Ham is a staple in many homes and it’s only a matter of time before your dog will prod you for some. But is this meat appropriate for them? Could there be too many drawbacks that it should be avoided?
Some concerns would be the high fat and salt content of ham. If your dog has a weight problem then reconsider feeding this with any regularity. Also, the added sodium isn’t great since dogs shouldn’t be eating such salty foods.
Keep in mind that ham is a form of pork. In general, there are more risks and potentially harmful bacteria compared to other meats. While this may not be the case with the type of ham you are considering, our answer is very clear.
Can I Give My Dog Ham? Answer: Not Recommended
Though canines do require meat, they really shouldn’t have this very rich variety.
You also don’t want this amount of extra sodium in your dog’s diet. Perhaps a wild dog would hunt down and kill a pig in the wild, but domesticated dogs don’t need to be eating our cured, lean and salted hams. That said, if you feed your dog some ham on occasion, it won’t do any harm. That’s true at least in the short term. You just cannot depend on this food for protein nourishment.
Furthermore, feeding ham may form a bad habit that could be difficult to break!
Ham Not a Replacement
Thinking longer term, the pigs we breed for slaughter are pumped with antibiotics and all kinds of growth hormones. This is all the more reason not to give ham to your beloved dog. Even many vets recommend against giving dogs any ham. They cite the high salt factor and the potential for diarrhea that can sometimes accompany it.
Many owners say they’ve successfully given their dogs small portions of ham, but this begs the question: why risk it? It may not be well-tolerated and it’s no health food. It should be avoided, along with many other people foods.
All Meats Aren’t Equal
The industry promotes by calling pork “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 require a sufficient amount of protein, ham isn’t as good as the other types of meats. It’s a low quality protein. Ham, all pork really, tends to be harder to digest compared to others. This in itself is reason enough not to toss them a piece of the holiday ham.
Forget Ham & Upgrade
You can put most table scrap questioning to bed, including ham, by simply using a good brand of dog food. Many owners wince at the thought of paying more for dog food. They end up giving Fido people foods which costs even more in the long run. Get the premium stuff and this way you won’t have to make up for nutritional gaps. Ham just won’t cut it!
Ham & Pork Truths
Perhaps you’ve heard about cooked pork being put under a microscope. Sometimes it still has worms in it. The fact is, pork or ham isn’t kosher or entirely clean. In fact, many people rightly consider it to be unhealthy. We don’t think this should be any less true as it apples to pet dogs.
As an example, bacon is viewed a sinful food because it tastes delicious yet 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 consider everything we’ve said here.
Conclusion on Ham
Ham or pork is the least desirable meat for dogs for several reasons. If your best buddy has a habit of begging for table scraps, keep dog treats on hand instead. You can pull the ‘old switcheroo’ using them and avoid serving up inappropriate meats. Of course, giving a little bit of ham isn’t a total disaster. Look to canine-formulated foods in order to consistently provide nutritional value. More ham for you!