Can Dogs Eat Pork?

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Typically, we think that meat is okay for dogs to ingest because it seems natural. We eat it. Wolves eat it. It seems only fair that dogs should be able to chow down on some too. But is pork safe for dogs to eat?

As with giving most human foods to dogs, the answer is complicated. Pork can be okay for your dog to eat, but it needs to be prepared in the right way.

When is pork safe and when is it toxic?

Plain pork is safe for dogs to eat, but it needs to be unseasoned and fully cooked. Adding seasonings and spice rubs, while delicious for humans, can be extremely dangerous to your dog's health. Some of these dangerous seasonings include:

  • Onion Powder
  • Nutmeg
  • Garlic Powder

It is also best to avoid sauces that are high in salt and sugar and that contain added flavoring, such as garlic and onion.

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Is uncooked pork safe for dogs to eat?

No. Uncooked pork is not safe for dogs to eat and can lead to serious health problems. Just as with humans, eating raw or undercooked pork can be deadly for canines. Raw pork contains a parasite called trichinella spiralis larvae, which can cause the parasite infection known as trichinosis. This can lead to major health problems for you and your dog.

How much pork can I serve my dog?

Like any other new food, it's always a good idea to start off with small amounts and see how your pup reacts to it. If he likes it, then serve in moderation.

Consult our guide to your dog's daily nutritional caloric needs.

Okay, but how about bacon or ham?

No. Both of these highly-processed foods are known carcinogens that are linked to cancer, according to the World Health Organization. They're both high in salt and can cause bloated tummies, dehydration, and in extreme cases, pancreatitis.

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What to do if my dog eats seasoned or raw pork?

If your dog happens to eat a piece of pork covered in sauce or seasoning, keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms of digestion discomfort. If they do develop a reaction, contact your vet immediately. Look out for the following reactions:

  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain and stiffness

If your dog eats raw pork, consult a veterinarian immediately. It only takes a small amount of uncooked pork to expose your dog to dangerous parasites.

Conclusion

Pork can be a tricky food for dogs because of the presence of parasites in raw pork and because of human preference for salts and seasonings on cooked pork. However, if cooked properly — without seasonings and sauces — pork can be a delicious, protein-filled addition to your dog's diet. Just be sure not to give her too much.

Whenever introducing a new food to your dog, be sure to monitor your dog for any signs of intestinal discomfort, which can appear in form of gas, diarrhea, and even vomiting. Always consult with a veterinarian if you have concerns about pork or any other human food item.

Are you ready to learn more about your dog's diet? Learn the rules of serving potatoes to your pup, and then read why both ham and garlic are harmful to dogs.