Can Dogs Eat Ham? Is Ham Safe For Dogs?

Dog presented with ham by young woman

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Can dogs eat ham? The answer to that question isn’t a simple yes or no. There are many things to consider before feeding this meat to your dog, and, as always, you should as your vet before sharing human foods with your canine friend.

December is a month of holidays for just about everyone. As such, holidays mean cooking, and cooking means goodies. At times when we are cooking, we sometimes share scraps with our fur babies as a means to show them we love them–and because that begging is irresistible. But we need to be conscientious of what foods we share, as some are more harmful than others depending on how they are cooked.

Can Dogs Eat Ham?

Ham is one of those gray areas. Yes, technically, it is a protein, which dogs need. However, store bought ham often contains a lot of sodium. Sodium in large enough quantities is bad enough for people, but it’s also bad for dogs. Sodium isn’t the only danger that this meat poses to pets. The preservatives are loaded with nitrates and nitrites, and these are also sodium-based. All this sodium can lead to severe side effects in dogs. It can also be toxic. Too much sodium can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. More seriously, it can cause seizures and kidney damage.

If this isn’t bad enough, ham is also higher in fat than other meats. Since your dog’s diet likely already has the appropriate amount of healthy fats that your pup requires, ham would only be an unnecessary addition and result in possible digestive issues for your pet, instead.

Dangers Of Ham Bones

pile of pork bones

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Be careful though, as the worst thing you could actually give your dog related to ham would be the cooked bones. Cooked bones become soft, and can splinter if your dog chews on them as a toy or treat. Bone splinters can severely harm and even kill a dog, causing damage to their mouths and internal organs if ingested. Furthermore, raw ham bones can contain bacteria that are harmful to your dog, so you should always consult your vet before giving them to your pooch.

Should Your Dog Eat Ham?

Ultimately, small pieces of ham from time to time probably wouldn’t be lethal to your dog, barring they don’t have any medical issues that would warrant otherwise. If you’re unsure, it would be wisest to consult a vet before proceeding with giving your dog any human foods. That being said, all in all, this is one meat that is probably better left to for human consumption.

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