Imagine this- you are eating your hamburger, and your pooch sniffs its way to your lap, asking for a bite. What would you do? If you ask yourself, “can dogs eat ham?” you are on the right track!

The crisp answer is- No. Dogs cannot eat ham safely. Why? Here, we have all the answers to your questions and excellent alternatives. So grab your hamburger and read ahead!

Reasons Why You Should Not Feed Your Dog Ham

There are many reasons why you should never feed your dog ham. Starring with its basic nature- ham is highly processed. This might be a tasty treat like salami and bacon, but it does not benefit you or your dog. This is one of the human foods that can harm dogs. 

  1. The Sodium content is high in hams due to the presence of nitrates and nitrites. Salt or sodium toxicity in dogs is very common. You may notice signs of vomiting and diarrhea after the first few hours (article). Feeding your dog hams can lead to high salt levels, which is toxic to dogs. 
  1. Hams will make dogs feel fuller but leave no space for nutritious food. After processing, barely any nutrients are left in the ham to fulfill your dog’s requirements. So, you should choose a healthy alternative instead of filling your dog’s tummy with hams. 
  1. A high-sodium diet should be avoided if your dog has underlying kidney problems or Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) (article). This is one of the reasons why we do not recommend seasoned and salted hams for dogs.
  1. Packed ham have tons of preservatives, chemicals, and toxic contaminants, which can adversely impact your dog’s health. Even if you want to give your dog ham as an occasional treat, you must check the ingredients list. 

You can serve your dog boneless harm in moderation as an occasional treat. It should be enough to make your pup happy but not too much to fill their tummy.

How Do You Prepare a Ham For Dogs? Cooked or Raw?

You must never serve your dog raw ham! It can be very challenging for dogs to chew on raw ham. If your dog swallows raw ham, their digestive system will find it hard to digest or break it down. This can lead to severe abdominal pain or vomiting. So why put your dog through so much struggle? Instead, you can toss them cooked bites of ham. 

But please remember, whether ham is cooked or raw, it is unsuitable for dogs. Ham has no nutritional value for dogs. Also, the fat amount will increase after cooking or frying in oil. We do not recommend serving dogs high-fat meals as they can cause pancreatitis. 

If your dog’s eyes are still stuck on that piece of ham, here is what you can do-

Step 1: Take one piece of ham and wash it thoroughly under running water

Step 2: Drizzle a few drops of coconut oil or sesame oil into a hot pan

And finally,

Step 3: Shallow fry the ham with the least amount of oil possible

Bon Appétit!

Note: Please consult your veterinarian before introducing any new food item to your dog. The oils used are generally safer than others, but you must use them in minimal amounts. If your dog has obesity issues, you should not serve them fried ham altogether. 

a dog looking on with a ham sandwich is placed in front of him

Alternatives of Ham For Dogs

If you’re still confused about whether or not to feed your dog ham, but still want to meet your dog’s protein requirements, here are a few alternatives:

1. Tilapia

Dogs can eat the fish – Tilapia. Even though controversies surround this fish, you can feed it to your dog in moderation. We chose Tilapia as an alternative as it is a great mid-day dog treat for the “eh-” days. If cooked and prepared appropriately, this fish can benefit dogs.

However, if your dog has obesity issues, we do not recommend Tilapia due to its high fat content. Rest, you can safely serve your dog moderate amounts of unseasoned and cooked Tilapia. 

2. Crabs

Even though crabs are not the healthiest human foods for dogs, they can benefit dogs. If not much, crabs are far better than ham. As it is a seafood, bacterial attack has a high chance. To avoid that, you must prepare the crabs appropriately before serving them.

Also, serving your dog only cooked crabs or meats would be best. Rest, you can always toss cooked bites of crab meat! It might be great in taste, but we do not recommend crabs as a regular treat due to the risks attached to them.

3. Scallops

Another alternative to ham for dogs is scallops. They are a great source of protein and can give their bland meals a nutritious attack! Adding scallops can make a balanced diet if served in moderation. However, it would be best if you never served your dog canned or seasoned scallops that are available commercially. 

Also, only cooked and deshelled scallops are good for dogs. You can even make great salads and frozen treats with this yummy treat!

4. Fruits

If you are in a creative block and cannot think of dishes for your dog other than ham- we are here to help! We believe that when nothing works, fruits do! You may want to toss ham at your dog to keep them busy, but you can also toss them healthy and delicious fruits.

For example, you can serve your dog frozen blueberries and blackberries or make melon (seedless) slushies. Not just this- dogs can also eat fruits like- avocado, apples (seedless), and bananas


Our final thoughts on “can dogs eat ham?” are that dogs should not eat ham. It is a highly processed product that does not give your dog any nutritional benefits. Also, store-bought hams are packed with preservatives and harmful seasonings. 

Instead of serving your dog ham, you can go creative with the alternatives! After all, in the end, it’s always you, your pooch, and food against the world. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a dog eat cooked ham?

Ham is not toxic for dogs, but it is not suitable for dog’s health. If you cook the ham, the fat levels will increase in the oil and can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Also, ham is a highly processed food packed with preservatives and chemicals. There is no nutritional value, so you should avoid giving your ham or any processed food.

Can I give my dog a piece of ham?

A piece of ham will not harm your dog. You can give your dog a bite of ham as a treat occasionally. The only catch is to keep it plain and cooked. It would be best never to serve your dog seasoned or canned ham, as they can pose more health risks to dogs. Please ensure not to make hams a part of your dog’s regular diet; it should be infrequent and occasional.

Can dogs eat ham sandwiches?

We do not recommend giving your dog ham sandwiches, as they are packed with seasoning, sauces, and harmful ingredients. Seasonings can lead to burning sensations or allergic reactions in dogs. The fat content can pose health risks to your dog. Also, ham sandwiches hold no nutritional value to serve your dog.

Is it OK to give my dog cooked ham hock bones?

You should never feed your dog any bones, whether ham hock bones or chicken bones. After cooking, the bones can be fragile and break off the splinters to get stuck in your dog’s throat. This can lead to internal injuries and choking hazards. Please avoid giving your dog cooked or raw ham hock bones. If you want to get your dog a chewy bone, you can check out chew toys in ham flavor. 

Can dogs eat ham bones?

No, dogs cannot eat ham bones. Giving your dog ham bones or any bone can lead to choking hazards. Bones do not have any nutritional value for dogs. Please do not cook or boil the ham bones to serve to your dogs. Cooked bones are more fragile, and splinters can tear the skin internally. If your dog ate ham bone, please consult your veterinarian immediately and monitor for any signs or behavior changes.

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