What’s the deal with giving your dog pork? Why is there so much confusion around whether it’s safe or not? Hopefully we can provide some clarity and give you the answer to the question can dogs eat pork?
Pork is one of the most commonly eaten meats worldwide. It’s versatility means that it can be eaten both fresh and cured. So it’s not surprising that our dogs get to sample it from time to time in the form of ham, sausage or a few slices of pork left over from a Sunday roast.
The main concerns about giving your dog pork tend to centred around two areas:
Both the pork tapeworm and trichinosis, also called trichinella spiralis (roundworms) can be caught by eating raw or under cooked pork.
Once ingested, these parasitic worms pass through the intestinal tract and can attack other tissues such as muscle. The symptoms of an infection include nausea, diarrhoea, fever and even muscle soreness and fatigue.
However, freezing pork for three weeks and cooking it well will destroy any parasites making it safe to eat.
The other concern around feeding pork to your dog seems to be the belief that it causes Pancreatitis.
Your dog’s pancreas is the organ responsible for helping in the metabolism of sugar by producing insulin, and for the digestion and absorption of nutrients by supplying enzymes. It is a ‘v-shaped’ organ that sits behind the stomach.
When the pancreas becomes inflamed it is known as pancreatitis. It can cause severe stomach pain, depression, lack of appetite and vomiting.
One of the reasons that there is concern over pork is that it is high in fat. A diet high in fat is known to be a factor in the cause of pancreatitis. However, as with most human foods, pork is fine so long as it is eaten in moderation .
Even if you have never given your dog raw pork, you may have been tempted to give them a hotdog or sausage as a training aid or simply as a tasty treat.
It’s worth bearing in mind that processed meats can be extremely high in fat and in calories. Serving a single hotdog to a small or medium sized dog is the calorific equivalent of a three hamburger snack for us.
Not only is the intake of calories important as the number of obese dogs continues to rise, but sausages may contain any number of other ingredients that may not be suitable for your dog. These can include salt, seasoning and spices.
So raw pork, sausages, ham and gammon may be off the menu. How about cooked pork bones? As the bone is heated it becomes more brittle and this can cause the bone to splinter into sharp shards when it is chewed. It’s for this reason that cooked bones actually present a serious potential health issue to your dog.
These splinters can not only cause damage to your dog’s mouth or throat; but f they are swallowed then there is a possibility that they can also damage your dog’s intestinal tract. This type of damage is serious and would need an immediate and costly trip to the vet for investigation and treatment.
Pork is a common allergen for dogs. Estimates show that around 50% of dogs have some kind of reaction to pork.
As a responsible dog owner, it’s always worth keeping an eye on your dog after introducing any new foods into their diet. By monitoring their health and well-being, you may notice that they have an upset stomach or loose stools (runny poo) if they suffer from a mild reaction to pork. We’d always recommend that you discuss this with your vet for guidance and diagnosis.
So, can dogs eat pork?
Yes they can. As long as the pork is well cooked and your dog is not allergic, then pork is fine to give your dog in moderation. Keep in mind that existing health conditions such as pancreatitis may also be affected if your dog is given too much of a fatty food.
Pork is often found as an ingredient in a lot of commercially available foods and I haven’t met a dog that isn’t tempted by a piece of hotdog.
So if you want to indulge your dog then have a go at these tasty treats!
- 2 slices bacon, diced
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 3 cups whole wheat flour, or more, as needed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes; set aside, reserving excess fat.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat pumpkin puree, eggs and bacon fat on medium-high until well combined, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add old fashioned oats and 2 1/2 cups flour at low speed, beating just until incorporated. Add an additional 1/4 cup flour at a time just until the dough is no longer sticky. Add bacon, beating just until incorporated.
- Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Place into oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.*
- Let cool completely.
*Baking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the treats. Serving size will also vary depending on the desired shapes and cookie cutters used
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 2-3 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
- 1 cup oat flour or 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, processed until floury
- 1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, egg, water, carrot and bacon and stir until well blended. Add both flours to wet mixture to form dough.
- Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or lightly floured work surface to 1/4 inch thick.
- Cut out with a dog bone shaped cookie cutter, or your desired shape. Place treats 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in a sealed container or re-sealable plastic bag for up to one week, or freeze.
- 2 1/2 cups sifted whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup dry milk powder
- 1 cube beef bouillon, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cooked ground pork
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 6 tablespoons shortening
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup of cold water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil two cookie sheets.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, milk powder, beef bouillon, and salt. Add the ground pork, carrot, shortening and egg; mix in to the flour mixture while gradually adding water to form a stiff ball of dough.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters, and reroll scraps until no dough is left. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes