Can Dogs Eat Pork? Effects of Pork for Dogs as a Dog Food

Can Dogs Eat Pork_ Effects of Pork for Dogs as a Dog Food

Dogs can eat pork safely. However, it should be cooked plain without seasonings, condiments, sauces, onions, and any other add-ons that can be potentially toxic to dogs. Raw pork should never be given to dogs as it may contain harmful parasites and bacteria.

Pork is safe for dogs in moderation. It has a high protein content thus can help dogs reach their daily recommended amount. Pork is also rich in other essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium, among others, which are beneficial for dogs.

What are the Benefits of Pork for Dogs? 

The benefits of pork to dogs are listed below:

  • Increased energy and vitality: Pork is rich in fats and proteins that are broken down to supply the energy needed by dogs. With an average of 297 calories in 100g of cooked pork, it can promote dogs’ vitality and help keep them active.
  • Enhanced muscle function: Pork has beta-alanine, which is an amino acid that helps in the production of carnosine in dogs. This compound is vital for proper muscle functioning. 
  • Promotes healthy skin and coat: Pork has good amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and linoleic acid, essential for dogs’ skin and coat. These omegas help relieve dry skin and promote healthy skin in dogs.
  • Ensures proper body functions: Pork has an excellent amino acid profile. Amino acids are necessary for the proper functioning of a dog’s body.
  • Healthy muscle growth and maintenance: Pork is filled with high-quality proteins with complete amino acids that are ideal building blocks for building new muscles in dogs. These proteins are also super important in preventing muscle degeneration, thus helping maintain healthy muscles, especially in aging dogs.
  • Improves joint health: Pork is super rich in omega 3 fats. These fats offer anti-inflammatory properties to relieve arthritis pain and promote joint health.
  • Strong bones: Pork has vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, and others, that aid in the growth and development of strong bones.
  • Supports overall health: Pork contains various nutrients, including essential vitamins and minerals that dogs need for proper health.

What are the Harms of Pork for Dogs

The harms of pork for dogs are listed below:

  • Digestive issues: Feeding too much pork can cause digestive issues in dogs. This is because pork is heavy in fats. This fat is tough for dogs to digest, leading to issues such as indigestion and inflammation & irritation of the pancreas.
  • Parasitic infections: Uncooked or undercooked pork can cause serious harm to dogs. This is due to the presence of parasites such as trichinella Spiralis, which can cause trichinosis. This is a severe parasitic infection that can adversely affect a dog’s health.
  • Choking: Feeding raw or cooked pork bones to dogs is not safe. This is because the bones may splinter, causing damage to the mouth, throat, or internal organs and even choking if swallowed.

When Should a Dog Eat Pork? 

Pork provides an easily digestible source of proteins that dogs of different ages and breeds can eat at any time of the day. The dogs’ systems can process lean pork cuts easily as they have enzymes that help break them down.

Giving some pork before bedtime can help dogs sleep well. This is because pork is among the richest sources of tryptophan. This is a useful amino acid that aids in the production of serotonin and melatonin. The two components help improve sleep patterns.

Dogs with skin and joint problems can benefit greatly from eating pork. This is because pork is rich in medium-chain fatty acids such as omega 3 and 6 and linoleic acid, which are necessary for healthy skin but also helpful in relieving joint pains. Omega 3 fatty acids in pork have anti-inflammatory qualities thus can help relieve joint pains and improve joint health.

Pork also has great benefits for aging dogs. Aging dogs tend to lose their muscles fast. As such, they require a diet rich in easily digestible proteins to help them rebuild and maintain their muscles. Pork can help senior dogs maintain a lean body with its easy-to-digest proteins and palatable proteins.  

How Much Pork can a Dog Eat per Day? 

Pork is better as an occasional treat for dogs. It should be given in limited quantities as overeating can result in serious health issues in dogs. Generally, pork should not make more than 10% of the daily calorie intake for dogs. 100g of cooked pork loins contains around 242 calories. An average dog requires 25-30 calories per day. 

The amount of pork that a dog can eat daily is dependent on its size, age, and breed. A large dog such as an Akita, for example, can eat more pork than a small breed dog like a Chihuahua.

How to calculate a safe portion of pork for a dog

The table below illustrates dogs’ approximate total calorie needs per day and the calories treats should supply.

Approximate Daily Caloric Needs for Average Dogs

Dog’s Weight

Average Total Daily Calories- Inclusive of treats

Allowed Daily Calories from all treats

10 lbs

200-300 

20-30

20 lbs 

300-450

30-45

30 lbs 

500-575 

50-58

50 lbs

700-900

70-90

70 lbs

900-1050

90-105

90 lbs

1100-1350

110-135

The above table can help dog owners ensure that they provide their dogs with the ideal amounts of treats necessary for achieving the required daily calories.

While feeding pork to your dog for the first time, be cautious and watch out for any reactions that may signal allergies.

Which Nutrients from Pork are Beneficial for Dogs’ Health? 

The beneficial nutritions from pork for a dog are listed below:

  • Potassium: Pork is a good source of potassium. 100 g of pork contains about 423 mg of potassium. Potassium helps promote muscle growth and strength, boost metabolism, enhance neural function, promote bone health, and maintain optimal organ functions in dogs. The recommended daily potassium amount for dogs is 20 mg.
  • Iron: Pork contains around 0.9 mg of iron for every 100 g. It can help meet the daily required amount of 0.5 mg per kilogram of a dog’s weight. Iron is vital for aiding in the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin in dogs. These components are essential for transporting oxygen and nutrients throughout a dog’s body. Iron is also vital for various enzyme functions in a dog’s body.
  • Zinc: Pork is a good source of zinc. This is a crucial nutrient for dogs that performs many functions in their bodies. Besides fighting diseases and aiding wound healing, zinc is essential for healthy skin, better vision, and cognitive function. It helps boost immune health and aids the production of various body hormones. 100 g of pork chops contain up to 3.1 mg of zinc.
  • Selenium: Pork contains selenium which is essential for the optimal functioning of the immune system and thyroid gland. A six-ounce pork chop has more than 100% of the daily recommended selenium requirement.
  •  B-vitamins: Pork is abundant in various B vitamins, which are essential for proper body functioning. It’s rich in vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B6, and B12. These vitamins aid in the digestion and release of energy from food, the maintenance of a healthy nervous system and skin, and the formation of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen throughout the body.
  • Vitamin D: This is a fat-soluble vitamin that aids bone growth and maintenance by managing the calcium levels in the body. It helps dogs regulate the balance and retention of calcium and phosphorus in the body. 100 g of pork contains 53 IU of vitamin D.
  • Omega 3& 6 fatty acids: Pork contains a good amount of medium-chain fatty acids, including omega 3 and 6. These fatty acids help maintain healthy skin and coat in dogs. They also act as an anti-inflammatory to relieve pain and improve joint health. Omega fats are also essential for promoting the brain health of dogs.
  • Magnesium: This aids normal muscle function and heart health and collaborates with calcium in bone building. 
  • Phosphorus: Pork contains about 211 mg of phosphorus in every 100g. This mineral is important in supporting healthy kidney function, muscle contraction, and energy transfer and storage in dogs.

A nutritional profile of 100g of pork is listed below.

  • Calories: 297
  • Proteins: 26g
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Carbohydrates : 0 g
  • Fiber : 0 g
  • Sugar : 0 g

Which Nutrients from Pork Are Harmful to Dogs’ Health? 

Pork can be harmful to dogs in the following ways: 

Too much sodium

Some pork products such as bacon and sausages have a high salt content. Besides having adverse effects on dogs’ kidneys and hearts, high amounts of salt can cause digestive issues such as bloating or twisted stomachs in dogs. Too much salt can cause dehydration in dogs, prompting them to drink a lot of water, making their stomachs expand.

High amounts of saturated fats

Pork can be very high in saturated fats which can cause serious health issues in dogs. Too much fat is difficult for dogs to digest and can lead to canine obesity and inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis can have fatal consequences for dogs as it can cause severe organ damage and even death. Always opt for the leaner parts of pork for dogs. Pork should also be given in moderation to minimize this risk.

Toxicity

Processed pork such as ham, pork, or ham contain seasonings like garlic, onion, nutmeg, and other additives which can be toxic to dogs. They also have chemical preservatives, like sulfates or sulfites, which should be avoided for dogs. Pork for dogs should be plain.

Raw pork

Like any other type of meat, raw pork can harbor many parasites and bacteria that can severely harm dogs. This presents a contamination risk for you and your dog while preparing or eating the pork. As such, pork should be thoroughly cooked before feeding it to dogs.

What Bacteria Do Raw Pork Have? 

Just like other raw meats, raw pork can be a hiding place for various parasites and bacteria. These microorganisms present many health risks to dogs.

The following are the bacteria present in raw pork:

  • Trichinella: This is a type of roundworm parasite that causes trichinosis or trichinellosis in dogs. The symptoms of trichinosis are usually mild but can become fatal to dogs.
  • Taenia solium: This is a pork tapeworm intestinal parasite. Although this parasite is usually not harmful, it may cause cysticercosis, which can lead to epilepsy.

To avoid the risk of parasitic infection, pork should always be thoroughly cooked.

What is Trichinella? 

This is a roundworm parasite present in uncooked or undercooked pork. This parasite causes a disease called trichinosis or trichinellosis. The disease occurs when a dog consumes a trichinella spiralis-infected muscle of animals.

The disease symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, upset stomach, pain and stiffness, and elevated fever.

Can Pork Affect a Dog’s Mood? 

Yes, eating pork has positive effects on a dog’s mood. It can help relieve stress and anxiety and improve a dog’s mood. This is because it’s loaded with tryptophan which aids in the production of a hormone called serotonin. This hormone promotes feelings of happiness in both canines and humans.

Can Baby Dogs (Puppies) Eat Pork? 

Yes, weaned puppies of all breeds can safely eat pork in very small amounts as a treat. Pork is loaded with high-quality and easily digestible proteins that puppies need for energy and strong muscle growth and development. Additionally, pork has other essential minerals and vitamins that can ensure the optimal health of puppies.

Can Old Dogs Eat Pork? 

Yes, senior dogs, regardless of their breed, can eat pork safely. However, this should be given in moderation as too much of it can cause health issues such as pancreatitis.

Since aging dogs have slower metabolisms, pork provides an excellent source of easily digestible proteins ideal for them. 

As dogs advance in age, they also tend to lose their muscles easily and fast. Feeding them pork can supply the necessary amino acids essential for preserving and maintaining their muscles.

Pork also has omega 3 and  6, which are good for maintaining healthy skin and brain health for aging dogs.

Can Different Dog Breeds Eat Pork in Different Amounts? 

Yes, depending on their sizes, dogs of different breeds can eat pork in different amounts. Different dogs have different nutritional and calorie requirements based on their weight. However, in general, large breed dogs can eat more pork than their smaller counterparts.

A large breed dog such as an Akita that weighs between 70-130 lbs, for instance, can eat more pork than a pomeranian that weighs 3-7 pounds. Thus, different dog breeds have different daily calorie, vitamin, and mineral needs.

The following dog breeds can eat more pork daily:

  1. Boxer: Boxers weigh between 55-70 pounds on average, with a daily calorie need of about 1100 and 2400 calories. As such, their recommended calorie amount from pork should be up to 240.
  2. Boerboel: These are large dogs weighing an average of between 100-200 pounds. Their daily calorie needs are about 2000 calories. They can obtain up to 200 calories from pork.
  3. Australian shepherd: Australian shepherds weigh between 40-70 pounds on average, with a calorie need of about 1500 total calories daily. The calories from pork should not exceed 150.

The breeds below should eat less pork:

  1. Chihuahuas: These small dogs have an average weight of 3-7 pounds and a total daily calorie need of 225 calories per day. They can get up to 23 calories from pork.
  2. Pomeranians: Pomeranians weigh about 10 pounds on average and require between 300-400 calories daily. Therefore, pork can supply up to 40 calories for these dogs.

What Type of Pork can Dogs Eat? 

Only plain pork is good for dogs. As such, it should be cooked without any seasonings, condiments, salt, sugar, or any other additives. Add-ons such as salt, nutmeg, sauces, garlic, onions, and artificial preservatives are harmful to dogs.

Processed pork products such as ham, bacon, and sausage are high in salt and contain seasonings hence should never be given to dogs. These additives can cause digestive upsets in dogs.

Additionally, the leanest parts of pork, such as sirloin, are the best for dogs. Excess fat on the skin of pork should be removed before cooking them for dogs. 

Which Dog Breeds are Pork More Beneficial for? 

Pork is beneficial to all dogs, regardless of their breed. It’s packed with easily digestible proteins and other essential vitamins and minerals, which are all necessary for ensuring optimal growth for dogs of all sizes. However, dogs with skin issues can benefit more from the omega fatty acids present in pork 

Which Dog Breeds are Pork Less Beneficial for? 

Pork is not less beneficial for any breed but rather helpful to all dogs. It can only become less beneficial if moderation is not observed or if pork is fed raw to dogs.

Which Pork Recipes and Parts can be eaten safely by Dogs? 

Although pork is generally considered safe for dogs to consume, some pork parts and products should be avoided. 

The list below shows some of the safe and unsafe pork parts for dogs:

1. Pork Bones

Dogs love chewing on bones, whether cooked or uncooked. However, feeding pork bones to dogs is not completely safe. Chewing bones is great for the dental health of dogs.

Can dogs eat pork bones safely?

No. Pork bones should never be given to dogs. Cooked pork bones are brittle and fragile and may splinter, causing damage to dogs’ mouth, throat, or intestines if swallowed. They also pose a choking risk to dogs. 

2. Pork Ribs

Although they may have some bits of flesh on them, pork ribs mainly consist of bones. This makes them unsuitable for feeding dogs.

Can dogs eat pork ribs safely?

No, dogs cannot and should not feed on pork ribs. Just like other pork bones, pork rib bones are unsafe for dogs’ consumption. They can splinter, causing obstructions and damage to your dog’s digestive system

3. Raw Pork

Uncooked pork provides a hiding place for bacteria and parasites, which puts dogs at risk of infections.

Can dogs eat raw pork safely?

No. Dogs should not be fed on raw meat as it may contain a parasite called trichinella Spiralis larvae. This parasite can cause a parasitic infection called trichinosis.

4. Cooked Pork

Cooked pork is safe for dogs. Cooking pork helps to kill any bacteria and parasites that may be present in it.

Can dogs eat cooked pork safely?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked pork provided it’s made without any seasonings and any other additives. It should also be given in moderation.

5. Pork Sausage

Pork sausage is processed and contains seasonings and spices, which can be toxic to dogs.

Can dogs eat pork sausage safely?

No, pork sausages are high in salts and other seasonings that can cause health problems to dogs. Spices like onions, garlic, and nutmeg can cause adverse reactions in dogs if ingested.

Which Dog Food Brands Do Use Pork in Dog Foods? 

The following are some of the dog food brands that use pork in their dog foods.

  1. Zignature Pork Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

This recipe features sustainably-sourced US pork as the first ingredient to provide dogs with the proteins they need to thrive.

Benefits

  • Helps build and maintain healthy muscle mass in dogs
  • Rich in thiamin which promotes optimal body functions
  • Ideal for dogs with chicken and beef allergies
  1. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Pork, Beef & Lamb Recipe Dry Dog Food 

This grain-free formula is loaded with high-quality proteins from pork, beef, and lamb for strong muscles in dogs.

Benefits

  • Rich in omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat 
  • Supports healthy joints with chondroitin and glucosamine

Can Eating Pork Cause Diseases in Dogs?

The diseases that eating pork can cause in dogs are listed below.

Obesity: Pork is not recommended to feed dogs struggling with overweight issues or those prone to obesity. This is because pork is extremely rich in fats and can worsen the condition. Too many fats present in pork supply extra calories to the dogs, putting them at the risk of unhealthy weight.

An unhealthy weight gain can cause serious health problems for dogs, including joint problems and pancreatitis. This condition can be fatal to dogs. Symptoms of pancreatitis include:

  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Stomach upset

As such, dogs with obesity should only be fed very limited pork once in a while as a treat.

Allergies: Just like any other protein, some dogs have allergic reactions to pork. Pork should never be given to dogs that are sensitive to it to avoid health issues. If you are feeding pork for the first time, exercise caution by feeding a little and watching out for any reaction. If nothing happens, your dog is good with pork. The following symptoms can be an indication of allergies;

  • Hair loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin infection
  • Itchy skin
  • Feet licking
  • Vomiting
  • Ear infection
  • Hives and swelling

Can Dogs Eat Pork When Sick? 

Yes, sick dogs can eat pork. This is because pork has several nutrients that can be beneficial in making them feel better. However, it should be given in moderation as too much can worsen the situation.

Can An Anemic Dog Eat Pork? 

Yes, an anemic dog can benefit from eating pork as it contains iron which aids in the production of red blood cells. The red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the dog’s body.

Can Dogs With Kidney Disease Eat Pork? 

Yes, dogs with kidney disease can eat pork provided it’s cooked plain without seasonings or other additives. Pork has minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which are great for the kidneys.

Can Dogs Eat Pork to Help With Diarrhea? 

Yes, dogs can eat pork to help with diarrhea. This is because pork is easy to digest and has nutrients that make dogs with diarrhea feel better.

Can a Nursing Dog Eat Pork? 

Yes, nursing dogs can eat pork safely. Pork has potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which can help in strong bone formation in puppies. It also has omega 3, which supports brain and skin health in puppies.

What Else Can Dogs Eat Together with Pork? 

Dogs can eat the following foods together with pork safely.

1. Beans

Beans are an excellent addition to a dog’s diet. These legumes are loaded with proteins and various vitamins, including vitamins A, C, and K. They also have minerals such as potassium, iron, and magnesium. With all these nutrients, beans can help boost the health of dogs.

However, only cooked beans can be fed to dogs and in moderation because they are gassy and can cause digestive issues for dogs.

2. Sauerkraut

This is fresh cabbage that has been fermented using several types of lactic acid bacteria. This dish provides a rich source of carbohydrates, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and B6. Sauerkraut is beneficial for the eye, heart, joints, and gut health of dogs.

3. Rice

Cooked rice is a good source of easily digestible carbohydrates for dogs. This is necessary for providing energy to dogs. Rice is often recommended as part of a bland diet for dogs with digestive issues. However, rice has a high glycemic value and should only be fed in moderation.

4. Veal Mince

Veal mince is highly digestible for dogs and contains nutrients such as phosphorus, essential for energy metabolism, movement, and cell membrane structure. It also provides a rich source of zinc which is critical for proper skin function and wound healing. As such, it can make a great addition to pork.

What are the Pork Dog Food Recipes? 

These are some pork recipes you can make for your dog:

  • Pork dinner

This simple, nutritious meal requires ground pork, sweet potato, carrots, apple, blueberries, rice, and water.

To make this, put all the ingredients in a big pot, secure the lid, and cook on low heat for 4-5 minutes. Stir to mix the ingredients and remove from heat. Cool and serve.

  • Pork adult dog food

This meal combines ground pork with chicken heart and beef liver. It will need ground pork, chicken liver, beef heart, spinach, eggs, broccoli, and pumpkin seeds.

To make this, mix all ingredients in a casserole pan and bake in a preheated oven for 40-60 minutes. Serve warm

  • Pork treat

This pork dog treat will need shredded pork, roasted carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, boiled potato, egg, and flour.

To make this, blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Next, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the dough on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes.

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Michael Brady

Michael is an animal-lover who specializes in marketing. He started running Dog Food Care with his mother, Sarah, after leaving his office job. Michael gained enough flexibility in his schedule to be able to adopt a dog of his own and welcomed Emmie the dachshund into his home in 2020.