Can Dogs Eat Pork? Is Pork Good Or Bad for Dogs?

Bacon, ribs, pork chops, ham…and a variety of other delectable pork products are available for us to choose from, but what about our four-legged pals? Because there are so few pork options for dogs on the market right now, some may ask: is pork good for dogs? Whether you want to give your canine friend an extra treat, or are checking up after your dog got into something they shouldn’t, this article will help you understand – can dogs eat pork?

Can Dogs Eat Pork? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Pork is one of the most versatile meats, and it’s used in a variety of recipes, from jerky to bacon. Given its extensive use in human diets, dog owners should be aware of whether this salty treat is suitable for their four-legged pals or not. Well, dogs are omnivores and derive nutrition from both plant and animal sources.

However, healthy dogs should acquire the majority of their nourishment from commercial dog diets that are particularly prepared to meet their nutritional needs. Since commercial dog diets already provide all of the protein they require, adding pork to their diet is simply redundant.

Furthermore, a dog’s nutritional requirements differ from ours. Including meat in your dog’s diet can provide a nutritious boost, but without appropriate knowledge, you can accidentally be doing your dog more harm than good. Hence, if you feel like giving them a new type of dog treat and considering pork to be an option, this article will help you understand can dogs eat pork?

Is Pork Safe For Dogs?

Although dogs are not carnivores, they require vital amino acids present in protein to live. Yes, dogs can eat pork because it is a substantial source of protein, but they should only do so periodically and in tiny amounts at a time.

Why Only Small Amounts?

Let’s face it, modern house dogs do not get enough exercise. Moreover, pet dogs nowadays are quite sedentary and do not exert much energy. As a result, they require nutritious diets to compensate for their lack of physical activity. Although pork is safe for dogs to eat and is non-toxic, the fatty, salty diet has little nutritional value for them.

Adult dogs sleep for 12 to 14 hours per day on average, getting little time to burn off the excess fat found in pork. If this fat is consumed regularly, it can clog your dog’s arteries over time. Moreover, this type of meat often contains preservatives that are harmful to anyone’s health, especially dogs’ small bodies.

So, if your dog is in good health, you should serve pork products to them only as a special treat sometimes.


Is Pork Good or Bad for Dogs?

Including pork in your dog’s diet is unlikely to cause too many problems. If your dog has never had pork before, it’s a good idea to start off slow and see how your furry pal likes it. Here are the advantages and disadvantages you need to know if you want to include pork in your dog’s diet.

Benefits of Pork for Your Dog

Remember that when you give your dog pork in moderation, they can reap a lot more benefits from this meat treat. Here are some of the advantages of feeding pork to your dog:

  1. Source of High Protein: Pork is an extremely rich source of protein which is an essential nutrient for dogs to thrive. However, you must check out leaner alternatives such as chicken, which is much higher in protein and can be fed more frequently to dogs.
  2. Source of Vitamins & Other Nutrients: Pork is a good source of B vitamins and minerals such as B1, B2, B6, and B12, as well as selenium, potassium, phosphorus, niacin, and zinc. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) contains cobalt, which is necessary for your dog’s health, immunological system, and digestive tract; a lack of it can cause digestive difficulties as well as neurological concerns including neuropathy and dementia.

Dangers of Pork for Your Dog

If you are wondering “is pork bad for dogs?”, you need to understand the fact that pork is extremely high in fat and sodium. When ingested in large amounts regularly, both of these nutrients are detrimental to your dog. Fat, in particular, promotes weight gain, which can lead to obesity if consumed often.

Furthermore, sodium increases thirst and places additional stress on your dog’s kidneys, liver, and heart. Additionally, too much salt can lead to hypernatremia (sodium poisoning). This type of situation needs immediate medical intervention.

Are Dogs Allergic to Pork?

Just like any allergy, some dogs are allergic to the pork while some are not. To ensure that you do not accidentally feed your dog something his body cannot accept, have your veterinarian conduct a comprehensive allergy test.

Of course, you may not realise your dog is allergic to pork until the symptoms become serious.  If your dog exhibits any of the following signs, you’ll know he is allergic to pork:

  • Excessive itchiness or biting (which may result in lumps on the skin)
  • Skin lesions or ulcers
  • Ear infections
  • Loss of weight
  • Dull coat

Is Pork Safe For Your Canine Friend? How Much Can You Feed?

Pork is high in saturated fat and sodium (salt), as well as protein and fat; however, the latter two values are especially high for dogs. This doesn’t mean that you can’t give your dog pork occasionally; it just means you should consider it as an occasional treat rather than a full meal. Pork chops, rib bones, rinds, and even raw pork are all nutritionally different. Hence, depending on your dog’s weight and current dietary restrictions, its daily nutritional intake will differ.

Is There Any Pork That Is Better Than Others?

Fresh cuts of unprocessed pork without additional salts and preservatives – preferably pork tenderloin, are a far better option for your dog. These stripes of meat are preferred over, say, a slice of salty bacon or pork from a human’s plate, which may contain harmful ingredients such as onions, garlic, and/or other flavorings.

Pork tenderloin is a thin piece of meat with very little fat on it. However, make sure to not skimp or buy loin instead. The loin is a fattier piece of meat than tenderloin and it can create digestive issues that can lead to serious conditions in dogs such as pancreatitis. In addition, heritage pork from pastured pigs is higher in nutritional content. So, if you have the option, go for it.

Cooked Pork for Dogs – Can Dogs Eat Cooked Pork?

Dogs should only consume organic pork that has been completely cooked and contains no additives or preservatives. According to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, raw pork includes pathogens that can make your dog sick. Hence, pork should ideally be cooked to avoid parasites.

However, some pieces of pork, such as ham, can be used to hide medicine for your canine companion. You also cannot feed your dog pork that’s meant for the rest of your family. Most importantly, you must cook the pork without adding any more salts or fats to the already salty meat.

Here’s how you can cook pork for dogs:

  • Make sure the meat is fresh and unprocessed, with no additions or preservatives.
  • No seasonings, such as garlic or onion powders, should be used.
  • Use water instead of oil to cook thoroughly in a pressure cooker.
  • Cut it into small, bite-sized pieces or chop it and combine it with other vitamins and minerals.

A Note On Giving Bones To Dogs

While it’s true that bones are a wonderful source of minerals and other nutrients, help satisfy your dog’s appetite and chewing those increases saliva enzymes, there are some considerations around giving your dog bones to eat. However, many veterinary care providers believe that giving your dog a cooked bone is simply not worth the risk of a major injury.

Cooked bones should always be considered off-limits for dogs as they are prone to splintering and can cause choking as well as internal organ injuries. Furthermore, if shattered into sharp shards, cooked bones can do a lot of damage to your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. It’s important to keep in mind that too many bones in your dog’s diet can also cause constipation.

Consider choosing a squeaky toy instead of a meaty bone, which is better for your dog’s teeth and gums. If you still want to give your dog a bone, choose larger uncooked bones that aren’t too big to hurt your dog’s gums and teeth but are still huge enough to be swallowed. Most importantly, never leave your dog unattended with a bone to prevent choking hazards. After all, it’s always the best choice to supervise your four-legged pal.

Uncooked Pork for Dogs

While there’s much contention in canine communities regarding occasionally feeding cooked pork to them, many people might wonder – why can’t dogs eat uncooked pork? Well, as stated above, raw pork usually contains pathogens that can make your dog sick.

Any pathogens that remain on the pork can cause worms in dogs. However, these dangerous bacteria and pathogens can be killed by cooking pork. This is why it is best to cook pork (or any meats) before serving them to your dog. Moreover, raw pork is a huge no-no if your dog has a weakened immune system.

Even if you’re picky and only stick to tenderloin for your dog, raw pork is still not a good idea due to the significant risk of bacterial infection. When consuming raw pork regularly, your dog may contract trichinellosis, a pork roundworm infection, or tularemia, a rare bacterial infection that causes tumor-like lumps and abscesses in the liver. Trichinellosis can be easily transmitted to humans whereas tularemia can cause poor appetite, lethargy, and high fever thereby requiring aggressive treatment.

Lastly, sometimes dogs can eat raw pork but only after it has been freeze-dried and especially under the supervision of a veterinarian. However, freezing pork before cooking does not always ensure that all bacteria present in it have been killed. Hence, it would be safe to say that giving uncooked pork to your pooch is not worth the risk.

So, How About Pork As Part Of A Raw Dog Food Diet?

Both humans and dogs are at risk if a pork product is consumed raw or undercooked. However, the difference in a raw dog food diet is that the pork has been appropriately processed for this type of consumption, usually by freezing it for a specified period of time to kill off those pesky parasites. Raw pork from the supermarket, even high-quality pork, hasn’t been subjected to the same process.

Can You Give Pork Fat To Your Dog?

Pork is high in fat, therefore feeding your dog pork fat, fried pork, or any other fatty pork by-products is inadvisable. According to a research conducted by the USDA, 100 grams of pork backfat have 88.7 grams of fat. If you’re not sure which parts of pork are safe to feed to your dog, talk to your veterinarian first.

Alternatives to Pork

If you are not amused by the fact that pork should not be regularly fed to your canine pal, you can consider feeding him leaner meats like fish, poultry or even beef. These meats are better alternatives to processed pork products, providing your dog with plenty of protein without the added salt, fat, or preservatives.

However, wild boar is the closest alternative to pork as it is also a novel protein source that is ideal for dogs with allergies or intolerances. Moreover, wild boar is higher in protein than other meats and when offered alone as a single source of protein, it is also quite easy for dogs to digest.

Most importantly, wild boar is power-packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals including iron, zinc, selenium, niacine, thiamine and Vitamin B6, all of which help support everything in your dog’s body – from heart health and immunity to cognitive function and metabolism.

Is Pork Safe For Dogs With Sensitive Stomachs?

Pork may be suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs, but the leanness of the cuts is crucial to be considered. When dogs experience food allergies to more popular protein sources, Pork is usually recommended as an alternative.

However, pork with high-fat content and a sensitive stomach may not be a suitable combination. Most importantly, pork that has been processed or has a lot of salt in it, such as bacon or ham, is a no-no for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Hence, if you’re cooking pork for a dog with a sensitive stomach, it’s critical to make sure that, in addition to being lean, the meat is also free of any additives, extra ingredients, seasonings or spices.

Although you may find it tasteless, rest assured that your dog will cheerfully consume the meal without the risk of an upset stomach. Finally, make sure to consult your veterinarian before offering pork to your dog with a sensitive stomach.

How to Process and Feed Pork to Dogs?

Pork is healthy for dogs to eat, but you must always exercise caution when giving it to your canine companion. The following are the three main components of feeding pork to your dog safely:

1. Get Rid Of All Bones

As previously stated, cooked bones are nothing but a choking hazard to dogs. So, make sure to carefully remove all of the bones from the pork before feeding them to your dog. To ensure maximum safety, cut the meat into bite-sized chunks.

2. Cook Thoroughly

Cook the meat sufficiently to eliminate any live parasites that could cause disease or poisoning. Moreover, it is important to note that no matter what kind of meat you give your dog, it should never be half-cooked.

3. Feed in Moderation

Pork should be served to dogs in moderation due to the aforementioned problems.

Is Pork Good For Dogs? Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about “Is pork safe for dogs?”

What meat should dogs avoid?

Although pork is safe for dogs in limited amounts, bacon, ham, fat trimmed off meat and cooked bones are strictly a no-no for them. Furthermore, any pork or meat that is high in preservatives is not safe for dogs and can induce indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea. Pancreatitis, a serious and sometimes fatal inflammation of the pancreas, can also be caused by such foods.

What is the healthiest meat for dogs?

Chicken, fish, salmon, turkey, lean ground beef, and chuck steak or roast are all safe and healthy for dogs – as long as they are served in the required amounts and are cooked thoroughly. This is because bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, and others are more likely to be found in raw and undercooked meat.

As a result, feeding raw meat to your dog increases the chance of him contracting a foodborne illness or other bacterial infection. However, chicken is the most balanced meat because it is high in protein and low in fat.

Can dogs eat scrambled eggs?

Yes. Dogs may eat scrambled eggs as long as they are properly cooked. However, always make sure to cook eggs without adding any oil, butter, salt, seasoning, spices, or other ingredients.

Can dogs eat cooked pork?

Yes, cooked pork is safe for your dog to eat. Although pork is a fatty meat that should only be treated to your dog rarely, it must always be cooked thoroughly whenever you plan to feed it. This is because raw or undercooked pork (or any other meat) can contain pathogens that can cause parasites and worms in dogs if ingested.

What do I do if my dog eats too much pork?

If your dog loves pork, remember, you can always say “no” and properly regulate his treats! It is your responsibility as the owner to ensure that your dog does not consume excessive amounts of pork.

Can dogs have pork chops?

Even if cooked all the way through, whole pork chops should never be given to a dog. This is because cooked pork chop bones are more likely to shatter than raw pork chop bones and the smaller shards that fall off may hurt your dog.

They can get stuck in your dog’s teeth, causing discomfort to his gums or become lodged in his throat and causing him to choke. You could rather cut thin, boneless chunks from the pork chop to feed to your dog.

Can dogs eat bacon?

Bacon is salty, fatty, and high in calories, so it’s no surprise that it’s not very nutritious. Although safe to be eaten by dogs once, bacon is recommended to be served to canines regularly. This is because the high fat and sodium content in bacon can cause salt poisoning, dehydration, high blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach and even life-threatening seizures. Furthermore, the excess calories in bacon may cause your dog to become obese.

Is pork bad for dogs?

Yes and no. Well, it’s a yes if you intend to offer thoroughly cooked pork to your canine once in a while. However, it’s a no if you feed your dog pork in excess content – and with cooked bones.

The Bottom Line

We hope this article helped you understand can dogs eat pork? However, if you still haven’t concluded, here’s a summary of all we stated above. Dogs need protein to survive and, like humans, are sure to enjoy the salty, tasty treat pork is. And the good news is – feeding a little pork to your canine on occasion won’t harm his health.

However, it is definitely not the best choice for dogs and can cause difficulties if you choose this treat too often. Most importantly, the meat should be prepared, with no extra salt, preservatives, or additives. Pork is only harmful to dogs in excess amounts or when given raw.

Dogs should not be fed most processed meats or pork-related meals or snacks designed for humans. Moreover, you should consider healthier and leaner protein alternatives for your dog such as chicken, poultry, wild boar, etc.

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