Is raw pork safe for dogs?
Yes. My dog ate a boneless raw pork roast for breakfast today. He eats a diet of mostly raw chicken, but to add variety I also feed him raw pork, turkey and beef. Pork is less expensive than many other meats so it’s a nice option to keep in his rotation of raw dog food recipes. (Learn more about raw dog food here.)
Due to hysteria, some people are afraid to feed their dogs raw pork or any raw meat at all.
The following are some common questions dog owners ask about raw pork.
Does raw pork carry a parasite that will kill dogs?
No. At least not in the United States.
Some dog owners are unnecessarily afraid of feeding raw pork due to a rare parasite called Trichinella spiralisis which was once more common in pork. The parasite causes the disease trichinosis.
“Many people associate pork with trichinosis,” wrote Dr. Laura Duclos for the raw dog food company Nature’s Variety, which uses raw pork in some of its products.
Trichinella in commercial pork products is virtually zero, she wrote. Human cases of trichinosis are rare, with less than 12 cases per year. Most of these cases occurred when people ate undercooked wild animals such as boar, bear or mountain lion.
The reason pork obtained a bad reputation was because in the early 20th century, pigs in the United States were fed garbage containing scraps of pork from slaughter houses, wrote Duclos. This garbage also attracted rats, which the pigs also ate. Rats were the primary animals that spread infections to the pigs. Since then, the government has banned pig farms from feeding raw meat and garbage to pigs.
Just to be on the safe side, I always freeze raw pork for two weeks before feeding it to my dog as part of his raw dog food diet.
Freezing the meat will kill any trichinella parasites, according to Dr. Karen Becker on the web site HealthyPets.Mercola.com. She says to freeze all pork for three weeks, but I typically only freeze it for two. There is basically no chance of U.S. supermarket pork containing parasites. Plus, most pork is frozen before it’s sold, anyway. I’m just a worrier, so I freeze it again to be on the safe side.
Will my dog get sick from raw pork?
Most likely not.
A dog could get sick from eating raw meat of any kind, but the chances are low. A dog could also get sick from eating dry dog food. As long as your dog is healthy and the raw meat is fresh and introduced slowly, he should be fine. There are small risks to feeding a raw food diet for dogs, but I believe the benefits outweigh those risks for most dogs.
I can’t believe how many searches my site gets for questions like “Can dogs eat raw meat?” Are we forgetting that dogs and cats are designed for eating meat?
Will a dog choke on pork bones?
You should never feed cooked bones of any kind to a dog, because cooked bones become hard and sharp.
As for raw pork bones, it’s all about knowing your particular dog. Yes, it is possible for a dog to attempt swallowing a piece of bone that is too large, and this could be a choking hazard. Because of this, I do not feed my dog raw pork bones. Your dog may be different, which is why it’s important to supervise your dog whenever he is eating bones of any kind.
Will pork bones break my dog’s teeth?
They could. Again, it’s about knowing your particular dog.
I do not feed my dog pork bones because I do worry about him breaking his teeth. The only bones I feed him are raw chicken and turkey bones. Since chicken and turkey bones are softer, he has no trouble digesting them, even if he swallows large pieces.
Why can’t I just feed my dog cooked pork?
You certainly can, but never feed cooked bones.
Although raw meat is generally more nutritious for dogs than cooked meat, cooking the food is the next best thing.