Can Dogs Eat Ham? Safe Or Not?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Dogs are always trying to grab something for the dinner table. At least, they will always overlook every bite, especially during the holiday season. But, there is something that you should know about ham before you share it with your canine. Read and discover if sharing ham with your doggo can bring more harm or good.

You are preparing your favorite meal after a long day, and just as you slice your bread for a ham sandwich, you notice a pair of eyes looking at your direction… That’s right. That’s your dog testing you to see if you are about to share with him a bit of whatever you are eating. But, before you toss him that slice of ham, learn if feeding your dog with ham is safe.

Can Dogs Eat Ham?

There is no simple yes or no here. The answer to this question depends on many different factors. Simply said, there are many things that you should consider before you share a ham bite with your canine. And as a truly responsible dog owner, you will talk with your veterinarian before you share any human foods with your canine.

Back to the question… This is one of those questions that are deep into the grey area. In a way, ham is a protein (protein is good for dogs and they need it), but on the other hand, store-bought ham contains a significant amount of sodium. Let’s elaborate that more thoroughly.

Ham Is A Protein

Dogs need protein, just like humans do. Although proteins are found in ham, this is not considered to be the best protein source. There are much better sources of protein in different types of meat. Also, it’s not known how digestible ham is as a protein source.

Scientists and researchers are heavily divided here, as some claim that protein in ham is highly digestible, while others claim that ham is not easily digested and is significantly inferior compared to other meat.

Ham Contains Sodium

In most cases, we use a store-bought ham which contains a significant amount of sodium. A high level of sodium in any type of food is not good neither for humans, or dogs. Moreover, even the preservatives that are used in ham are full of nitrates and nitrites, which are sodium-based.

Even more, salt can be toxic to dogs: it can evoke vomiting, lethargy, excessive urination, excessive thirst, diarrhea, and even abnormal fluid accumulation. In some cases, luckily rare ones, sodium can lead to more serious consequences, such as coma, kidney damage, seizures, and even death.

Ham Contains High Fat Level

Compared with any other type of meat, ham contains the highest fat percent. And a high-fat content diet isn’t good for dogs, just as it isn’t good for people. However, dogs do need fat in their diet, but the majority of dog foods contain the necessary amount of fat to specially meet the dog’s needs.

A dog can ingest about 15 to 20 percent of fat on a daily level. Truth is that fat makes ham so delicious, but it’s still for your dog to digest it.

Also, too much fat can lead to pancreatitis and other, more challenging digestive upsets. Next, if your dog is overweight, you should avoid feeding him with ham.

But… What If He Still Eats It?

In general, if your dog grabs a slice of ham while you are not watching, nothing serious should happen. Of course, as long as we are talking about a small slice. Moreover, if you share a bite with him once in a while, he should be safe. But, in general, it’s best saved for your ham sandwich than for your dog’s diet.

What About Ham Bones?

This is something that you should be careful about as well. The ham is not the only thing that should worry about. Your concern should be regarding the cooked bones as well.

In most cases, you can find bones at pet stores and serve them to your dog as a treat. Having a bone to chew is especially good if your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, or has some fears. Bones can keep dogs entertained for hours. However, when it comes to cooked bones, they tend to become soft once they are boiled and splinters may appear.

Some splinters may be so big that your dog won’t be able to chew them and there is a real possibility that he may choke. Moreover, if he ingests splinters he may suffer internal organs damage or damage his mouth.

On the other hand, raw ham bones can be dangerous due to numerous bacteria that are harmful to your dog. Make sure that you always consult your vet before you start giving bones to your dog.

Should Your Dog Eat Ham?

If you are still not sure if your dog should ham or not, think about the following:

Pigs are mostly bred to be slaughtered. In most cases, pigs are pumped with growth hormones and antibiotics. This is the main reason why veterinarians won’t recommend to feed your dog with ham, in general. Besides, ham comes with a high salt level and a real potential for diarrhea with every bite.

Regardless of all of this, pet owners tend to give ham to their dogs, and that practice is not recommended on a daily level. Ham may no or may be well tolerated by your dog, but one thing is for sure: ham is no health food.

Can Dogs Eat Ham – Key Takeaways

If there is no good reason to feed your dog with certain food then it’s better not to feed him with that at all. The same goes for the ham. There is no single reason why you should feed your dog with ham. Ham is high in sodium and salt which is harmful to dogs, although it contains proteins.

Commercial ham is especially not good for your dog. However, if he does eat a piece of ham, don’t panic. Nothing serious should happen is he simply eats a small piece of ham. However, it’s better not to leave ham without supervision. Moreover, if you insist on providing more protein to your dog, think about high-protein dog treats, specially designed for a dog’s dietary needs.

Once again, if your dog eats a small bite of ham, don’t panic, but do monitor him. If you notice any sign of discomfort, make sure that you contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions On Can Dogs Eat Ham

1. What Happens If A Dog Eats Ham?

As you probably know already, salt is harmful to dogs. In some severe situations, if ingested in big amounts it can be even toxic. Salt in dogs can lead to vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, and even excessive thirst and urination. Ham is rich in fat and it makes it difficult to digest. If your dog eats too much fat, it can lead to several digestive problems, including pancreatitis.

2. Is Ham Dangerous For Dogs?

Salty meals and foods, including ham, are dangerous to pets, due to their salt level and fat. Salty food rich in fat can lead to severe stomach issues, including pancreatitis or stomach ache. Also, large breeds of dogs that eat salty food, may drink too much water and develop a condition known as ‘bloat’. Bloat is a life-threatening condition in dogs.

3. Can Dogs Eat Ham And Ham Bones?

In general, dogs can eat several humans foods. But the question is should they eat it. Overall, feeding your dog every day with ham is not a good ides, but if he east a bit here and there he shouldn’t have any severe problems. Ham bones should also be avoided. Cooked bones can splinter and cause numerous internal damage to dogs.

4. Will Ham Hurt Dogs?

Ham is a salty food, and just like any other salty food, it’s very dangerous to pets. Next to being rich in fat, they are also very salty, which can lead to numerous stomach problems, and more severe medical conditions, including bloat.

5. Can Dogs Eat A Little Ham?

Ham is not dangerous to dogs unless it’s given in big amounts. But, ham is not beneficial to dogs, as well. There is just no nutritional value. It’s high in sodium and fat, and some dogs are more sensitive to fatty foods than others.