My Dog Ate Raw Pork – What Should I Do Now?

You just had a scare. 

You went to check on your dog and found him gnawing away at the raw pork you put in his bowl, but then he ran off before you could get to him. 

What should you do?

Is Raw Pork Bad For Dogs? 

Pork is not good for dogs.  

Many people feed their dogs raw pork without any bad side effects, but it’s risky. 

The reason is that trichinosis is a disease caused by roundworm larvae. The worms are found in the muscles of some animals so they can be transmitted to humans or other animals when meat containing those worms is undercooked and eaten without proper precautions. 

So if you or your dog eat undercooked pork that contains the larvae of this worm, you could get sick with trichinosis.

Can Raw Pork Kill A Dog?

picture of raw pork

If your dog eats raw pork and gets sick with trichinosis, the disease can be fatal.  

But most dogs don’t get sick with trichinosis. Symptoms usually appear within 1 to 2 weeks of your dog eating raw pork, but in some cases, they can take as long as 20 days. 

Some symptoms include fever, muscle stiffness, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

You’ll want to see a vet because treatment may be needed. Allowing the disease to progress can cause permanent damage to internal organs.

How Much Pork Is Safe For My dog?

There’s no easy answer to this question because trichinosis can affect different dogs in different ways. 

The time period during which it’s possible for a dog to get sick and the symptoms each dog may develop are also different. 

There is some evidence that dogs who eat raw pork infrequently, consume smaller amounts of meat, or have a strong immune system may be at lower risk for trichinosis.

Why Would Dogs Be At Risk For Trichinosis? 

Dogs can catch trichinosis by eating raw meat infected with roundworm larvae. 

Cases of trichinosis in humans have decreased significantly since the mid 20th century because people don’t eat raw or undercooked pork very often. 

But in areas where other food sources are scarce dogs may become a primary source of meat for humans, and those dogs are at risk for trichinosis.

Symptoms Of Trichinosis  – How Long After The Exposure Happened Will Symptoms Show?

dog extremely unwell

Trichinosis is a bacterial infection that humans and dogs can get from eating undercooked or uncooked meat containing the larvae of a certain type of worm. 

If the larvae are not killed by heat, they can become adult worms in the stomach and intestinal tract that cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, fever, and chills. 

Symptoms usually start within 1-2 weeks after eating infected meat but can take up to several months to appear.

How Is Trichinosis Diagnosed?

If your dog eats raw pork or another meat that contains roundworm larvae, he can get trichinosis. 

The larvae burrow into the muscles of an animal, so when you eat contaminated meat it is possible to become infected with these worms. 

Although it’s not common for dogs to get trichinosis from eating meat contaminated with these worms, if your dog does get this disease it’ll show up in the next few weeks with symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. 

The timing of the symptoms is important to watch for because it can help you figure out whether or not you got infected.

Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose trichinosis by looking at a sample taken from your dog’s body and under the microscope. 

They may also run a test that will detect the worm’s larvae in your dog’s muscle tissue. If you or your dog ate raw pork, watch for symptoms of trichinosis in the next few weeks like vomiting and diarrhea.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Raw Pork?  

The most important thing is to figure out what symptoms the dog has and how long ago he ate the meat. 

Symptoms of poisoning from a bacteria called trichinella usually start within 1-2 weeks of eating contaminated meat, so it’s important to watch for fever, muscle stiffness, vomiting, diarrhea, increased drinking, and increased urination. 

If your dog doesn’t show any symptoms after 2 weeks then there is probably no need for concern. 

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Raw Pork And Has Symptoms? 

If you see any symptoms then it’s important to take your dog for a checkup. 

Your veterinarian will want to know what kind of meat the dog ate and how long ago he ate it. Some dogs will need to be given medicine to keep them from getting sicker, but most of the time they will recover on their own without any long-term problems.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Raw Pork And Doesn’t Have Symptoms Yet?

Uncooked meat can contain harmful bacteria that can make your dog sick, but trichinella is rare in the United States. 

The most important thing to do is to keep an eye on your dog for symptoms and take him for a checkup if you notice anything unusual.

Treatment Options for Dogs with Trichinosis

dog treated by a vet

If your dog gets trichinosis from eating raw pork there are usually no long-term health issues, but it’s possible for the larvae to linger in muscle tissue and cause recurring symptoms. 

Your veterinarian may prescribe medicine to keep your dog from getting sicker, but most of the time they will recover on their own with no long-term problems.

If your dog eats raw pork and then develops symptoms of trichinosis, it will usually show up within a few weeks. 

If he doesn’t have any symptoms after 2 weeks then there is probably no need for concern. Your veterinarian may decide to run a test that checks for the presence of larvae in muscle tissue.

Most of the time, treatment is not necessary and your dog will get better on his own. 

You may want to consider blocking access to raw meat if you’ll be away from home for an extended period of time or if you have another dog in the house that doesn’t need the same nutrition as your pet. 

If the issue is due to a food allergy then switching foods might resolve the problem. 

However, if your dog is having digestive problems or diarrhea then it might be a more serious health issue that needs to be addressed.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog after he ate raw pork, take him for a checkup by making an appointment with your veterinarian:

  1. Unusual hair loss.
  2. A change in eating habits (going from a voracious eater to picky, going from always eating to hardly ever eating).
  3. A strong odor coming from your dog’s mouth or nose. This is especially true if you’ve noticed nasal discharge or bleeding.
  4. Sudden weight gain, particularly around the neck or shoulders.
  5. Vomiting, diarrhea, or both.
  6. The urge to drink a lot of water and urinate more often than usual.
  7. A general feeling of being sick or weak that doesn’t seem to be accompanied by any outward symptoms.

If you notice these symptoms after your dog eats raw pork then take him for a checkup.

What Is The Safest Way To Prepare Pork For Dogs?

It’s always a good idea to cook meat before giving it to your dog. 

If you notice any sign of diarrhea or vomiting then get in touch with your veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Don’t forget that rabbits, poultry, and other small animals can also be carriers of this parasite. A microscopic test will show whether there are larvae living in your dog’s body.

Canned Pork Versus Fresh Pork

If you’re going to give pork to your dog, make sure it’s “cooked and cooled” before serving it up. 

If the meat is still warm then put it in the refrigerator or freezer until it cools down.  

Make sure that you supervise your dog during feeding so if he does eat something he shouldn’t have then you’ll notice it right away.

Pork Vs Chicken – Which One Is Better For My Dog?

Dogs can digest both pork and chicken just fine, but it’s important to avoid any raw meat source if possible. 

It’s also a good idea to avoid giving your dog “people food” that doesn’t have the right nutritional value and can cause stomach upsets like diarrhea or vomiting.

What Are Some Recipes That I Can Make For My Dog?

If you need to give your dog a treat or something special then it’s best to stick with canned pet food, cooked meat, and other options that don’t require any preparation (like biscuits, treats, or bones). 

If you want to give your dog raw pork then make sure you cook it first. The same goes for poultry as well.

What Is An Alternative Meat To Feed Your Dog?

If you have a dog that needs an alternative to pork now that you know it’s dangerous then consider the following meats:

  1. Beef, lamb, and venison are sometimes recommended as good alternatives for dogs because they’re usually lower in fat than other meat sources.
  2. Fish can be a healthy choice but should be limited especially if your dog has a tendency to get gassy or have digestive issues.
  3. Be careful with rabbits and goats because these types of meat can contain a parasite that causes anemia in dogs, so they should be avoided.
  4. Poultry might not have the protein levels that your dog needs to thrive, but it’s a healthier choice than red meat because it usually doesn’t cause stomach issues as often. If you do feed chicken to your dog then be careful that he doesn’t get any bones because they can cause choking or puncture his intestines.

Supplementing Your Dog’s Diet

You might want to consider adding supplements to your dog’s diet if you want him to have extra nutrients and energy for his level of activity. 

Possible additions include:

  1. Vitamin C.
  2. Vitamin B.
  3. Acidophilus, which is a good source of probiotics that will help prevent diarrhea and other digestive issues.
  4. An omega-3 supplement to help reduce inflammation and improve the health of your dog’s skin and coat. The most common allergen in dogs is fish oil, so if you do want to use an omega-3 supplement then you might want to consider flaxseed or sunflower oil instead.

Healthy Fats And Suggested Amounts To Feed Your Dog

Dogs have a different metabolism than humans, so they can thrive on a higher amount of fat than we eat. 

The most common source of healthy fat for dogs comes from fish but it’s also possible to feed them flaxseed or sunflower oil. 

Fat is important for your dog because it keeps his coat shiny and helps maintain healthy organ function that would otherwise be compromised by a low-fat diet.

Your dog needs a certain amount of fat so look for these recommended levels in the food you give him:

Puppies and pregnant dogs should get about 30 percent of their calories from fat, but adult dogs can have 20-25 percent.

Older dogs might need as little as 10 percent because they’re more likely to lose weight on a high-fat diet.

If you don’t want to add fats directly to your dog’s food then you can add them to his water instead.

The Right Amount Of Protein For A Dog’s Diet

You might be surprised to know that protein is the third most important component in a dog’s diet, right after carbohydrates and fats. 

Just like humans have different protein needs depending on their activity level, dogs also need more or less depending on how active they are.

Toy dogs have different protein requirements than larger dogs, so find the chart that matches the size of your dog to make sure he’s getting enough. 

You might be surprised at how high-powered breeds like German Shepherds need more protein than smaller breeds like Chihuahuas.

How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating Raw Pork?

If there are any pork products in your home then you need to keep them out of reach so your dog doesn’t sneak a bite when you’re not looking.

To prevent future incidents from happening you might want to consider giving your dog special treats that he gets only on extremely special occasions, such as:

  • Bacon strips.
  • Chopped ham.
  • Bargain basement meat trays that have pork mixed in with them.

The Bottom Line On Raw Pork For Dogs

If your dog’s digestive system isn’t working properly the raw pork might not be digested properly and could cause him to get sick instead of being healthy. 

Don’t feed your dog any kind of raw meat unless you’re sure he can handle it, especially if he’s a smaller breed or has had trouble with digestion in the past.

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