Although dogs can eat a small amount of cooked pork, raw pork is completely off-limits to your dog. Feeding your dog raw pork can be incredibly harmful and it's important to watch your dog closely if consumed.
Raw Pork May Contain Parasites
Raw pork can contain a parasite known as trichinella spiralis. The infection they cause is known as trichinosis. This makes pork unsafe for humans or dogs to consume raw.
Trichinella lives in the pork muscles. When a dog eats the meat containing Trichinellacysts, the acid in the stomach assists in producing the roundworm. Parasites move from the stomach into the small intestine where they multiply. Once they begin to multiply, they can be found in the arteries throughout the body, resulting in more severe conditions.
The Symptoms of Trichinosis
Symptoms vary in severity based on the level of the infestation. Beginning symptoms generally include vomiting, fever, and diarrhea. However, as the infestation continues, your dog may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty feeling warm
- Swelling in the eyes or face
- Constant itchiness
- Aches or pains in the joints
- Difficulty with defecation
- Excessive coughing
Heart complications and breathing difficulty may begin as the parasites consume the body. This can be fatal if left untreated.
When to Contact Your Veterinarian
The best time to contact your veterinarian is at the onset of any symptoms. This generally occurs within 24 to 48 hours after raw pork in consumed. It's best to get rid of the parasite, if it's in the body, as soon as possible to prevent it from reproducing. The sooner treatment is administered, the better.
To determine whether or not your dog has worms, your vet will likely recommend a urinalysis along with blood tests to search for an increase in white blood cells. An increase in white blood cells indicate infection. If the worms are present in sufficient numbers, a stool sample could also indicate the presence of worms in the intestinal tract. Dogs who are experiencing more severe symptoms may also need a muscle tissue sample taken to see if the worms have reached these tissues.
The vet will likely prescribe an anthelmintic, an antiparasitic medication, to get rid of the worms. They will also treat any symptoms associated with the infestation.
Alternatives to Raw Pork
If you are a raw feeder, you're likely looking into what raw meats can be acceptable to put into your dog's rotation. Although raw pork is not recommended, there are other meats that can be consumed raw safely, including:
- Chicken breasts
- Beef Heart
- Beef liver
If you conduct your research, there are a number of options available alternatives to raw pork. Note that some sources advise against offering raw chicken to dogs, though many raw feeder advocates do not have a problem with this protein source. Consult with your veterinarian before offering a raw diet -- either in for the form of protein or as raw bones -- to your pet.
Dogs and Cooked Pork
Your dog can eat cooked pork in moderation, as long as there are no additives. There shouldn't be any spices or oils added to what you offer your dog. The reason cooked pork is not recommended to feed your dog on a regular basis is due to it's fat content. High levels of fat can lead to pancreatitis, among other conditions. As a treat, it can generally be provided occasionally in a few bite-sized pieces as long as your dog does not have any underlying health conditions.
The bones from cooked pork are an absolute no-no. Cooked bones are brittle and likely to splinter. If you do want to feed your dog bones, they should be fed raw, so they break rather than splinter. Raw chicken feet, for example, are among those recommended.
Raw Pork is Not Safe
Raw pork isn't safe for your dog to consume. If your dog consumes raw pork, observe them carefully and contact a veterinarian immediately if they display any symptoms. If you are a raw feeder, look at the other options available to your dog to ensure their safety and well-being.