Can dogs eat pork? What you need to know

If you have any questions around whether or not your dog can eat pork, you can find your answer here. We look into areas such as processed vs unprocessed pork, different types of pork, alternatives to pork and much more...

There are many delicious protein sources and meats out there but if there is one that seems to drive our canine friends wild with excitement, it is most likely pork. Most of us assume that pork is just like any other meat, which is why the odd bit of bacon or sausage is often given to our pet as a little treat, 

However, is pork meat like any other? Does pork have any negative effects on your dog? And what about dog’s with sensitive stomachs, is pork safe for them? 

These are questions we will be covering in more detail in this article. Let’s dig in. 

Is pork bad for dogs?

Lean cuts of pork offer nutritional advantages to both humans and dogs. Some of the advantages of pork are:25It contains Omega 3 - Heritage pork, in particular, is higher in Omega 3 by 18-43% 

  • It’s an easily digestible protein source
  • Good amino acid profile
  • Pork organs such as the liver and heart provide essential vitamins and minerals. 

There are different types of pork that we should briefly look into. Pork comes from pigs and the two popular categorization are:

  1. Pasture-raised Pigs - These thrive on pasture and are also know as pastured pigs. They typically feed on roots, plants, bugs and nuts. These pigs are generally healthier and happier as their movement is not restricted. They are also known to be more flavourful. Pork from these pigs can also be referred to as heritage pork. 
  2. Factory Farmed Pigs - These pigs are mostly confined in pens. Their food typically depends on the farmers, but even if they are fed wholesome grains and vegetables, these pigs are vulnerable to illnesses. As such, they are often put on antibiotics and dewormers. 

Understanding where your pork comes from enables you to get the best quality if you do decide on incorporating pork into your dog’s diet. 

Pork is not necessarily bad for your dog but the type of pork you feed your dog and how it is prepared is what you should be cautious of. Let us look at some key considerations before feeding pork to your dog. 

Is cooked pork bad for dogs

Raw or undercooked pork is very dangerous for both you and your dog. You should not risk feeding your dog uncooked pork as it exposes him or her to parasites such as Trichinella. Trichinella is a parasite found in raw meat and especially pork. If your dog consumes raw pork and you notice symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stiffness
  • Fever
  • Signs of stomach pain

 

You should consider getting in touch with your vet as soon as you can to avoid further complications and relieve your pooch out of its misery. 

You might be wondering about the pork in raw dog food. This kind of pork is safe for your dog as it has undergone extensive treatment such as freezing to ensure there is no risk of contamination or nasty parasites.

Processed pork for dogs

Bacon, ham, sausages all sound very exciting for your dog but you should be very wary of these processed forms of pork. For one, these processed forms of pork are likely to contain ingredients that could upset your dog’s stomach or worse, they could be toxic to your dog. In some cases, these forms of pork can spike allergies or intolerances

Pork based meats such as bacon and ham are highly processed and even humans are advised to consume them in moderation. Your canine friend is likely to give you pleading eyes whenever you are sizzling up some bacon but try and avoid giving in. As mouthwatering, flavourful and aromatic bacon or ham is, it still contains plenty of unhealthy fats and excess salt which will only do damage, as your dog’s stomach will struggle to handle it. 

The excess fats could also lead to health conditions such as heart disease or dog pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a condition where digestive enzymes in the pancreas are activated too soon leading to ‘self-digestion’ of the pancreas.

If you do decide to spoil your furry friend with some processed pork, practice a high level of moderation or avoid it altogether. If your dog has had issues in the past or currently has problems with fatty foods, then do not attempt to feed him or her these forms of processed food.

 

Can dogs eat pork bones?

Before you throw the dog a bone, it is important to know that pork bones are very brittle when cooked and they can easily break or splinter. They, therefore, pose a choking hazard or can cause tears in your dog’s gut. If your dog really needs a good chew, consider getting a dog toy such as hemp rope instead as it is much safer. 

 

Are there alternatives to pork?

The closest alternative to pork is wild boar. Wild Boar roams free and forages for grass, roots and seeds. As such, there are no processed farm feeds involved and the need for antibiotics/treatments is eliminated. Wild boar is also considerably leaner than pork as it moves around a lot more. When served alone. Pork is a novel protein source since most pet parents feed beef and chicken to their dogs. Wild boar is also a novel protein source making it one of the best options for dogs with allergies or intolerances. At Beco, we are big on loving your dog while simultaneously loving the planet and wild boar is a very eco-friendly option as less methane is emitted.

How should I prepare pork for my dog?

If you would still like to try out some pork for your dog, first be sure that your vet approves and your dog hasn’t got a history of sensitivity (more on this in a bit). 

As we established earlier, heritage pork from pastured pigs has more nutritional value therefore opt for this if you can. Choose lean cuts of pork with no bones and strip away most of the fat. Some of the parts your furry friend would enjoy are the heart, liver, tongue and trachea.

Preparation of the pork should be very simple and whichever prep style you choose, refrain from seasoning the meat with condiments or spices. Avoid vegetables such as onions or garlic as well since they can be toxic to your dog.

 

Can dogs with a sensitive stomach eat pork?

Pork could actually be suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs but it depends on the leanness of the cuts. Opt for lean cuts of pork as high fat and a sensitive stomach might not be a good mix. Processed pork such as bacon or ham is a No! Again, these processed forms of pork contain high fat, salt and other ingredients which might not be the best for your dog with a sensitive stomach. 

If you are cooking pork for a canine with a sensitive stomach, it is extremely important to ensure that on top of the meat being lean, it should have no additives, extra ingredients or condiments. You might find it bland but best believe your dog will happily gobble the meal up without the risk of an agitated stomach. Finally, be sure to consult your vet before feeding pork to your dog with a sensitive stomach.

 

In conclusion, pork is a good protein source for our dogs and it is very flavourful. But as a dog owner, you should monitor the kind of pork you feed your pooch and it is advisable to stay away from processed meats such as bacon or sausage. If you are preparing pork for your dog at home, keep it simple and plain. Also, remember wild boar is a great alternative option that is just as flavourful as pork but lower in fat, cholesterol and better for the environment.