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Can Dogs Eat Pork? Everything You Need to Know

No, dogs should not eat raw or undercooked pork. But yes, dogs can eat cooked pork occasionally. Pork offers a few nutritional benefits to your dog. You may offer cooked pork to your dog as a treat in rare cases. As a responsible pet parent, it is best to consult with the vet before introducing pork to the dog. 

What is Pork?

Pork is the pig’s meat in the culinary world, including bacon, gammon, ham, and sausage. Pig farming dates back to 5000 BC, making it the most widely consumed meat on the planet. Pork is the most popular meat in the Western world and Central Europe. It is also quite popular in East and Southeast Asia. Pork is valued for its fat content and texture in Asian cuisines, particularly China.

Is Pork Safe for Dogs?

Pork is safe for dogs only if it is appropriately cleaned and steamed. The types of preparations you should avoid are:

  • Seasoned pork: Seasonings such as garlic and onion powder, salt, pepper, BBQ sauce can cause harm to your dogs. 
  • Processed pork: Processed pork like ham, bacon, sausage is packed with salt, sugar, preservatives, and additives to increase the shelf life. Hence, processed pork is deadly for your canine’s health.
  • Grilled pork: Grilled pork is high in salt, making them harmful for dogs to eat.
  • Raw pork: Raw pork has various bacteria which can harm your dog significantly.
  • Pork fat: Pork fat is not recommended for dogs to consume as it may cause obesity-related health issues.
  • Cooked pork bones: Cooked pork bones can cause choking hazards in dogs.

Knowing where your pork comes from is equally essential to include the best quality meat in your dog’s diet. 

Pasture-raised pigs: Also known as pastured pigs, these feed on roots, plants, nuts, and bugs. The meat of pastured pigs is a healthier choice to feed your dog as their movement is not restricted. In addition, it is flavorful and is known as heritage pork.

Factory Farmed Pigs: These pigs are primarily contained in pens. Factory farmed pigs feed on wholesome grains and vegetables and are vulnerable to illnesses. Hence, antibiotics and dewormers are injected to keep the pig healthy, thus making it an option to be avoided by your pets. 

Consider the options mentioned above and feed your dog with pork to ensure his safety and healthy lifestyle.

Why Is Pork Good for Dogs?

Cooked pork is good for dogs as a rare treat. Nutritional benefits that pork provides your dog are:

  • Omega 3: Omega 3 keeps the skin and coat condition healthy in dogs. It also strengthens the dog’s joints. 
  • Amino acids: Amino acids keep the dog’s immune system healthy and maintain all the bodily functions in dogs. 
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Pork organs such as the liver and heart are rich in essential vitamins and minerals required for your dog.

Why is Pork Bad for Dogs?

Pork offers very few health benefits to your dog. Also, if consumed regularly it can trigger a handful of health problems. Here is how pork can be dangerous to your dog:

Seasoned pork

Garlic and Onion powder: Garlic and onion powder can cause severe health issues to your dog as they are toxic. Consuming garlic and onion powder can lead to:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Lethargy
  • Inflammation
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Tremors
  • Dehydration
  • Frequent urination
  • High heartbeat
  • High temperature
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Nutmeg: Nutmegs are very toxic for dogs to consume, as it has a harmful compound called Myristicin. The consequences of consuming nutmeg are:

  • Disorientation
  • High heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Raisin: Raisin can be hazardous to dogs as it has mycotoxin, which can lead to:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Kidney failure
  • Anuria

Cocoa powder: Cocoa powder contains theobromine and methylxanthines, which can trigger:

  • Vomiting
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Hypertension
  • Frequent thirst
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Muscle tremors
  • Antsy behavior
  • Unsteady gait
  • High temperature
  • Convulsions
  • Restlessness

Chives: Chives belong to the allium family, which affects dogs adversely. The consequences of consuming chives are:

  • RBC damage
  • Anemia
  • Nausea
  • Drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal issues

Marjoram: The reason why marjoram is terrible for dogs is unknown. However, the side effects that dogs had after feeding marjoram are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Slow heart rate
  • Low blood sugar
  • Gastrointestinal blockage
  • Ulcer
  • Respiratory irritation
  • Seizures
  • Bleeding disorders

Raw pork

Raw pork is highly dangerous for dogs as it contains bacteria like:

Yersinia Enterocoliticia: This is a pathogen present in raw pork that can lead to:

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin issues
  • Red patches 
  • Unhealthy coat condition

Staph: Staph infections appear as red bumps or pimples, pus-filled pustules, or round patches with a dark red core and a crusty red rim. Hair loss occurs, and the hair can fall out in clusters that resemble a paintbrush.

Salmonella: Salmonella infection can lead to various health issues like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever
  • High salivation

Besides bacteria, raw pork contains Trichinella spiralis parasite, causing trichinosis.

Trichinosis: Consuming raw pork puts your dog at risk of contracting trichinosis. This parasitic infection can affect dogs and humans alike when they eat raw or undercooked meat, mainly muscles. This infection gets its name from the Trichinella spiralis worm, which, once ingested, stays inside the animal and produces larvae that start multiplying throughout the body and can remain hidden for years. Closely watch out if your dog suffers from fever as a result of parasitic infections. Consult a vet immediately if his health condition deteriorates. Symptoms of Trichinosis in your dog include:

  • Stomach Upset
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Elevated fever
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle inflammation
  • Pain and stiffness

Raw pork contains the cysts of a parasite that creates trichinosis in dogs. These infections are hard to diagnose. Sometimes they show no symptoms or very non-specific signs such as changes in appetite, stomach upsets, muscle weakness, and fever. So keep your dog away from eating raw pork.

Pork fat

Pork contains fat which is harmful to dogs. They can cause:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Hunched appearance

Pork bones

Both raw and cooked pork bones are not safe for dogs as they may cause choking hazards in your dog. Feeding pork bones leads to:

  • Intestinal rupture
  • Throat rupture
  • Intestinal blockages
  • Punctured internal organs
  • Death

How Much Pork to Feed Your Dog?

Cooked (plain) pork as a rare treat will be safe for dogs to consume. However, it is best to consult the vet before introducing pork to your dog. 

How to Serve Pork To Your Dog?

Cooking pork at home ensures that you’re bringing the right cuts of pig meat for your dog. Suitable meat pork parts include:

  • Tongue
  • Trachea
  • Rib bones
  • Tail
  • Liver and heart (great source of vitamins and minerals)
  • Trotters (or feet)
  • Lean pork cuts (like pork chops)

Cooked pork without seasoning is best for your dog in small amounts occasionally as treats. The pork needs to be cleaned primarily and then cooked adequately to kill the bacteria present. It is also essential to remove the fat present in the pork as it may cause various health issues, including pancreatitis. 

What If My Dog Ate Pork?

If your dog ate raw pork, seasoned pork, or pork bones accidentally, the best thing to do is to visit a veterinarian immediately. Initially, he might show symptoms like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Blood in stool
  • Coughing heavily
  • Panting 
  • Whining

Your vet will diagnose your dog’s health and prescribe medicines or a diet to follow for a few days. 

The next step is to keep pork and table scraps out of your dog’s reach to prevent unavoidable circumstances. 

Alternatives to Pork

A few healthier alternatives for your dog are:

Frequently Asked Questions?

Can dogs eat ham?

No, dogs cannot eat ham as it contains a high amount of fat and salt, which may cause pancreatitis and sodium ion poisoning. 

Can dogs eat bacon?

No, dogs cannot eat bacon either as it is high in sodium and fat content, leading to sodium ion poisoning and pancreatitis. 

Final Thoughts

Winding up the article, we can very well comprehend that pork causes more problems to a dog’s body than it does good! As responsible pet parents, it is best to offer your dog healthy alternatives. Cooked pork occasionally will not harm your dog. However, raw pork, pork bones, seasoned bones can be deadly to your dogs. Alternatively, you may offer your dog chicken, turkey, lean ground beef, and fish for a protein diet.

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