Can Dogs Eat Ham Raw?
The biggest issue to consider in whether dogs can eat ham raw is that it comes from pork. Pork is often touted as the “other white meat”, but ham is not as healthy for humans as poultry. It’s also not as healthy for your dog. If you cook pork frequently for yourself, you know it must be cooked thoroughly before eating. This is because pork often contains parasites and worms that can’t be seen by the naked eye. Cooking pork thoroughly, or in this case ham, kills those parasites. So, just as you wouldn’t eat a raw, uncooked ham yourself, you need to be cautious when feeding raw ham to your dog because of the risk of parasites and worms that could invade the digestive system and wreak all kinds of havoc.
In the United States, it’s common to find hams labeled “ready to eat”. Technically these hams aren’t raw. “Wet-cured” hams are injected or cured using a brine solution which is basically a fancy way of saying salt water. Other ingredients such as sodium nitrate, sugar, potassium chloride, sodium nitrites, and liquid smoke are added to increase shelf life. None of these are healthy for your dog on a regular basis. So even though humans can eat ham “raw”, these “wet-cured” hams are not good for your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Ham Cooked?
Okay so you can see why letting Fido eat raw ham might not be in his best interest. But what about dropping him some scraps of cooked ham from the table? If you’re wondering whether your dog can eat ham cooked, first consider the source.
Most ham from the store is not only loaded with preservatives to get it from slaughter to store, but it likely came from a place that breeds pigs for slaughter. Pigs raised for slaughter are sold by the pound and are pumped full of antibiotics and other things, to fatten them up. These additives are also in the ham which is not good for your dog and can cause problems.
Small amounts of cooked ham won’t hurt your dog, other than perhaps teaching your dog to beg for delicious leftovers from the table. Because ham is high in fat and salt, it can also cause your dog to be overweight. So, if you do choose to include cooked ham in your dog’s diet, it should be used only occasionally and not as a regular part of their diet.
Can Dogs Eat Ham Bones Raw?
A dog’s best friend is his bone, right? In truth whether dogs can eat bones is one of the most controversial topics. The answer is different based on the type of bone and whether it’s raw or cooked. The good news is that for the most part ham bones are safe for your dog if they are large enough not to be a choking hazard. The only danger with raw ham bones other than choking would be parasites and worms. Check with your vet before letting your dog eat ham bones raw so your dog can be properly monitored for worm or parasite infestation.
Can Dogs Eat Ham Bones Cooked?
Before you let Grandpa toss that cooked ham bone down to Fido after Christmas dinner, consider that the cooking process makes bones more brittle and removes much of the nutritional value for your dog. The danger with your dog eating cooked ham bones comes because it could splinter while they’re chewing it. Bone splinters for dogs are like a game of Russian roulette.
Your dog might be able to eat a cooked ham bone and suffer no ill effects. It’s possible they could eat a cooked ham bone several times in a month or for years with no effect. But it only takes just one bone splinter to lodge in a dog’s throat or puncture internal organs. If this happens, you’ll be facing sky high vet bills for an emergency surgery to save your dog’s life.
When it comes to cooked ham bones, we recommend you consult your veterinarian for advice. Although there are pet owners out there who will disagree because they feed ham bones to their dog all the time without incident, it’s still a good idea to take precautions. Your vet is aware of any health issues that are common for your breed of dog and they are also aware of any previous health conditions your dog may have that could be worsened over time from eating ham bones cooked.