Can Dogs Eat Spam? Is Spam Safe for Dogs?

Spam! It’s meat in a can, and some people think it’s delicious. But can your dog eat this combination of ham and ground pork, which became popular during World War II? Keep reading and all will be revealed…
Stephanie Laming - Licensed Insurance Representative of 11 years & Dog Mum to 5 year old Tina
October 6, 2022
-
6
min read

Can Dogs Eat Spam? 

Simply put, dogs cannot eat spam, because of its high sodium content. 

While Spam’s main ingredient, pork, is a great source of protein for your paw-pal, there is way too much salt in there for Fido. It also includes other additives that aren’t ideal for your doggo’s dinner, such as sugar, preservatives, and potato starch. 

What is in Spam?

Spam contains ground pork shoulder, ham, salt, sugar, potato starch, and the preservative sodium nitrate.

It’s a simple product that has been made from these same six ingredients since it first hit the shelves, and while it was initially popular because it was cheap, it’s very good quality compared to some canned meats, as it is made from good cuts of meat rather than scraps. However, while it’s perfectly fine for people, it’s not good for your canine companion.  

Why is Spam Bad for Dogs? 

If you offer your dog Spam, one thing’s for sure, they aren’t going to say no. They will wolf it down extremely quickly with a look of pure pleasure on their cute canine face. But whether spam is good for dogs is a whole other story. 

The main problem with spam is that it has a whole lot of salt in it. As we’ve covered in quite a few of our past posts, dogs need a tiny bit of salt in their diet, but large amounts can be bad for your four-legged best boy. 

The next issue with Spam is the sugar. While this is less dangerous for dogs than salt, it should also be avoided, because it can raise your hound’s blood pressure and cause weight gain. 

Third of all, there’s the potato starch. This is a source of empty calories for dogs, offering little by way of nutrition and plenty of risks, such as weight gain, diabetes, and heart problems. It’s basically there as filler, to make the product cheaper.  

Finally, there’s the sodium nitrate. While this preservative is approved by the FDA for use in some dog and cat foods, it’s far from ideal. In large amounts, it can cause nitrate poisoning, which could leave your dog vomiting, with diarrhea, or with abdominal pains. In some cases it could even cause a gastric hemorrhage. 

Dangers of Feeding Your Dog Spam

There are a few health risks that could arise after feeding your furbaby Spam. 

Dehydration

When your dog consumes too much salt, this could affect the functioning of their kidneys and body, causing dehydration, which is when your best-buddy’s body loses more fluid than they have consumed, causing their body to pull water from its cells, and stopping your doggo from being able to regulate their body temperature. 

In cases of mild dehydration, give your doggy small sips of water to drink every few minutes. If possible, also give them an electrolyte replacement drink, such as Ringer’s Lactate. In cases of extreme dehydration, your dog will need to visit a veterinarian as soon as possible, where they will probably need an intravenous drip to replace the fluids they’ve lost. 

Did you know pet insurance can help cover emergency health expenses? Click here to learn more and compare affordable plans. 

Pancreatitis

Spam’s salt content is not the only factor that could cause your pooch pain. Pork shoulder and ham are both fatty cuts of meat, and too much fat can cause health problems for your hound, including the risk of pancreatitis, which is when the pancreas becomes bloated and swells up. 

The pancreas helps your dog digest their food by secreting enzymes. If the pancreas becomes enlarged, however, these enzymes are released too early, causing the pancreas lasting damage. In extreme cases, pancreatitis can be fatal for dogs.

Salt Poisoning

Spam is packed with lots of salt, which is used both as a preservative and for flavor. If your dog consumes too much salt, they will usually drink lots of water, which will help prevent any harmful effects. But if a very large amount of salt is consumed in a small amount of time, or if no water is available to your dog, they could get salt poisoning, otherwise known as sodium poisoning. 

This could lead to your dog having a seizure, getting a fever, or experiencing serious digestive issues. And in extreme cases, there may be lasting damage to your dog’s brain. 

The symptoms of salt poisoning include:

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Muscle tremors 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme thirst 
  • Excessive urination 
  • Lethargy

Head to the vet if any of these symptoms emerge, especially if your main mutt has recently consumed a lot of salt. 

Final Thoughts

While lean pork is a perfectly good form of protein for dogs, Spam is fatty, and contains salt, sugar, potato starch, and preservatives, all of which could cause health problems for your pooch. 

Rather than allowing your favorite fur-friend to snack on Spam, stick to a balanced diet, or a dog food formulated to give your dog the nutrients they need. 

If your dog has eaten Spam and appears to be ill as a result, consult a trusted vet. Click here for a quote on affordable insurance for your paw-pal. 

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GoodPaw Pet Services Inc., GoodPaw, offers free advice, product information and other editorial resources that are intended for informative purposes only, and should not be used in place of proper veterinary care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat your pet. If your pet is experiencing any health concerns, contact a licensed veterinarian. GoodPaw assumes no responsibility for action taken based on information given from GoodPaw.com.

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