If you’ve tried searching around trying to find out whether dogs can eat pork bones or pork meat, you may have found that it’s not exactly easy to get a straightforward answer to what you thought was a pretty simple question.
There are those who’ll answer by saying absolutely not, that feeding pork to your pooch is a major no-no. Then there are those who’ll tell you that actually, it’s safe to feed them “The Other White Meat” providing you’re careful.
So which is it?
The honest answer is that it’s a little bit of both. While dogs can eat some elements of pork, there are others they’d do well to stay away from.
In this guide, we’ll offer simple, straightforward answers to all of your pork-related questions so that you can gain a clear understanding of what you can -and can’t- feed to your hungry canine.
Can Dogs Eat Pork Bones or Meat?
If you want to give your dog pork, it’s best to give them boneless cooked pork in small amounts as a treat or mixed in with their regular dog food. You should also make sure that the pork is thoroughly cooked and not seasoned with any harmful spices or ingredients such as onion, garlic, or salt, which can be toxic to dogs.
It’s important to keep in mind that dogs have different nutritional requirements than humans, so it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new foods to your dog’s diet, especially if they have any underlying health conditions or dietary restrictions.
Can Dogs Eat Pork Bones?
Dogs may be as synonymous with chewing bones as they are with chasing their own tails and fetching sticks, but that doesn’t mean you should give them a pork bone to gnaw on.
Both raw and cooked pork bones have a tendency to crack and break. As such, when your furry friend starts to go town on a bone, there’s every chance that small chunks of the bone could splinter off in his mouth.
This could lead to choking, internal damage to the esophagus, or intestinal blockages.
What’s more, since pork bones aren’t all that big, your dog may decide to tackle it all in one bite which can again lead to choking.
So no, the bones aren’t good for them, and instead of giving them whatever’s left of that delicious pork chop you just devoured, you might find it safer to treat them with a more suitable alternative such as a Blue Buffalo Dental Bone.
What Should I Do if My Dog Eats a Pork Bone?
If Rover does happen to snatch that pork bone from your plate and run off with it, the most important thing is to take it from them as soon as possible.
You might want to grab a safer bone option or some kind of treat to give them instead so that they don’t feel as though they’re being punished.
Discard the bone in a way that ensures they’re not going to get hold of it again, then monitor them closely for at least the next few hours.
Though there’s every chance they’ll be able to pass that bone without any problems, if a pork bone chip does create an intestinal blockage, it can be a cause of major distress. At best, they may start excessively drooling or lose their appetite. At worst, they could start vomiting or show signs of abnormal bowel movements.
If any of those occur, get your pet to the vet immediately.
Can Dogs Eat Pork Meat?
The good news is that while it’s not safe for dogs to eat pork bones, it is OK to feed them pork meat as long as it’s plain.
Flavored sauces such as BBQ sauce and Honey-Garlic Sauce are often loaded with salt and sugar which can be harmful to your beloved companion and should be avoided.
Likewise, seasoning and pork rubs can be very bad for their health. Pork that is seasoned with garlic, onion, or even nutmeg should be avoided as all of these are toxic to dogs and can make them ill.
In other words, if you’re preparing a tasty pork-based meal and preparing to share the yumminess with your pup, set some cooked, plain pork aside just for them before you start adding flavorings.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Pork Meat?
You’ll notice that in the above paragraph we used the word “cooked.” That’s critically important if you do decide to feed pork to your dog.
Eating raw pork can lead to an infection known as Trichinosis which can affect both humans as well as our furry friends.
While it may be more common in humans than their pets, dogs who contract the infection can suffer from all kinds of symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to lethargy, skin irritations, and fever.
How Much Pork Should Dogs Eat?
As with any new food you decide to introduce to your dog’s diet, it’s best to start off in moderation.
Even if they’re fans of pork-based snacks like Full Moon’s popular Sliced Pork Jerky, that’s no guarantee that they’ll like eating pure pork meat, or even that it will sit well with their system.
Start small with a few small bites and see how they react. Even if they wolf it down, be on the lookout for any allergic reactions or digestion problems. If there are none, then it’s safe to say you can put pork on the menu. If they react badly to it, it’s time to find an alternative.
Can Dogs Eat Pork Bacon and Ham?
Sadly for your meat-loving pup, just because pure cooked pork may be safe for them to eat doesn’t mean other pork products such as ham and bacon are.
There’s all kinds of reasons why feeding such foods can be dangerous to your dog’s health.
For one thing, processed meats that have been flavored or preserved in some way -including pork sausages and bacon- are known to be common carcinogens, which means they carry a risk that the more your dog eats, the higher the risk of cancer.
For another, ham and bacon, in particular, are known to be incredibly salty and too much salt content which can cause issues such as dehydration and pancreatitis.
In other words, leave the bacon on your breakfast plate and find a healthier alternative for your beloved buddy.
Suitable Pork Substitutes That Are Safe For Dogs
The good news is that while not all meats are suitable for your dog’s dinner, some are not only suitable but actually really beneficial for them.
Chicken makes an ideal part of your dog’s diet which is why it often shows up as the first ingredient in everything from regular dry dog food to tasty treats like PureBites RAW Freeze Chicken Breast Dog Treats.
Chicken is packed full of healthy fats, amino acids, and essential vitamins and minerals, not to mention being an excellent source of protein.
What’s more, adding unseasoned, cooked, plain chicken to your homemade dog food recipes can prove incredibly beneficial in promoting healthy digestion.
Much like chicken, beef can be found as the first ingredient in scores of the best-selling dog food brands and is often chosen for its high protein content and abundance of essential vitamins and minerals.
Brands like Purina Pro Plan mix beef with rice to improve digestive health, nourish their skin and coat, and, of course, to provide a rich flavor that most dogs love.
If you’re including beef in your own homemade recipes, then the same rules apply as with chicken and pork:
Make sure it’s plain and unseasoned, and start with a small amount to check for any adverse reactions before making it a staple part of their diet.
Fruits and Vegetables
Meat may be a valuable source of protein for dogs, but never underestimate what a big difference a regular amount of fresh fruits and vegetables can make to their health.
Much as they do with us, humans, dog-friendly fruits like apples and bananas provide plenty of fiber, potassium, and essential vitamins while also being low on fat.
Meanwhile, berries can be an excellent source of health-promoting antioxidants while feeding watermelon to your dog proves not only to be a good source of Vitamins C and B-6, but also an excellent way to help them stay cool and hydrated on a hot summer’s day.
In terms of vegetables, broccoli, carrots, and green beans are also a great source of fiber, include numerous vitamins, and all low in fat, making them a very nutritious addition to their diet.
Can Dogs Eat Pork: The Verdict
By now, we hope you’ve learned everything you could possibly want to know about feeding pork to your dog.
Just to reiterate though, let us sum up by saying that while, yes, dogs can eat pork, that doesn’t mean you should be preparing an extra pork chop for them the next time you’re planning a big family dinner.
The safe way to feed pork to your dog is to cook it but don’t add any flavoring or seasoning and feed them just a small amount without the bone. Try that, and as long as there are no adverse reactions (and as long as they enjoy it, of course!), then there’s no reason why you couldn’t make plain, cooked pork a healthy addition to their diet.
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.