If your dog is anything like most people’s, then chances are they’re an expert at stealing food while you’re not looking. From cheeseburgers to entire turkeys at Thanksgiving (a story for another time), our furry friends are certainly as sneaky as they are adorable.
Unfortunately, not all food is okay for dogs to consume. Raw meat can be especially concerning. If you catch your dog stealing a bite of uncooked bacon, there are steps you must take to make sure they are okay.
But first, let’s talk about why you shouldn’t let your dog eat raw bacon and what potential health problems there are.
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Is Raw Bacon Bad for Your Dog?
In small amounts, raw bacon is generally safe for your dog to eat in the sense that it most likely won’t cause any life-threatening illnesses or gastrointestinal issues.
Yes dogs can safely eat raw bacon, but not in large quantities.
Whether it’s cooked or uncooked, bacon is notorious for being loaded with fats and salt. And, though it may not seem like it, dogs have relatively sensitive stomachs. Especially if your dog is only used to eating specific dog food, chances are their stomachs will have a tough time processing the excess fat and salt.
As a result, when dogs consume bacon, some have diarrhea, vomiting, or just an excruciating stomach ache.
Additionally, all raw pork has the potential to carry bacteria, parasites, and disease. For example, some raw pork products contain Trichinella Spiralis, which is a type of parasitic worm. Although unlikely, if your dog snagged a piece of uncooked bacon, they potentially could have been exposed to this parasite.
There are other reasons to be concerned, too. If your dog found the uncooked bacon in the trash, the meat could have been sitting at room temperature for too long and could have become rancid. If your dog chewed on some raw bacon that was a little past its prime, the probability that the bacon has bacteria levels is higher, which means there is a higher chance of them getting ill.
Another potential issue is if your dog swallowed any plastic packaging along with the bacon. As many dog owners know, swallowing indigestible materials (like plastic wrap) can often lead to a bowel obstruction. If untreated, this is a life-threatening problem.
Can My Dog Eat Cooked Bacon?
Yes, your dog can eat cooked bacon – but only in small amounts. Cooked bacon doesn’t have any harmful parasites, but the high levels of fat and sodium are still not okay for dogs to consume on a regular basis.
Making breakfast? Whip up some dog-friendly scrambled eggs instead!
In fact, too much fat can lead to chronic health problems. For example, pancreatitis is a severe condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed as a result of consuming foods that are high in sodium and fat.
Unfortunately, pancreatitis is a very painful condition where your dog has intense abdominal pain. Additionally, your dog may exhibit a variety of symptoms such as fatigue, panting and pacing, excessive drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.
If you notice your dog displaying any of these symptoms after you caught them eating bacon, you might want to call the vet to make sure they do not have pancreatitis. If they do, they most likely will be put on a diet with low-fat and easily digestible food.
However, this condition only happens when dogs consume large amounts of bacon. If your dog just grabbed a slice of uncooked bacon, chances are they will just be bloated, dehydrated, and will have a stomach ache that will probably resolve itself within 24 hours.
The moral is that bacon is okay in moderation. You should only feed your dog small amounts of cooked bacon as a special occasion. When eaten rarely, bacon can be a fun treat that your dog will certainly enjoy.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Raw Bacon
In most cases, if your dog eats some raw bacon, then they will most likely be okay.
However, there are still steps you must take to make sure your dog doesn’t have any gastrointestinal problems (no matter how rare that may be) and make sure this doesn’t become a regular occurrence.
The first step is to figure out if the bacon they ate was expired or if it was at room temperature for too long. If you believe the meat has expired, you should call your vet.
You also may want to call your vet if you believe your dog swallowed plastic packaging. Your vet may tell you to give your dog medicine to trigger them to throw up the plastic, or you may have to go to the vet right away. Either way, if you believe your dog has swallowed plastic, this can turn into a very serious issue as bowel obstruction can be fatal.
If you bring your dog to the vet, they will most likely check to make sure your dog isn’t dehydrated or if they have any pain in their gut or abdomen. Your vet will probably conduct a general health screen for more severe cases and take blood samples and fecal samples.
If your dog has Trichinella spiralis, the larvae should be present in the fecal samples. Then, your vet will prescribe specific treatments to get rid of the parasite.
Lastly, if you think that your dog has consumed packaging, your vet will probably also order a few X-Rays to determine if your dog does have an obstruction and, if so, what the best course of action should be.
You also must make sure that you take extra precautions to ensure your dog can’t continue to snag uncooked bacon. Some dog owners put locks on trash cans to prevent their dogs from digging through it and eating their garbage. You also should be wary of countertops; if your dog is big enough to jump up and reach it, make sure to always put food far back on counters.
Why Do Dogs Love Bacon?
Cooked or uncooked, your dog will be attracted to meat because dogs are scavengers by nature. As a result, they are prewired to sniff out the tastiest treats to survive.
Can Dogs Eat Bacon Fat?
Like with actual bacon strips, bacon juice is loaded with fat and sodium and contains levels that aren’t good for your dogs’ digestive system. If you do plan to give your dog bacon fat, make sure that it is infrequent and you only give them small amounts.
Can Raw Meat Kill A Dog?
Like humans, if dogs consume raw meat, they can be susceptible to parasites that can lead to severe disease and parasitic infection. For example, you should never feed your dog raw chicken due to the risk of salmonella or bacterial infections.
However, not all raw meats carry the same amount of risk. Eating raw bacon (unless your dog has consumed a significant amount) should not kill your dog. At the worst, they probably will have an upset stomach for a few days.
It happens to every dog owner; you turn your back for a second to see your pup scavenging through discarded trash until they run away with a strip of raw bacon. Chances are, your dog will be okay. If they only ate a small piece of raw bacon, they most likely will have an upset stomach that will resolve within a day.
However, if your dog consumes a large amount of raw bacon, this could lead to serious parasitic problems. If you’re uncertain about how much raw bacon your dog ate, you should bring them to the vet to get them checked out. You also should be on the lookout in case your dog ate any packaging along with the bacon.
All in all, pieces of cooked bacon as a treat are perfectly fine in moderation. Just make sure not to make it an everyday occurrence.