Can Dogs Eat Ham Bones? (Solved & Symptoms to Watch For)

If your dog is anything like mine, they love the taste of ham.

But can dogs eat ham bones? Many pet owners are unsure if it’s safe or not and understandably so. Ham bones may seem like an appealing treat to your pup, but they can be dangerous and cause serious health problems, including choking hazards and internal injuries.

Read on to find out how you can keep your pup safe while enjoying their favorite snack.

Can Dogs Eat Ham Bones?

The answer is no; dogs should never consume hambones as they can cause a number of potentially harmful issues for your pup. While it is possible for some larger breeds to get away with chewing on a ham bone, smaller breeds should avoid them entirely as their jaws are too weak to handle them safely. Additionally, cooked ham bones tend to splinter easily and create sharp edges that can cause serious injury when swallowed by your pup.

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It’s also important to note that many processed hams are loaded with sodium and preservatives, which can be unhealthy for your pup over time. The same goes for smoked hams, which often contain added sugars and spices that could potentially upset your dog’s stomach. All in all, feeding a dog a ham bone is risky business and should be avoided at all costs.

A Quick Story

One of my close friends recently ran into a situation where their pup had gotten ahold of a ham bone. They noticed that their pup was having trouble swallowing and assumed it was just an upset stomach, but when they took him to the vet the next day, they found out he’d swallowed some pieces of sharp bone! The vet had to perform emergency surgery to remove the bone and thankfully, the pup made it out okay.

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In conclusion, while ham is a tasty treat that many dogs love, they should never be given ham bones as these can be incredibly dangerous for your pup. If you’re looking for ways to give your dog some added nutrition or just something to play with, try one of the many safer alternatives such as rawhide, bully sticks, or even a Kong. Not only are these much safer for your pup than a ham bone, but they’re also just as tasty and can give your pup hours of entertainment!

What Can Happen if My Dog Eats Ham Bones?

There are a few risks that can occur if a dog eats ham bones.

Intestinal Perforation 

First, the bone can splinter and cause internal punctures. This is also called perforation and can be very dangerous, as it can cause serious internal bleeding. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, difficulty breathing and stomach pain.

This is one of the more serious issues from dogs eating a ham bone and if your pup is showing any of these symptoms, take them to the vet immediately.


Another risk is choking. Since ham bones are often small enough to fit in a dog’s throat, they can become lodged and cause choking hazards. If your pet begins coughing or struggling to breathe, it’s important that you get them to the vet right away.

If you can’t get there in time you can try the methods used by these vets in the following video.


The bone may get lodged in the intestine and cause an obstruction. This happens when the bone is too big to pass through the intestines or becomes stuck in a bend. Symptoms of obstruction can include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.


Eating the bone may lead to peritonitis, a life-threatening inflammation of the abdomen caused by infection. Symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite and fever.

Mouth Wounds

The bone may cut the dog’s mouth as it chews on it. If your dog got ahold of a bone it’s important to check their mouth for cuts or lesions.

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Some hams are cured with high levels of sodium which can cause severe dehydration if consumed by your dog. Symptoms of dehydration can include dry gums and skin, loss of appetite, and lethargy.

All of these issues can cause serious health problems for your pup, which is why it’s best to keep them away from ham bones altogether.

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Symptoms to Watch For

If your dog does manage to get their paws on a hambone, watch for any signs of distress including:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • refusal to eat
  • blood in stool
  • lethargy

If you notice any suspicious behavior in your pup after they’ve eaten a ham bone, contact your veterinarian immediately for an evaluation.

What to Do if Your Dog Eat’s Ham Bones

It’s best to take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible if he/she has eaten a ham bone. Ham bones are dangerous for dogs because they can splinter and get lodged in the dog’s throat or intestines.

The veterinarian will be able to X-ray your dog to see if there is any bone fragments that need to be removed, and may give your dog antibiotics if he/she has ingested any harmful bacteria from the ham bone.

What Can I Give My Dog Instead?

Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious snacks that you can give your pup instead of a ham bone! Uncooked beef or chicken bones make excellent chew treats—just make sure they’re soft enough for your pooch’s teeth (I usually buy mine from the store).

assorted dog treat bones and rawhide

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Rawhide chews are also great options, as long as you supervise closely while they’re snacking (rawhides are known to become lodged in the throat if not chewed properly).

You can even give them plain cooked meats such as chicken or salmon without any added oils or seasonings—just make sure it’s cooled down before serving!