Can Dogs Eat Prosciutto

Can Dogs Eat Prosciutto?

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

No, dogs should not eat Prosciutto. This cured meat is highly processed, contains high levels of salt and fat, and may contain nitrates and spices that are extremely harmful to them.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Eat Prosciutto?“.

We recently celebrated the birthday of our grandmother with my family. Because we wanted her to feel special we put together the ultimate charcuterie board for her complete with Prosciutto and other salty yet tasty meats. Our two dogs were very excited and wanted some as well. In writing this article I wondered if the Prosciutto was safe for them to eat before giving it to them.     

Can Dogs Eat Prosciutto

Can dogs eat Prosciutto?

No dogs should not eat Prosciutto. This cured meat is highly processed contains high levels of salt and fat and may contain nitrates and spices that are extremely harmful to them.

Can dogs have Prosciutto?

No dogs should not eat Prosciutto and owners should avoid feeding their pups Prosciutto at all costs. 

Humans consume prosciutto a highly salty and mouth-watering snack. Salt Fat spices and nitrates found in this meat are harmful to our canine friends because of how it is processed. 

The consumption of this treatment can cause severe health problems for our canine friends. Due to the high salt content of Prosciutto it can cause dogs to become dehydrated.

Prosciutto can cause diarrhea nausea and extreme thirst in your furry family members if eaten in large quantities. Frequent urination is a result of extreme thirst. 

Due to its high salt content Prosciutto can also cause pancreatitis in the worst-case scenario.  

Is it safe for dogs to eat Prosciutto?

We will explore what Prosciutto actually is how it is made and why it can cause health problems and distress to your canine friends before finding out why it is not safe for them to eat.

What is Prosciutto?

Prosciutto is an Italian word that means “ham” in English. As well as being an Italian delicacy dry-aged ham is also a gastronomic symbol of Italy along with pizza and pasta. Prosciutto is very popular in Italy because many people prefer dry-cured meat to boiled ham. 

Raw Italian meats usually have a salty flavor and are pink or brownish-red in color. The thin slices of Prosciutto have streaks of fat on them. Depending on your tastes you can season the Prosciutto with herbs like rosemary and juniper or with spices like garlic and black pepper. 

Spices and herbs are often added to Prosciutto in order to give it an aromatic and unique taste. Prosciutto is often served with the following foods: 

  • Dairy products: Fresh mozzarella cheese aged parmesan cheese and ricotta.
  • Meat: duck and turkey.
  • Fruits: Fresh figs cantaloupe apricot honeydew nectarine and peach. 
  • Vegetables: Asparagus peas cucumber endive fava bean lettuce artichoke potato spinach and radish. 
  • Wine: Sauvignon Blanc Prosecco Pinot Grigio and Sangiovese.
  • Bread: Focaccia genovese pane di segale rye bread or traditional pane carasau flatbread.
  • Herbs: Rosemary and thyme.
  • Spices: Paprika and tarragon.
  • Nuts: Macadamia nuts pine nuts and pistachio. 
  • Grain: Freekeh and rice.
  • Sugar: Honey.

Alternatively Prosciutto can be eaten alone.

What is Prosciutto made of?

If you’re wondering “What kind of meat is prosciutto and can my dog eat it?” Pork legs are used to make Prosciutto. But not just any pork legs but high-quality pork legs. 

The pork legs are first covered in salt and left alone for about three to four weeks. It dates back to when Italian villagers would dry-age pork legs to increase the meats shelf life especially during the cold winter months. 

As a result of the salt both moisture and blood would be drawn from the pork legs. In this way the pork legs become very dry and prevent bacteria from growing on them. Remember that bacteria thrive in moist and humid environments. 

Salt contributes to the dry-aging process as well as enhances the meats flavor by adding a concentrated salty note. 

A second seasoning is done by hand after the pork legs have been cured for 3 to 4 weeks. After that they have left to dry-age again for another 14 to 36 months in a temperature-controlled room. Salt air and time are what give the Prosciutto its salty delicate and sweet flavor.

Prosciuttos nutritional value and ingredients

Lets take a closer look at the ingredients that make this thinly sliced meat unsafe for dogs to eat to fully understand why. 

Raw ham is harmful to dogs

Since prosciutto is made from the leg of a pig it is essentially ham. Prosciutto is typically preserved before being purchased. 

Prosciutto or raw ham can cause pancreatitis in dogs when consumed so it is not recommended for canines.  

Furthermore because ham is pork our pet animals may contract a number of diseases from eating prosciutto such as:

Pork products can cause dogs to get Aujeszkys disease or pseudorabies

We can infect our canine companions with Aujeszkys disease by feeding them raw or uncooked meat products such as pork. Pseudorabies is a disease that mostly affects pigs so when dogs eat raw pork or ham that has pseudorabies they are likely to contract it. 

Pseudorabies or Aujeszkys disease includes the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Scratching of the skin due to itching. 

The mortality rate of Aujeszkys disease in dogs is usually 100% making it extremely dangerous for dogs. The best thing you can do for your pooch is to avoid giving him raw pork or Prosciutto as there is currently no cure for Aujeszkys disease.

The chances of dogs contracting trichinosis from raw pork and meat are high

Pig products for example can be worm-infested. It is therefore possible that raw pork meat contains larvae. The raw pork meat that is used to make prosciutto may contain larvae since it is thinly sliced. Trichinosis and trichinellosis can be contracted when dogs consume Prosciutto which contains larvae. 

In spite of drying frying broiling or smoking the meat the trichinella larvae are still present and are difficult to remove.

Dogs who ingest Prosciutto that have been infected with trichinella larvae may have worms or eggs growing in their intestines and muscles for many months or even years afterward. Keeping your pooch away from the above two diseases is best achieved by eliminating pork from his diet. 

High-fat level in Prosciutto can cause upset stomach in dogs

Because Prosciutto is raw there are still streaks of fat on the ham. Fat is neither healthy nor safe for dogs to consume. Below are some reasons why: 

  • The first problem is that dogs have difficulty digesting fat. As a result of eating fats such as Prosciutto dogs may experience irritation and inflammation of their pancreas which can lead to upset stomachs.  
  • Fat from Prosciutto provides no nutritional value or benefit to our pups so it is not necessary to feed them Prosciutto.

High salt levels in Prosciutto are harmful to dogs

Due to its high salt content prosciutto is a risky food choice for our furry friends. Salt can damage your pups kidneys when consumed in excess. Prosciutto should not be fed to your dog if he or she has kidney dysfunction. 

Salt poisoning can cause the following symptoms: 

  • Drinking excessive amounts of water due to excessive thirst.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Stomachache.
  • In severe cases pancreatitis.

In the event that your four-legged friends display any of these signs and symptoms you should take them to the veterinarian right away. In addition to performing a physical exam your veterinarian will need to take a blood test. 

Whenever your pups are excessively thirsty keep an eye on them because drinking a lot of water very fast can cause bloating. A buildup of water in the stomach causes the stomach to expand and become heavy. It is possible that the stomach could twist around itself. Dogs may die if the stomach twists around itself.  

Whenever your pups drink a lot of water you should take them to the veterinarian right away so they can be put on IV fluids right away which are more controlled. 

Spices like paprika cayenne pepper and garlic are toxic to dogs

We do not recommend our furry friends eat Prosciutto because it contains spicy ingredients like garlic. Dogs are unable to digest garlic. Our canine friends can suffer from hemolytic anemia when exposed to garlic because it contains thiosulfate. 

Red blood cells are essentially damaged by thiosulfate which deprives them of oxygen.

The following gastrointestinal upsets can result from garlic poisoning:

  • Drooling.
  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • A faster heartbeat and respiratory rate.
  • Fatigue and collapse as a result of muscle loss.
  • Pale gum.
  • Lethargy.

Additionally while paprika is not likely to cause severe harm to dogs it can also cause diarrhea and upset their stomachs.

Keeping cayenne pepper away from your dog is also a good idea. Dogs may experience eye nose and throat irritation from cayenne pepper.

Due to these reasons dog owners should keep Prosciutto out of their dogs’ reach.

Nitrates are dangerous to dogs

Keep Prosciutto away from your pets if you know that it contains nitrates. 

As a preservative nitrates can sometimes be added to Prosciutto to extend its shelf life. Nitrates however react with bacteria in the dogs saliva when they come into contact. Nitrates are transformed into nitrites when this occurs and nitrites are extremely harmful to dogs. 

A dogs gastrointestinal tract or gut can be affected by nitrites ingested. The acidity of our dogs gut reacts with the nitrites to form nitrous acid when they react. Essentially your pooch may be exposed to nitrosamines which can cause these toxicity symptoms in dogs:

  • Organ system toxicity.
  • Developmental toxicity.
  • Reproductive toxicity. 

Prosciutto substitutes that are dog-friendly and safe

It is good to supplement your poochs diet with beef Prosciutto as they are good sources of protein. Unlike pork Prosciutto beef Prosciutto also provides nutritional value to your pup. The prosciutto pate made from beef prosciutto makes for a delicious treat since it is smooth and wet meat.

So can dogs have Prosciutto?

That being said dog owners should not give their canine family members Prosciutto. Prosciutto is made for human consumption and not all human food can be consumed by our four-legged companions. You should never replace your dogs regular food or treats with prosciutto.

As soon as you see any of the signs and symptoms we discussed above or suspect that your pup is not feeling well its crucial you take him to the vet. In addition to providing you with helpful advice your vet can help you come up with healthier canine-friendly food options as well. 

Can dogs eat uncured Prosciutto?

No they should not eat uncured Prosciutto. Even though uncured Prosciutto has less salt than cured Prosciutto the meat itself still contains a lot of fat. Because of this dogs should also stay away from uncured Prosciutto. The fats in prosciutto are bad for our canine companions’ digestion and heart since they cannot digest fats properly.

What is the difference between pancetta and Prosciutto?

Prosciutto is made from the hind leg of the pig whereas pancetta is made from its belly. Pancetta must be cooked before consumption. Prosciutto can be eaten raw while pancetta can be eaten raw.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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