Can Dogs Eat Pork?

Dog sitting at table ready to eat


Can Dogs Eat Pork?Many dog owners often give in to those pleading puppy dog eyes that stare up at them during mealtimes. Begging for food is a natural talent dogs possess, and they are exceptionally brilliant at it.  However, sometimes it doesn't occur to dog owners that some of the foods people love to eat are harmful to your dog's overall health.  There can be benefits to feeding your dog human foods, although only some will offer any nutritional value. Often, human foods have excess amounts of butter, salt, or other seasonings that can be harmful to dogs. Although, most foods aren't harmful in small quantities, some are, especially if other health issues are already present. For example, dogs with diabetes shouldn't be given foods with added sugar. It's vital to ensure you understand your dog's overall health before giving them any human foods.

Is Pork Safe for Dogs to Ingest?

It can be very tempting to throw your dog some pork off your plate, but pork isn't a great choice. Pork isn't a good food for pets, even though it won't hurt them necessarily, it doesn't mean you should.

Some human foods are cut and dry, and owners know whether or not it's safe for their dogs to eat. For example, can dogs eat chocolate? No, it's like poison. Can dogs eat green beans? Yes, in moderation, green beans are a great treat for dogs, and they love it! 

sitting bulldog looking up

The tricky thing about pork is that it can be safe for dogs to eat, but it can also be quite detrimental to their overall health. Pork is not naturally very salty, which means that it isn't the worst protein option to feed your pet. Some meats like beef or any smoked, cured, or canned meats have a very high salt content and should be avoided. But because pork has considerably fewer sodium contents, it can be a good treat for your pet every now and then.

People often give their dogs a piece of pork off their plate out of convenience. It's much easier to give your pet a tasty piece of pork from your own dinner plate than to prepare an entirely separate dish for your pup. When pork is prepared for people to eat, a lot of salt and seasonings are often added for flavor. These additives are great for enhancing the flavor of pork but, are usually bad for dogs when ingested.  Generally, any foods prepared with a lot of grease, salt, and extra seasonings can cause stomach issues for your dog.

When Is Pork Dangerous for Your Pet?

Dogs can only eat pork if it's cooked thoroughly and isn't prepared with any additional seasonings or additives. It's a good idea to avoid giving your dog foods if you aren't certain if it's safe for them or not. There are many ways to eat pork.  It can be prepared as bacon, chops, and ham, just to name a few.  It's important to keep in mind that some pork options can be worse for your dog's overall health than others. For example, bacon, ham, and fat trimmings can contain excess grease and fat, which can lead to health issues for your dog. 

There is discussion over whether raw pork is safe to include in your dog's raw food diet. It's safe to say that raw pork bones and raw ground pork should be avoided. Raw food diets are entirely another beast in general, and this article will touch on what these diets mean. Most dog owners know that raw meat, in general, is not safe for their dogs. Undercooked pork and cooked pork bones are also very dangerous for your dog's health. These things can easily be prepared incorrectly, making them dangerous for your dog to ingest. If pork meat is improperly prepared, it can cause issues like an upset stomach and raw meat can carry a lot of bacteria that can lead to dangerous infections or parasites.

sick dog with thermometer in mouth

It's best to avoid these pork dishes altogether since they have a high-risk factor. Also, no matter if it's a raw bone or a cooked bone, pork bones can easily splinter while your dog eats it and may puncture their internal organs. 

Fried pork rind, rib bones, or processed pork products should not be given to your dog.  There are many seasonings regularly used when preparing pork that can be detrimental to your pet's health. Seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, chives, and nutmeg are toxic for dogs. While these spices may make the food taste better, they are bad for dogs.   

Is Pork Beneficial in a Raw Food Diet

If you're doing research and deciding whether you want to feed your dog a raw food diet, this can be a long and complicated road. Many veterinarians state that raw food diets aren't good for dogs, and the FDA agrees.

When implementing a raw food diet, there are plenty of food options to choose from to include.  However, many animal experts would advise against a raw food diet for dogs, regardless of the options available. The main reason behind this is in food preparation.  It is easy to make mistakes when preparing food meant to be included in a raw food diet. If the foods are not prepared correctly, health issues can arise.  

Even though it was stated earlier that you shouldn't feed your dog raw pork, many people begin raw food diets by introducing raw pork to their pets first.

In general, Veterinarians are against raw dog food diets.  There are too many risks and very little benefits; however, ultimately, the choice is yours whether you want to go down this path or not. There is evidence to support a raw food diet is good for dogs, and people love their pets and want what's best for them and their health. But many pet owners do not adhere to the strict guidelines or specifications to ensure a proper raw food diet is prepared.  This causes animal experts to steer clear of advising a diet consisting of raw foods to pet owners.  If food is incorrectly prepared, a wealth of health issues like anemia and parasites can arise.  

Photo of raw pork meat

This article firmly stands by the idea that you should not feed your dog raw pork. The point of this article is to provide you with as much information as possible so you, the dog owner, can decide what to give your dog.

It's time to move away from the idea that a raw dog food diet is a good choice for your dog.  There are too many health concerns associated with a diet comprised of raw food.  It's much better and easier to offer known safe foods to your dog then worry about the harm raw foods can cause. Pork is especially harmful if included in a raw food diet.  It can cause internal damage or a parasite infection.  

Health Benefits of Pork

Giving your dog pork is not something you should stress out about. A little bit of pork every now and then will not kill them, but it might cause gastrointestinal upsets. However, whenever owners are sure the pork they give their dog is safe to eat, and prepared correctly, it can provide health benefits.

Pork is a great way for dogs to get amino acids into their systems. Pork is also rich in Thiamin (Vitamin B1), an essential mineral for cellular function. Another great benefit of pork is that it can be an excellent replacement for a dog with allergies. Some meats like beef or chicken can cause allergic reactions in animals. Typically, these allergies lead to symptoms such as upset stomachs or diarrhea.  If your dog can not tolerate chicken or beef, pork is an excellent alternative.

Happy dog running in grass

It isn't recommended to offer pork as a first choice for dogs when it comes to human food snacks. If prepared correctly; however, dogs can benefit from it.

Amino Acids and the Important Role they Play in Your Dog's Health

Pork is full of amino acids, which are important for your dog's overall health. It can be easy for dog owners to overlook the health benefits pork has to offer. But, amino acids play a huge role in supporting your dog's system and pork is packed with it.

These proteins are essential in restoring tissues in your dog's body. This means that amino acids have restorative properties.  If your pup gets a scrape or scratch, amino acids aid in the healing process and assist in promoting healthy skin and fur.

Amino acids also boost your dog's muscle activity and immune system. These proteins carry oxygen throughout your dog's body as well.

Pork can be a great treat for your pet. The benefits from the amino acids alone are great for the health of your dog plus, pork has been known to boost their mental health. Giving your pet a special snack, especially if they have anxiety, can help relieve them of some of that stress.

While you should never give your dog raw pork or pork bones, pork that is cooked thoroughly can be an excellent treat in moderation.

Health Risks of Pork

Pork has health benefits and can be an excellent substitution for other meats you give your dog at mealtimes. However, pork is also associated with many health risks when it's prepared improperly, and that is important to keep in mind if you are thinking of offering pork to your pet. Other foods like blueberries aren't as complicated as pork. Dogs can eat blueberries, and they're great for them. That's all that needs to be said about blueberries, and it doesn't get much simpler than that. However, when it comes to pork, the answer isn't simply yes or no. Dogs can only eat some pork products, and a lot of those products are dependent on how the pork is prepared.  If isn't cooked thoroughly and spices and salts are added, pork is not safe for dogs.

When pork is given to a dog but is not cooked completely, it can give a parasite infection to your dog. This parasite infection can then lead to a gastrointestinal illness. Other issues dogs might face when eating uncooked pork are diarrhea, stomach pains, indigestion, or vomiting. Dogs that have eaten bad pork will often display these symptoms and may have pale gums or lethargy.

Some pork products should never be fed to your dog. For example, pork bones are never safe for dogs to eat. Any foods that contain added salt or are cooked in a lot of grease should never go to your dog.

Best Way to Serve Pork to Your dog

Pork needs to be prepared in a specific way for it to be safe for dogs to eat. Owners shouldn't feed their dogs pork if they have added any seasonings. The best way to give your dog pork is off the grill, not off the kitchen counter. You can offer pork as long as it's been fully cooked, and no butter, salt, or other seasonings have been added.

Person holding a piece of bacon to Husky's face

It might be tempting to give your dog some yummy pork products that you enjoy, but this is where trouble can ensue. Sliced ham or fried bacon have way too many fatty properties and should be avoided altogether.

It's also best to mix pork with something more beneficial for your dogs, like rice, peas, or sweet potatoes. Owners should prep their dogs' food ahead of time to maintain a regular dinner schedule.

Alternative Protein Options for Pork

Some pet owners might read this article and find the contents alarming and decide it's not worth the trouble to give their dog pork even if it's properly prepared. If you find yourself in this position and are extra cautious about what your dog eats, that's okay. Your pet's health is important to you and being extra cautious in this situation can prevent stress in the long run. 

There are plenty of other human food options available that offer many health benefits and are safer choice than pork. For instance, many different types of fish are great for dogs plus, they enjoy eating it. When it comes to fish, salmon is one of the best choices for dogs.

Other healthy proteins to consider giving your dog are lean meats like turkey, chicken, chuck steak, roast, and even wild boar. Owners have a lot of creative freedom when it comes to giving their pets certain human foods they'll both enjoy and benefit from physically. Keep in mind that although these foods can be healthier alternatives to pork, they'll likely still have specific ways of being prepared ensure they're as safe as possible for your pet.


It's completely understandable that so many owners want to give their adorable pets extra treats. Puppy dog eyes work for a reason, and sometimes saying 'no' just gets too hard. In these situations, if you prepare your dog pork specially for them, or if you have pork dog food, your dog will be fine eating it and may very well benefit from the vitamins and minerals in the food.

Owners should never give their dog food if they don't know if it's safe. If you don't know if a pork product has extra seasoning or salt, you should not give it to your dog. There are many pork alternatives for dogs because they love the flavor. For example, bacon is not good for dogs, but plenty of popular dog treat brands have made dog-safe bacon treats. So, when you're frying up some bacon for your breakfast, stay away from tossing a piece to your pup and offer a treat made specifically for them instead.  If you're still giving your dog a treat, they will appreciate it.

French Bulldog eating food from a bowl

As long as dog owners are cautious and stay informed on the health risks and benefits on what they feed their dog, they will be sure they are providing the best care possible. Dogs with allergies might benefit from homecooked meals rather than dog food brands. Often, it's hard to figure out what is in your dog's food that is causing their allergies. If your dog seems to be suffering from this issue, switching to a prepped pork diet made from scratch at home, can help them feel happier and healthier.

It's always up to you as the owner to decide if you're willing to take the extra steps you need to feed your dog pork in a safe way. There are many options when it comes to dog treats that require far less work. So, if you think prepping pork sounds like way too much effort, you're not alone. It's not unreasonable to view preparing pork specially for your pup is both time-consuming and inconvenient, and not the right choice for you. It's simply a matter of how much time and energy you want to commit to providing your dog with a human food snack. The most important thing is that you provide your dog with everything they need to stay healthy.

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