Can Dogs Eat Pork?

And can your pup have some bacon? 🥓

dog looking at piece of meat

Your dog will definitely eat any kind of meat you give him — but that doesn’t mean all meat is good for him. And when it comes to pork, there are some things you should know before giving your dog a piece.

We spoke to Dr. Amanda Cairncross, veterinarian for The Vets, and Dr. Megan Conrad, a veterinarian with Hello Ralphie, to find the answer to the question: Can dogs eat pork?

Is pork safe for dogs?

Feeding your dog some plain pork is fine as an occasional treat.

“Lean pork without any added salt, seasonings, like garlic or onion powder, or sauces is safe to give to your dog,” Dr. Conrad told The Dodo.

Small amounts of pork actually have some health benefits. Pork contains vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins B6 and B12, iron, zinc, thiamine and phosphorus.

Is pork ever unsafe for dogs?

While a little bit of pork is OK for dogs to eat, you shouldn’t feed a lot of processed pork, like ham, bacon and pepperoni, to your pup since it’s high in fat and sodium.

“[Processed pork isn’t safe] due to the high salt content, which can cause GI upset and dehydration,” Dr. Conrad said. “The high fat content can also be hard for your dog to digest and can lead to pancreatitis, which can be serious and potentially deadly.”

Giving your dog an occasional small bite of bacon should be fine, but be sure you don’t feed him more than that.

Instead of giving your dog a piece of your bacon, try these Beggin’ Strips bacon dog treats from Chewy.

Don’t give your dog pork fat, either, because it can upset his stomach and cause pancreatitis if he eats too much.

Can dogs eat raw pork?

You definitely shouldn’t feed your dog raw pork (or any other raw meat). Just like humans can get sick from eating raw meat, it can make dogs sick, too.

“If dogs eat raw, infected pork they can be infected by intestinal parasites,” Dr. Cairncross told The Dodo. Raw and undercooked pork can contain Trichinella spiralis, a roundworm parasite that causes the infection trichinosis.

According to Dr. Conrad, the symptoms of trichinosis are mild in dogs, but the parasite larvae can live in your dog’s muscles and cause issues, like muscle pain. Larvae can also pass through your dog’s system and make his poop infectious to other animals.

According to Dr. Cairncross, symptoms of trichinosis can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle aches and stiffness

Puppies, senior dogs and dogs with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to trichinosis, and they may have more severe symptoms.

Treatment for trichinosis in dogs is usually a dewormer, such as mebendazole, to get rid of the parasite. The infection should clear up in around two weeks once treated.

Can dogs eat pork bones?

You should never give your dog pork bones (or bones from other kinds of meat).

When bones are cooked, they become soft and brittle, which makes them easy to break. The small pieces of bone can be a choking hazard, and they can cause an obstruction in your dog’s GI tract if he swallows them. They can also get stuck in your dog’s teeth or cut his mouth and can even lead to cracked teeth.

If your dog manages to sneak some bones out of the garbage, you might notice the following:

  • Gagging or retching
  • Coughing
  • Straining to poop
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty breathing

Dogs can technically eat raw meat bones, but they’re still not totally safe, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.

Try giving your dog pork-flavored dog treats instead. You can get these ones from Chewy.

While you can give your pup a small slice of bacon every now and then, pork isn’t the best treat for your dog. Stick to pork-flavored treats, and be sure to avoid raw pork and pork bones, too.

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