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Can Dogs Have Pork?

by Scott Marshall March 11, 2024 7 min read

Can Dogs Have Pork?

Can Dogs Have Pork?

Pork, a staple in many human diets, often sparks curiosity among dog owners about its safety and nutritional value for their dogs' raw diets

If you choose to introduce pork into your dog's meals, you should do so with a clear understanding of how to maximize its benefits while minimizing any risks.

Can dogs safely eat pork?

Yes, dogs can safely consume pork, provided it is approached with caution and care. The key to safely feeding your dog pork lies in choosing the right type and preparation method. 

Cooked pork without spices is generally safe

Serving your dog cooked pork that is free from spices and seasonings is generally considered safe. Remember, when preparing pork for your dog, keep it plain—no onions, garlic, or any spices that could potentially be toxic to them.

Raw pork

There will always be risks associated with feeding raw foods, just like there is when a human goes to a steak house and asks for their steak rare or goes out for breakfast and orders an over easy egg with a raw - runny yolk. 

That being said, thousands of people successfully feed raw pork without issue on a regular basis. I have fed raw pork for the last 13 years and never had a problem. The key is your sourcing.

Always ensure that you are sourcing human-grade, fresh, high-quality pork. The main concern of feeding raw pork, trichinosis, has not been a major issue in pork intended for human consumption since 1986.

Wild Hog

Raw wild hog should be avoided due to the risk of trichinosis and pseudorabies.  

The parasitic disease trichinosis, caused by ingesting larvae present in undercooked wild hog, can lead to severe health issues for dogs, such as gastrointestinal distress and muscle inflammation. 

To prevent this, wild hog should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F to ensure it's safe for canine consumption.

Pseudorabies or PRV, is another major concern when it comes to wild hogs. According to the USDA, “Symptoms may include fever, vomiting, excessive salivation, severe itching, incoordination, and seizures. Death can occur suddenly within a few days of exposure. Contrary to what the name suggests, pseudorabies is not related to rabies, but the symptom of excessive salivation gives it the name.”

Freezing to kill these concerns is commonly discussed topic, while freezing has the potential to reduce the risk of trichinosis, it will do nothing to curb the risks of pseudorabies. So, if you’re going to feed wild hog - cook it.

One thing to ensure when cooking with meat is to follow and understand proper sanitization methods of your tools.

What parts of pork can dogs eat?

When deciding to introduce pork into your dog's diet, choosing the right parts of the pork is essential for their health and well-being. 

Go for lean cuts such as the loin or tenderloin, which are both nutritious and lower in fat, making them excellent choices for dogs. These cuts provide high-quality protein without the excess fat that can lead to health issues.

However, it's important to steer clear of processed pork products like bacon and ham. These are often high in salt and can contain additives that are not suitable for canine consumption. 

Additionally, always remember to remove any bones from the pork before serving. Pork bones can be very dense - even for experienced raw fed dogs which will pose risks such as a tooth fracture.

By carefully selecting the appropriate parts of pork and ensuring they are prepared safely, you can offer your dog the benefits of this protein source while minimizing potential risks.

How should pork be prepared for dogs?

To safely introduce pork into your dog's diet, certain preparation should be followed:

Cook thoroughly to an internal temperature of 145°F

When cooking pork, it should be cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of 145°F. Utilizing a meat thermometer during cooking can help achieve this temperature accurately.

Do not add onions, garlic, or harmful spices

When preparing pork for your dog, simplicity is key. Onions, garlic, and spices, while flavorful for humans, can be toxic to dogs and lead to adverse health effects. To maintain the safety of the meal, it's crucial to serve the pork plain, devoid of these potentially harmful additions. This approach ensures your dog receives the nutritional benefits of pork without any risk.

Bones should be removed to prevent choking hazards

An essential safety measure in preparing pork for dogs is to remove all bones. Cooked bones can splinter easily and become serious choking hazards or cause intestinal blockages. By ensuring the pork is completely bone-free before serving, you significantly reduce the risk of these dangerous situations, allowing your dog to safely savor their pork dish.

What are the benefits of feeding pork to dogs?

Incorporating pork into your dog's diet can yield numerous nutritional benefits. 

  • Pork is recognized for being a high-quality source of protein, essential for the development, repair, and maintenance of muscle tissue in dogs. This nutrient is vital for sustaining a dog's overall health and supporting their bodily functions, making pork a beneficial addition to their diet.
  • Beyond its protein content, pork is enriched with essential vitamins such as B6 and B12. Vitamin B6 is key for processes including glucose generation, red blood cell formation, nervous system health, and hormone regulation.

    Meanwhile, Vitamin B12 is crucial for the brain and nervous system's proper functioning and plays a part in blood formation. These vitamins contribute significantly to maintaining a dog's vitality and well-being.

  • Additionally, pork offers important minerals like zinc and phosphorus, which are indispensable for a dog's health.

    Zinc supports immune functionality, wound healing, and DNA synthesis, while phosphorus is vital for the formation of healthy bones and teeth. These minerals enhance the nutritional value of pork, making it a wholesome choice for a dog's nutrient balanced diet.

What are the risks of feeding pork to dogs?

Introducing pork into a dog's diet comes with its set of considerations, primarily due to potential health risks. 

Fatty pork cuts are known to increase the risk of pancreatitis in dogs, a condition that can range from mild discomfort to severe, life-threatening illness. 

Moreover, an overindulgence in pork could lead to obesity, further complicating a dog's health with issues such as joint pain, diabetes, and decreased life expectancy. Though this is not unique to pork, overindulgence of any meat source can lead to obesity.

Additionally, processed pork products like bacon and ham often contain harmful additives and excessive salt, which are not suitable for canine consumption. 

Being aware of these risks and making informed choices about the type and amount of pork fed to dogs is crucial for their health and well-being.

How often can dogs eat pork?

Integrating pork into your dog's meals should be done with moderation in mind, ensuring it complements their diet along with other protein sources. Variety is a good thing! 

There are many types of meats your dog can eat, and a rich source of protein can be organ meats for your dog

This approach helps maintain a nutrient balanced diet, preventing the displacement of other vital nutrients and avoiding the risk of calorie overload. 

By viewing pork as one source of protein you rotate through, you can add variety to your dog's diet while safeguarding their health and well-being.

What are alternative protein sources for dogs?

Exploring alternative protein sources for dogs can provide them with a varied and nutrient balanced diet. 

  • Chicken serves as a lean and widely accepted protein source among dogs, prized for its easy digestibility. It's an ideal choice for pet owners looking to provide their dogs with a high-quality protein that's both nutritious and low in fat, making it a staple in many canine diets.
  • Beef is another excellent protein option, known for its rich iron content. This nutrient-dense meat not only supports a dog's energy levels but also contributes to their overall health by providing a range of minerals and vitamins essential for a thriving canine.
  • Incorporating fish into a dog's diet, especially types rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, can significantly benefit their skin and coat health. These essential fatty acids promote a shiny coat, support cardiovascular health, and play a role in reducing inflammation, making fish a valuable addition to a dog's nutritional regimen.

Signs of pork intolerance in dogs

Recognizing pork intolerance in dogs is essential for their overall health. Key indicators include digestive upset, manifesting as vomiting or diarrhea, which signals that the dog's system may not be adequately processing pork. However it is important to know that temporary stomach upset is normal when introducing new foods into a dog’s diet.

Skin reactions, such as itching or rashes, can also occur, indicating an allergic reaction to the protein. Furthermore, noticeable behavioral changes like lethargy or aggression may be observed, often reflecting the discomfort or distress the dog is experiencing. 

Early detection of these signs and prompt consultation with a veterinarian are crucial steps in managing pork intolerance, ensuring a diet that aligns with your dog's nutritional needs and health.

Consulting a vet before introducing new foods

Before diversifying your dog's diet with new foods like pork, it's essential to consult with a veterinarian.

Importance of tailored dietary advice

The importance of tailored dietary advice cannot be overstated when introducing new foods to your dog's diet. 

Consulting a veterinarian or experienced individual ensures that any new dietary additions, like pork, aligns with your dog's unique health needs, lifestyle, and nutritional requirements. 

This personalized approach maximizes the benefits while minimizing any risks associated with dietary changes.

Monitoring for adverse reactions to new proteins

Monitoring for adverse reactions to new proteins is a critical step in safely diversifying your dog's diet. 

Observing your dog for any signs of intolerance or allergies, such as gastrointestinal distress, skin irritations, or unusual behavior, is essential. 

Prompt detection and veterinary consultation can mitigate potential health issues, ensuring the dietary change is beneficial for your dog.

The Takeaway

Pork is definitely something you can incorporate into your dog’s feeding routine, but it is important to take note of the factors we have already mentioned.

Keeping it in moderation and with safe practice in terms of serving pork is pivotal. 


Disclaimer: The information on Raw Feeding 101’s website and other media outlets is designed ONLY for educational and informational purposes. It is essential that you understand the statements and information provided on this website and its other outlets do not aim to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any diseases or illnesses. Raw Feeding 101 strongly insists that you consult with your veterinarian to discuss your dog’s medical care thoroughly.

Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall

Scott has been feeding a raw dog food diet for over 13 years. He lives in Utah with his wife Arianne, his 11.5 year old german shepherd Wolken, and his 2.5 year old labradoodle Montu. Scott has been teaching others about raw feeding since 2013, started Raw Feeding 101 in 2017, and has been solely focused on simplifying the process of pet parents meeting their dogs’ daily nutrient requirements since 2018.

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