Dog smelling ham slices on a cutting board

Can Dogs Eat Ham?

You might believe dogs to be carnivorous creatures, but they are considered omnivorous! But can dogs eat ham?

Unlike humans, many forms of food can be considered toxic for dogs. Check every time you feed your dog something new. Certain meats can be toxic to your four-legged friend because of additives or flavorings. Onion powder and garlic powder, for example, can be toxic and require a vet visit. We have a whole list of what house foods dogs can eat – but let’s look at ham specifically.

Is It Safe for My Dog to Eat Ham?

Yes, but there are many things to consider before you toss your pal a piece of sliced ham from your sandwich or Easter lunch.

Ham has enough sodium to cause issues not only for humans but dogs as well. If your ham is store-bought, then Fido is likely sinking his teeth into his fill of sodium for a long time.

That, and ham has sodium-based nitrites and nitrates that can cause problems for your dog. Too much salt for your dog can be toxic. You’re also looking at the possibility of kidney damage, seizures, and death due to too much salt.

Are There Any Safety Concerns Feeding Ham to My Dog?

If sodium concerns aren’t enough for you, then know that feeding your dog uncooked ham can also be a recipe for disaster. Uncooked meats carry the possibility of foodborne illnesses that can wreak havoc on your dog.

Hams, especially holiday hams, can also contain flavorings that can be toxic to dogs. While it might be fun to feed the pup from the table during Christmas dinner, too much ham can be a problem.

How Much Ham Can I Feed My Dog?

Have you heard of moderation? That’s the most important thing we can stress here. You may want to consider feeding your dog low-sodium ham only as a treat every once in a while. Be sure you cut the ham into bite-sized portions to reduce the risk of choking. A small serving size can be sprinkled in with your dog’s regular meal without issue.

How to Prepare Ham for Dogs

A piece of low-sodium ham from the deli counter or your grocery store’s meat section can be easily torn to manageable shreds for your dog to eat straight from your hand. If the ham is cooked, you’ll want to make sure it’s been cooked to an appropriate temperature of 145 degrees to reduce the likelihood of foodborne illnesses.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to think about giving your dog a little slice of ham as you finish your sandwich at lunch. There’s no harm in this, provided you’re not doing it daily and you’re practicing moderation.

Still, know that ham is high in fat content, which can be an issue down the road when your dog is older. Just like humans, too much fat can cause cardiovascular and weight issues for your dog (if you’re not sure about the desired weight for your pup we have a tool that can help you answer the question “how big will my puppy be?”). Keep these things in mind, and your pup can enjoy a piece of hammy goodness as a treat!

Learn more about the foods your dog should and shouldn’t eat in our series of guides on the topic, including whether your dog can eat pork, pecans, cantaloupe, tuna, or bread.

Obviously you’re likely interested in the quality of your dog’s food and your pet’s health, in addition to having questions about what your dog can and can’t eat. We happen to have a ton of resources on these very topics!

One is our guide which will teach you how to add fiber to a dog’s diet, along with or our guide to choosing the high fiber dog food. If you’re looking into dog upset stomach we have a guide for that as well, and we can even help answer how long does it take a dog to digest food?. If you’re portioning your dog’s food you can also check out our guide to choosing the best automatic dog feeder.

We also have a series of health and nutritional information for your dog. Our dog weight calculator and our answer to how heavy should my dog be? can help you determine if your dog is the proper weight and size, and we even have a collection of breed-specific growth charts such as our goldendoodle growth chart, great dane growth chart, golden retriever growth chart, chihuahua growth chart, or our labrador growth chart.

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.