Dogs are always up for a treat, aren’t they? Ever watchful and ever hopeful, patience is their watchword. A dog will sit and watch you eat every mealtime, eyes moving from your plate to your hands and your mouth.
In some ways, they mentally force you to give them a snack or even a bit of your food. But as every dog owner knows, not all human food is suitable for a dog; it’s often not very healthy for us either. One food dogs go crazy for is crispy pork, but can dogs eat pork rinds?
Are Pork Rinds Safe For Dogs?
Pork rinds are the skin of a pig. To make them crispy, they are either deep-fried or baked in the oven. Underneath the skin is a thick fat layer. Sometimes they can be fried with the fat still attached.
For a moment, let’s analyze what macronutrients are in pork rinds. If you buy the typical bag of pork rind snacks and feed those to your dog (or yourself), what’s in them?
The Calories In Pork Rinds
Take some pork skin, cut it up into small squares, smoke the pieces, and then deep fry in exceptionally high-temperature fat (lard). This way of cooking makes the rinds seem light and crunchy; they seem relatively harmless. So how do they stack up? Well, one ounce of pork rinds contains 160 calories, and more than one-half of those calories are from fat.
Suppose we take a dog weighing 20 lbs. The average daily calories for a dog are 25 to 30 calories per pound of weight; multiply 30 calories by 20lbs body weight will equal 600 calories daily. Two ounces of pork rinds represents more than 50% of this dog’s total daily calorie allowance.
That doesn’t leave many available calories for a well-balanced diet.
The Dangers Of Pork Rinds To Dogs
They are low-glycemic because pork rinds don’t contain carbohydrates, neither they have fiber or sugar. But that one ounce we just spoke about contains 520 milligrams of sodium. Considering the recommended maximum sodium intake for an adult is 2,300 milligrams per day, four ounces of pork rinds is almost your daily limit. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you need to reduce your sodium intake to 1500 milligrams per day (American Heart Association).
The above method for preparing pork rinds is for plain rinds only. But what if the bag of rinds you buy has other ingredients, such as garlic and spices?
First, garlic is toxic to dogs, and there’s never a good reason to feed something known to be harmful to a dog, not even as a one-off snack.
Many dogs have a difficult time with spicy foods of any description. If the food is incredibly spicy, it can lead a dog to drink until he vomits. Even average spicy foods can give dogs, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pains.
There’s also a hazardous disease lurking around the corner for dogs fed these types of snacks.
And that’s pancreatitis. The ASPCA explicitly states that a diet high in sodium is dangerous for dogs and can cause pancreatitis in pets.
Not to mention the high rates of obesity that are now occurring in our pets.
So, are pork rinds safe for dogs? We say no, they’re not. But it’s not up to us to tell you what you can and cannot feed your dog.
What Happens If A Dog Eats Pork Rinds?
It’s highly doubtful anything will happen to your dog because he ate a few pork rinds. If they are spicy or have garlic in the ingredients, some dogs may show signs of a stomach upset.
Where the problem lies is when they are fed regularly to dogs. If you have been feeding your dog a treat of pork rinds over a consistent period, he might already have built-up an excess of salt.
When this occurs, the dog needs to redress this overabundance of salt; this is done by body-cells releasing their water content as a counterbalance.
But the body-cells cannot cope with such water loss, and the dog can have serious health issues. For example, seizures, kidney disease, severe dehydration, even the dog’s brain cells may die. All of this is incredibly dangerous to a dog. For more information about this, visit the AKC website.
Can Dogs Eat Pork Scratchings?
You may have heard of this term before and wonder what kind of pork is this? It’s what the British call pork rinds. There’s no difference in the product. So everything we’ve discussed regarding pork rinds holds with pork scratchings.
Can Dogs Eat Pork Crackling?
Generally, pork crackling is the pig’s skin left on a pork meat joint and baked in an oven.
The skin becomes hard and crispy, hence the name crackling.
While baking is a healthier option than frying, it will depend on adding herbs, spices, and seasoning.
Homemade Pork Rinds For Your Dog
At least with this method, you have complete control of how you prepare and cook the rinds. Of course, you won’t add in extra salt, but remember, the skins have plenty of natural salt in them.
They are also for snacking treats, so remember the 10% rule. Only give 10% of a dog’s total daily calories as treats.
Whatever guise they may be in, they are still not a healthy snack. So extreme moderation is essential.
In reality, it doesn’t matter to the dog as long as he gets a treat. It could be pork rinds or something healthy for him. The bottom line is-it’s a snack for the dog. It’s only our guilty feelings about snacking and not handing over a little bit for our dogs.
As a responsible pet parent, we know you are careful about what you feed your dog. The last thing you want is to cause him any harm. The guilt we feel if we have been the cause of an illness is unbearable.
But dogs have a superpower, and that’s a knack for making us feel guilty when we don’t share a snack, especially one that smells so good as pork rinds or crackling to the dog.
But you know you need self-discipline, don’t you? Your dog relies on this for his ongoing good health. He doesn’t think he does, but we know different.