Do you know that moment when you’re cooking bacon for breakfast, and the smell wafts away, bringing your dog to the kitchen in the hope that it can steal a piece or two? Well, some dog owners add bacon grease on their dogs’ food as compensation for those challenging moments. But is that practice healthy and safe for dogs? Or does it pose unnecessary risks?
In this article, we’ll tell you all the information you need to know about giving your dog bacon grease. So, without further ado, let’s jump in!
Is Bacon Grease Safe for Dogs?
Generally, no, it isn’t. Bacon grease is full of sodium and fats, which might affect your dog’s health in the long run. For example, it might give your dog unnecessary weight, thus leading to obesity. Also, it causes other health issues, such as pancreatitis. However, like most foods, you can offer bacon grease to your dog in a tiny amount every couple of weeks or so. This way, it won’t harm the poor pet.
Benefits of Bacon Grease for Dogs
Although there’s no denying the harmful health effects of bacon grease, there are also considerable benefits. Here’s a brief overview of them.
Rich in Fats
While fats aren’t exactly reputable for a healthy and active dog, they have exciting benefits when consumed in small amounts. For example, they help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Those vitamins have essential roles regarding the nerves, muscles, and cells of your dog.
In addition, fats benefit dogs’ skins. To elaborate, they form a water barrier, therefore helping moisture stay locked in the skin. This results in highly moisturized skin, thus a shinier coat for your friendly pet.
Adds Calories to Dogs’ Diets
While obese dogs are widely discussed in medical fields, underweight dogs rarely get the same attention. However, helping an underweight dog gain weight can save its life. Bacon grease comes in handy in this situation as it adds a considerable number of calories to a dog’s diet.
Helps Active Dogs
You’ll be surprised to know that active dogs, like those who go hunting or on hikes, benefit more from fats than other dogs. This is because fats can give dogs 2.5 times as much energy as carbohydrates or proteins give them.
If your dog regularly participates in demanding physical or mental activities, you can give them portions of bacon grease every now and then.
Rewards Dogs for Good Behavior
You probably know that it’s a must to reward dogs for good behavior. Bacon grease makes for an excellent reward for dogs because they love it. You can either pour a small amount on the dog’s food and serve it or freeze it before offering.
This trick will keep your dog busy for a long while, and it works wonders to lessen separation anxiety. And as a bonus point, your pet will have a considerable amount of fun licking it.
Helps You Test Your Dog’s Health
Most dog owners are familiar with their dogs suddenly feeling unwell and staying away from food. While this is usually nothing, sometimes it can mean serious health issues.
To make sure, you should offer your dog some bacon grease, which is highly irresistible for dogs. If you give your pooch bacon grease and it doesn’t budge, then it’s a definite indication that you should pay a visit to the vet.
Beneficial for Nursing and Pregnant Dogs
As we’ve mentioned before, the bacon fat provides dogs with energy. This is essential if you have a nursing or pregnant dog in your house because bacon grease will give the new mother the energy required to take care of her puppies.
But note that you shouldn’t give any bacon grease to the baby dogs. It’s too intense for them and may cause undesirable health issues, like an upset stomach.
Makes Chewing Easier
Many dogs have trouble chewing hard foods, whether because of dental issues or aging. If your canine has been facing similar issues, then you can add bacon grease to its food to soften it a bit and make it easier to chew. That said, don’t pour it on every meal you serve your dog.
Helps You Gain a Rescue Dog’s Trust
If you’ve recently rescued a dog but it still doesn’t trust you enough to eat the food you offer, you can give it some delicious bacon grease. Rescue dogs hardly resist meals with fats on top, so it’s guaranteed that your new guest will enjoy a heartwarming meal and start trusting you a bit more. And, of course, it’ll also benefit the poor dog if it’s underweight.
Apart from dogs’ main diets, they also need delicious and refreshing treats every once in a while to stay happy. Those meals can be either plant-based or meat-based. You should test your dog’s preference and offer treats accordingly. For example, bacon grease makes for a delightful treat for dogs because it’s delicious.
Downsides of Bacon Grease for Dogs
After discussing bacon grease’s benefits for dogs, it’s time to address the downsides. This way, you’ll have all the information you need to reach a decision.
Pancreatitis is a relatively common disease in dogs, and it can be dangerous in some cases. Simply put, it happens when the digestive enzymes that the pancreas releases digest food too early. This way, they don’t wait for the food to be broken down to absorb the beneficial nutrients. Instead, they digest in the pancreas, leading to slow degeneration of the vital organ.
Fatty foods increase your dog’s risk of getting pancreatitis, particularly when your pet doesn’t get enough protein in its diet.
So, if you serve your dog bacon grease on its own without meat, you should look for an alternative. The symptoms you should look out for are vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and loss of appetite.
Some dogs have more trouble digesting fats than others. For instance, if your dog ingests too much bacon grease at once, it may be affected by gastroenteritis. This health condition involves inflammation of the intestinal tract and can lead to vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, and dehydration.
While gastroenteritis isn’t a severe illness and often resolves on its own, it’s still a headache to deal with an ill pet. So, if it’s possible, you should only provide your canine with little bacon grease every once in a while.
Leads to Obesity
One of the most famous health issues associated with bacon grease is obesity because it mainly consists of fats. This is especially risky if your dog is old or lazy thus doesn’t run around a lot. In this case, you should stay away from giving your pet bacon grease altogether.
Obesity in dogs can lead to many more health issues, like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, urinary bladder stones, and joint problems.
High Sodium Content
A dog’s digestive tract isn’t meant to deal with high amounts of sodium. This is why most human foods aren’t suitable for dogs; they can give the poor pets various health issues, such as sodium ion poisoning.
So, try to resist the puppy dog eyes that come out whenever you cook bacon in the house. It’d be best if you never serve your dog bacon grease. However, if you do, make sure your pet drinks adequate amounts of water throughout the day.
No Added Nutritional Value
While bacon grease provides dogs with energy, many other foods do that without offering the same risks. So besides the energy, bacon grease has no real nutritional value for dogs.
How Much Bacon Grease Should I Give My Dog?
If you insist on giving your dog a little taste of the delicious fats, you should stick to a healthy amount. Adult dogs, in general, should have only about 5-19% of fats in their diets.
So ideally, you should give your dog about a tablespoon of bacon grease per 40 pounds of its body weight. This way, you won’t exceed that percentage, and your canine won’t get used to consuming such unhealthy foods regularly.
If you’re giving your dog bacon grease for the first time, you may want to decrease that amount to half. Also, it’s always wise to consult your vet before giving your dog any human food.
Healthy Alternatives to Bacon Grease
If your dog is attached to bacon grease and doesn’t appreciate its elimination from the diet, you can try other healthy and equally delicious alternatives.
Olive oil is delicious for both humans and dogs. As a bonus point, it has many benefits that bacon grease lacks. For instance, it reduces inflammations and decreases the risk of your dog getting heart disease. It also contributes to enhanced metabolism and healthier blood circulation.
Fish oil is full of essential fatty acids that can significantly benefit your dog and keep it healthy. For example, it helps dogs keep a shiny and healthy coat, improves their gum health, and lubricates their joints. Also, it’s rich in Omega-3, which dogs don’t often get from their usual food sources.
In addition, fish oil contributes to a healthier immune system and increased appetite. So, if your dog appreciates a meal drizzled in fats, it’ll fall in love with fish oil.
Bone Broth and Chicken Stock
Bone broth is highly tasteful and beneficial for dogs. If you’re trying to get your dog off of bacon grease, slip some cold bone broth into its dish. It’ll protect the pet’s joints, detox its liver, and protect the stomach lining from too much acidity.
Chicken stock is also beneficial, but make sure to serve low-sodium stock. And if you purchase it from a store, make sure it doesn’t contain toxic ingredients for dogs, like onions and garlic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Eat Bacon?
No, you can’t give your dog bacon because it carries the same health risks that bacon grease does. Also, there’s a famous myth going around that raw bacon is less harmful than cooked bacon, thus suitable for dogs. But, it still has too much salt and fats.
Can Bacon Grease Kill a Dog?
No, it can’t. Although bacon grease is unhealthy for dogs, it isn’t toxic. So, if your dog ate some fat off the pan you used to cook yourself breakfast, you shouldn’t be worried. That said, you should keep an eye out for digestive issues during the following 24 hours.
Are All Processed Meats Bad for Dogs?
Yes, they’re all very high in fats and can give your dog multiple issues. So, ideally, you should never share salami, bologna, turkey bacon, hot dog, or any other meats that fall under that category with your dog.
To Wrap Up
Bacon grease is a favorite treat for dogs, but it may not be their best option healthwise. It can negatively affect their gastrointestinal health and help them gain unnecessary weight. If you want the benefits of bacon grease without the risks, you can try other healthy alternatives like fish oil and olive oil.
However, if you insist on feeding bacon grease to your canine, make sure to contact its vet.