Ham is easily one of the nation’s favourite meats. Whether it’s a joint with a Sunday roast, or slices in a sandwich for lunch, ham has a deliciously salty flavour and is loved by many. And some of the biggest admirers of this tasty protein are our four-legged friends. But can dogs eat ham? And are we doing more harm than good if we indulge them?
Can dogs eat ham?
Yes and no. Although ham isn’t toxic for your dog, it’s best to avoid it in large quantities. The odd small bite is unlikely to cause an issue (unless your dog has a known or underlying medical condition), but it’s not the best meat for your pup to consume a lot of.
Can dogs eat ham bones?
No, always avoid ham bones. Pups can easily break off pieces of bone, which can cause life-threatening blockages in the digestive system. When cooked, these bones are also very soft and can splinter if your dog chews them, which could cause damage to their mouth and/or digestive system. Raw ham and ham bones also pose an additional risk as they contain bacteria that are harmful to your dog.
Find out more about the potential dangers of bones for dogs in our article.
Is ham good for dogs?
Not particularly. Ham contains protein, but your dog will get all the nutrients they need to thrive from their complete and balanced diet. And pre-sliced ham from supermarkets tends to have a lot of sodium added, which won’t be good for your dog. Not to mention the fact that pre-packaged sandwich meats will often use preservatives which are also sodium based and not good for your dog. Another thing to note about ham is that it has a high fat content, which is often why it’s so tasty, but high-fat foods can sometimes cause stomach upsets and large quantities of fat can even result in pancreatitis, a condition involving the pancreas which can be very serious.
How to feed ham to dogs
The odd small piece of ham every once in a while is unlikely to cause an issue, unless your dog has a particular medical condition. However, we would generally advise against feeding ham, and instead we would recommend sticking to dog-friendly treats, as these are much safer and still delicious for your dog to consume. In any case, it’s always best to ask your vet before feeding any human food to make sure it’s safe for your particular pup.