We all know that dogs love to eat meat and that high-quality meat is a fabulous source of protein and healthy fats. Yet people often ask us (and the internet, it seems): Can dogs eat pork?
It’s understandable — pork is, in a way, more complex than some other meats, particularly when it comes to the health of your dog.
To find out more about if, how, when and why dogs can eat pork, we spoke to Braeden Ruud, Co-Founder and CEO of 5-star-rated Raised Right. This is what he told us.
Can dogs eat pork?
“If fed the right way, pork is a nutritious protein source that is particularly helpful for dogs with allergy issues because pork is considered by many to be a novel protein. Veterinarians often recommend pork for dogs with allergies as it’s less likely to cause an allergic reaction when compared to other protein sources.
“Some companies like Raised Right are aware of how helpful pork can be for dogs with allergies and this is why they offer limited-ingredient recipes with pork as the protein source.”
Is pork dangerous for dogs?
“With that said, we don’t want you to confuse a complete and balanced dog food with different types of highly processed pork that are prepared for humans like bacon and ham. When we’re in the kitchen preparing meat for us humans to eat, we often add salt and a variety of seasonings. Too much salt and certain ingredients commonly found in spices like onion powder are very dangerous for dogs so you need to be careful on what table scraps you feed to your dog. There’s also the worry about trichinosis.”
Why are people curious about pork?
“The main reason people are curious about pork is because of trichinosis. Raw pork can potentially contain the parasite called trichinella, which can cause the parasite infection known as trichinosis. To avoid this all you need to do is make sure the pork is cooked properly.
“According to the USDA’s FSIS Compliance Guideline, there’s variety of time and temperature combinations that eliminate trichinella from pork, but the simplest is to cook the pork to an internal temperature of 144 Degrees F (62.2 Degrees C) because once this temperature is reached trichinella is instantly eliminated.
“To be on the safe side, we cook all of our recipes to 162 F and we test every single batch for E.coli, listeria, and salmonella because they are killed at 160 F — so if these pathogens pass the lab safety test we know there is no risk of trichinosis as the trichinella parasite is killed at a much lower temperature (144 F), which makes it pointless to test for trichinosis.
“We have never had a pet contract trichinosis from our food as we have a hold release program where we don’t ever ship our food unless it passes the lab safety test. For transparency, we post the test results of every batch on our website for everyone to see.”
Here’s a chart showing the various time & temperature combinations listed in the USDA’s FSIS Compliance Guideline:
|Minimum internal temperature||Minimum time|
|Degrees F||Degrees C|
Can dogs eat sausages?
“Pork sausage is high in fat, salt, and is usually processed with a variety of seasonings that aren’t safe for your dog. If you’re making the sausage yourself from scratch and don’t add any salt or seasonings then you can give some to your dog as a treat in moderation.”
Can dogs eat ham?
“Processed ham is very high in sodium and too much sodium can cause a variety of health issues for dogs. Symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. In more serious cases, too much sodium can cause seizures, comas, and kidney damage so it would be wise to avoid feeding processed ham to your dog.”
Can dogs eat bacon?
“With how processed bacon is, it’s not a good idea to feed too much of it to dogs because bacon usually contains high amounts of salt. Bacon is also very high in fat, which can cause indigestion.”
Can dogs eat pulled pork?
“Plain pork that’s cooked properly is safe for dogs to eat just as long as there aren’t any seasonings or spices added to it. Also, make sure you’re not adding any barbecue sauce to the pulled pork as it’s only safe to feed to your dog if it’s completely plain.”