Can Dogs Eat Ham?

Golden Retriever eating
credit: chendongshan/iStock/GettyImages

Dogs want to eat almost everything, so it's up to us humans, who have the benefits of opposable thumbs and access to the internet, to keep dangerous foods away from them. Dogs aren't going to want to hear this, but unfortunately, ham is one of those foods.

Why ham can harm.

At first glance, ham may seem like a good dog snack because it's high in protein. However, it's also extremely high in fat. Ham's fat content is higher than many other types of meat, and that high fat content makes it difficult for dogs to digest. Just like humans, dogs shouldn't have too much fat in their diet. Although they do need a small amount, most dog food provides all the fat your dog needs.

Christmas and Easter are big holidays for ham, so keep an extra vigilant eye on your dog if you have ham in your holiday dinner. (If you have dog-loving dinner guests, it might be a good idea to ask them not to give your dog any ham, lest they try to sneak her some under the table.)

Dog under the table
credit: Kerkez/iStock/GettyImages

Another harmful ham factor is sodium. Most store-bought hams contain large amounts of sodium, which can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, excessive thirst and urination, and other undesirable symptoms. In very severe cases, sodium can even lead to seizures or kidney damage, so it's not something you want to mess with.

Dogs, I have one more piece of bad news: You also shouldn't have ham shanks. I know. I'm sorry.

What to do if your dog consumes ham?

Like so many dog situations, if your dog accidentally consumes a small amount of ham, don't panic. While it's not a good idea to regularly feed your dog ham as a treat, a small amount probably won't hurt them.

Keep an eye on them and watch for signs like vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, or anything thing else out of the ordinary. If your dog somehow manages to consume a large amount of ham, or if they display any of the above symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

dog eating at the table with food bowl
credit: damedeeso/iStock/GettyImages

Conclusion

There's no good reason to feed your dog ham, as the high fat and high sodium content can be harmful to your dog. If you want to give your dog a protein-rich treat, look for high-protein dog treats, which are specially formulated for a dog's dietary needs. If your dog consumes a small amount of ham, don't panic, but keep an eye out for signs of discomfort, and call your vet if your dog seems to have any sort of problems.

Would you like to know more about food your dogs can and cannot eat? Start with this article about dogs and peas and then find why garlic can be toxic to dogs.