Question: Can dogs eat ham? And can dogs eat ham bones?
Answer: It’s holiday season, and what season would that be without ham and turkey on the table? Everyone knows that come Thanksgiving and Christmas time, ham is a must.
Hey, even if it’s not holiday season at the time you’re here reading this article (which will be the case for many readers), that’s completely fine – seeing how ham is a very important and basic food that many people eat on a near daily basis.
And, just like many of us dog parents like to do when it comes to the majority of table scraps, we like to give them to our dogs.
But, the question remains, what if we wanted to share some of that ham we’re having with our dogs?
Surely no one wants to leave Fido out on all this good stuff, but can dogs eat ham? Or is ham bad for dogs to eat?
Can Dogs Have Ham? Or Is Ham Bad For Dogs?
In short, and if you like to stay safe when it comes to your dog’s well-being, NO, feeding your dog ham is not recommended.
Ham is nothing but a specific cut of pork that has been preserved, processed, wet-cured, smoked and has had a whole lot of salt added to it. And, as if the subject of feeding pork itself to dogs wasn’t controversial enough, imagine what would happen if we were to bring pork and have it go through all of this processing and then feed it to dogs.
Now now, I know what you’re thinking, it’s something along the lines of “darn it! But ham is a high quality meat that’s rich in protein, and protein is excellent for dogs! After all, all of the best dog food brands make sure to focus their products around protein! Why can’t I feed it to my dog?!”.
We’ll be talking all about why ham is bad for dogs to eat in the section right after this one, but unfortunately this is what we all have to abide by if we want what’s best for the health of our dogs.
However, and just so we don’t make it seem like this is a dead-end, in some cases and if you follow a certain set of rules, you can give your dog just a tiny bit of ham every now and then. We’ll also be covering this in a section below.
But, why would you want to go through all that effort for something so meaningless? It’s just not worth your time or the risk.
Why Can’t Dogs Eat Ham?
The following are some of the main reasons as to why it’s best that you don’t feed your dog any ham:
- Fat: Ham is very high in fat, which often leads to a very painful and potentially deadly disease in dogs called pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is one of the most common dog illnesses veterinarians see around holiday season, and now you know why! Not to mention that the very high amounts of fat found in ham can easily contribute to expanding your dog’s waistline in no time.
- Salt: Ham is also very salty as it contains very high levels of sodium, which can lead to very serious stomach problems in your dog, as well as sodium toxicity. As a rule of thumb, anything that contains even the least bit of sodium in it should never be given for your dog to eat. You and I may be able to tolerate a little bit of high sodium levels in food without dangerous health repercussions, but dogs can’t. It’s a much more delicate situation when it comes to them.
- Bloat: Due to the very high sodium levels in ham, this leads to your dog drinking excessive amounts of water and becoming bloated, which can be potentially fatal to your dog. Bloating in dogs is much more serious than bloating in us humans, because their stomachs become filled up with a lot of gas and can lead to death in a matter of a few hours if left untreated.
- Diseases: The high levels of salt and fat in ham can also lead to problems such as obesity, hypertension and heart disease
- Digestion Problems: If the 4 reasons mentioned above were not enough to deter you from seeking to feed your dog ham, then consider the fact that ham is probably the most difficult meat for your dog to digest. (This means a lot of stomach upset that will have your dog in un-needed pain, as well as the potential for diarrhea).
So, while ham may be a good source of meat for you and I to eat, this most certainly isn’t the case for dogs. This is why if you were to take a look at some of the top rated dog food options on the market and look at their ingredients lists, you’ll almost never find one that has the main source of meat coming from ham.
Top rated dog food manufacturers know for a fact that ham is a bad meat source for dogs, and that there are much better meat options for dogs out there such as chicken, lamb, duck and beef (just to name a few) that are actually very good for dogs to eat.
The meat from these sources is so much higher quality for your dog and will benefit them a lot more than ham, and while you may be paying top dollar for these brands that contain these types of meat, it’s very much worth every last penny you’re spending on them because all of this will pay you back in spades in the form of a healthy and happy dog that’s going to stick by your side for a long time to come.
What Do I Do If My Dog Eats Ham?
If your dog eats some ham and you see any of the following symptoms in them, immediately get them to professional animal care:
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Greatly increased thirst
- Greatly increased urination frequency
If you see these symptoms in your dog and take too much time to act, your dog can potentially go into a coma and very possibly die.
Can Dogs Have Ham Bones?
It’s best if you don’t let your dog have any ham bones.
The bones can splinter and get stuck in your dog’s throat, which leads to choking, or even form pierces in your dog’s stomach or intestine, which is just terrible and has lead to more deaths in dogs than I would like to imagine.