Human foods, such as raisins, grapes, chocolate, and peanut butter, can be toxic, even deadly, to dogs. Reports of various food-related deaths have made many dog owners anxious. Recently, some have become concerned again about the safety of foods such as bacon and other meats. So I’ll talk about that next.
Can Dogs Eat Bacon?
Dogs cannot eat bacon without restriction. Most dogs love the smell, taste, and saltiness of the bacon. However, keep in mind that bacon is not an immediately deadly poison doesn’t mean they should eat it. Bacon is a high-sodium, fatty food that can cause some health problems in dogs.
What is Bacon?
Bacon comes from the belly, sides, or back of a pig. On its own, it can be fried, grilled, or baked. It is also a popular accompaniment to salads, pasta, and omelets and can be wrapped in other meats or vegetables such as steak or asparagus. Bacon has a fantastic, instantly recognizable aroma and flavor, making it a favorite among humans and dogs alike. It is estimated that the average American consumes 18 pounds of bacon each year. However, pet owners should keep in mind that bacon consumption by dogs can have many potential side effects.
Potential Health Risks of Bacon for Dogs
When you feed bacon to your dog, keep in mind the following risks.
- Because of bacon’s high fat and sodium content, some dogs may develop pancreatitis or gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances that can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
- Garlic powder, onion powder, maple pepper, honey, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar are often used to flavor bacon. Each of these seasonings can increase the likelihood of gastrointestinal problems in dogs.
- The high sodium content of bacon can increase thirst. After consuming a high sodium food or snack, dogs will drink a lot of water. This condition can lead to an emergency called bloating.
- Raw or undercooked bacon may contain bacteria or parasites. The larvae of the trichinella parasite can be spread by ingesting undercooked or raw pork. Symptoms of trichinosis include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, and reluctance to move due to muscle pain.
- Some dogs may be allergic to pork.
- It is essential to consider that human meals containing bacon may also include other toxic ingredients. For example, salads containing bacon may also have onions, garlic, raisins, or fresh grapes, all of which can be toxic to dogs. So be very careful when feeding your dog leftovers.
- The World Health Organization states that processed and cured meats, such as bacon, are considered carcinogenic. Nitrites – chemicals commonly used to preserve bacon – can cause gastrointestinal distress in some dogs and may be linked to cancer, liver cancer, and heart disease in humans.
- Feeding dogs pork bones can cause them to choke. This is more common in small dogs but is a potential risk for dogs of any size. In some cases, pig bones can break, which can cause cuts to the oral mucosa or esophagus.
“Any food can cause gastrointestinal distress in dogs. What may not cause illness for one dog may cause problems for another. So if your dog develops vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or other symptoms after eating bacon, call your veterinarian or the nearest emergency clinic promptly.”
Do Dogs Need Bacon or Pork?
There’s nothing in bacon that dogs need. But most dogs like bacon. Many dog foods and treats are flavored with bacon to add flavor.
While we may think of dogs as carnivores, dogs are omnivores. This means they can get their nutrition from both plants and animals. Because of bacon’s high calorie, fat, and sodium content, most veterinarians recommend snacks that contain leaner and healthier protein sources, such as chicken, beef, or fish. While dogs love meat, they can also get essential nutrients from carrots, asparagus, cauliflower, beans, and kale.
Are There Dog Treats Made with Bacon?
Bacon is a typical snack and dog food flavoring. Pork is also the basis for high-quality dog foods, including grain-free varieties. Dog foods with pork as the main ingredient are recommended for dogs with chicken or beef allergies.
The Safest Way to Feed Your Dog with Bacon
The safest way to feed your dog bacon is to offer a small amount of cooked, crispy bacon that has been drained of excess fat. When the bacon is cooked until crisp, most of the grease will be gone. The grease can be drained by placing the cooked, hot bacon on a paper towel-lined plate.
How Much Bacon Can You Feed a Dog?
If your dog accepts bacon and shows no signs of intestinal distress, you can give him a small amount of bacon. You can provide a puppy about 1/8 to 1/4 strip of bacon ((dog less than 20 lbs), a medium-sized dog (21-55 lbs) about 1/2 strip, and a large dog (dog over 55 lbs) about 3/4 to 1 strip.
Although dogs are carnivores and very fond of bacon, this food usually contains preservatives and other ingredients that may do more harm than good to your dog. Do not share bacon or other cured pork with your dog.