Health & Wellness
Bacon is one of society's most beloved breakfast foods — but as you fry up the crispy strips to include in your meals, you may be wondering if it's safe to share with your pup. Although your dog may love the smell of the salty snack just as much as you, it's best to avoid giving them bacon no matter how long they look at you with those puppy dog eyes.
Although a small piece of bacon won't hurt your dog, giving it to them often could result in issues including pancreatitis — an inflammation of the pancreas — and gastrointestinal issues (G.I.) such as constipation, diarrhea, gas and abdominal pain.
Bacon and bacon grease has a lot of salt and fat that isn't good for your dog, even though they may beg for it. But, bacon isn't toxic to dogs the way chocolate, onions or garlic are, so if your dog does sneak a bite of bacon, you don't need to rush them to the emergency vet.
"Pork tends to be fatty in general and not great for dogs," Elizabeth Himes, RVT, a registered veterinary technician at Picture Hills Pet Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, says.
If you're going to feed your dog bacon, opt for turkey bacon. Low-sodium, uncured turkey bacon without added seasonings can be a safer option for dogs who drool over the smell of bacon.
Still, turkey bacon is generally packaged with salty additives, so you should only give this as an occasional treat and not part of your dog's regular diet. It would be best if you also talked to your vet before introducing your dog to any new foods.
"If you need a high-value treat, I would do a turkey hot dog in small pieces," Himes says. "Or if you wanted to feed another meat product, then try plain turkey or chicken or something very lean."
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Bacon isn't recommended even as an occasional treat for dogs since it's so high in salt and fat. This rich food can even cause pancreatitis, which can be life-threatening for dogs. Signs of pancreatitis include lethargy, dehydration, vomiting, loss of appetite, hunched back and fever. If you suspect your dog has pancreatitis, contact your vet immediately.
If your dog sniffed out a large amount of bacon while you weren't looking, keep an eye on them for the next few days, and contact your veterinarian if they start to show any unusual symptoms.
"Watch for vomiting or diarrhea and G.I. signs and feed them lightly to help prevent any further G.I. distress," Himes says.
In the case that your dog has an upset stomach, you can feed them white rice and boiled, boneless and skinless plain chicken until they return to normal — with your vet's permission, of course. You should contact your veterinarian if symptoms continue for more than 24 hours or if they progress.
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A sketch of bacon slices