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Holidays or not, it’s always a good idea to feast on ham whether alone or with some company. How about our furry companions? Can we share this mouthwatering indulgence with them? Can dogs eat ham?
The knee-jerk answer would be, “yes,” considering that ham is meat and dogs need animal proteins in their diet.
But, does our final decision on what food to give our pup simply rely on this reasoning? Or are there other factors that we need to consider before we feed our dog with a piece of leftover ham from our Christmas dinner?
Can Dogs Eat Ham? is It Okay To Give?
When it comes to feeding human foods to your canine companion, ham is still in the gray area. There’s no straightforward yes or no answer because there are different things that need to be taken into consideration. And it’s not as if all hams are created equal.
Most of the time, store-bought ham contains a lot of sodium and sodium-based preservatives, such as nitrites and nitrates. And we know that too much sodium isn’t just unhealthy for us, humans, but also for our dogs.
Salt, just as onions, chocolates, and macadamia nuts, can be toxic to dogs. When they consume foods with high salt content, they run the risk of experiencing salt toxicity or poisoning.
Some of the side effects of having large quantities of salt in your dog’s diet are vomiting, diarrhea, body weakness, excessive thirst and urination, and accumulation of fluid inside his body.
Your dog may even succumb to the more serious complications of sodium poisoning, which include seizures, kidney damage, coma, and even death. Hence, it’s definitely not something that we, as pet parents, can simply slide under the rug.
And while ham can be a good source of protein, other meats are way healthier and better sources of this essential nutrient.
Nonetheless, if your dog loves eating ham, you can still give him small amounts of cooked ham as an occasional treat.
However, to be on the safe side, just make sure that it doesn’t contain seasonings and other harmful ingredients, such as garlic, and onions.
Is Ham Good for Dogs?
Compared to other types of meat, ham has a higher fat content. And as mentioned earlier, feeding ham to your pup can also place him at risk of the harmful side effects of other ingredients that are commonly mixed with it.
Also, if you are already giving your dog high-quality pet food, then, he no longer needs additional fatty meat in his diet.
His kibbles and/or wet foods already contain enough amount of fat. So, it would be in your dog’s best interest, if you avoid feeding him ham.
Just as with sodium, too much fat in your dog’s diet also has negative consequences to his health. With the delicious flavor of fatty meats like ham, it’s very easy for your dog to eat a lot. And this is where problems start to crawl in.
It can start with an obvious weight gain, which can easily blow up to a plethora of health complications that are common among overweight dogs.
Additionally, if your dog consumes too much fat from his diet, he can suffer from a painful condition called pancreatitis, and he may also experience uncomfortable digestive upsets.
Taking all of these into consideration, it’s simply safer to avoid giving ham to your dog. This way, he won’t end up craving for it every time he sees you eating or cooking ham, or each time he smells the tempting aroma of this tasty, yet fatty meat.
As a general rule of thumb, this meat is best saved for your ham sandwich and not for your dog’s meals.
What Will Happen If Your Dog Eats Ham Bones?
Giving your dog even a small piece of ham bone to chew on can be more dangerous than letting him enjoy a bite of your ham sandwich.
Cooked ham bones can easily splinter inside your dog’s stomach, and can potentially warrant a visit to the emergency room.
Also, the sharp edges of the cooked bones can tear into the lining of his intestinal tract and other organs causing internal bleeding.
Additionally, bone splinters can also cause damage to your dog’s mouth, which won’t only discourage him from eating due to pain or discomfort, but it would also be a portal for infections.
Furthermore, it’s also not safe to give him raw ham bones either as these can be contaminated with bacteria and parasites.
With all of the potential complications, it’s best to consult your vet if you are considering of adding even ground ham bones to your pup’s diet.
Healthy Human Foods Your Dog Can Have
Onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, chocolates, and artificial sweeteners like xylitol are just some of the toxic human foods that you should avoid giving to your dog at all costs.
However, there are also healthy human foods that you can safely feed to your dog, such as the following:
- Turkey: Most dogs love the flavor of red meat than most other meats, so as loving pet parents, we tend to be comfortable in just sticking to beef and pork because it’s what our pup loves the most. However, turkey, and other white meats like rabbit, and chicken are also as palatable and nutritious as beef and pork. And that’s why there are also a lot of dry and wet dog foods that use these meats as sources of animal protein. However, as always, when giving any of these tasty meats to your dog, avoid adding salt or seasonings. Also, avoid giving your dog the skin and bones, as the skin contains higher fat content and the bones can be a choking hazard and can also cause intestinal obstruction and/or bleeding.
- Cranberries: Small amounts of cranberries, and other berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are safe for your dog to consume. In contrast, you should avoid giving your dog mistletoe berries, gooseberries, juniper berries, salmonberries, pokeberries, holly berries, and dogwood berries as these can lead to stomach upset, seizures, and even difficulty of breathing.
- Green beans and vegetables such as carrots, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are also good for your pup’s health.
Spare your dog from the dangers of ham in his diet, and simply feed him high-quality dog food that can already provide him the nutritional benefits that he needs.
But then again, if you must, you can still give your dog cooked and unseasoned ham as treats. And that also means it should not be more than ten percent of his daily caloric intake.