Can Dogs Eat Ham?

Victoria Lynn Arnold

Victoria Lynn Arnold

. Reviewed by Veronica Higgs, DVM
Updated Jan. 31, 2023
labrador retriever getting a treat in the kitchen

NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be okay for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.

Ham is a staple of holiday dinners and a go-to for weekday sandwiches. And, like with turkey, chicken, and other meaty snacks, chances are your pup will ask for a taste. But can dogs eat ham safely?

Is Ham Bad for Dogs? 

Ham is not toxic to dogs, but it’s also not a healthy treat for them. So if your pup eats a little piece that fell to the floor, they should be totally fine. But feeding ham to your dog as a regular snack can cause some long-term health issues. 

Ham has a very high sodium content, and a high-sodium diet for dogs can cause health problems including hypertension, kidney disease, heart disease, and obesity. Along with salt, ham is also high in fat. Fatty foods, eaten repeatedly over time, can cause obesity and pancreatitis in dogs, and eating fatty foods even just once can cause your pup to have an upset stomach. Ham can also be high in sugar, which can cause obesity and diabetes in dogs.

If you do choose to share a little ham with your pup as a special treat, it’s best to use unprocessed, and uncured ham that has the fat trimmed off. But chances are you probably have a healthier treat for your dog somewhere in the kitchen.

Can Dogs Have Ham Bones?

While it’s not a great idea to give your dog ham, you should never give your pup a ham bone to chew on. Cooked bones can splinter, which can be a choking hazard or cause an intestinal blockage.

There are dog-safe alternatives to bones you can give your dog instead, such as Virbac CET Chews. These won’t splinter and they’re not hard on your pet’s teeth.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Ham

Sometimes dogs try to sneak food when we’re not looking. So, if your pup gets into the holiday ham, stay vigilant of the following signs of stomach upset:

  • Lethargy or weakness

  • Lack of appetite

  • Excessive drooling

  • Abdominal pain

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea 

Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms. If you see that your dog is choking on a bone, call your vet right away. They can walk you through performing the Heimlich maneuver or provide instructions if your pet needs to be taking to the emergency hospital.

Foods to Give Your Dog Instead of Ham 

If your pup is begging for some ham scraps at the dinner table, chances are you have a much better snack to give them right in your kitchen. Some dog-safe treats include:

Featured Image: iStock/YakobchukOlena

Victoria Lynn Arnold


Victoria Lynn Arnold

Freelance Writer

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