Ham is a common staple in many American homes, and 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 OK for them, or are there too many drawbacks and should it be avoided.
Some of the main concerns would be the fat and salt content of ham. If your dog has a weight problem it’s probably not something you want to give them. Also, the salt can be a problem because some dogs can’t handle high sodium foods, and all dogs don’t need the extra sodium in their diet. Not to mention that if you give your dogs salty foods they’re going to drink a lot more water, leading you to have to let them out more or take them on more walks to relieve themselves.
It’s also pork, so there are extra bacteria in it that you don’t find with other meats. It’s also cooked, and your dog would be better off with raw meats. Since uncorked pork is crawling with bacteria you wouldn’t want to give that to them.
Perhaps a wild dog would hunt down and kill a pig in the wild, but domesticated dogs don’t need to be eating the sort of good that we eat, and the pigs we breed for slaughter are pumped with antibiotics and growth hormones, adding more reason to not wanting to give that to your dog.
Can I Give My Dog Ham? Answer: Not Recommended
Many owners and vets recommend against giving your dog ham. Vets cite the high salt content and owners cite the diarrhea that can accompany it. Some owners 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 isn’t tolerated well. It’s no health food, so it’s something that should be avoided, along with most other people food.
All Meat Is Not The Same
Even though the pork industry tried to get people to eat more pork calling it the other white meat, the fact is that it’s not the same as beef or chicken, and therefore should not be treated as such.
Even though dogs do need a sufficient amount of protein, the protein content in ham is not as strong as in other meats, and could be considered a low quality protein. Also, dogs in the wild don’t get cooked meat, so this is another reason not to toss them a piece of the holiday ham.
You can put all of this table food questioning to bed if you simply buy them a good brand of dog food. Many owners wince at the thought of paying too much for dog food, but then end up giving their dogs people food which costs even more and isn’t good for the dog.
By buying the premium stuff you don’t ever 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 to them so you don’t have to worry about cleaning up a mess later on.
The Problem with Ham or Any Pork
Perhaps you’ve heard the story about cooked pork being put under a microscope and it still has worms on it. Pork isn’t kosher and many people consider it unhealthy.
Things like bacon are considered a sinful food because it tastes good but everyone knows it’s not good for you. Ham might 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 just not something that does any good for them, so why bother?
If your dog has a habit of begging for table scraps, keep some dog treats on hand, and pull the ‘old switcheroo’ with them, that way they’ll be getting something that is made for dogs, and has nutritional value for them. This won’t really work at breaking the habit, but at least they won’t be eating anything that isn’t made for them.