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Can dogs eat ham? It's a question that you may have asked yourself when considering what treats to give your beloved pooch. You love your dog and offering treats can not only encourage your dog to follow good behavior patterns but can also create a trusting and loving bond with your dog. You also need to be sure that the treats you give him are good for him and won't cause him any issues down the line.

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Can I Feed My Dog Ham Products

The good news is that you can give your dog several ham products, including ham and ham bones. Ham, being a meat product, isn't dangerous for dogs to eat. However, it doesn't contain optimum nutritional value either. High in sodium and fat, ham should be given as a treat in moderation. It is also important to monitor your dog after you have given him some ham. If he vomits, call your vet for advice and avoid all ham products in the future.

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How to Give Ham to Your Dog

Ham is a very salty product and can be dangerous for your dog if fed in large amounts. However, giving your dog the odd cube of ham here and there, especially when he has been very well behaved or performed a trick, should not cause any problems. Choose the best quality of ham you can find. There are ham products on the market today that do not contain any sodium, so look out for these as they will offer better nutritional properties for your dog.

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Feeding Ham Bones to Your Dog

It is important when feeding bones to your dog that you choose the right kind and that you monitor your dog while he is gnawing on a bone. Look for ham bones that have plenty of ham still on the joint and which have rounded edges. Your dog will have fun eating the ham from the bone and giving his jaw a good workout in the process. Once your dog has finished eating the meat from the bone, it is a good idea to take it away from him.

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What Are the Benefits of Ham Bones?

Feeding bones to your dog can offer a number of health benefits that you may not know about. For your dog's teeth, chewing on a bone is the equivalent of a good brushing and flossing. Your dog will use every part of his mouth to get to those juicy pieces of meat and effectively clean those hard to reach areas in the process. Bones are also a great way to keep your dog occupied for a couple of hours. Just remember to monitor your dog to ensure he doesn't break the bone up into splinters as these can get stuck in your dog's stomach and cause problems.

small dog with large bone K_Thalhofer / Getty Images

When to Feed Ham to Your Dog

Good quality ham should be reserved as a very special treat for your dog. Have some good ham to hand for when your dog is especially well behaved or has mastered that complex trick you have been trying to teach him. A few pieces of ham once or twice a week or a ham bone once a week will help to ensure that your dog looks forward to this treat and stays on his best behavior.

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Where to Buy Good Quality Ham

The best ham is that which has been cut straight from the bone. If you have access to a farmer's market, you should be able to find some great ham products here. Your supermarket's deli counter will also offer a large variety of ham products. Try to choose ham that is lower in sodium and which contains no other added flavors.

ham cut from bone Warren_Price / Getty Images

The Problem with Commercially Prepared Ham

As humans, we are told to moderate our intake of processed foods for better health. Well, the same advice applies to your dog. Many commercially prepared ham products contain curing agents such as salt and sugary glazes that add to the flavor but take away from the nutritional value of the meat. Avoid these products when choosing ham for your dog.

ham in packet sergeyryzhov / Getty Images

When to Stop Feeding Your Dog Ham

Some dogs are sensitive to ham and the ingredients it can contain. If your dog has never had ham before, feed him a small piece and monitor him closely. If he has a sensitive stomach, he may vomit. If this happens, call your vet for advice and don't feed him any ham in the future. If he doesn't vomit but has loose stools or trouble passing stools, the same advice should apply. Always feed ham in moderation. This will help you to avoid a trip to the vet's and keep your dog healthy and happy.

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Can I Give My Dog Bacon?

While bacon is also a pork product, it should not be given to your dog. Bacon contains high amounts of saturated fat, and this can cause pain in your dog's stomach and lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Your dog could also choke on the rind of the bacon. While a small piece won't hurt your dog, it should really be avoided altogether to avoid any problems.

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A Great Way to Bond With Your Dog

Ham, when used in moderation as a very special treat, is a great way to create trust and a loving bond with your dog. He will get to learn what behaviors may help him to win that piece of juicy and tasty ham and do his best to please you. Just remember to feed ham in small amounts, to choose the best ham you can and to keep a large bowl of water available at all times.

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