Can Dogs eat Ham — 6 Reasons Why You Should


  • Can dogs eat ham?
  • Can dogs eat ham bones safely?
  • Can dogs eat deli ham?

You are busy making yourself a delicious ham sandwich, and suddenly you look at your dog, who is just staring at you, wondering about what you are preparing. Moments like these make dog owners instinctively want to share their food with their canines, and therefore you might also think about giving your dog a slice of ham. But is it safe to do that? Can dogs eat ham? 

If you are also tackling such questions, then you have come to the right place as this article is all about answering questions like these. 

So, Can dogs eat ham?

The question Can dogs eat ham can’t be answered as a simple yes or no. There are lots of factors in play when we discuss questions like these. That’s why we recommend dog owners familiarize themselves with all the pros and cons of feeding ham to dogs. Having a good idea about all the pros and cons of feeding ham to dogs is the only way of answering the question of can dogs eat ham or not for sure.

Fortunately, our valued readers don’t have to search the whole internet in the hopes of finding out about all the pros and cons of ham. The reason for that is that we have already included all the benefits and harms of feeding ham to dogs in this article. 

Benefits of feeding ham to dogs

Ham is a staple food across the globe and especially in the states, and there are good reasons for that. Ham is highly delicious as it is a smoked slice of pork and therefore is well-liked among American families. Ham also has nutritional value as it is a good source of protein and iron. This also makes ham a good treat for dogs as dogs require large amounts of protein for their daily upkeep. Dogs are also carnivorous animals meaning that they can only get their protein from meat sources. Ham is also loaded with iron and folate, making it even more beneficial for dogs. Folate or Vitamin B9 is a very important nutrient for ensuring the well-being of our dogs, and therefore it’s essential for us to tell our readers more about its role. 

Vitamin B9 is a water-soluble vitamin and is one of the most important members of the Vitamin B complex. Vitamin B9 is also termed folate. Vitamin B9 is required for the regular proceeding of many vital processes in animal bodies. Therefore, our readers must be aware of all the functions performed by Vitamin B9 so that they can grasp how vital folate is. 

Folate is required to produce both types of blood cells, i.e., red blood cells and white blood cells, and without the recommended concentration of folate, the production of these blood cells can even come to a complete stop. And this clearly shows the value of Vitamin B9 as this essential vitamin is directly required to supply oxygen to every cell of the body and makes our immune system much stronger and capable against all sorts of pathogens. Vitamin B9 is also needed to break down the food molecules and obtain energy from them, and in this way, Vitamin B9 also serves a role in energy production.

The functionality of Vitamin B9 doesn’t end here as it is also needed in the production of nucleic acids, namely DNA and RNA, that are regarded as codes of life. Healthy amounts of folate are also required by the body when it comes to receiving medicines against depression, as antidepressants fail to work if not enough amounts of folate are present in the body of your pooch.

All the above benefits of Vitamin B9 must make their importance clear to you. It is imperative for you to add rich sources of Vitamin B9 to your dog’s meal, and you can accomplish that by feeding potatoes to your canine friend. This also answers the question of “Can dogs eat ham?” as a big Yes.

Importance of Protein for the well-being of dogs

Now that you know all about the health benefits of folate, it’s time that we discuss the importance of protein for dogs. Protein acts as the building block of animal bodies, and therefore it is safe to say that proteins are required in almost all-important bodily functions. To further understand the importance of protein, we have added brief notes of all the important roles performed by protein molecules.

Maintenance and Growth

Dogs require proteins in order to maintain their bodies as well as to grow optimally. Without adequate amounts of protein present in the body, dogs are unable to continue the production of tissues, blood, muscles, cartilage, and even bones. This shows the importance of protein in the growth and maintenance of canine bodies.

Promote Biochemical activity in dogs

Proteins help a lot when it comes to all the biochemical reactions taking place in the body by acting as enzymes. Enzymes are protein molecules that serve to catalyze a biochemical reaction and thus speed up the said reaction drastically. Enzymes generally perform their functions on organic molecules called substrates and work to convert substrates into required products. Following are some bodily functions that depend on enzymes for their normal functioning

  • Energy production
  • Blood clotting
  • Digestion
  • Muscle contractions

Behave as messengers

Most hormones are also composed of protein molecules, and in this way, protein molecules act as messengers as the role of hormones is to transfer signals and messages from one organ to another. These hormones are produced and secreted by endocrine glands and are then transported to their target tissue or cell through blood. There are many types of hormones made up of protein molecules, some of which are termed Steroids, Amines, and Peptides.

Common examples of hormones found in dog bodies are as follows

  • Insulin
  • Glucagon
  • ADH (Anti Diuretic Hormone)
  • ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic Hormone)

Provide Structure

Proteins are also tasked with providing cells and tissues with their stiffness and rigidity. The reason why proteins can do that is their fibrous nature. Proteins most commonly tasked with that job are Keratin, Collagen, and Elastin. 

Keratin is a protein that provides form and structure and is present in skin, hair, and nails. Collagen is the most abundant protein found in mammals and forms bones, ligaments, tendons, and skin cells. On the other hand, elastin is many times elastic than collagen and is therefore responsible for bringing tissues to their actual position after a phase of contraction of expansion. 

Help in Regulating pH levels

The functionality of various enzymes, cells, and even organs is greatly affected by any change in the blood pH level. That’s why maintaining pH at a normal level is necessary for ensuring that organs function normally. Fortunately, proteins are able to regulate the pH level of blood and maintain it at an optimal level. 

Maintain Fluid Balance

Various proteins help maintain the body fluid balance by retaining or releasing water. Some prominent proteins involved in the maintenance of fluid balance are albumin and globulin. This is the reason why feeding your pooch the right amount of protein is so important, as, without that, your dog can run low on the reserves of albumin and globulin protein; this can result in him being unable to retain water content even when his body needs water. This can cause severe dehydration in dogs, which can act as a precursor of a long list of diseases. Similarly, a dog suffering from globulin deficiency can fail to release excess water from his body, resulting in his blood vessels being unable to hold all that water. This water content then seeps into cells and causes severe swelling of cells.


It must be evident from the above examples that feeding adequate amounts of protein to your pooch is highly important. This makes ham an acceptable option for dogs as it’s full of protein. Therefore, the answer to the question of can dogs eat ham is yes. 

Cons of feeding ham to dogs 

Now that we have talked about all the pros of feeding ham to dogs, it is time that we start discussing all the harms that are associated with feeding ham to dogs. Unfortunately, you will come to realize that there are many more cons of feeding ham to dogs than pros. There are a lot of better protein sources than ham, and therefore in our opinion, you should use alternatives to ham rather than ham itself. 

Yes, we are aware that we answered the question of Can dogs eat ham as a yes, but it doesn’t mean that you must feed your dog ham when you have other protein sources in your fridge. Following are the reasons why we think that dog owners should avoid feeding ham to their dogs.

Hard to digest

As mentioned earlier, ham is pork meat cut from the leg area, which is smoked and dried for a long time. This adds a smoky taste to ham but also makes it extremely tough for dogs to digest, resulting in poor digestion of ham. This can result in a plethora of stomach-related problems and can make your dog severely ill. Some of the diseases caused by poor digestion of ham by dogs are as follows. 

  • Gastritis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Celiac Diseases
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Gallstones
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Lactose intolerance 
  • Hirschsprung disease
  • Abdominal adhesions
  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Appendicitis
  • Indigestion (dyspepsia)
  • Intestinal pseudo-obstruction
  • Pancreatitis
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Whipple’s disease
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
  • malabsorption syndromes 
  • Hepatitis

Ham is also tougher than other meats due to it being low-quality meat. This also means that ham lacks protein content compared to other meats, and therefore feeding ham while knowing that it can cause a lot of problems in your dog might not be a good idea. We hope that this helps our readers see what we meant when we say that the answer to the question “Can dogs eat ham?” is No.

High in Sodium

Most of us get our ham from stores and grocery shops. There is nothing wrong with that in general, but the equation completely changes when we start talking about feeding store-bought ham to dogs. The reason for that is the fact that store-sourced ham is always loaded with sodium which can spell disaster for the health of our canines. Dogs cannot handle high amounts of sodium, so they should be kept away from any such food products. The high amount of sodium can easily cause a number of life-threatening diseases in dogs, such as Dehydration, High blood pressure, heart problems, kidney-related complications, and mineral imbalance.

Abundance of artificial additives

Ham sourced from stores also tend to be full of artificial additives. These artificial additives include colors, flavors, sugars, and preservatives. These additives are added to ham in order to increase its taste, appearance, and shelf life of bread. But all of these artificial additives have a long list of associated side effects, and therefore artificial additives do more harm than good. This stands true for dogs, as well as all these additives, which can affect your dog’s well-being in a terrible way. The abundance of artificial additives in ham is another reason why you should avoid feeding ham to your dog.   

Too many Fats

Ham is also high in fats compared to other meat products, which is not great news for dogs. Yes, we know that dogs require fats in their diets for their well-being, but it doesn’t mean that you should start feeding ham to your dogs for its fat content. As we said, ham is full of fats, meaning that just a small portion of ham can introduce a ton of fats into your dog diet. This can make your dog highly obese very soon, and therefore you should avoid feeding ham to your canine friend. 

So, what’s the final verdict? 

You must be waiting anxiously for a definitive answer to the question Can dogs eat ham? And that’s why we are here. 

In our expert opinion, the cons of feeding ham to dogs far outweigh the pros, and this is the reason why dog owners should opt for other meat sources instead of going for ham. This is the reason why we think that the answer to the question “can dogs eat ham?” is a big No.

Frequently asked questions

Ham is a fascinating topic for most dog owners, and therefore most dog owners have a ton of additional questions regarding feeding ham to dogs. We have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about this topic for the further convenience of our valued readers.  

Can dogs eat ham bones safely?

No, ham bones present in ham tend to be very small, sharp, and brittle. This meant that these bones could cause dogs to choke and can also cause internal injuries. That’s why we think that the question “Can dogs eat ham bones safely?” can only be answered as a No.

Can dogs eat Deli ham?

Yes, dogs can consume deli ham, but it’s not recommended to offer deli ham to dogs. The reason is that deli ham is loaded with salt, spices, additional flavoring, and other additives. All these artificial additives can negatively impact your dog’s health. Therefore, although the answer to the question Can dogs eat Deli ham? Is a yes, we still think that you should avoid feeding deli ham to your canine friend. 

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