When it comes to meat, most people assume dogs can naturally have it. Most people believe dogs are carnivorous because they are in the Carnivora order. However, based on their behavior, habits and diets, they are actually omnivorous. A common myth claims that you can never go wrong with meat. Another myth says that dogs should only be fed cooked meat or they become aggressive. Are these myths actually true?
The truth is they can eat meat and they actually love it. Different dogs prefer different types of meat. At the same time, meat in excess could also be harmful, hence the necessity of a diversified diet. At this point, you probably ask yourself – is pork bad for dogs? Can dogs eat as much pork as they want? Put a piece of pork in front of your dog and chances are your furry friend will love it. But then, are there any restrictions associated with it?
Benefits of pork for dogs
Just like pretty much any other type of food of dogs, pork comes with some benefits. Generally speaking, you want your dog’s food to be rich in protein. Protein is mandatory for healthy muscles, but also to maintain the mass. From this point of view, pork makes a great option for your dog. At the same time, it is rich in amino acids, which are highly recommended in your dog’s nutrition.
Other than that, pork is rich in thiamine. It is also known as vitamin B1 and it is mandatory for dogs. In other words, dogs cannot produce this vitamin themselves, hence the necessity of getting it from an external source. Without this vitamin, dogs experience neurological problems, general weakness and even gastrointestinal issues like stomach upset.
Thiamine is just as handy when it comes to the natural conversion process of food into energy. Your furry friend will keep its energy levels up, as well as its strength.
From another point of view, when it comes to lean sources of protein, pork is usually better than other types of meat – better than chicken as well. As healthy as it is, chicken has a few side effects, such as gut inflammation in certain breeds. Pork is the healthier alternative, since it will not really cause any allergies. Plus, it is very quick and easy to digest, so it makes a great choice for dogs suffering from constipation, bloating or even diarrhea.
So, is pork bad for dogs? Based on the advantages it comes with, it sounds like a highly recommended type of food. But then, nothing is good in excessive amounts and pork makes no exception either. So, what are the bad things associated with it?
When pork is bad for your dog
To make it perfectly clear, you should know that dogs should only have cooked pork. It makes perfect sense. Raw pork is often associated with various parasites. Such parasites – especially trichinella – can be extremely dangerous for many beings, including people and canines. Such parasites can cause gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, upset stomach, vomiting and pains. However, the reactions can get quite aggressive.
At this point, you probably ask yourself – how about the raw pork in raw diets? Some vets recommend it for certain dogs. But then, the pork is not just any type of meat. In fact, it has been specifically treated for such a diet. Most of these treatments involve freezing the meat for a long time, only to kill the dangerous parasites. On the other hand, standard raw pork that you can buy from any store has not been taken through such treatments.
It is also important to know that dogs should only have plain pork. To people, pork needs some extras. You are less likely to cook and eat pork like that. You mix it with some other foods of dogs, throw in some salt or maybe pepper, as well as other condiments that you like. All these things make pork even more flavorful. However, whether it comes to mustard, garlic or any other thing, such extras will be dangerous for your pet’s stomach.
In other words, that tasty piece of pork from your plate is not suitable for your dog. Instead, the meat must be cooked from raw with no extras whatsoever. Even ham or bacon can be harmful for your dog, even if you do not add anything. Most stores sell bacon enhanced with condiments already. Basically, as long as the meat is cured and not plain, it should not go into your dog’s bowl.
Now, as you may already know, pork is one of the fattest types of meat out there. Sure, you could find some lean meat here and there as well, but generally, pork is considered to be fat. This is the part that makes you gain weight. It is important to know that most pork has large amounts of fat, even if it is not visible. Sometimes, you can see those white parts, but even if the meat looks lean, there is still some fat in there.
This is when problems occur because dogs cannot naturally digest fat. Fat will cause stomach upset, mostly because it irritates the pancreas and can lead to inflammation.
How about some bones? Could your dog get a few bones for occasional munching? Bones are contraindicated, even if they seem large and strong. A cooked bone will splinter much easier than a raw bone. As a result, it can cause choking. If your dog manages to swallow it, it could tear parts of the digestive system. If your dog loves munching on bones, stick to the classic ones that you can buy from a pet store.
How to feed your dog pork
Based on the pros and cons of pork, this type of meat is not necessarily contraindicated in dogs. It is not forbidden, but it does come with some restrictions, given its adverse reactions. If you want to feed your furry friend pork, you have to make some preparations upfront. In other words, stay away from seasoning, condiments and other extras. Also, ensure that all the white parts are removed. That is the fat and while pork will still have fat in it, you want to remove as much as you can. Other than that, pork must be thoroughly cooked.
Then, you cannot just cook a big piece of pork, throw it in your dog’s bowl or on the floor and forget about it. Pork should not be part of your pet’s diet. If you give it some meat, portion it and give out small pieces.
If this is the first time your dog has pork, you might want to start with a tiny serving. Watch out for potential reactions within the next 24 hours. If your pet is alright, you can gradually increase the serving size until you reach to a decent amount.
Keep an eye on your dog after introducing a new food into its diet. If something is outside the diet, you must observe potential symptoms like vomiting diarrhea or lethargy. If they fail to phase out within a few hours, you should take your dog to a vet.
How much pork to feed your dog
So, is pork bad for dogs? If you feed your dog pork as a treat only, there should be no problems. Now, how much pork can you feed your dog? This is the aspect that confuses every pet owner out there.
The serving size depends on the size of your dog, of course. Start with a small portion – bite size. It should be given as a treat. Keep an eye on your pet for potential side effects. The next serving size should be double – two pieces.
A small breed can take a couple of pieces for a serving. A medium one can go for four pieces, while a large dog can take five pieces.
How often to feed your dog pork
So you know that pork is a good treat with a few benefits and some side effects if you exaggerate. Now, how many treats do you give your dog? If you give your dog 20 pork treats a day, pork naturally becomes part of its diet.
A serving a day is usually more than enough. To keep it on a safe side, you can go with a serving every couple of days or even rarer.
Obviously, the serving size and frequency of servings should be lower if your dog is old or suffers from particular conditions. If you are not sure about it, simply discuss this option with your vet upfront.
Frequently asked questions
It is quite normal to have a few questions regarding this treat, especially if you are a new dog owner and you still learning about your pet’s lifestyle and necessities.
Is pork safe for dogs to eat?
Yes, as long as it is given in small amounts. It should be given as a treat only and it cannot become part of your pet’s diet. There are, of course, a few requirements and restrictions.
Is ham bad for dogs?
Most ham in commerce is curated or treated, so it should not be given to your dog. You can get raw ham and cook it yourself, to make sure there are no condiments added to it.
What meats can dogs eat?
Chicken is a good alternative to pork, but it can have some problematic effects in dogs as well, so it should not be given in heavy amounts. It is normally easy to digest and comes with minerals, amino acids, and protein.
Lean beef makes a good alternative to pork too. In fact, beef is a popular ingredient in lots of dog foods – especially the wet ones. It is rich in protein and comes with lots of minerals and vitamins that your dog actually needs. Of course, it must be plain and it should be thoroughly cooked pork.
Are pork bones bad for dogs?
From a nutritional point of view, pork bones are not bad for your dog. Problems occur when bones split. When cooked, bones can split pretty easily and can cause all sorts of blockages. Chocking is also a potential danger that might kill a dog. Even if your pet swallows the bones, they can cause tears throughout the intestinal tract.
As a short final conclusion, is pork bad for dogs? Pork is not that bad for your furry friend. In fact, most dogs like the taste of pork. But then, your dog has no clue what it is good for him. Sometimes, dogs can sense danger and refuse certain foods. But since they like pork, they will go for it.
Pork must be given in small amounts, mostly as occasional treats. It should not become part of your dog’s diet. At the same time, it must be thoroughly cooked pork from raw, with no sauces or condiments.