If you’ve seen the old commercial for a popular dog treat, you’ll remember the voiceover saying “It’s BACON!” Dogs love bacon, right? Of course! They love bacon, chicken, beef—really, dogs love any kind of meat. The question remains, though—is bacon, specifically raw bacon—good for my dog?
Pet owners often ask with concern: What can dogs not eat? The consensus on the matter of raw bacon is divided. Some sites will tell you that uncooked bacon is toxic to your dog. There are good reasons behind this. As with any uncooked meat, a chance of a parasitic infection is always present. There’s always the possibility that bad bacteria could lurk on the uncooked bacon, too.
However, other sites will tell you that bacon is okay for your dog, even raw bacon. However, according to veterinarians, it’s only small amounts of raw bacon that likely pose no problem to your pup.
Can dogs eat raw bacon?
Raw bacon is NOT toxic to dogs. The same could be said for uncooked ham. However, the issue is in the processing of these meats. They are often full of sodium and fat. When your dog eats a lot of raw bacon or ham, you are providing him with a lot of fat and salt, which CAN be harmful over time to your dog. So, in that vein, it is not a good idea to allow your dog a great deal of raw or cooked bacon.
If your dog has swiped a piece of bacon that fell on the floor while you were cooking, he’ll likely be okay. In fact, even if he somehow gets into your groceries and eats an entire package of raw bacon, the most you can expect is an upset tummy. Look for Fido to drink a lot more than usual as well; the high sodium content in raw bacon will make him extra thirsty.
However, there IS a special situation in which raw bacon CAN hurt your beloved pup. If the bacon had gone bad (not just past expiration; it’s old and not suitable for cooking at all) or if the raw bacon was in the trash, you could have a bit of a problem. If the bacon has become rancid, there could be bacteria in the raw bacon that be harmful to Fido. You’ll see more instances of stomach upset if this is the case.
We should also mention that older dogs or dogs with a weakened immune system will be at risk from a parasitic infection called Trichinella spiralis, a type of worm . If your dog has ingested raw bacon and has a weak immune system, you may want to seek treatment with your vet. Again, this usually isn’t an issue unless Fido has ingested a large amount of raw bacon. Not every pork product will contain this type of parasite, so call your vet if you notice general malaise from a dog that has eaten a good bit of uncooked pork.
I didn’t intentionally give my dog raw bacon, but he got some anyway. What do I do?
First, check the packaging of the bacon. If you think your dog might have ingested part of the packaging, then you may need to consult with your vet—especially if the packaging was plastic.
Next, it’s probably best to try and get Fido in a secure location, such as a mudroom or his dog crate. You’ll want to clean up everything, from the leftover bacon to the remnants of the package.
Thirdly, determine how much you believe the dog ate. Also, make a note of any packaging you think he might have ingested as well. If the bacon was in a shopping bag, make sure that Fido didn’t happen to eat any other groceries that could be detrimental to his health.
After doing all this, you’ll want to start looking for any warning signs that your dog is becoming ill. Look for abdominal discomfort as well as vomiting or diarrhea. If these signs start to manifest, you’ll probably want to contact your vet, who can tell you if you may need to bring your pup in for a visit.
NOTE: If you believe your dog has consumed a lot of raw bacon or he has eaten any of the plastic packaging or a plastic container, then skip all this and call the vet immediately. If the meat had gone bad and Fido rummaged through the trash to get to it, call the vet immediately.
It’s important to follow your vet’s advice as well as take measures to prevent this from happening again. Put groceries on a counter that’s too high for Fido to get to, and if you must put out-of-date raw meat in the trash, make sure Fido can’t tear into it somehow.
Is it a guarantee raw bacon will make my dog sick?
No. Typically, a slice or two that Fido happens to grab occasionally won’t make him sick. However, large amounts of raw bacon or getting into bacon that has become rancid can. Most of the time, the only symptom of eating a lot of raw bacon will be an upset tummy in your dog. If your dog has not ingested any of the packagings and the bacon was fairly fresh, this will likely be the only repercussion of Fido’s actions.
It’s important to note dogs that eat raw bacon over a period of time can develop pancreatitis, which is a condition in which the pancreas can become inflamed. This serious condition can result in not only abdominal pain but in lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea as well as drooling and panting. You’ll also notice Fido begins to refuse dog food when he experiences bouts with pancreatitis. This can lead to dehydration, so it’s important to have this addressed as soon as possible.
Let’s talk about trichinosis.
So we previously discussed the possibility of Trichinella spiralis, a parasite that can be present in uncooked pork. Sometimes, an infestation of this parasite can be difficult to diagnose as the dog may not present symptoms at all. Other dogs may have diarrhea or vomiting or fever. This is why it’s best not to provide your dog with raw pork products. There is no way to tell if the product has the parasite present.
What can I expect my vet to do?
If your dog asks you to bring Fido in for a visit, he’ll check things like abdominal pain and dehydration. Most of the time, the vet will tell you to provide your dog with a bland diet. He may also prescribe a probiotics for dogs or an anti-nausea med.
If the case seems to be more severe, your vet may perform blood work and run tests. She may test for pancreatitis or other tummy troubles in addition to dehydration. If the vet suspects the presence of parasites, she may do a fecal matter exam. Keep in mind, this is usually rare, so don’t assume that just because Fido ingested raw bacon, he’ll automatically have a parasite infection.
If the vet thinks your dog may have ingested packaging, he may ask for x-rays to be done. Sometimes, he will run an ultrasound on Fido’s tummy just to make sure there are no foreign objects in Fido’s stomach.
My dog ate raw bacon and got sick. What are the treatments?
So, your dog ate raw bacon and he got sick. Unless a severe problem presents itself, your vet will likely not provide any medications for the issue. Again, you may have to provide a change in diet and introduce probiotics to your pup. Otherwise, it just needs to work its way out of Fido’s system.
In the case of pancreatitis, your vet may have to provide IV fluids to combat dehydration. Your dog may also get some pain relief medications if the abdominal pain is unbearable. Antibiotics may also be a part of the course of treatment for dogs with pancreatitis.
If the dog is found with trichinosis, then your vet will recommend the best dewormer for dogs or similar treatments that will eradicate the infestation.
Will my dog be okay even though he ate raw bacon?
Nine times out of ten, your dog will be just fine after eating a piece or two of raw bacon. Even if Fido happens to get into a large amount of raw bacon, he will likely be just fine too.
If you’re worried your dog may develop pancreatitis due to her breed, then you may have cause for concern. Cocker spaniels, miniature Poodles, and miniature Schnauzers tend to be prone to pancreatitis.
The main thing to do is to isolate Fido and watch him for any symptoms of pancreatitis as well as dehydration. If symptoms worsen, or your dog seems to be experiencing abdominal pain, then you should contact your vet for appropriate treatment.
1. What happens if a dog eats raw bacon?
If your dog only ingested a small amount, likely nothing will happen. If he consumed a little more or a large amount, you may notice stomach upset and abdominal pain. If your dog has eaten bacon past its expiration date, then contact your vet immediately.
2. Will bacon hurt my dog?
A small amount of bacon doesn’t usually hurt a dog, but, over time, raw bacon can have detrimental effects on your dog’s health. Lots of bacon means lots of extra sodium and extra fat, which aren’t good for your dog at all.
3. Can a dog get worms from eating raw bacon?
There is a slight possibility that your dog can develop worms after eating uncooked pork. Sometimes the dog will develop symptoms, but other times there is no outward indication of a parasitic infection. So, it’s best not to provide raw bacon for your dog purposely.
4. What raw meats can dogs eat?
Dogs can eat hamburgers, chicken, and turkey. They can eat “organ” meat—the heart, liver, and kidneys. Whole fish and raw meaty bones are also acceptable food, according to raw feeders. However, one should never feed a dog a cooked bone; they can splinter in your dog’s throat or stomach and cause major problems.