If you have a dog that loves to chew, you may wonder if pig’s feet are a good idea. You may be surprised to know that rawhide bones and chews pose a choking hazard, leaving dog owners looking for a better option. Are pig’s feet the solution you are looking for?
Can dogs eat pig feet?
The short answer is, yes, dogs can eat pigs’ feet. However, not all pig’s feet are created equal. Dogs should only eat raw pig’s feet.
No Cooked Pig’s Feet
Dog owners are told to use extreme caution when feeding their dogs raw meat, because it can carry harmful bacteria. However, when it comes to pig’s feet, raw is better.
Raw pork can contain a parasite called trichinella spiralis larvae, which causes Trichinosis. However, this is a bigger risk for humans than it is for dogs.
A healthy dog may experience mild vomiting, diarrhea, fever, pain, stiffness, and inflammation. While feeding your dog raw pork isnt’ recommended because of the risk of trichinosis, pig’s feet don’t seem to carry the same risk as other cuts of pork. This may be because pig’s feet have very small amounts of meat.
Behavioral Benefits of Pig’s Feet
When considering feeding your dog pig’s feet, you may focus on the nutritional benefits. While they do have high amounts of nutrients, you shouldn’t overlook the behavioral aspect.
If you have a dog that loves to chew, or gets bored easily, a pig’s foot can keep them entertained and allow them to expend some energy. It requires a lot of chewing, so they use a lot of effort to get the good stuff.
Can dogs eat raw pig feet?
Yes, dogs can and should eat raw pig feet, if they eat pig feet at all. It’s important to get the right pig’s feet for your dog, because not all pig feet are good for your furry friend.
Raw Pig’s Feet Consistency and Nutrition
Raw pig’s feet contain high levels of collagen. When cooked, it loses it’s elasticity and nutritional value.
They are high in natural fat, which is essential for your dog’s coat and joints. The fat in dog food can oxidize, which decreases it’s nutritional value. Because raw pig’s feet are a natural source of fat, they are a great way to supplement your dog’s diet.
They are also a great source of protein, zinc, iron, and B 12, all of which are essential for your dog’s health.
You may have heard that bones are dangerous for your dog because they can splinter. Many cooked bones are not safe because they can splinter as your dog chews them. These splinters can make their way into the digestive tract, causing lacerations. These lacerations can be fatal or require surgery.
Choking is another hazard of bones. The splinters can become lodged in the throat or esophagus, causing your dog to choke. If your dog can’t get oxygen due to choking, they can quickly die.
Raw bones don’t present these hazards. The consistency is different than cooked bones, so they are much less likely to splinter. This rule doesn’t only apply to pig bones, but any bone you may want to feed your dog.
Raw Human Grade
You are probably used to buying your dog’s treats from the pet section. However, when it comes to pig’s feet, it’s much better to purchase human grade pigs feet.
These are typically a higher quality. They are raw, so you don’t have to be concerned about potentially unhealthy additives. You can find them in the butcher’s section of some supermarkets, particularly ethnic markets.
Dehydrated Pig Feet
Dehydrated pig’s feet are often cooked. Air dehydration might be safe, but if they were dehydrated using heat or cooked prior to dehydration, you shouldn’t feed them to your dog. In fact, it’s really best to stick to raw pigs feet and avoid the dehydrated variety.
Smoked Pig Feet
Smoked pig feet shouldn’t be fed to your dog for a few reasons. First, they have a high salt content. Salt is used as a preservative, which helps to keep the meat from spoiling.
Salt is an essential part of your dog’s diet, but too much salt can cause health issues. Because dog’s don’t sweat like humans do, their need for salt is lower than ours.
Symptoms of too much salt, known as sodium ion poisoning, are extreme thirst, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures.
Supervising Your Dog
Raw pig’s feet are a safe treat. However, you’ll still need to supervise your dog when they eat a pig food for a few reasons. First, the risk of choking is extremely low, but it’s still wise to keep a watchful eye.
Second, don’t let your dog hide the bone for later. Some dogs will chew on the bone and then bury it for later enjoyment. This increases the risk of harmful bacteria, so you’ll need to dispose of the bone after your dog has had their fill.
Are pig feet good for dogs?
Raw pigs feet are generally considered good for dogs. However, there are a few caveats.
Collagen is essential for your dog’s joint, skin, and coat health. In fact, about 1/3 of the protein in your dog’s body is collagen. Collagen production slows as your dog ages, which is one cause of age-related health issues.
These issues include arthritis, dull coat, hair loss, and skin rashes. It’s believed that collagen could provide a fountain of youth for your pooch, helping them to look and feel younger longer.
Collagen eases arthritis because it helps lubricate the joints and strengthens the connective tissues between joints.
When it comes to skin and health, optimal collagen levels give a shiny coat and lessens the risk of skin issues.
Collagen is also highly beneficial for the digestive system. It can calm and repair damaged tissues in the digestive tract which can cause pain and stomach upset. It can improve digestion and the amount of nutrients your dog can absorb.
How Much is too Much?
When feeding your dog pigs’ feet, it’s important to keep quantity in mind. They shouldn’t be a staple of your dog’s diet. Instead, they should be an occasional treat.
Nutrition requirements will vary greatly based on size, breed, activity level, and age. However, generally speaking, you should only feed your dog pig’s feet once every one to two weeks.
Ensure that their meals are well balanced with the right mix of protein, fat, and carbs. If your dog begins gaining excess weight, you may need to adjust their diet and stop feeding them pig feet.
Can dogs eat raw pig legs?
Pig legs are typically called ham hocks. These thick bones have a generous layer of fat and meat, which makes them a tempting treat for your dog.
Many experts advise against feeding your dog raw pig legs due to the fat and sodium content. Ham is often high in sodium, which can be harmful for dogs. High fat diets can also cause harm to your dog, as mentioned above. Despite this, raw pig legs aren’t necessarily a bad idea.
If your dog is obese, you should avoid feeding them ham hocks. Opt for a lower calorie treat or a bone without fatty meat. Bone marrow is good for dogs, but you don’t want to give them extra calories.
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, ham hocks may cause them digestive issues. The high fat content can give them diarrhea, and some dogs are more sensitive than others.
A dog is much like a small child. You wouldn’t give a toddler an entire cake and expect them to stop eating when they get full. You know they would eat too much because they enjoy the taste of cake.
The same can be true of your dog. When it comes to treats, you’ll need to limit the amount of the treat you give them, particularly with ham hocks. The high calorie content means it’s easy for your dog to eat more calories than they should.
A 10 pound dog has vastly different nutrition needs than a 100 pound dog. Many experts recommend only giving ham hocks to large breed dogs due to the calories they pack.
If you have a smaller pooch, you do have a few options. First, you can ask your butcher to cut the hock into smaller portions. The other option is to give the ham hock to your dog for a limited amount of time, and take it away before they can over eat.
Can dogs eat frozen pig feet?
Frozen feet are typically raw, so they are safe for your dog. You can buy them frozen or freeze them yourself for storage. If you give the pig foot to your dog while it’s frozen, it can give them more time to enjoy it. Even a large dog can’t quickly consume a frozen pig foot. They must take their time with the treat.
Bacteria Killing Temps
Freezing kills many harmful bacteria. While bacteria isn’t a large concern with pigs feet, it’s still nice to know that the freezer can kill any bacteria if it is present. Studies have shown that freezing chicken can kill over 90% of bacteria.
Frozen Dog Food
Frozen dog food is a new trend, which shows that frozen meat is safe for dogs. Frozen food offers fewer storage concerns, particularly with fresh dog food ingredients.