Should your dog eat Spam? Technically, no.
You could argue that Spam contains some of the ingredients your dog requires for nutrition. However, it also contains way too much sodium to sustain a dog’s health.
Too much Spam for your furry friend adds significant sodium, sugars, and fats to his/her diet. A small amount of this food product probably won’t hurt once in a while. But should your dog eat this on a regular basis? No way.
As we delve into the discussion about spam, lets look at some of the ingredients in Spam also found in dog foods:
• Sodium is vital for cellular growth.
• Sugar, obtained from carbohydrates which acts as a source of energy.
• Fats provide energy and help in the development and functioning of cells.
Is Spam Similar to Dog Food?
Span contains all the ingredients found in a dog’s food, but in imbalanced and large quantities. It’s nowhere near the quality of most dry dog foods found on the market today.
Quality dog foods contain a balance of vitamins, proteins, minerals, and carbs and healthy fats necessary for a dog to thrive.
What is spam?
Spam is a highly processed canned food that gained popularity during World War II when countries used it to feed soldiers. The high calories found in spam was great for soldiers who needed the sustenance. Today, that need has essentially disappeared.
It is made of pork, harm, potato starch, sugar, and salt.
Today’s spam contains a wide variety of flavors and is found worldwide. Each of the proteins on their own are generally fine for dogs. Ham, ground beef, pork, and even a small amount of cooked potatoes are okay.
Spam, however, also contains preservatives, nitrates, garlic, and seasonings not meant for dog’s to eat. In fact, they can be highly poisonous to dogs.
Why Is Spam Dangerous for Dogs?
Some items are safe when consumed in low contents and toxic when the content increases.
For example if your dog (depending on his/her size and health) were to eat an entire can of Spam, he/she could be at risk of sodium-ion poisoning.
Normally, a dog who eats too much salt simply drinks more water. However, if there is an excessive amount of salt in the body, your dog cannot process it. The cells will begin to release water to even out the salt levels.
When this happens, other body systems like brain cells begin to break down. As a result, your dog may show neurological symptoms like:
- Headache (signs of pain)
- Muscle spasms
- Respiratory Distress
- Watery Diarrhea
- Extreme Thirst
- Excessive Urination
- Appearing drunk
- Lack of energy
- Lack of appetite
Spam contains about 750 mg of sodium per serving, enabling it to maintain long shelf life.
As discussed above, sodium is vital for healthy dog life, but excessive consumption will lead to dehydration. When excessively consumed in a short time could lead to sodium poisoning.
Spam contains excessive amounts of fat. Classic Spam contains 15 grams of fat, 2 grams of carboyhdrates and 7 grams of protein in a 2 ounce serving. The caloric distribution is 79% of calories from fat in a single serving!
As much as dogs require fats as a source of energy, too much of it is dangerous. High-fat foods lead to obesity and raise the risk of pancreatic disease.
Despite being salty, spam also contains a lot of sugar.
Too much sugar consumption can lead to high blood sugar levels. Your dog may experience a spike in blood pressure as well.
Too much sugar can also lead to dental issues in your dog. Bacteria in a dog’s mouth use sugar to produce acids, leading to problems such as cavities.
This ingredient is added to spam as a binder to hold the pieces of ground pork together.
These amounts of starch will lead to weight gain and increase your dog’s risk of heart disease. It is way different from whole potatoes, which are a good source of potassium for dogs. It is a by-product of potato processing has very little nutritional benefits to the dogs.
Preservatives such as sodium nitrate added to spam can have side-effects effects in dogs. Ingesting unhealthy ingredients can wreak havoc on a dog’s digestion. Over time, that constant struggle to digest adequate nutrients can weaken the immune system.
With regular spam already harmful to our dogs, adding flavorings has made it more dangerous. Modern spam contains 15 different flavors. For example, the garlic-flavored spam has garlic content which is toxic to dogs.
5 Dangers of Feeding Spam to Your Dog
As mentioned above, Spam can have serious effects on your dog’s health. Over time, the extra calories, fat, salt, and sugar can cause serious health problems.
1. Salt poisoning
Salt poisoning is an intoxication that results from excessive consumption of salt/sodium. This intoxication resulting from spam consumption could lead to seizures, comas, kidney injuries, and in extreme cases, could lead to death. Some of the signs of this poisoning include;
• Swollen stomach.
• Loss of appetite.
• Extreme thirst.
• Stomach pains.
• Swollen tongue.
Pancreatitis results from high-fat consumption. Since spam contains high-fat content and a high number of calories, obesity kicks in, another risk factor for pancreatitis. This disease damages the pancreatic tissue, swelling up the pancreas, and inflammation. Some of the signs of pancreatitis include;
• Loss of appetite.
High sodium amount in spam is a primary candidate that contributes to dehydration. Dehydration results in issues with digestion, body temperature, internal organs, and joints. Some of the signs of dehydration in your dog are;
• Xerostomia where the saliva becomes thick and sticky and the gums become dry,
• Loss of appetite,
• Dry nose
High-fat content in spam results in increased weight on your dog, thus obesity. Obesity on its own is not quite a life-threatening issue but attracts diseases such as cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and pancreatitis. Obesity also affects a dog’s well-being and decreases its lifespan by a margin.
Signs that my dog has eaten spam
Spam is one food that offers a quick feeding alternative, especially while having a party. Your dog can get access to this canned food. Here are some of the signs that your dog has eaten spam.
• Loss of appetite.
• Extreme thirst.
• Increased heart rate.
• Odd Postures.
5. Lack of Nutrition
The more your dog fills up on high-calories fillers, the less likely he/she is to eat healthier foods. In addition, products like Spam can cause serious GI upset and digestive issues. This could stop your dog from being able to efficiently metabolize the nutrients needed for a healthy life.
What To Do If Your Dog Has Eaten Spam
When you discover the symptoms mentioned above, the next question is, “What should I do?” Here are some of the quick actions you should take.
• Give the dog plenty of water to help process all the sodium taken.
- Allow your dog access to a place to urinate (he will likely urinate more frequently for a while).
- Watch for any signs of sodium poisoning (symptoms above).
- Contact the vet if you discover more symptoms without an improvement.
Alternatives to Spam
As you want to feed your dog meaty protein sources and avoid unhealthy spam, here are some of the alternatives.
The following are bland food ideas for dogs with upset stomachs:
- Plain meat (boiled ground beef or chicken)
- White Rice
As you serve your dog pieces of meat, make sure to avoid pre-packaged ones since they contain additives and preservatives which are harmful to your pet.
Healthy Treats for Dogs
Forget giving Spam to your dog. Why would you when there are so many nutritious and tasty treats on the market today? Here are a few of my dogs favorites:
Premium Food for Better Digestion
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are hot dogs good for my dog?
No. You should not feed hot dogs as an alternative to spam. Like spam, a hot dog is a processed food containing too much salt and preservatives harmful to your pup. In addition to these, if your dog swallows the entire piece of a hot dog, a blockage on their airway could occur. Therefore, hotdogs are not an alternative to spam.
Can I give ham to my dog?
As an ingredient to spam and processed food, ham is not safe to feed your dog. Ham contains the preservatives and additives present in processed foods that are not good for your dog to consume. Some types of ham contain onion, sugar, and garlic, which are not good for dogs. Despite being a source of protein for dogs, the high salt content in ham makes it unsuitable to be fed by the dogs.
Can I give ground pork to my dog?
Grounded pork, an ingredient to spam, is made from pork shoulder meat is a good source of protein when fed without additives and thoroughly cooked. If it has been processed and packaged with additives that are harmful to your dog, it is not a good idea to feed it to your pup. Pork as rich meat is also not good since it can cause indigestion and, if not properly cooked, can lead to problems such as gastrointestinal illness.
Can I feed my dog spam lite?
No, even though spam lite contains fewer calories than regular spam, it is not safe to feed it to your dog. Spam lite contains more additives than common spam, making it a dangerous variety of spam.
Can my dog eat low sodium spam?
It is also not a good idea to feed low sodium spam. It contains as many calories as enough to cause harm to your pup. It also has additives and preservatives, which are harmful to dogs.
In a nutshell
It might seem like a perfect move to feed our dogs spam since it contains non-toxic main ingredients that can offer some nutritional benefits to puppies.
Unfortunately, it’s not safe for dogs spam.
Spam has the potential of causing health complications such as pancreatitis, obesity, dehydration, and sodium poisoning, which could result in a weak immune system and eventually lead to death.
Effects such as obesity attract other problems, for example, heart diseases and liver complications. For the sake of our dog’s health, we should avoid giving them spam at all costs.
Most dogs will eat anything you put in front of them. As a responsible dog owner, you should keep your dog from getting its nose on it.
As much as we love sharing our food with our dogs, the high contents of sodium and calories in spam keep us from sharing it with them. Therefore, the answer to “Can Dog’s Eat Spam?” is no.
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Merck Vet Manual