know About Pancreatitis When Considering Can Dogs Eat Pork
The pancreas is an organ that releases enzymes that aid our bodies when it comes to digestion. When functioning normally, your pancreas releases a safe amount of enzymes that will not harm the body.
A pancreatic dog is suffering from an inflamed pancreas that is producing too many enzymes, sometimes leading to these enzymes digesting the pancreas itself. Not only is this dangerous, but it’s incredibly painful.
Pancreatitis is a serious and sometimes deadly condition that can be caused by a few different factors. One of the most common triggers of pancreatitis in dogs is eating something your dog shouldn’t have eaten. Very greasy or fatty foods like ham, bacon, or sausage can lead to pancreatitis in dogs, which can have severe consequences.
Due to the fact that pancreatitis can be a life-threatening ailment, it’s incredibly important that you forgo do-it-yourself homecare methods and instead seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible.
Some of the most common signs of pancreatitis in a dog include:
- Severe Pain
- Repeated Vomiting
- Hardened Belly
- Obvious Pain
- Hardened Belly
- Hunched Back
- Decreased Appetite
- And Diarrhea
What You Should Know About Bloat When Considering Can Dogs Eat Pork
Another serious and sometimes deadly condition you should be aware of when looking into can dogs eat pork is Bloat. Also known as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus or GDV, Bloat is a serious medical condition that can come on suddenly in dogs.
It is most common in large breed dogs with deep chests, though any dog can suffer from Bloat under the right circumstances.
One of the triggers of Bloat can be due to eating fatty or greasy foods like pork. Bloat occurs when the stomach or intestines fill with air, causing the organs to flip. This flipping cuts the blood supply to the lower region of your dog’s body which, in turn, can send your dog into shock.
Bloat can come on suddenly and be fatal, so it’s important to know the signs of this ailment and to seek emergency medical attention immediately if you suspect your dog is suffering from it.
Some of the most common signs of Bloat in a dog include:
- Painful Abdomen
- Vomiting Without Success
- Rapid Breathing
- Excessive Drooling
- And Collapse
Which Type Of Pork Is Okay For Dogs To Eat?
As with all human foods, pork should be given to dogs in moderation.
It is true that our canine counterparts are carnivores by nature. This means that a wide variety of their diet is made up of meat, and a huge part of their nutritional needs are met by real animal protein like chicken, duck, salmon, beef, and (sometimes) pork.
While there are some pros to feeding your dog minimally processed pork, feeding your dog forms of pork that are either crooked a certain way or that are highly processed, salted and fatty, is not only unhealthy for your dog but dangerous to boot.
So, can dogs eat pork? The answer is a tentative yes, but only under specific and carefully followed guidelines.
Dogs Should Only Eat Cooked Pork
First and foremost, if you are going to feed your dog pork, you must make sure it is cooked. Raw or even undercooked pork is not only highly dangerous to people, but it can be dangerous and sometimes even deadly to our dogs.
This is because uncooked pork can contain parasites like trichinella spiralis larvae, which is responsible for an infection known as trichinosis. Trichinosis can lead to serious gastrointestinal issues in your dogs like diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, and more.
Now, this can be a confusing concept for some owners when looking into “can dogs eat pork”, especially when you realize that pork is often the main ingredient in some raw dog food diets.
So, if raw pork is in your dog’s pre-made dog food, how can raw pork be unsafe for dogs?
The secret lies in the process of preparation when it comes to this type of dog food. Generally, companies providing raw dog foods still have a process they go through which helps to ensure the meat is safe for consumption.
Dogs Should Only Eat Plain Pork
Can dogs eat pork when it’s plain? When it is plain and unseasoned, the answer is yes. Pork that is cooked with all the fancy seasonings and spices that make it tasty to us can actually make it harmful to your dog. Remember, dogs have a unique digestive system to humans, and their bodies are not built to digest all the spices and seasonings our bodies can digest.
Dogs Should Eat Minimally Processed Pork
Most of us are already aware that processed foods, and especially processed meats, are not all that great for our bodies.
Processed meats are meats that have been preserved using the process of curing, smoking, canning, salting, or drying. Some of the most common forms of processed meat include pork products like hotdogs, bacon, and sausage.
When asking yourself can dogs eat pork, remember that foods that are high in sodium or seasonings are not healthy for your dog. When you think of it this way, you realize that processed meats like processed pork would obviously also be bad for your four-legged friend.
Not only are processed meats found to be high in preservatives like sodium, but they have also been linked to chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
For dogs, these health issues can show themselves much quicker than they might show themselves in humans, especially when you consider your dog’s body size in comparison to your own.
Dogs Should Eat Only Low-Fat Pork
Although the answer to can dogs eat pork is a tentative yes, it’s important to keep in mind that dogs should not eat pork that is high in fat. Unfortunately, pork is naturally high in fat and, as such, it will be important for you to commit to trimming this fat.
Remember, fatty, greasy foods like bacon or pork are not only unhealthy for your dog to consume, but these kinds of foods can lead to some severe health issues as we mentioned above.
Can Dogs Eat Pork Bones?
We often think of dogs chewing on bones, but in actuality, pork bones can be quite dangerous for dogs.
Animal bones in general have been found to be unsafe for dogs unless they are otherwise specifically designed for dogs to chew, and pork bones are no exception.
In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, both raw and cooked pork bones can be dangerous for dogs. This is because bones tend to become softer once repeatedly chewed and gnawed by a dog’s strong teeth.
This can lead to the bones splintering and breaking off in sharp chunks. If your dog swallows these bits of bone, it can cause serious problems internally.
Some common problems associated with a dog swallowing bits of bone include choking, gastrointestinal problems, stomach pain, intestinal blockages, and even damage to your dog’s stomach, intestines, or esophagus due to the bone’s sharp edges.
If your dog has chewed or swallowed a pork bone, it’s a good idea to contact your local veterinarian for advice. And if you are looking for bones that are safe for dogs to consume, it’s best to forgo animal bones in general and stick to healthy chews like KONGS, Greenies, or even Bully Sticks.
The KONG is a natural, durable, rubber dog chew and toy that is made of quality, dog-safe material designed for playing and chewing. KONGS come in different sizes and firmness levels based on your particular dog, and you can fill them with treats, dog-safe peanut butter, or KONG filler to help keep your dog engaged and happy.
KONGS are great for dogs that like to chew, especially if these dogs are chewing out of boredom. KONGS can help reduce boredom and destructive behaviors, and many experts believe that KONGS are better for your dog’s teeth than hard products like rawhide bones and pig hooves.
Amazing Dog Treats Bully Sticks Bites
It’s a no when it comes to can dogs eat pork bones, but a great alternative would be Bully Sticks. Bully Sticks are made of 100% digestible beef bully bones, and they are designed for dogs to chew and even consume.
We also like that these bully stick products are high in protein and low in fat, meaning they provide your dog with more of what he needs and less of what he doesn’t. Most importantly, these sticks are made with quality ingredients and are free of any chemicals, dyes, additives, or other ingredients that could be harmful to your dog.
Processed pork like bacon, ham, and sausage are actually quite bad for dogs.
When looking into can dogs eat pork, the truth is that there are some ways you can go about providing your dog pork safely.
Remember, pork can be a healthy and delightful treat for your dog from time to time when it is prepared properly or given to your dog in moderation.
If you wish to implement pork into your dog’s daily diet, it will be important to do further research on how to prepare pork for your dog to consume on a regular basis. Remember, pork is a fatty meat that can lead to some serious health issues in your pooch, so it’s best to make sure you are sharing only the highest quality pork for your dog when investigating can dogs eat pork.
Can Dogs Eat Pork? How To Cook Pork As A Meal Topper Or Homemade Meal
Yes, there are some dog foods that contain pork as the main source of protein, and this is generally safe and even beneficial when that pork is specifically prepared for canine consumption.
Many people are excited about making homemade meals for their dogs, and while we share in this enthusiasm, we want to remind you that it’s important to ensure you are not only cooking your dog’s dog food properly, but that you are ensuring your dog is getting all the nutrients, vitamins, and mineral he needs in order to thrive.
When it comes to cooking pork for your dog, (now that you know it’s a yes to can dogs eat pork), it is best to remove any excess fat from the pork pieces and to bake or boil pork plain. Remember, leave out all the spices, especially spices like onions, garlic, and seasoning salts, as these types of spices can further contribute to stomach upset in your pup.
It’s also important to choose high-quality pork and avoid pork that has been processed, pre-cooked, or has been salted or seasoned before you purchased it.
Can Dogs Eat Pork? How To Make Pork Treats
While we do recommend you steer clear of pork skins that have been cooked in grease, fats, or seasonings, it is possible to make your dog a homemade pork grinds treat that is gentle on his stomach and tasty to his taste buds.
One of the easiest ways to make a pork grinds treat for your pup is to follow the below recipe:
- One baking sheet
- Nonstick pan spray or olive oil
- Ham skin
- Preheat your oven to 325 Degrees Fahrenheit
- Coat the baking sheet with pan spray or olive oil
- Lay the pork skin falt on the cookie sheet
- Bake the skin in the oven for three hours
- Remove the skins from the oven and allow them to cool, then store the skins in an airtight container.
While the above recipe is safe for dogs, remember that ham skin can still be considered fatty and greasy. Give your dog these treats in moderation, and give him only small amounts, to begin with to ensure he doesn’t get an upset stomach.
Can Dogs Eat Pork? Sharing Pork In Very Small Amounts
Just as you would with the above treats, when asking “can dogs eat pork” it is possible that you’ve already shared hotdogs, bacon, sausage, and even ham with your furry family member.
The truth is, small amounts of pork can be safe for dogs in many instances, although larger amounts can lead to very serious health issues.
Avoid feeding your dog pork if you know he has sensitivities, and only feed your dog small amounts of pork from the table or breakfast pan on occasion if you must.
What Alternatives Can I Feed My Dog Other Than Pork?
Chicken cooked, baked, or boiled without seasonings can be a healthy and tasty treat for your dog.
If you’re looking for a source of protein you can share with your pooch that is canine-friendly, we suggest reaching for chicken. Boiling chicken without the added seasonings or salts can help ensure your dog is getting all the beneficial nutrients from meat without the added dangers that pork can offer.
You can also opt to feed your dog other meats like boiled beef or baked salmon. Some dogs even enjoy duck, venison, and rabbit.
There are also plenty of meal toppers you can offer your dog to help make his dry dog food more exciting, and wet or raw dog foods you can purchase that are made with healthy, dog-safe ingredients that will not harm or upset your dog’s digestive system.
We have listed some of our favorite dog-safe meal toppers, treats, and wet foods for you to consider below.
Brutus and Barnaby Dog Food Topper
One of the more popular types of pork when it comes to answering can dogs eat pork comes in the form of food toppers like this food topper for dogs by Brutus and Barnaby. Dog food toppers are ideal for finicky dogs or dogs who need a bit of an appetite pick-me-up.
This product is made with quality ingredients and is free of additives or grains. It is picky-eater approved and, if you don’t want pork, you can order this product in a beef liver recipe instead.
Adirondack Dog Food
When pork is at its highest quality and cooked specifically for dogs, it can actually be an ideal protein source for dogs with sensitivities.
If your dog is a picky or sensitive eater, or if he has allergies or struggles with stomach issues, you might consider the above limited ingredient diet dog food by Adirondack. This dog food comes in several recipes, but we especially like the pork and lentil recipe listed.
When looking into can dogs eat pork, this is the ideal pork for your dog as it is designed to help manage weight, enhance skin and coat, and reduce stomach issues and allergies due to food sensitivities.
Beg & Barker Pork Jerky For Dogs
What dog can resist jerky? While jerky is considered processed meat, the Beg and Berker Jerky specifically made for dogs has more pros than it does cons. This is especially true if you’re looking into can dogs eat pork and when you consider that these pork snacks are designed as treats.
They are made with all-natural ingredients that are sourced in the USA. Furthermore, these treats are diabetic friendly, rich in protein, and completely gain-free. If you would like to forgo the pork recipe for your pup, you also have the option of going with beef liver, turkey breast, chicken, or a variety pack!
So, Can Dogs Eat Pork? Experts Weigh In
While small amounts of cooked pork can be safe for dogs, for the most part, experts say there are healthier meats.
Can dogs eat pork? The short answer is yes, dogs can eat pork, but remember that dogs cannot and should not eat all forms of pork. Keep in mind that processed pork has been linked to chronic diseases and illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and heart issues.
Furthermore, undercooked or raw pork can lead to a parasitic illness in your dog that can be quite dangerous.
Avoid giving your dog pork that is fatty, processed, or highly salted, and stick with pork that is of the highest quality and that is cooked plain.
While pork may get a bad rep, the answer to can dogs eats pork is a yes! And, in fact, the right types of pork can even have benefits.
So, what do you think about sharing pork with your dog? Would you avoid it or are you interested in making homemade dog food or dog treats using our recipes above?
Share your thoughts with us on can dogs eat pork in the comment section below.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.