Is Pork Safe For Dogs?

If you ask the average dog guardian if pork is good or bad for their dog, they'll often immediately say BAD and not really know why they have this position, some people think it is all about the fat, some think it is about the salt, and some think it is about parasites, so let us look at this topic in more detail.

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Bacon
You would be looking at high Salt & Fat content here, it is not something you would be looking at feeding your dog. I'm sure plenty of pet parents give it occasionally without too much of an issue and others that have instant problems, so best to err on the side of caution.

Ham
Salty & Fatty - Christmas Ham has often been the culprit of Pancreatitis.

Pork Meat
Author and Canine Nutritionist, Monica Segal states "A myth, but one that circulates often. Some veterinarians give this directive as well. So, when did it become such a no-no to feed pork? A very long time ago, and for valid reason (let’s just say it’s a myth with sort-of factual origins). Bacon drippings, bacon itself, fatty ham…all of these can be problematic for many dogs. And that’s what some people were feeding when their dog developed pancreatitis, colitis, etc. It’s not about the meat. It’s about the fat content. So, it seems that people made assumptions i.e. dog became sick when eating ham/bacon/fatty parts (pick one) = pork should never be fed to dogs; pork is hard to digest, and other such notions.

I have a number of clients with dogs that have serious GI problems. A novel protein source is often needed for these dogs and although pork can be a hidden ingredient in some commercial diets (think “animal protein”, “animal fat”, bone meal, gravy, etc), many of the dogs I work with have never eaten it before. Another consideration for these dogs is dietary fat content. Some can handle more fat than others, but overall, a low-fat diet is key to keeping their GI tracts happy. So when I do use pork as the main (sometimes the only) meat source, it has to be a lean cut. Tenderloin (not to be confused with loin) can be a terrific option. That thin, long strip of meat with virtually no visible fat has saved many a dog! But you can’t skimp. Tenderloin is the most expensive cut of pork and you can find “loin” for less. That’s because loin is fattier, thus riskier for a dog with GI trouble.

Pork isn’t the most nutrient-dense meat around, but when you combine it with pork organ meats (not what most GI dogs tolerate, but it’s usually just fine for healthy dogs), you can put together a pretty good diet. I pair it with quinoa sometimes, because the combination works to provide good nutrient values, and the diet needs fewer supplements – always a good thing when you have a dog that can react to anything and everything.

For those who are concerned about animal welfare, you probably know that pigs are usually grown under less than humane conditions (I’m trying to be nice about the description), so you’ll want to investigate places that buy from farmers who grow free-range pigs. I hate to bring this up because the fact is that this makes the meat even more expensive. As the owner of a dog with so many food allergies that I want to pull my hair out, I know that sometimes we need to do what we need to do, so I’m certainly not judging. Tori has just started eating rabbit (the verdict on her tolerance of it isn’t in yet), so believe me when I say that I understand the dilemma…but do what you can if you can, and don’t think that pork is “bad” for your dog. A lean cut may just make the difference between having a sick pet and a healthy one."

Bone Broth With Pork Bones
As long as you are not using smoked bones that would be high in salt, making a broth out of raw pork bones is unlikely to cause your dog an issue. Just make sure you remove the bones and any fatty bits when the broth is finished. We like to set the broth overnight in the fridge so the fat rises to the top and can be skimmed off.

Parasites
Trichinosis is the reason most people come across as to why they should not feed raw Pork to their dogs, however, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries states "The larvae of Trichinella spiralis causes trichinosis, a public health problem in many parts of the world; it is not found in Australia. It can infest pigs, rats, mice, dogs, cats, and other mammals including people. Swill feeding (banned in Australia) helps to spread infection".

Bacteria
Brucellosis is seen in wild pigs and can be transmitted to dogs, the main locations of concern are Northern NSW and QLD, please see http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/.../a-z-pig-diseases/brucellosis for more information. The CDC in America states that freezing, smoking, drying, and pickling does not kill the bacteria that cause brucellosis.

Dry food (kibbles) that contain pork
Plenty of kibbles contain Pork in some form, good kibble companies de-fat pork before it goes into processing.

Whether it be pork meat, pork fat, or organs here's just a sample of kibbles that contain Pork in some of their formula's:

 

  • Supercoat

  • Royal Canin

  • Holistic Select

  • Hills Prescription Diet Canine

  • Hills Science Diet Canine

  • Hills Prescription Diet Canine