Dogs can eat fully cooked, plain (not seasoned) pork. Undercooked pork carries the risk of trichinosis, a parasitic infection that leads to gastrointestinal issues, and pork seasoned with spices, onions, or garlic can be toxic to dogs.
Pork is high in protein and is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B12, iron, and selenium. It also has niacin, phosphorus, and zinc, which is good for the immune system.
Dogs are omnivores but lead a very carnivore life. They need animal protein, so pork is generally accepted as safe for dogs. However, human-prepped pork (pork chops grilled in garlic and butter, the Christmas ham baked with dijon and honey) is not good for dogs, and it’s not recommended to feed to them. Specifically avoid garlic and onions as it can cause stomach upset or anemia, or sauces that have these ingredients plus extra sugar and salt (looking at you, barbecue sauce). If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms after ingestion, see a vet asap:
- Pale gums
Additionally, some cuts of pork are exceptionally fatty, making them difficult for dogs to digest. This can lead to indigestion and inflammation of the pancreas, called pancreatitis, which if left untreated, can be fatal. And as all pet parents know, skip the bones as they can splinter and get stuck in the gums or even puncture the digestive tract, or your pup can choke on them.
Can I Feed My Dog Raw Pork?
Eating raw or undercooked pork is not safe for dogs (or humans) because of trichinosis, a parasitic infection that is transmitted through raw pork. The symptoms are intense in humans and will reportedly produce only subtle issues in dogs, but be on the lookout for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and pain or stiffness in the joints. Pets with weakened immune systems (which can be caused by autoimmune conditions or chronic diseases like diabetes) will have more severe symptoms.
Can I Feed My Dog Processed Pork Products Like Ham or Bacon?
Very high in salt and fat, bacon and packaged ham is also a no-no for dogs. While we’re sure they would love it, it simply isn’t a healthy treat and can lead to all sorts of complications including dehydration and yep, pancreatitis. Too many fatty, salty treats also lead to a more gradual health issue: obesity and heart-related diseases. Steer clear and treat your pup with green beans or even small pieces of chicken.
Curious about what is okay and not okay for your dog to eat? Check out our comprehensive guide on what human foods are safe and not safe for dogs.