Every day, dogs eat all sorts of things. Recently my dog got hold of some raw bacon. Should we worry about this?
Raw bacon is not safe for dogs because it may contain a parasitic worm that causes a disease called trichinosis or trichinellosis. We’ll show you the signs to look for and what to do about it.
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Can Dogs Eat Raw Bacon?
No, domestic dogs shouldn’t be given raw bacon or any raw pig meat. Pork products tend to be riskier in terms of parasites than most other meats, which is why they can be a problem for humans as well as dogs.
In general, dogs won’t develop serious health problems if they eat raw bacon on occasion. This doesn’t mean that it should be encouraged in the slightest.
Raw or undercooked pork products are never safe for dogs, humans, or most other domestic animals due to the presence of parasitic larvae. Dogs can, however, eat certain types of pork if it’s been made properly.
In general, pork chops and tenderloin are better for dogs than any of the various cuts of bacon. Canadian bacon maybe a little bit better than streaky bacon, but it’s still best for dogs to avoid it altogether because of the fat content.
Check for these Signs
Nausea might be the first thing you notice if your dog is suffering any ill health effects after swallowing raw bacon. While dogs might get sick to their stomach after swallowing any kind of raw bacon, it’s particularly concerning if they’ve eaten uncooked streaky strips.
This is the kind of bacon that’s most common in the United States, and consuming it raw can lead to pancreatitis. This is a condition caused by inflammation of the pancreas, which is often accompanied by loose fatty stool as well as violent vomiting episodes.
Pay close attention to your dog’s body temperature too, since fevers are a sign of parasitic infections. Your dog’s nose is more than likely somewhat cold and moist when they’re healthy.
If it’s dry and feels like it’s burning up all of a sudden, then there’s a good chance that your dog has developed a fever. Since this kind of condition can lead to diabetes, you’ll want to have your dog checked out as soon as you can.
The biggest concern when dogs eat raw bacon is an infection of a parasitic worm that causes a disease called trichinosis or trichinellosis. It usually causes the following problems:
- Diarrhea: An animal infected with these worms will keep going to the point that they might get dehydrated
- Intense vomiting: Dogs will usually throw up in an effort to get rid of the parasites
- Abdominal pain: Your dog may be so tender that you can’t touch his or her midsection
- Ocular inflammation: The whites of your dog’s eyes may look swollen
- Fever: Uncontrollable panting or a high body temperature is the best way to tell
- Muscle pain: Some dogs may convulse while others may not be able to walk due to intense discomfort
Not all dogs respond to this kind of infection the same way and some of these problems could theoretically be caused by a simple upset stomach. In general, symptoms can take up to a week to manifest if your dog is otherwise healthy and any parasites found in the bacon weren’t in an active state when he or she swallowed them.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Raw Bacon
Watch your dog for symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, pain, low energy) especially if they only ate a few strips of raw bacon. It normally isn’t that harmful in very small doses.
While that’s not to say that it’s safe for dogs to eat raw bacon, they might not have ingested enough of it to cause any problems. Monitor your dog for any sudden changes in behavior.
If he or she starts to show any of the above symptoms, then you should treat it as a medical emergency. This is especially true if you have a smaller dog that tends to be sensitive to different types of food.
Larger dogs, however, might be able to pass it relatively easily. Keep an eye on your dog’s bowel movements and don’t hesitate to take your dog to a vet if the stool is loose or has any strange color to it.
Do I Need to See the Vet or Go to the Emergency Animal Hospital?
Usually, you’ll just want to bring your dog to their normal vet’s office. Unlike if your dog swallowed a bone or other hard piece of material, you normally don’t have to worry about raw bacon causing severe stomach clogging or any physical injuries.
You may want to bring your dog to an emergency center if this is a repeat episode or your dog is starting to behave extremely strangely. This could theoretically be a sign of pancreatitis or possibly trichinosis, which are both extremely difficult to treat.
While it can be hard to get a vet appointment at a moment’s notice, these are both conditions that might require long-term treatment and therefore it’s a good idea to meet with a vet as quickly as possible. Strange behavior combined with loose or odd stool may constitute a medical emergency as well.
Older dogs, especially those with heart problems, might be at a greater risk for serious complications from eating raw bacon. You’ll want to keep this in mind if you were initially hesitant about taking your dog to the vet.
Safe Alternatives to Eat
Several pet supply companies now make bacon that’s specifically designed for consumption by dogs. This bacon, along with a large variety of bacon-flavored treats, is prepared a certain way that prevents the spread of disease.
While cooking human-grade bacon eliminates parasites as well, you shouldn’t give your dog actual fried bacon because the oil isn’t good for them either. Those who absolutely want to make meals for their dogs may want to look into some simple chicken or beef recipes, which usually consist of little more than cooking certain cuts of meat.
Some entrepreneurs have started registered homemade dog treat businesses, which you might also want to look into. These services make food for dogs based on traditional recipes, and you can order them online.