Can Dogs Eat Ham?


Regardless of the type of meat you are slicing, a high chance is that your dog will be sitting at your side gazing and salivating for it. In the case of lean meats such as turkey or chicken, most nutritionists agree that it’s okay to share them with your four-legged friend. However, when it comes to a holiday ham as you serve your family, making yourself a sandwich ham, or you have gotten some from the deli counter, it is only common to ask yourself if it is safe to share some with your pup. Here is an exclusive look at whether it’s okay to feed ham to your dog and everything else you need to know about the topic.

So, Can Dogs Eat Ham?

Yes! Dogs can surely eat ham. Ham is pork meat from the pig’s hind leg, and dogs find it delicious. Ham is also rich in proteins which is an essential part of the healthy nutrition of your dog. But while you can eat ham, should your dog eat ham too? Not really. Ham should only be given to dogs as an occasional treat. Some of the concerns of feeding high amounts of ham to your dog include;

High sodium contents

According to the American Kennel Club, store-bought ham is processed meat that has undergone a curing process. Ham is generally loaded with sugar, sodium, and other preservatives, all of which are unhealthy for your dog. The primary preservatives in ham are nitrites and nitrates, which are sodium-based. These high sodium content can be toxic for your dog, leading to diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, excessive urination and thirst, bloating, or abnormal fluid accumulation. In the long term, excessive sodium consumption can result in more severe health issues, including; seizures, kidney damage, coma, or death.

High-fat contents

Ham also contains higher fat content than other meat types. While the fatty richness of ham makes it delicious, it is hard for your dog to digest the fat. Because your dog’s diet already has sufficient amounts of healthy fats that your dog needs, the ham will be an unnecessary addition and result in possible digestive problems for your pet. Dogs with chronic pancreatitis require a low-fat diet to prevent severe symptoms and should not be fed ham. Therefore, ham should not be a part of your dog’s regular balanced diet. It does not count as a healthy meal but as an occasional treat that does not exceed 10 percent of your dog’s daily nutrition. There are many better protein sources in most cases with many more nutritional benefits than ham. To avoid any unexpected consequences, ham is best left for human consumption.

Are Ham Bones Safe For Your Dog?

Ham is often cooked on the bone. However, one of the worst things you can give your dog related to ham is cooked bones. Cooked bones are soft and can splinter when chewed on by your dog as a treat or a toy. The splinters can severely hurt, worst even; it can kill your dog by causing injuries in their mouth and internal organs or intestinal blockages during ingestion. The symptoms that your dog has blockages include; drooling, gagging, coughing, and vomiting. This can be life-threatening and should be considered a veterinary emergency if untreated. More so, raw ham bones might contain bacteria harmful to your pup. Therefore, it is always essential to consult your veterinarian before giving them to your dog.

What Occurs If A Dog Eats Ham?

If your pup eats a small slice of ham, it is unlikely to experience any adverse effects. However, remember that what causes an issue for your dog might be different for another and some dogs can’t withstand eating even a small slice of ham. The common issues that might be noticed after eating ham are digestive upsets such as vomiting, excessive drooling, or diarrhea. Diarrhea or vomiting can be short-lived and mild, or prolonged and make your dog sick. If you notice any symptoms of gut upset after the canine munches on a ham, it is best to consult your vet on the best course of action as soon as possible. If the vomiting is severe, your dog can become dehydrated, which might necessitate receiving an IV drip to replace the lost fluid. As VCA Animal Hospital explains, sometimes, eating a fatty ham can result in pancreatitis, a pancreas inflammation that causes severe vomiting and pain. If your dog is experiencing pancreatitis, you may notice him stretching or lying awkwardly due to the pain. He will likely experience reduced appetite and even lose weight. Pancreatitis is a severe condition, and you should hence get your dog assessed by a vet if you suspect that it’s suffering from this condition. The treatment often involves a bland diet, pain relief, and anti-sickness medication.

How Should You Prepare A Ham For Your Dog?

If you will give ham to your dog, maintain it as a small piece occasionally as a special treat. Like any other human food, you should ensure the ham is not processed with additives or other condiments such as mustard or extra salt. More so, ensure you trim off the excess visible fats as high-fat amounts are harmful to your health. According to PetMD, raw ham has the risk of having parasites such as trichinosis, so it’s recommendable to avoid giving raw ham to your pup. Lastly, it’s not a good idea to toss the leftover ham bone to your dog. As earlier stated, ham bones can result in broken teeth and intestinal or esophageal blockages.

Alternative Meats To Give Your Dog

If you can no longer resist the salivating eyes of your dog when eating your ham, it is best to consider healthier meats. Some of the better meat alternatives to ham include; rabbit, turkey meat, beef, chicken meat, and venison. This meat has lower fat levels and is safer for your dog when prepared without spices, garlic, onions, oil, butter, or seasonings.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, giving small pieces of ham occasionally as a treat would not be lethal for your canine friend provided they have no medical problems that might warrant otherwise. If you are not sure whether any food is safe for your dog, it is recommendable to consult your veterinarian before proceeding with giving it to your pup. That said, ham is one meat that is best left for human consumption.

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