You’re sitting on your couch, watching your favorite show and enjoying your snack of yummy pork rinds when you feel the eyes of your loving pooch following your every move. And, nothing can stop you from giving your furry, drooling friend a few bites of your snack. After all, who can resist those adorable, pleading eyes!
However, the important question to ask here is, are pork rinds safe for your pooch? Well, the answer to that in short is a simple “No.” Pork rinds are not safe food for your dog.
In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at the problems with pork rinds and why it is not very good for your pet to eat them.
How Are Pork Rinds Made?
Pork rinds are extremely popular in every pig-eating country and are essentially fried or roasted pigskin. Known as chicharrones in Latin America, scrunchions in Canada and pork scratchings in the UK, these fatty, Styrofoam-like puffs are loved by people all over, not to mention your dog too.
Pork rinds are made by first boiling the pork skin to soften it and render any fat present under the skin. Any extra fat is scraped away after the skin is cooled, leaving behind only the outer skin layer. The skin is then cut into strips and dehydrated at a very low temperature until it is dried, browned and brittle.
Then finally, this dehydrated, dried pork skin is deep fried at a very high temperature of around 400°F, until it is crispy and puffy. The fried pork rinds are then seasoned with salt, pepper, vinegar, onion, garlic and other spices and seasonings.
Can My Dog Eat Pork Rinds?
The problem is not with the pork rinds, it is the way they are made. Fried foods are very harmful to your pet and are best avoided. Also, pork rinds contain a lot of salt and spices, which can be toxic to your dog. Your pet could have a sensitive stomach or may even be allergic to pork.
However, if your pet eats pork rinds as an accident or snatches a few off the table and gobbles them up quickly, there’s no need to panic. It will probably not cause any long-term health problems and you don’t have to rush to the vet. While pork rinds are not poisonous or toxic, you should avoid making this a habit and a regular part of your pet’s diet.
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Why Are Pork Rinds Harmful to Your Dog?
Any human foods are generally harmful to dogs and they should not consume them because they often contain ingredients that can be toxic for your pets. If you feel sad that your pet is not enjoying the foods that you eat, there is no cause for you to feel guilty.
Dogs have only 1,700 taste buds compared to humans who have around 9,000, which essentially means that your pet may not even be able to taste some of the flavors that we humans crave. So, your pet is not really missing out by simply eating dog food that you may find extremely tasteless and boring.
As we have said earlier, the problem with pork rinds is how they are made. They are fried, contain salt and other spices. In fact, the ones that are store bought are even worse for your pet because they may contain preservatives and additives. Let us take a deeper look at why pork rinds are not safe for your pet to eat. Pork rinds are:
While pork rinds of any type are not recommended for your pet, fried pork rinds can be especially harmful. Any kind of fried, fatty food, such as fried pork rinds can be toxic for your pooch.
Fatty and fried foods can cause pancreatitis, which causes inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas will stop functioning properly and not release the digestive enzymes into your pet’s stomach effectively. This will prevent your dog’s body from digesting and absorbing the food he eats.
The symptoms of pancreatitis include stomach ache, bloating of the abdomen, repeated vomiting, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, dehydration, fever and irregular heartbeat.
If left untreated, pancreatitis can even be fatal. Fried foods can also cause your pet to be overweight or even obese in the short run and the long run, your pet can develop diabetes. Too many fats can also cause bloat which is a dangerous and life-threatening condition.
Salt is very toxic to dogs and salty foods increase the risk of salt poisoning, which is very serious and can even damage your pet’s kidneys irreparably. Consuming too much salt can cause your pet to become very thirsty, cause frequent urination, diarrhea, vomiting, high temperature, tremors, seizures, depression and even death.
Spicy food can be quite harmful to your dog’s health. And, just like other types of spicy foods, spicy pork rinds are not recommended for your pet.
Spicy foods can cause many adverse reactions in dogs such as gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dehydration and vomiting.
Spices like onion and garlic can be toxic for your pet. They may cause diarrhea and stomach upset and. Onion contains disulfides and sulfoxides, which can cause anemia in the long run.
Calories in Pork Rinds
It is recommended that your pet should consume only 25 calories for every pound of his weight. Let us consider two common dog breeds i.e., Labrador and French Bulldog. A French Bulldog, weighing around 25 lb, should not consume more than 625 calories per day, while a Labrador weighing around 70 lb should not eat more than 1,750 calories per day.
According to this, around 30 gms of microwave pork rinds contain 128 calories, which comprises 20% of a French Bulldog’s and 7% of a Labrador’s daily calorie consumption. This means that pork rinds take up quite a large proportion of your pet’s daily calorie consumption, especially in the case of small and medium breeds, which is quite unhealthy for your pet.
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What If My Dog Eats Pork Rinds?
If your pet eats pork rinds, it may not cause any harm or a medical emergency unless your pet has a pork allergy. However, if fed pork rinds often, they can contribute to digestive upset, unhealthy weight gain and dehydration in your pet.
However, it is a good idea to keep an eye on him to see if he suffers from any allergic reaction or digestive issues after eating pork rinds. If your pet is sick for more than 24 hours, then you should take him to your vet immediately. You should keep an eye for the following symptoms:
Your pet may experience digestive upset, stomach pain, diarrhea or vomiting and these conditions usually have physical reactions like sensitivity to touch, difficulty walking, hunching or curling up and difficulty in bowel movements.
If these symptoms pass in 24 hours, then allow your pet’s stomach to recover by sticking to his regular diet and avoid giving him any table scraps or treats. If these symptoms become serious or last beyond 24 hours, then you must take your pet to the vet.
If your dog has gobbled up a lot of pork rinds, the main concern is salt poisoning, which can be a serious cause of concern, especially in a smaller dog. Too much salt consumption can cause a fluid imbalance in your pet’s body and the body will react to these excessive salt levels by releasing water from the cells to regain proper balance.
This may result in physical responses such as frequent urination, thirst, high fever, tremors, seizures, diarrhea, vomiting, weakness and depression. Salt poisoning can be extremely serious and can even be fatal. So, if you suspect that your pet is suffering from salt poisoning, then you should take him to the vet immediately.
Your dog may be allergic to pork and after eating pork rinds he may show symptoms of allergy including itching, licking obsessively, biting his paw, ear inflammation and reduced coat quality.
If your pet is allergic to pork and continues to consume it, over time, the allergy can worsen and can even be fatal. So, if you suspect that your pet is allergic to pork, then you must take him to the vet immediately and get him checked.
If your pet is sick after eating pork rinds and is suffering from a digestive upset; however, it is not very severe and does not require medical treatment, then here are some tips that can help your pet to recover quickly:
- Make sure that your pet has plenty of fresh and clean water.
- Minimize his physical activity.
- Limit your pet’s exposure to extreme temperatures.
- Give your pet a bland diet consisting of plain white rice and boiled chicken for a couple of days.
- Avoid feeding your pet any human foods, table scraps and just stick to his regular diet of dog food, bland dog treats and water.
- Check with your vet if you can give your dog any probiotics that can help to reset the healthy bacteria in your pet’s digestive tract.
Can My Dog Eat Homemade Pork Rinds?
Homemade pork rinds have the benefit of not containing excess fats, salt, spices, preservatives and additives, which are common in store-bought pork rinds. However, even if they are homemade, you must ensure that you give your dog only a very small amount of pork rinds.
And, it is always a good idea to apply the 90/10 rule, which means that if your dog eats 90% healthy food, then a 10% snack is fine. Nevertheless, even if the pork rinds are homemade, there is fat in it and even if you leave out the salt and spices, it does not offer any real nutrition for your pet.
Can My Dog Eat Raw Pork Rinds?
This is a definite no-no. Pork rinds, if not cooked properly can be very harmful to your pet. The pork can contain Trichinella spiralis larvae, a parasite that can cause trichinosis or trichinellosis, which is a kind of pork roundworm infection caused by ingesting the larvae of roundworm in raw or undercooked meat.
The symptoms of trichinosis include diarrhea, vomiting, upset stomach, muscle stiffness, muscle inflammation and muscle pain. If your dog is suffering from any of these symptoms or extreme gastrointestinal distress, then it is a good idea to take him to the vet.
Can My Dog Eat Pork Crackling, Scratching or Pork Skin?
Pork skin is similar to pork rinds. They are also deep fried and contain a lot of salt, which can be harmful to your pet. Also, pork skin offers no nutritional or health benefits to your dog. Pork scratchings are also not recommended for dogs, especially if they are store bought.
Pork crackling is usually what is cut from the pork when it is made at home. However, you must keep in mind that even pork crackling contains oils, salt, spices and other seasonings like onion and garlic that are toxic and dangerous for your dog. So, it is better to avoid feeding your pet any of these.
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In conclusion, not all human foods are safe for your pooch and you must be discerning before sharing your snacks with your pet. Most dogs love pork rinds, crackling and skin; however, you must stop yourself from the temptation of sharing your pork treats with your dog. Pork rinds are not healthy for your dog because they are deep fried and contain plenty of salt, spices and other flavorings.
Consumed on a regular basis, your dog can develop pancreatitis, the salt in the pork rinds can cause salt poisoning and the spices can be toxic for your pet. Your pet can also be allergic to pork, which can be harmful.
So, the next time you think of feeding your pet pork rinds, pork skin or crackling, do keep in mind that these may not be completely safe or healthy for your precious four-legged friend. Look for healthier snacks and treats that can satisfy your pooch’s cravings instead.