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Why Is There No Pork in Dog Food? 5 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

ham pieces cut up on a wodden cutting board pork meat

Why Is There No Pork in Dog Food? 5 Vet-Reviewed Reasons


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Pork isn’t an ingredient in dog food that is completely unheard of, but it is much less common than others. If you check the back label of your dog food, you might see pork as an ingredient somewhere in the list. However, most of the time, other common protein sources, like beef and chicken, fill pet food labels everywhere.

Pork usually takes a backseat as the main protein source, but that’s slowly starting to change. The lack of pork in pet food might not make much sense considering how often we humans eat pork at home. But what gives with pork not being in dog food? We will take a look at why that might be.

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Top 5 Reasons Why There Is No Pork in Dog Food

1. Pork Fat Is Hard for Dogs to Digest

Some dogs can have a lot of trouble digesting pork, especially pork fat. Pork is exceptionally high in fat, so unless it’s separated, it creates a lot of muck in the diet, leading to eventual health issues in some dogs.

Pork fat can also cause gastrointestinal upset, so be sure to trim any pieces from boiled chunks at home before giving them to your dog.

West Highland White Terrier dog at home eating his delicious meal
Image Credit: Alejandro Rodriguez,Shutterstock

2. Undercooked Pork Can Cause Illness

Even though most dog food companies cook the food extensively before production, that is not always the case. With raw and fresh dog food options, it is especially challenging to incorporate meat such as pork.

Uncooked pork contains several parasites, contributing to the disease trichinosis.

Signs of trichinosis include:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anorexia
  • Myalgia

Immediate treatment is necessary to prevent eggs in the intestinal tract and muscles.

3. Potential Implications of Religious Upset

Even though this reason is not incredibly likely, serving pork in certain parts of the world can be challenging. If a large dog food company operates a worldwide chain, the inclusion of pork might significantly impact its customer base in certain parts of the globe.

dog food for sale in pet shop
Image By: pedphoto36pm, Shutterstock

4. Ordering Pork from Other Countries Can be Dangerous

Because pork often contains parasites and other bacteria, sourcing the ingredients can be tricky. Companies must work extra hard to ensure that the meat they order is quality and issue-free.

5. Humans Love Pork

Think about it—bacon, ham, pulled pork sandwiches. Humans absolutely love eating pork. Because it tends to be more expensive for pet food companies to buy, they generally go with a less expensive meal like beef, chicken, or fish. That’s why you see these ingredients dominating the market.

woman buying dog food
Image Credit: Caftor, Shutterstock


Actual Facts About Dogs and Pork

So, not that you know why dog food companies haven’t chosen pork as their go-to protein, but what are the actual facts? Here are a few.

Is Pork Healthy for Dogs?

Pork can be a very healthy selection for dogs. In addition to its wonderful protein, pork has various other health benefits.

Pork is often used as a protein in novel recipes for dogs that are allergic to other protein sources because it isn’t used in most popular formulas. Certain commercial dog foods do contain pork as the main protein source. Most of these are premium dog foods and specialized diets.

Let’s talk about the fantastic health benefits of pork.

  • Thiamine

Thiamine is a B vitamin essential to meat-eating animals—including humans. In pork, thiamine is actually higher than in red meats like lamb or beef.

  • Novel Protein

Since pork is rarely used in most commercial dog foods, it can work against common allergies. If your dog is having issues with common proteins like beef, chicken, or fish, pork can be an excellent novel protein to introduce to the system.

  • Essential Vitamins

Pork has both vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. Each of these components assists in blood formation and brain function. 

  • Niacin

Proper niacin intake is necessary for nervous tissue maintenance, healthy skin, and gastrointestinal tract functions.

  • Iron

Iron helps with tons of your dog’s regular bodily functions. It helps the gastrointestinal tract, immune function, and energy levels.

  • Zinc

Pork contains a fair amount of zinc, which boosts immune health and reduces inflammation in the body.

  • Phosphorus

Phosphorus is an incredible component that plays a huge role in bone and teeth health. It’s also totally necessary for your dog’s body, aiding in the growth and maintenance of cells and tissues.

  • Selenium

Selenium plays a role in thyroid metabolism to keep things running smoothly.


Do Any Dog Foods Contain Pork?

Not only do dog food companies sometimes select pork as the main protein source, but most are also pretty high-end quality brands.

nomnom_dog hero_pork_ingredients

What Brands and Recipes Offer Pork?

All of these recipes are premium, highly revered diets that have chosen pork as their main source of protein. We think they deserve consideration if you’re thinking of switching to the other white meat.

Should You Feed Your Dog Pork?

Feeding your dog pork is a personal choice. If you feel a diet switch could enhance your dog’s daily living, you can always speak with your vet about options.



Now you can be sure that pork isn’t all that unheard of anymore in dog nutrition. It has its benefits. But if it isn’t prepared correctly, it equally raises concerns. Just remember, if you feed your dog cooked pork, ensure it’s seasoning-free and fully cooked.

Also, there are several top-notch dog food recipes on the web that use pork as the main ingredient. If you want to try out the recipes, look at each brand to see what works best for your dog. And as always, ask your vet for advice if you need a professional opinion.

Featured Image Credit: NeydtStock, Shutterstock

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