It’s meat and your furry friends will gobble it up, but can dogs eat prosciutto? Read this guide first!
There are a lot of questions about dogs and prosciutto. Is it the same thing as hot dogs? How is it made? In this guide, we’ll look closely at this cured meat and whether it is a good choice.
For ultimate pet safety, I recommend consulting with your vet about all the questions you have about your dog eating prosciutto.
What Is Prosciutto
It’s a fun word to say in English, but in Italian, it translates literally to “ham.” It’s a very thinly-sliced ham that has been thoroughly cured in lots of sea salt. The process of curing ham in sea salt dates way back to pre-Roman times!
It’s made from high-quality pork legs. The legs are covered in sea salt and left to rest for many weeks. As it cures like this, the salt draws out the blood and moisture, so bacteria can’t enter the meat.
Since it is cured and not cooked, you could technically call it raw meat, but raw prosciutto is cured so thoroughly that it is perfectly safe to eat.
It has a salty but slightly sweet flavor, which is why it’s a popular ingredient on charcuterie boards.
Here are some common types of prosciutto and what they are.
- Prosciutto di Parma: 100% natural sea salt cured ham without any preservatives or coloring agents.
- Prosciutto Cotto: Basically cooked ham.
Can Dogs Have Prosciutto
If you want to give your dog prosciutto, I suggest you proceed with caution. While small pieces might not hurt your pet, it is cured in salt, so it’s a very salty meat. Dogs should not eat too much salt. If they do, they are at risk of salt poisoning (and I’ll explain more about that further below).
Another reason to control how much prosciutto your pet eats is because it has a lot of fat content. In fact, there is 1 gram of saturated fat in an ounce of prosciutto. Dogs that eat too much fat are at risk of heart disease.
Before we go too far in this guide, it’s important to clear up a few misunderstandings that are out there about this ham delicacy.
The first thing people incorrectly worry about is all the extra spices it might have – like cayenne pepper, garlic, or paprika – and that the prosciutto could pose a health risk to their pets. Good news, prosciutto isn’t made with extra spices like garlic powder or black pepper. It’s only cured in sea salt.
There is another misunderstanding about prosciutto and dogs. Many are worried that since it is labeled as uncured, it might have harmful bacteria in it. This just isn’t true. Prosciutto is always fully cured. But American standards state it has to be labeled as uncured prosciutto because it is made without sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate.
Others also worry that there are high amounts of preservatives in it. There isn’t any kind of preservatives in it other than sea salt.
Is Prosciutto Toxic To Dogs
No, prosciutto is not toxic to dogs. The salt and fat in prosciutto make it something you shouldn’t give to your dog in large amounts, but a small bite probably won’t hurt your dog.
Many people mistakenly think that the color in prosciutto comes from nitrates. This worries pet owners because when dogs eat nitrates, they are at risk for developing methemoglobinemia, which is a blood disorder that reduces protein in red blood cells.
One thing that can make it harmful to dogs is sodium poisoning. This happens when dogs eat too much salt.
Signs Of Salt Poisoning
Large amounts of salt in food could cause your dog to experience sodium poisoning. The main symptom of salt poisoning is excessive thirst and drinking.
Too much sodium could make your dog so thirsty that they actually experience dehydration.
All this excessive thirst could also lead to bloat, which is a life-threatening condition where the dog’s stomach flips or twists. When this happens, they will experience a lot of abdominal pain.
Is Prosciutto High In Fat
Yes, prosciutto is really high in fat and even contains saturated fat (which is the least healthy kind).
Dogs that eat too much fat are at risk of gaining too much weight. Obesity puts dogs at risk for heart disease and other health problems. Excessive intake of fatty food can also lead to pancreatitis.
It’s best to control how much cured ham you let your four-legged friend eat.
Pork Products And Dogs
Some dogs can eat raw pork without a problem, but you should always control how much salty meats they eat.
Many dog owners don’t let their fur babies eat prosciutto, choosing instead to keep them super safe. Other meat products like boiled chicken or anchovies are better for dogs.
Prosciutto Bones And Dogs
Even though you can find them in stores and online, it’s best not to give them to your pet. Since so much salt is used to make prosciutto, it’s very possible that the bones will contain too much salt for dogs too.
Health Benefits Of Prosciutto
For humans, prosciutto is a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. A small amount of it can be good for dogs too. In fact, it’s ok to give them to your pet as a rare treat. Just be careful that you don’t give them other salty foods that day.
The short answer is that prosciutto is almost as safe as other types of meat. It has more salt and fat in it than other types, so it’s best to only give your pet small amounts on rare occasions.
More Dog Food Resources
Here are some articles about other meat and protein and whether they are safe or toxic for your dog to eat.
- Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky
- Can Dogs Eat Chicken Feet
- Can Dogs Eat Liver
- Can Dogs Eat Pepperoni
- Can Dogs Eat Salami
- Can Dogs Eat Spam
- Can Dogs Have Fish
Find even more articles on human food dogs can and can’t eat here on Spoiled Hounds!
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