The truth is, dogs will eat almost anything that entices their taste buds. From chocolate and avocados to bacon and ham, they will say yes to pretty much everything we offer them. But as you may know, some foods are quite dangerous for your pup’s health and ham is just one of them. When you get tired of eating your portion, don’t be tempted to let your dog help you polish off the leftovers. As tempting as it may be, giving your dog ham can cause a serious stomach ache and long-term complications you want to keep him away from. Let’s find out more about the reasons your dog should keep away from this type of meat…
The Root of the Behavior
In general, ham and other salty meats are very dangerous to pets. At first glance, it may not seem like it and you may even offer him some thinking it is a high protein meat and therefore… a good snack for your furry companion. While it is not a good idea to regularly feed your dog ham as a treat, a small amount probably will not hurt them. However, you need to be aware of the short and long-term consequences of doing so. From diarrhea, vomiting, excessive thirst and urination, to pancreatitis and bloating, the risks that come along with feeding your pup ham are not really worth it. The fat content of ham is higher than many other types of meat, and that high-fat content makes it difficult for dogs to digest.
Also, most store-bought hams contain large amounts of sodium which can cause them to drink too much water to make up for their dry mouth. An excessive intake of salt can disrupt the balance of electrolytes in their system and can sometimes even lead to seizures or kidney damage. Although ham is a rather processed product, it can still contain parasites. Some lab tests have shown that a lot of pork meat is actually contaminated with a parasite that is only killed at very low or high temperatures. Even though you buy your meat from the store, it is possible that the parasite is still present, and dogs are particularly susceptible to it. Be careful about giving ham leftovers to overweight or diabetic dogs. Apart from not needing the extra calories, pork is definitely not as nutritious as chicken or fish. Pay more attention to the type of food you choose to give to your dog and remember that he doesn’t require anything outside of his nutritious, high-quality dog food.
Encouraging the Behavior
If your dog has accidentally eaten ham from the kitchen or if you or someone else have deliberately given him some, keep a close watch for signs like vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, or anything else that’s out of the ordinary. In case something bad happens, make sure you contact the vet as soon as possible. As a general rule, refrain yourself from feeding your pup ham, even when they do the cutest dance in the world while begging for a strap. When the holidays are just around the corner, make sure his (healthy) favorite treats are ready and don’t consider using your dog as a garbage disposal unit either.
In other words, do not offer him any of your leftovers. Keep away from the glazed ham in particular. The sweet, brown-sugar glaze coat is definitely delicious, but it is not good for your dog. You need to remember that next time he does his puppy-eyes trick and just ignore him. While a couple bites of ham may not harm your canine friend, you need to be vigilant about not creating an unhealthy habit and reinforcing this type of unwanted behavior. Remember that moderation is key and avoid giving unhealthy snacks on a regular basis.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Instead of choosing ham or bacon, you can try healthier alternatives for your dog’s snacks. Lean turkey or chicken are a much better option, which they will certainly not refuse. Because the problem is not the ham itself but everything that goes into it. Consider healthier options for your furry companion, just as you would for the rest of the family. When cooked appropriately, salmon can also be a great food choice and a delicious alternative to processed meat. The omega-3 fatty acids are good for your dog's coat and skin health, and provide him with a healthy source of protein at the same time.
Why doesn’t your dog like ham? Because it’s not good for him. If you want to give your pup a protein-rich treat, look for healthier snack options that are made to supplement your pup’s daily dietary needs. There are so many recipes you can consider and we’re sure you will find one your pup will enjoy as well.