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Can Dogs Eat Pork? How to Make Pork Safe for Your Pup

Dogs can safely eat raw or cooked pork meat, but cured meats like ham and bacon are high in fat, and cooked pork bones should be avoided.

A small black and brown puppy gnaws on a pig-shaped chew toy.

Dogs can safely eat raw or cooked pork meat, but cured meats like ham and bacon are high in fat, and cooked pork bones should be avoided.

By Kayla Kowalski, Certified Canine Nutritionist

As pet parents, we're always cautious about the types of food we give to our furry friends. We know our pups are natural carnivores. Still, we want to ensure we only provide our dogs foods that are safe and healthy for them to consume.

The simple answer is yes, dogs can eat pork. But there are some essential considerations to ensure your dog's diet remains balanced and healthy. Let's dive into the discussion of pork for dogs.

A small black and brown puppy gnaws on a pig-shaped chew toy.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Pork?

Cooked pork can be a delicious and nutritious treat for your dog. Pork meat is high in amino acids and B vitamins, which can benefit your dog's immune system and overall health.

However, it's crucial to avoid giving your puppy pork cooked with seasonings, such as garlic powder or onion powder, as these can cause an upset stomach and digestive issues.

When preparing cooked pork for your dog, remove any excess fat, as high-fat content can lead to health problems like obesity, pancreatitis, and bloat in dogs.

With human foods, we always cook our pork thoroughly to kill any potential bacteria or parasites that may be present in raw meat before we eat it. However, it's not necessary to cook meat to serve it to your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Pork?

Raw pork can be fed to dogs, as they are natural carnivores, and their digestive system is equipped to handle raw meat.

There is a common myth that pork is full of parasites and causes diseases. One particular disease is called trichinosis and is caused by the parasite Trichinella spiralis. The fear is that larvae of this parasite can be present in undercooked pork, leading to muscle inflammation and other health problems.

However, this is an outdated fear because trichinella has rarely been found in commercial pork in the United States and Canada over the past several decades. Many people used to take the precaution of freezing their raw pork for at least three weeks before consumption to help kill any potential larvae.

Can Dogs Eat Pork Bones?

Feeding dogs pork bones, such as pork rib bones, is controversial among pet parents. While some believe that dogs eat pork bones as part of their natural diet, others argue that pork bones can pose choking hazards and cause internal injuries.

Cooked bones are hazardous, as they can splinter and harm your dog's stomach and internal organs. Raw bones are much safer, but discussing this with your veterinarian or canine nutritionist before adding them to your dog's diet is best.

Pork bones, such as feet, tails, and ribs, are ideal for large-sized and medium-sized dogs because pork bones are typically larger and more challenging to chew thoroughly.

One alternative to pork bones is to provide your dog with long-lasting chews or dental treats specifically designed for dogs. These products can help satisfy your dog's natural chewing instincts while promoting dental health.

A fluffy dog is given a Native Pet Yak Chew.

Other Kinds of Pork: Ham, Bacon, and Sausage, Oh My!

While pork meat can be healthy for dogs, certain pork products like ham, bacon, and sausage should be avoided. These high-fat foods can lead to pancreatitis, a condition that causes inflammation of the pancreas. These products also contain large amounts of salt and other seasonings that can upset your dog's digestive system.

It's also essential to avoid feeding your dog any pork products that have been processed or contain additives such as preservatives and artificial colors or flavors. These ingredients can harm your dog's health and cause digestive issues, allergies, or other adverse reactions.

How to Make Pork Safe for Your Pup

To ensure pork is safe for your dog, follow these guidelines:

  • Choose high-quality pork meat, such as pork chops or pork tenderloin.
  • Avoid feeding your dog seasoned or marinated pork, as this can cause an upset stomach and digestive issues.
  • Remove all bones before feeding cooked pork to your dog.
  • Serve the pork in small pieces to prevent choking hazards.
  • Limit the amount of pork in your dog's diet, as too much can lead to obesity and other health problems.
  • Monitor your dog for discomfort or illness after introducing pork into their diet.

Consider incorporating dog food and dog treats that contain pork as a source of protein, but remember to choose high-quality products without harmful additives.

When introducing new foods to your dog's diet, it's essential to do so gradually to avoid overwhelming their digestive system. Start by mixing a small amount of cooked or raw pork into their regular dog food and slowly increase the portion size over several days. This will allow your dog's stomach to adjust to the new food and minimize the risk of digestive issues.  When introducing new foods, you can also supplement your dog with a probiotic to support your dog's digestive system.

It's also crucial to maintain a balanced diet for your dog, which includes a variety of protein sources, healthy carbohydrates, and healthy fats. While pork can be a valuable source of protein, there should be additional protein sources in your dog's diet. Consult a canine nutritionist or veterinarian for guidance on creating a well-rounded diet plan tailored to your dog's individual needs.

A dog licks a plate of cooked meat.

Benefits of Including Pork in Your Dog's Diet

Pork offers several health benefits for dogs when fed in moderation. It is a rich source of essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients support your dog's muscle growth, immune system, and overall health.

The amino acids in pork are essential for maintaining healthy skin and coat. Additionally, pork is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins, which contribute to your dog's overall well-being.

Time to Pig Out!

So yes - dogs can enjoy pork as a part of their diet. Still, dog owners need to take the necessary precautions and follow proper feeding guidelines. By choosing high-quality pork products, avoiding processed or seasoned pork, and maintaining a balanced diet, you can ensure that your furry friend enjoys the benefits of this delicious and nutritious protein source.

Remember to consult a canine nutritionist or veterinarian before significantly changing your dog's diet. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your dog's needs and health conditions.

If you want to learn more about improving your dog's diet, go to KaylaKowalski.com for a customized diet guide for your dog.

Consider me your new dog nutritionist! My name is Kayla Kowalski; I'm a Certified Canine Nutritionist (CertCN) and have created custom diets for more than 4,500 dogs to improve their health.

illustration of dog's tail & the dog is digging

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