Ham is a common staple in many American homes. It’s only a matter of time before your dog will ask you for some in the only way they know how! But is this something that is okay for them, or are there too many drawbacks that it should be avoided?
The main concerns would be the fat and salt content of ham. Obviously if your dog has a weight problem it’s probably not something you want to give them. Also, the added salt in ham isn’t great because many dogs cannot handle high sodium foods. They really don’t need the extra sodium in their diet.
Keep in mind that ham is a form of pork, so there are more risks and sometimes extra bacteria in it that you don’t find with other meats. For example, uncorked pork is often crawling with bacteria. Ham is also cooked, and your dog may be better off with raw meats.
Can I Give My Dog Ham? Answer: Not Recommended
Perhaps a wild dog would hunt down and kill a pig in the wild, but domesticated dogs don’t need to be eating our lean and salted hams.
Of course, if you feed your dog some ham occasionally, it won’t do any harm. But thinking longer term, the pigs we breed for slaughter are pumped with antibiotics and all kinds of growth hormones, adding more reason not to give such a thing to your beloved dog.
Even many owners and vets recommend against giving your dog ham. Vets cite the high salt factor and owners understand the diarrhea that can sometimes accompany it. Some say they’ve successfully given their dogs small portions of ham, but this begs the question: why risk it?
It’s obviously not doing their body any good, and it isn’t that well tolerated. It’s no health food, so it’s something that should be avoided, along with many other people foods.
All Meat Is Not The Same
The pork industry tries to get people to eat more pork by calling it “the other white meat”, but the fact is that it’s not the same as beef or chicken, and shouldn’t be treated as such.
Even though dogs do need a sufficient amount of protein, the type in ham is not as good as in other meats. It could be considered a low quality protein. And ham, all pork really, tends to be harder to digest compared to other meats. This in itself is reason enough not to toss them a piece of the holiday ham.
Forget Ham & Upgrade
You can put most table food questioning to bed, including ham, if you simply use a good brand of dog food. Many owners wince at the thought of paying more for dog food, but then end up giving their dogs people food which costs even more in the long run. Not to mention, it just isn’t good for your dog unless you really know what you are doing.
By buying the premium stuff you don’t have to give them anything else to try to make up for nutritional gaps. They’ll be getting all of the protein they need, and it will be easily digestible for them. Then you don’t have to worry about cleaning up a mess later on.
Ham & Pork Truths
Perhaps you’ve heard about cooked pork being put under a microscope. Often it still has worms in it. The fact is, pork or ham isn’t kosher or entirely clean and many people rightly consider it to be unhealthy.
Bacon is considered a sinful food because it tastes good but everyone knows it’s not good for you. Ham may not be the worst kind of pork product you can eat, but it’s still no nutritional champion. If you want to give it to your dog, it’s your prerogative, but it’s not something that does any good for them.
Instead of Ham
If your dog has a habit of begging for table scraps, keep some dog treats on hand, and pull the ‘old switcheroo’ using them. That way they’ll be getting something that is made for dogs, and that hopefully has nutritional value for them. More ham for you!