If you’ve been considering giving your dog pork as a treat, or even making it a regular part of their diet you’ve probably found yourself wondering “is pork bad for dogs?” The answer is a little bit more complex than a simple yes or no answer, and it definitely bears some looking into before you make any solid decisions on the matter.
The Short Answer
The short answer is that Pork isn’t going to harm your dog in a single feeding, provided that the following is true:
- It’s properly cooked.
- It’s part of a well-balanced diet.
If you just want to feed your dog some bacon or a chop as a treat, go ahead. There’s not much to worry about in that case, and your canine companion is sure to love chowing down.
One thing you’ll want to be aware of if you’re feeding chops or other larger cuts of meat to your animal is that you probably want to trim the meat from the bones and cut off the excess fat. Cooked bones are brittle and can lead to cuts in the mouth if broken by a long gnawing session. The extra fat isn’t good for your dog, especially if they normally subsist primarily on kibble.
Why Not to Feed Pork for Dogs?
There are a couple of reasons you might want to hesitate before tossing a pound of bacon to your dog, however.
Remember that cooking the pork thoroughly is vitally important, since pigs are known to harbor some pretty nasty parasites and you don’t want your pet to suffer from trichinosis. While most cases are fairly minor, the risk of death from these roundworms should be enough to keep you from feeding raw or rare pork to your dog, and you probably shouldn’t be eating it either.
You might also want to try freezing the pork for multiple weeks beforehand if you know you’ll be feeding it to your dogs. This prolonged freezing makes for a low effort way to kill all of the parasites in the meat.
You’ll also not want to make a habit of it, especially if you neglect to trim the fat. While fat is a required part of the diet, pork tends to have excessive amounts of it. This can lead to all of the same complications it does in humans.
When to Feed Pork for Dogs?
It’s important to make sure that your dog has a varied diet. If your dog is the type which primarily exists only on dry dog food, then you’ll want to be cautious when feeding them anything else. Commercial foods are low in fat, and their body gets used to it after a while and the sudden influx of grease can be hard to adjust to.
Don’t let this dissuade you from slipping your dog a slice of bacon at the table, or even feeding a couple bites of pork, but don’t feed them an enormous chop and expect good results other than your animal’s enjoyment if they’ve been only eating kibble for years.
Too much pork can lead to obesity problems as well, even if your dog tolerates it. Remember that it definitely shouldn’t ever be part of a raw diet due to the risk of parasitic infection. If your dog accidentally gets ahold of some, keep an eye on them for swollen eyelids and signs of muscle soreness. If you see these, get them to a vet as soon as possible.
If your dog has gastrointestinal issues approach the idea cautiously, you don’t want to overwhelm them with a whole lot of fat which can lead to even more problems. It isn't the pork in this case that’s the problem, it’s the additional fat. Using cuts like tenderloin and trimming the fat will keep these problems to a minimum and allow you to feed it even to sensitive dogs.
As long as you keep all of this in mind, pork is no riskier for your dog than any other animal protein like chicken, lamb, or beef.
Pork makes for a fine treat for your pets, provided that it’s cooked well and you remove the bones. It shouldn’t be a staple of their diet, however, unless you’re planning on giving those cuts with lower fat. In essence, your dogs will be fine with a chop or piece of bacon here and there, but you’ll be damaging their health if you feed it on a constant basis or allow them to eat it raw.
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