Is there anything in this world that the average dog loves more than some crispy, pan-fried bacon? After all, how many dogs treats on the market today are bacon-flavored?
While we may be comfortable giving our dogs artificial bacon treats or even a small scrap of cooked bacon from the breakfast table, most of us would never dream of feeding our dogs raw bacon.
So can dogs eat bacon? If you’re thinking, “my dog just ate bacon!” you’re in the right place for some answers. Let’s dive in.
Can Dogs Eat Bacon and Is Raw Bacon Dangerous For Dogs?
If your dog swiped a strip of bacon off of the counter while you were tending to the stove, he’s likely going to be just fine. Raw bacon, in small amounts, probably won’t hurt your dog. At the very most, he might experience symptoms of an upset stomach.
The more raw bacon your dog has, the more severe symptoms you can expect. Because bacon is high in fat and salt, it can irritate your puppy’s stomach and gastrointestinal tract.
Small amounts aren’t bad for your dog, but if he’s gotten into the pack and consumed a lot of bacon, he could be at risk for more dangerous threats.
Trichinosis is a parasitic disease that most often comes from undercooked pork. Affected meat, such as bacon, could contain Trichinella larvae, which continue to live on inside your dog after he consumes them.
The larvae move throughout the body and form cysts within the muscles, where they can live for years.
This parasite is extremely difficult to diagnose, as your dog probably won’t show any specific symptoms. They may display changes in appetite, an upset stomach, or muscle weakness, or they may show no signs at all.
Additionally, trichinosis doesn’t really have many practical treatment options. The best way to treat the parasite is to avoid it altogether.
If your dog ingests a large quantity of sodium, he could be at risk for pancreatitis. Pancreatitis causes the pancreas to become inflamed, which is a very serious, painful condition. Your dog will experience severe abdominal discomfort along with lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and panting.
Luckily, your veterinarian will know how to treat pancreatitis, but it’s important that you contact them as soon as you’ve realized your dog has eaten a significant amount of raw bacon.
Common Symptoms to Watch For
You may not know how much bacon your dog has eaten, or whether it was too much for their size or not. Whenever you’re uncertain, it’s a good idea to monitor your pup’s symptoms. If your dog is getting sick from the raw bacon, their symptoms will show you.
Usually, the first and most obvious sign that your dog has eaten too much bacon will be vomiting. Vomiting is how your dog tries to get rid of unwanted objects in his stomach. If he vomits once or twice, he may be able to get it all out.
However, if he continues to vomit, it’s a sure sign to contact your vet. Additionally, your dog will not be able to expel the meat product once they’ve already digested it.
If your dog didn’t expel the bacon through vomiting, there’s a good chance they will through diarrhea. This symptom will appear suddenly if it’s due to the raw meat. You should check your pup’s stool to make sure they were able to get everything out.
If your dog continues to have diarrhea for several hours, you should call your vet right away.
Dogs who are sick tend to become very lethargic. They may sleep more than usual and won’t want to play, go for a walk, or partake in their everyday activities.
If your dog is acting lethargic and avoiding its favorite playtime adventures, it may be time to call the vet. Lethargic dogs often have a fever, sore muscles, or an infection.
As we mentioned earlier, severe abdominal pain could be a sign of pancreatitis in your dog, so it’s important that you watch out for this symptom. If your dog is experiencing abdominal pain, you might notice him walking in an odd way. He may also react when you touch his belly.
If this is the case for your dog who has just eaten raw bacon, you should get him examined immediately to prevent further discomfort or medical issues.
Actions to Take
If your dog eats a small amount of raw bacon, there’s no need to panic. Your pup will likely be just fine, and no action is needed.
However, if you have a very small dog, a dog with existing health conditions, or your dog has eaten several strips of raw bacon, you should always contact your vet as soon as possible. This call may be nothing more than preventative, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
If your vet isn’t available (such as on a holiday or the weekend), monitor your dog’s symptoms and contact an emergency clinic if they continue to worsen.
Preventing Your Dog From Eating Raw Bacon Again
Some basic training can help you avoid a situation like eating raw bacon again. Many dog owners must train their pups to keep off of the counter, as they tend to jump up to see the action and sneak scraps of food.
However, even the most well-trained dogs can give in to their instincts. While you should certainly train your pup, the best way to keep them from eating raw bacon again is to keep it out of reach and always be alert and aware when you’re cooking it.
You may also want to try keeping your dog out of the kitchen while working with dangerous foods. If your kitchen doesn’t have a door, you can use a baby gate to block the doorway. Never leave your dog unsupervised in the kitchen or dining room while there’s food out.