top of page

Can Dogs Eat Ham?

Updated: Apr 2


can dogs eat ham

Can dogs eat ham?

 

As pet parents, we always want the best for our furry family.


One common question is, "Can dogs eat ham?"


This question is not as straightforward as it might seem. While ham is a popular meat product in many households, its suitability for dogs is a topic of much debate.


Understanding what our pets can and cannot eat is crucial for their health and well-being.


We will delve into the different types of ham - from slices to bones, from cooked to smoked - and discuss their potential effects on our dogs.


Ham and Dogs: An Overview  

 

Ham, a standard item in many of our diets, is often a source of curiosity for our furry family.


The sight and smell of ham slices being prepared in the kitchen can make any dog's tail wag with anticipation. But is it safe for them to eat?


Ham is a type of pork usually preserved through curing, smoking, or salting.


It comes in various forms: cooked, processed, and sliced. Each type has its own nutritional profile and potential effects on dogs.


Dogs frequently prefer cooked ham because of its rich taste and tender texture. It's simpler to chew and process than raw ham, making it a good dog treat.


However, it's crucial to remember that cooked ham contains unsafe levels of fat and salt.


If eaten in excess, it may cause obesity and heart disease, among other health problems.


Processed ham, on the other hand, includes products like ham slices and deli meats.


These are often more convenient and readily available, making them a common choice for quick snacks or meal additions.


However, processed ham is usually treated with preservatives and additives to enhance its shelf life and flavour.


Dogs may experience long-term health difficulties and digestive problems due to these chemicals.


Sliced ham, whether cooked or processed, is often easier for dogs to eat.


However, the same concerns apply. The high salt and fat content and potential additives make it a less-than-ideal choice for dogs.


While dogs can technically eat ham, it's not the best choice for their diet.


The high sodium and fat content and the potential for additives in processed products pose health risks that pet parents should consider.


It's always best to consult a vet before introducing new foods into your dog's diet.


In the following sections, we'll explore ham's nutritional value, potential risks to dogs, and healthier alternatives.


We'll also explore specific types of ham, such as Parma and Serrano, and their suitability for dogs. 



The Nutritional Value of Ham  

 

Ham is a common food in many diets worldwide in its various forms.


Whether sliced for sandwiches, boiled for a hearty meal, or roasted for a special occasion, ham is enjoyed by many.


But what nutritional value does it hold, especially regarding our furry family?


Ham is a source of protein, which is essential for dogs.


Protein supports muscle development and helps repair body tissues. It also helps to maintain a robust immune system and gives energy.


However, the type of ham will affect how much protein it contains.


For instance, sliced ham, often used in sandwiches, may have a lower protein content than boiled or roast ham.


Boiled ham, often used in soups and stews, can retain more natural nutrients than other cooking methods.


It may contain vitamins such as B6 and B12, which are beneficial for nerve function and red blood cell formation.


However, it's important to note that boiling can also lead to a higher salt content, harming dogs in large amounts.


Roast ham is a popular choice for holiday meals and special occasions.


While it can be a good source of protein and vitamins, it's often high in fat.


High-fat diets may cause obesity in dogs and other health problems, including pancreatitis.


Additionally, roast ham is usually seasoned with herbs, spices, and sauces that may harm dogs.


Ham, whether sliced, boiled, or roasted, also contains sodium.


While sodium is necessary for normal body functions, too much can be harmful.


In extreme situations, salt poisoning may induce seizures, tremors, vomiting, and diarrhoea.


If your dog consumes too much sodium, they risk experiencing these symptoms.


While ham does provide some nutritional benefits, such as protein and vitamins, it also carries potential risks due to its high fat and sodium content.


The nutritional content may also change significantly based on the kind of ham and how it's cooked. Therefore, before adding ham to your dog's diet, it is wise to speak with a vet.


In the next section, we'll discuss the possible dangers of feeding ham to dogs in more detail.


Potential Risks of Ham for Dogs  

 

Although our furry family members may think ham is a delicious treat, it's important to be aware of the possible hazards of giving them this kind of meat.


Let's delve into some of these risks, focusing on ham bones, smoked ham, and raw ham.


Ham Bones: 


Ham bones can seriously injure dogs.


They may break off and cause digestive tract damage or obstructions.


Additionally, if the dog tries to ingest big chunks, they might present a choking hazard.


To avoid any of these possible problems, it's advised to never give your dog ham bones.


Smoked Ham: 


Dogs may have health problems due to smoked ham's high fat and salt content.


Salt poisoning, which can result from a high sodium diet, can produce symptoms including tremors, vomiting, diarrhoea, and even seizures.


Pancreatitis and obesity can both be exacerbated by high-fat content.


Furthermore, adding spices and other ingredients that may be dangerous to dogs is a common part of the smoking process.


Raw Ham:


Raw ham may contain germs, including Salmonella or E. coli, which can make dogs very sick.


There's also a greater chance of parasites.


In addition, raw ham has a high-fat content, much like smoked ham, which can lead to obesity and other health problems.


Dogs may find ham appetising, but the potential risks associated with bones, smoked varieties, and raw ham make it a less-than-ideal choice for their diet.


It's always best to consult a vet before introducing new foods into your dog's diet.


In the following sections, we'll explore alternatives to ham and how to safely feed ham to your dog if you choose to do so. 


Case Study  

 

In this section, we'll explore a case study involving small breed dogs and their reaction to different types of ham, particularly Serrano and Parma.


Consider the case of a small breed dog named Toby.


Toby is a three-year-old Shih Tzu who lives in a loving home.


His owners, being fans of Spanish and Italian cuisine, often have Serrano and Parma ham in their kitchen.


One day, Toby's owners decided to give him a small piece of Serrano ham.


They noticed that Toby seemed to enjoy the ham and showed no immediate adverse reactions.


However, over the next few days, they observed that Toby was drinking more water than usual and seemed lethargic.


A visit to the vet confirmed that the high salt content in the Serrano ham had caused Toby to become dehydrated.


In another instance, Toby's owners gave him a small piece of Parma ham.


This time, they gave him a tiny amount to avoid the previous issue.


Toby also enjoyed the Parma ham, but this time, there were no noticeable changes in his behaviour or health.


This case study highlights the potential risks and considerations when feeding ham to small-breed dogs.


While Toby did not have any severe reactions to the ham, the high salt content in the Serrano ham did cause some health concerns.


When adding new items to their dog's diet, pet owners should regularly watch their pets and seek veterinary advice if they observe any changes in their health or conduct. 


Ham Alternatives for Dogs  

 

While ham might be a tempting treat to share with our furry family, it's not always the healthiest choice due to its high salt and fat content.


Fortunately, more nutritious alternatives can provide the necessary nutrients for dogs without the potential risks associated with ham.


Let's explore some of these alternatives, focusing on cheese and date.


Cheese:


Cheese can be an excellent alternative to ham for dogs.


It's high in protein and calcium, essential for healthy bones and muscles.


However, to avoid the same issues associated with ham, choosing low-fat and low-sodium varieties is important.


Small amounts of cheese can be a great treat for dogs, but they should only make up a small part of their diet.


Dates:


Dates are a sweet and nutritious treat that can be a great alternative to ham for dogs.


They provide a lot of dietary fibre, which helps with digestion, and vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and potassium.


Dates, however, should only be consumed in moderation because of their high sugar content.


Additionally, take out the pit before taking your dog on a date because it poses a choking risk.



are rich in protein and low in fat and salt, making them excellent substitutes for ham in dog diets.


Carrots and cucumbers


are two examples of vegetables that make tasty treats for dogs. They're a healthy option because they're high in nutrients and low in calories.


When selecting canine alternatives to ham, consider your dog's specific dietary requirements and preferences.


Always gradually introduce new meals to your dog and watch for any negative responses.


Keep in mind that your dog's daily calorie intake shouldn't include treats more than 10% of the time.


A balanced, all-natural dog food should make up most of their diet.


So, while ham might be a tempting treat for our furry family, healthier alternatives are available.


Whether cheese, dates, lean meats and fish, or vegetables, these alternatives can provide the necessary nutrients for dogs without the potential risks associated with ham. 


The UK Perspective  

 

In the United Kingdom, the perspective on feeding ham to dogs is generally one of caution.


Ham is a popular meat in the country, loved by many, including our four-legged friends.


However, because ham has a high fat and salt content, experts advise against giving dogs large amounts of it. 



Specialty Hams and Dogs  

 

Speciality hams such as Parma, Serrano, and Gammon are often considered gourmet foods in human diets. But how suitable are they for our furry family?


Parma Ham 


originated in Italy. A dry-cured ham known as parma ham is often served raw and thinly sliced. It is renowned for having a somewhat sweet flavour.


Parma ham contains a lot of salt, though; too much salt might be bad for dogs.


It also has a lot of fat, which can make dogs more likely to be overweight and have other health problems.


Serrano Ham:


This is a Spanish dry-cured ham typically served in thin slices, similar to Parma ham.


While it's a good source of protein and iron, Serrano ham is also high in salt and fat.


This makes it a less-than-ideal choice for dogs, especially those with health issues such as heart disease or pancreatitis.


Gammon:


Gammon is a type of cured ham that's popular in the United Kingdom.


It's typically served cooked, either boiled or baked.


While gammon is a good source of protein, it's also high in sodium.


Additionally, the cooking process often involves using spices and additives that can harm dogs.


Speciality hams like ParmaSerrano, and Gammon might be a treat for us, but our dogs have better choices.


Their high salt and fat content and the potential for additives pose health risks that pet parents should consider.



How to Safely Feed Ham to Your Dog  

 

While ham isn't the healthiest choice for dogs, if you choose to feed your dog ham, it's essential to do so safely.


Here are some guidelines on safely feeding dogs thin, wafer, and honey ham.


Thin Ham:


Thin slices of ham can be more manageable for dogs to chew and digest.


However, due to the high salt and fat content, it's vital to limit the amount you give to your dog.


A small piece as an occasional treat is usually fine, but it should not make up a large part of your dog's diet.


Wafer Ham:


Wafer ham is often lower in fat than other ham types, making it a slightly healthier option.


However, it can still be high in sodium. As with thin ham, wafer ham should only be given in small amounts as an occasional treat.


Honey Ham:


Honey ham is often sweetened with honey or other types of sugar, making it more appealing to dogs.


Nevertheless, the additional sugar raises the calorie count and may be a factor in gaining weight and other medical problems.


Therefore, honey ham should be given sparingly, if at all.


Regardless of the type of ham, there are a few general guidelines to follow:


  1. Remove all bones: Splintered ham bones have the potential to injure or obstruct the digestive system. Always remove all bones before giving ham to your dog.

  2. Avoid seasoned or spiced ham: Many hams are seasoned or spiced, which can be harmful to dogs. Always choose plain, unseasoned ham.

  3. Limit the amount: Due to the high salt and fat content, ham should only make up a small part of your dog's diet. Treats, including ham, should make up no more than 10% of your dog's daily caloric intake.

  4. Monitor your dog: After giving your dog ham, monitor them for any signs of discomfort or illness. Consult a veterinarian and cease giving them ham if you observe any negative effects.


Remember, while giving your dog a small amount of ham as an occasional treat is okay, healthier alternatives are available. 



faqs can dogs eat ham?

FAQ's


Can dogs eat ham? 


While dogs can technically eat ham, it's not the healthiest choice due to its high salt and fat content. It should only be given in small amounts as an occasional treat.


Can dogs eat ham slices? 


Ham slices can be more manageable for dogs to chew and digest. However, they are often high in sodium and should only be given in small amounts.


Can dogs eat Parma ham? 


Parma ham is high in salt and fat, which can significantly harm dogs. It's best to avoid feeding Parma ham to your dog.


Can dogs eat cooked ham? 


Cooked ham is more manageable for dogs to digest than raw ham. However, it's often high in sodium and fat, so it should only be given in small amounts.


Can dogs eat ham bones? 


It's advisable to avoid giving ham bones to your dog since they might splinter and cause intestinal obstructions or injury.


Can dogs eat honey roast ham? 


Honey roast ham is often high in sugar and sodium, which can harm dogs. It's best to avoid feeding honey roast ham to your dog.


Can dogs eat smoked ham? 


Smoked ham is often high in sodium and additives, harming dogs. It's best to avoid feeding smoked ham to your dog.


Can dogs eat Serrano ham? 


Serrano ham has a lot of fat and salt, which might be bad for dogs in excess. It's best to avoid feeding Serrano ham to your dog.


Can dogs eat wafer-thin ham? 


Wafer-thin ham is often lower in fat compared to other types of ham. However, it can still be high in sodium and should only be given in small amounts.


Can dogs eat ham UK? 


In the UK, experts advise against feeding ham to dogs in large quantities due to its high salt and fat content.


Can dogs eat processed ham? 


Processed ham is usually treated with preservatives and additives to enhance its shelf life and flavour. These substances can be harmful to dogs.


Can dogs eat boiled ham? 


Boiled ham retains more of its natural nutrients than other cooking methods. However, it's often high in sodium and should only be given in small amounts.


Can dogs eat sliced ham? 


Sliced ham can be easier for dogs to chew and digest. However, it's often high in sodium and should only be given in small amounts.


Can dogs eat ham hock bones? 


Ham hock bones can splinter and cause blockages or injuries in the digestive tract, so it's best to avoid giving your dog ham hock bones.


Can dogs eat cooked ham bones? 


Cooked ham bones can splinter and cause blockages or injuries in the digestive tract, so it is best to avoid giving them to your dog.


Can dogs eat gammon ham? 


Gammon ham is a good source of protein, but it's also high in sodium. It's best to avoid feeding gammon ham to your dog.



Final Thoughts

 

In conclusion, we've explored the world of dogs and hams.


We've discovered that while our 'furry family' might find ham tasty, it's not always the best choice for their diet.


From the slices of ham we might have in our sandwiches to the specialty hams like Parma and Serrano, each type of ham carries its own set of considerations.


We now know that ham is high in fat and salt, which can harm our dogs' health. We've also considered alternatives like cheese and dates, which can be healthier treats.


Keep in mind that each dog is different, so what suits one may not suit another.


It's always best to consult a vet before introducing new foods into your dog's diet. After all, keeping our furry family happy and healthy is what matters most!

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. For specific veterinary dog health advice, contact a veterinary pet healthcare provider.


Before you go... !


Check out these related articles for your small dog's food here:


At Mary Puppins,  we prioritise your cherished pets' well-being, offering a haven of comfort and care during their stay.


Our commitment is to ensure your small breed dogs are treated like family, receiving top-notch attention and care.


BOOK NOW  via our website. We have limited places and get booked up super fast. Give your little dog the five-star VIP holiday they deserve, while you enjoy yours.



mary puppins can dogs eat ham




can dogs eat ham


mary puppins can dogs eat ham

Kate Phillips, Chief Editor

BSc (Hons), MSc


Kate is the UK's very own Mary Puppins, a professional Dog Nanny, an expert in small breed dogs and a pet parent to her own beloved small dogs.


With over 30 years' experience and successfully helping high profile celebrity pet parents raise their furry families,

Kate shares her top tips with you.


Kate guides readers on small dog breeds, dog health, dog training, dog nutrition, dog food, dog walks, dog accessories, dog enrichment, rescue dogs, dog behaviour, dog grooming and the best products for dog mums and dog dads to create the ultimate lifestyle for their small dogs.


 












Comments


Mary Puppins Small Dog Expert Blog

Mary Puppins Pet Parents' Blog

Welcome! 

 

We provide free, useful information for pet parents of small dog breeds UK. 

Please be aware that our opinions may differ to yours and that's ok. We encourage healthy, positive discussion. 

 

We all love our small dogs! And want them to live a long and happy life. 

mary puppins dog blog (2).jpg

Join the Mary Puppins Pack

Thanks for subscribing!

It's FREE!

Your information is 100% secure

Subscribe to Mary Puppins for FREE and get access to all our latest content. Zero spam.

Mary-Puppins-Luxury-Home-Small-Dog-Dog-Boarding-Cheshire.webp
Mary-Puppins-Luxury-Home-Small-Dog-Dog-Boarding-Cheshire.webp

Join the Mary Puppins Pack

Subscribe to Mary Puppins for FREE and get access to all our latest content. Zero spam.

Thanks for submitting!

It's FREE! Your information is 100% secure