What Are the Effects of Feeding Smoked Meats to Dogs?

By Sue Ake

Many people think feeding a dog table scraps is a reward for the dog. While the dog may enjoy the scraps, not all human food is safe for canine consumption. Some foods, such as smoked meats, have undesirable health risk for pets and should be limited or even eliminated from a pet's diet.

Sodium Ion Poisoning

Highly salted foods can have adverse health effects on dogs.

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Smoked meats are generally salted or rubbed with spices or herbs and thus have a high level of sodium. Too much salt can cause your dog to get sodium ion poisoning. The symptoms of sodium ion poisoning are vomiting, high fever, extreme thirst, diarrhea, tremors and seizures. A moderate amount of natural salt is part of a healthy diet for dogs, but excessive salt and spices can have serious health risks. It is best to avoid feeding high salt foods to dogs altogether, but if you must give your dog smoked meat, rinse it to remove any extra salt and spices.

Pancreatitis

Feed dogs only lean, unsalted, cuts of meat.

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Excess fat from meat can also cause serious health problems for dogs. Smoked meats are generally fatty cuts of meat, and fatty foods can increase a dogs chance of developing pancreatitis. According to Veterinarian Holly Nash, "Dogs with diets high in fat, dogs who have recently gotten in to the trash or have been fed table scraps, or dogs who 'steal' or are fed greasy 'people food' seem to have a higher incidence of the disease." Some symptoms of acute pancreatitis are a tender abdomen, appetite loss, vomiting, and loose, greasy, yellow bowel movements. Before feeding a dog smoked meat, be sure that the meat is a lean cut and that any visible fat has been trimmed away. Lower the risk for your dog by keeping its smoked meat consumption to a minimum.

Obesity

Dog snacks are a better choice as a treat for a canine friend.

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Feeding dogs smoked meats that are high in sodium and fats can also lead to obesity. Obesity in dogs can be life threatening, with health problems such as diabetes, joint problems, heart disease, high blood pressure and higher risk of cancer. It is best to feed dogs only foods that are specifically made for dogs. Whether it is a homemade blend or a purchased blend, these foods are much safer and healthier for your pet. Human foods are not a dog's best friend.

Dog Healthy Diets

Stick with foods approved for dogs.

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For the best dog appropriate diet visit the local vet. Just like humans, dogs are individuals with their own allergies and dietary needs. A food one dog may tolerate, may make another dog violently ill. Stick with treats made specifically for canines to avoid health issues. If you must give smoked meat to your dog, prepare it at home paying close attention to the cut of meat and avoid adding any salt or spices.