Who doesn’t love bacon? We all do. It’s one heavenly delight to have in breakfast, right? As much as we love bacon, dogs find it irresistible as well, and as a dog enthusiast, you would want to feed your pet all the yummiest food you enjoy every day. However, the foremost concern that arises in such a situation is that can dogs eat raw bacon? Is it harmful to their health? Or what if my dog accidentally ate raw bacon?
Before we jump onto raw bacon’s disadvantages for dogs, let us break it to you: Dogs cannot eat bacon. Although it is not explicitly listed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as a toxic food, it is still not recommended by vets. For one, it is fatty meat, rich in salt—fats and salt both are not healthy for dogs.
But there is more to it than merely fats and salt. Here is why dogs cannot eat bacon.
Why Dogs Cannot Eat Bacon?
Dogs’ sense of smell is a thousand times stronger than humans, which means the smell of fried bacon or any food item dogs love would make it hard for the pooch to resist. As mentioned earlier, bacon does not have any fatal harmful effects on dogs’ health, but it is still not considered a healthy food item to be included in your pet’s diet. It is just preserved pork rolled in salt, pepper, and oil. While preservatives are totally safe for humans, they may cause several health complications in dogs.
The World Health Organization published an article in 2015 which stated that processed meat like bacon and sausages can cause cancer if consumed in large portions—they are extremely rich in fat and salt that can be problematic for a dog’s stomach. Additionally, consuming an excessive amount of fat can cause pancreatitis, which can be fatal as well.
Pancreatitis occurs in dogs when the pancreas—responsible for digesting food and regulating blood flow—gets swollen or inflamed. Dogs suffering from severe pancreatitis may show signs of abdominal pain, dehydration, loss of appetite, sickness, and diarrhea.
Keep in mind that if your dog shows any of the mentioned symptoms, take him to the vet immediately.
Other Health Complications
Bacon, along with other processed meat, can cause bloating in dogs as well. It occurs when a dog’s stomach fills up with gas, food, or fluid, making it expand. Dogs may become dehydrated and drink an excessive amount of water due to the high salt content present in bacon.
Other health complications include obesity and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), caused by high sodium levels in bacon.
Similarly, it is highly advised that you avoid mixing your dog’s food in bacon grease as it contains saturated fats that are extremely high in calories and can clog arteries, leading to severe and fatal health conditions.
Read: Can Dogs Eat Lima Beans?
Can Dogs Eat Raw Bacon?
The concise answer to this question is a straight “no.” Dogs cannot eat raw bacon. While raw bacon is technically safe for dogs to eat, consuming it in large portions can make them sick. It has the same negative effects as fried bacon—it would cause pancreatitis, bloating, and dehydration. Raw bacon may contain parasitic worms that can cause diseases like trichinosis or trichinellosis as well. Such infections would only cause minor symptoms, including:
- Elevated fever
- Upset stomach
- Muscle inflammation
- Pain and stiffness
Check Out For the Signs
If your dog accidentally consumed raw bacon, checking out for the symptoms should be the foremost step. Nausea and vomiting is usually the first symptom that occurs in dogs if they consume raw bacon due to parasites present in it.
Similarly, keep a check on your dog’s temperature as parasitic infections can cause high fever as well. That being said, you must not panic if such a situation arises. Keep in mind that your dog can consume something more harmful than raw bacon. It is best to handle the situation calmly and patiently. Also, not all dogs would get the same symptoms—some might only suffer from diarrhea or high fever.
It might take up to a week for the dogs to show visible signs of parasitic infections if the bacteria present in raw bacon was not active when swallowed by the dog.
Should I Visit the Vet if My Dog Shows Visible Signs of Infection Due to Consuming Raw Bacon?
Generally, consuming raw bacon in small amounts would not cause any harm to your dog’s health. Unless, unfortunately, your pet munched on rashers of raw bacon. In such situations, it is advised that you visit your regular vet’s clinic unless your dog is showing severe signs of sickness and infection. Infections like trichinosis or trichinellosis are hard to treat, so you should visit your vet as soon as your dog shows the first sign of underlying infection.
The Healthy Alternatives to Bacon
It is totally understandable if you have been disappointed by the facts about bacon and raw bacon for dogs. It is better to be on the safe side to avoid long-term side effects caused by bacon. However, there are several safe and healthy alternatives to it that you can feed your dog.
Several pet supply companies now produce bacon that is specifically designed for canine consumption. This bacon, as well as a wide range of bacon-flavored treats, is prepared in a way that would prevent the spread of diseases and is super healthy for dogs.
Instead of feeding unhealthy bacon and raw bacon to your dog, switch it with other healthy alternatives, some of which are listed below.
Turkey is similar to chicken in many ways, but it contains less fat and has a distinct flavor. The only downside is that it is slightly more expensive than chicken. Having said that, it is unquestionably a viable option for your dog’s protein requirements. If it works for you and your dog, opt for it. There are some options we recommend you to opt for. There are healthy and have several health benefits along with having an irresistible taste.
Chicken is perhaps the most common and easily available alternative to bacon. Along with having several health benefits, chicken is loved by dogs as well. However, make sure you thoroughly cook the chicken before feeding it to your pet as raw chicken may have one health risk— it is contaminated with Salmonella bacteria which can make your dog sick.
Pork-treats—specifically designed for canines—is another healthy alternative to bacon. We would recommend you to buy pork-based products for your dog instead of feeding him bacon so that he can enjoy the taste without risking his health. Below, we have recommended a couple of pork-based dog food products.
As mentioned and thoroughly discussed above, raw bacon or even cooked bacon is not recommended for your dog. There are several potential health risks associated with feeding bacon to your pet.
Like we said, if your dog accidentally ate raw bacon, you must not panic and look for the signs of parasitic infections. If there are visible signs of infections, take your dog to the vet immediately for timely treatment.
We have also discussed the alternatives of bacon for you to opt for; your dog would love bacon and find them irresistible! It’s better to be safe than sorry.