The questions of can dogs eat pork, and is pork bad for dogs, are two that are very commonly asked. After all, it can be hard to know which items of human food are safe for your dog to eat. Before you give your dog pork products, it’s best to check out what is and is not allowed. Take a look at this handy guide to learn more about which pork products your dog can and cannot eat.
Can Dogs Eat Pork Bones?
The short answer to this question is no. Pork and poultry bones (both cooked and uncooked) are the two most dangerous that you can give a dog. This is because they are incredibly easy to splinter into shards, which then present a choking hazard to your dog. Cooked bones of any kind are dangerous for this reason as well.
The shards, aside from presenting a choking hazard, can also cause damage to the mouth, throat, or intestines of your dog if they pass through without the dog choking. This can result in the need for immediate surgery, or even death. Even small pieces that you don’t really notice can cause blockages and lacerations, which is why dogs should always be supervised when they are chewing them.
Vets strongly recommend giving dogs raw bones (that are NOT pork or poultry) after they have had their meal. After ten or so minutes, you should then remove the bone from them and place it in the fridge until the next day. After four days, the bone should be disposed of. A bone should also be larger than the length of a dog’s muzzle to prevent them from being swallowed whole.
Of course, bones are a great way for your dog to prevent the build-up of plaque on their teeth, as well as prevent gum disease. It also alleviates boredom and prevents them from chewing on their paws. Just remember to keep it safe, and that raw bones are not only dangerous, but also remove nutrients that your dog would need.
Why Can’t Dogs Eat Pork?
Pork is a tricky subject as there is a lot of divide when it comes to deciding whether or not dogs can eat it. Some say yes, others say no. Both vets and owners have their own views, so making your own choices might be a little tricky. However, at the end of the day, you need to do what you feel is best for your dog.
You will find that there are a large number of dog foods that contain pork, and so the negativity towards it can become a little confusing. Some people feel that pork is a very processed meat, leaving it high in fat and salt when it is finally ready for consumption – even for dogs. Others feel that there is a chance parasites could have infected the meat, which could then be passed onto your dog.
Feeding your dog treats such as pig ears and rawhides, however, is definitely discouraged. Aside from being high in fat, they are also processed using some pretty horrific chemicals that are not even fit for human consumption. This carries a high risk of illness for your dog, so be wary when you next go to pick up these processed treats.
So, it’s not really a question of they can’t eat pork, it’s more to do with the kind of pork you are feeding them. In the next two sections, we look at cooked and uncooked pork – helping you to determine the risks and benefits that come with each one. Hopefully, it will provide you with the insight you need to make an informed choice about your dog’s diet.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Pork?
The short answer here is yes; dogs can eat cooked pork. However, you also need to be careful with regards to the type of pork product you are giving them. For example, a delicious nibble or pork chop from the dinner table is unlikely to do any harm, as long as you are giving them the meat. However, bacon is a different story.
Bacon is high in salt and fat, two things that can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Too much salt can also cause excessive thirst and urination, a condition that can lead to a dog drinking too much and become bloated, which can lead to death. Even if your dog is sitting and begging in the most adorable way, resist giving them bacon for the sake of their health.
The same goes for giving them fatty pork rinds. The high concentration of fat (and sometimes salt) can cause serious health conditions that could lead to them dying. Of course, a lot of this can also depend on the size of a dog. The smaller the dog, the less it takes for them to become sick. Similarly, a larger dog needs more to become ill from overconsumption.
However, it is best not to risk it and to, instead, avoid giving your dog pork products that are high in salt and fat. A little bit of the meat, freshly cooked and ready to eat, is fine, but avoid the fatty rinds and bacon products.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Pork?
Once again, the short answer to this question is yes. It is considered safe for dogs to eat raw pork. Generally speaking, it is seen as being as harmless to them as when they eat raw beef or poultry. Wolves and wild dogs would ordinarily eat a lot of raw meat in their diet, so it is not an issue of whether or not they are able to digest the meat in the first place. However, there is one thing to watch out for.
Trichinosis is the thing that most vets and pet owners will warn you about before you decide to feed your pet any form of raw pork. It is a disease that is caused by a species of roundworm that is known as Trichinella. You are able to find these parasitic worms in animals that eat meat as a part of their diet, which includes pigs, wild boar, and bears.
It is possible for both humans and dogs to contract trichinosis by consuming raw or undercooked pork products (or the product of any other meat-eating animal) that have been infected with Trichinella larvae. The symptoms of trichinosis are as follows:
- Stomach upsets and vomiting
- Muscle pain
- Inability to chew
- Heart failure
- Respiratory issues
Death can occur, but it is very rare. If your dog becomes ill after consuming raw pork, call your vet immediately and seek advice.
Trichinosis is not a particularly common issue in the modern world, as farming now is a lot different. However, it is still prevalent in second and third world countries – not to mention that it can still happen in first world ones. It is important to be careful when you feed your dog raw pork, and you should always consult your vet before changing your dog’s diet in any way.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you to determine the risks and benefits that come with your dog eating pork. It’s certainly not an easy choice to make, and a lot of it does rely on your personal opinion on the matter. The answer to the question of can dogs eat pork, is a definite yes. However, when asked is pork bad for dogs, it becomes a greyer area. A lot of it depends on the kind of pork you feed them, and as long as you consult your vet first, you should be just fine. Remember the importance of talking to your vet about these things – they are often far more educated and informed than the internet.
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