Can Dogs Eat Ham? National Pork


It’s winter time and a fresh baked ham cures all of those winter ailments. The warm, fragrant smell lures that fur baby of yours to the kitchen. Your furry friend watches you slice the ham with their sweet, puppy-dog eyes. You’re so tempted to toss them a slice, but you pause and think, “Wait, can dogs eat ham?”

Good thing you asked, because the answer is no. And here’s why:

Why So Salty?

The answer to “can dogs eat ham” is no for a few reasons.

First of all, most ham contains high amounts of salt. Not only do dogs not require a bunch of salt in their diet, but it can actually become toxic for your pup.

Excessive consumption of salt often leads to vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, lethargy, and abnormal fluid retention. Consistent over-consumption of salt leads to even scarier health issues like kidney damage.

The ham you buy from your local grocer usually comes pre-seasoned, which means it’s doused in salt. The salt helps preserve the meat, while also giving it an extra flavorful punch. Your dog is a meat-eater through and through; they don’t need any extra flavorings.

So what about unseasoned ham?

Can Dogs Eat Ham Without Seasoning?

Perhaps you like to buy from a local butcher who sells their meats natural and raw. No seasoning. Nothing extra. Just natural, high quality meat. If you do that, then my hat is off to you.

But that’s besides the point, and the point is this: even ham without added salts and seasonings does not benefit your pup. In fact, it still harms their health.

The issue with ham, seasoned or not, comes from its higher fat content. Ham contains higher amounts of fat than other meats, which means it’s more difficult for your dog to digest. While your dog does need fat in their diet, their dog food supplies the necessary amounts of fat.

If you’re wondering, animal fat should make up somewhere around 15 to 20 percent of your dog’s diet.

While the rich fats in ham help make it so delicious, they surely won’t help your pup’s health. Excessive consumption of a high fat food like ham potentially leads to health problems for your furry friend. Health problems like pancreatitis, fatty liver, or gastrointestinal issues.

These health problems occur when your dog’s body contains an overload of fats and can’t break down the fats fast enough. When this occurs, the fat gets stored in liver or pancreas cells, which leads to pancreatitis or fatty liver issues.

Of course, you don’t want any of that for your precious pup, so consider feeding them some healthier human foods for special treats.

A Little Secret

While the answer to “can dogs eat ham” is no, I’ll let you in on a little secret.

Psst, over here!

Listen closely now: your pup never should eat a lot of ham or eat it consistently. However… I think you could get away with slipping them a small slice every now and then. It’ll surely earn you some serious love points!

Don’t worry, I won’t tell if you won’t.


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Chase Correll