Can the dog eat the Easter ham? Be careful because of two spices

Szénási Szimonetta

2024. March 29 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

As Easter approaches, it's important to discuss whether you can give your pet Easter ham. There are serious reasons why it could be dangerous!


As with every holiday, Easter also has its traditional dishes, among which the Easter ham holds a prominent place, if not at the center. This is understandable, especially for those who observe the fasting period preceding the holiday. Loving owners wouldn’t want to deprive their pets of anything good, so they would gladly share this delicacy with them as well. But can your dog eats ham? Let’s clarify this question before you start enjoying it together!

Dangers of raw meat and salt

Pork meat in its natural, unprocessed form is a safe protein source for dogs. Following this logic, there shouldn’t be any issue with ham either. However, a lot depends on the preparation and cooking of the food! Firstly, never feed your pet raw pork, as it exposes them to parasites such as Trichinella.

If your pet has eaten raw pork and you notice any of the following symptoms, contact your vet immediately!

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • rigidity
  • fever
  • signs of stomach pain

The problem with Easter ham is the preparation. Since this type of meat is typically cured, which involves a lot of salt, even if it’s cooked, it’s no longer safe for dogs!

Indeed, dogs’ bodies do not require as much salt as humans’ (although medical opinions suggest that human salt consumption is also too high). A healthy adult dog needs a minimum of 5 mg and a maximum of 13 mg of salt per kilogram of body weight for health maintenance. Products made for dogs are prepared to meet this requirement. However, homemade food, including ham for the holiday table, may contain more salt than is allowed.

Salt poisoning

Consistently high salt consumption, as with humans, can cause various issues in dogs as well, such as high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, water retention, and kidney disease. In more severe cases, such as ingestion of a large amount at once, salt poisoning can occur. The symptoms of salt poisoning may include:

  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • seizures
  • weakness, altered mental state, “drunken” gait
  • increased thirst and urination
  • abdominal pain
  • edema
  • fever

This condition also requires immediate medical attention!

The hot spices

In addition to salt, most households also use pepper to flavor ham, which, like salt and other spicy seasonings, is also not good for our four-legged friends.

What about other holiday treats?

In addition to ham, other typical Easter delicacies include various chocolate figures, homemade pastries, possibly liqueurs, eggs, as well as horseradish and fresh vegetables, including spring onions. Let’s go through what your pet can eat from these!

Chocolate can be deadly even in small amounts!

From the list, chocolates and cocoa-containing sweets, alcoholic beverages, and large quantities of onions are absolutely prohibited as they are poisonous to dogs! Horseradish can burden the animal’s stomach due to its spiciness, while cakes with their high sugar and fat content can lead to stomach upset. Additionally, if they contain raisins, they can also poison the dog.

So, that leaves us with eggs (unless the dog is allergic!), with boiled eggs being the best option, or eggs prepared with minimal fat like fried or scrambled eggs.

Your dog can have eggs if they’re not allergic

The time spent together is the most important!

Because of all this, don’t despair and don’t feel like your dog is missing out. Dogs’ sense of taste is fundamentally different from yours. While humans have about 9,000 taste buds, allowing them to distinguish numerous taste variations and combinations, dogs have only around 1,700. Thus, they don’t experience gastronomic pleasures to the same extent as we do.

Feed your dog with food appropriate for their age, health condition, and taste preferences, or cook for them in a safe way. Enhance the holiday spirit with more shared playtime, walks, and other quality activities. Trust me, this is the best gift you can give them!

If you have some time, why not make some Easter decorations with a dog theme! In THIS article, we’ll show you how you can easily create charming decorations.

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