Can Dogs eat Pork Rinds, Skins, Scratching or Crackling: A Complete Guide


No matter how much you love your dog, there is no denying that they are greedy. We all know the feeling of sitting there enjoying a snack, only to find your dog sat beside you, enjoying every single bite that you take.

And when they look at you with their big puppy dog eyes, it can be very difficult to resist giving them a small piece of whatever you’re eating. Even if whatever you are eating isn’t the healthiest thing for them. 

Unfortunately, a lot of the foods that we humans love are actually quite dangerous to dogs. This is why it is very important that you never give your dog too much human food as it could make your dog unwell.

But, some foods are more dangerous than others. You probably will have heard that onions and garlic are poisonous to dogs, but something that you might not have heard mentioned is pork rinds. 

So, can dogs eat pork rinds? No, is the short answer, and this is mainly because of the additional seasonings that are added to pork rind before it is cooked. But let’s take a deeper look at why you shouldn’t feed your dog pork rinds and other foods similar to this. 

Can Dogs Eat Pork Rinds?

As we have established, dogs should not eat pork rinds. This is not because pork rinds are poisonous to dogs, it is simply because pork rinds are not healthy for your dog to eat. So if your dog does eat pork rinds, there is no immediate reason to panic as it is unlikely that this one experience will cause any negative health issues for your dog. 

So, if your dog does eat pork rinds, there is no need to panic in the way that you would if your dog had eaten a lot of chocolate. A small amount of pork rind is unlikely to cause any harm to your dog, it is just best to avoid feeding your dog this because it is very unhealthy. 

However, there is a small chance that your dog could have a bad reaction to eating pork rind. In particular, if the rind was fried or had spices added to it, this could upset your dog’s stomach and make them unwell. But this should pass within 24 hours. If it does not, then you should contact your vet to seek treatment. 

Can Dogs Eat Raw Pork Rinds?

We mentioned that dogs cannot eat pork rinds because of the seasonings that are added to them, and the method in which they are cooked. So surely it is okay to feed your dog raw pork rind? Right? Wrong! You should never feed your dog raw pork rind. In fact, feeding them raw pork rind is actually more dangerous than feeding them pork rind that has been cooked in seasonings. 

Pork must be cooked thoroughly before you eat it because raw pork can carry a parasite. This parasite is called trichinella spiralis larvae, and it has been linked to an infection called trichinosis which can be very dangerous. You wouldn’t eat raw pork yourself, so you should never feed it to your dog either. 

What about Fried Pork Rinds?

This probably won’t come as a shock, but you should also avoid feeding your dog fried pork rinds. Pork rinds are not good for your dog, no matter which way they are cooked. But fried pork rinds are particularly dangerous. 

Pork rinds are already high in fat, but frying them will only increase the amount of fat that is in this meal. So, when you give your dog some fried pork rind, you are essentially giving them fat as a meal. An excessive amount of fat isn’t good for anyone, and it is especially not good for your dog. Eating too much fat has been linked with pancreatitis in dogs, a disease which can be fatal. So, you should never feed your dog fried pork rinds. 

How about Spicy Pork Rinds?

As we have already said, spicy pork rinds are insanely dangerous to your dog, so you should never feed them any. While us humans love spices, they can be very dangerous for dogs, and have been linked with unpleasant side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. 

Spices can really transform a meal, but it is not a good idea to give any to your dog. Not only are they dangerous, it is also a pointless task. Dogs have far fewer taste buds than us humans, so they will be unable to taste the spices on the meat. So don’t let food guilt tempt you to feed your dog spicy pork rinds, because it is very dangerous, and they wouldn’t be able to taste the spices anyway. 

Why are Pork Rinds so Dangerous?

With the knowledge that it is perfectly safe to feed your dog cooked pork, it is often difficult to comprehend that dogs can’t eat pork rinds. After all, both of these cuts of meat come from the same animal, so surely they should both be safe to eat. But this just isn’t the case. 

In fact, it is only cooked pork that is safe for your dog to consume. All the other bits and pieces, including pork rinds, scratching, and crackling, are not safe for your dog to eat. So why is this?

As we mentioned earlier, the main reason behind this is the way in which pork rinds are prepared. Pork rinds are prepared in the same way as pork scratching and crackling, so the same principle also applies to these. These cuts are usually cooked through the process of frying which is very dangerous for dogs. They are also usually seasoned before cooking which makes them even more dangerous. 

But as we said earlier, none of these things are actually poisonous to dogs. However, you shouldn’t let the fact that they are not poisonous convince you to feed them to your dog. Even though your dog might not immediately become ill from eating pork rinds, it can affect their health in later life, and can also lead to some very horrible health conditions that could be life limiting. So you shouldn’t feed your dog pork rinds or any of the offshoots of this. 

Calories

If you are still struggling to understand how something that isn’t poisonous to dogs can be very dangerous, let’s take a look at it from a calorie perspective.

Compared to humans, some dogs need to eat hardly any calories in order to stay healthy. This is because the amount of calories that a dog should eat is dictated by their size, so smaller breeds will only need to eat a fraction of the calories that humans eat if they want to be healthy. 

For every pound of weight that a dog has, they should eat 25 calories. The average pug weighs about 16 pounds, so this would put their daily calorie intake at 400 calories. Whereas the average German Shepherd weighs about 70 pounds, so their ideal calorie intake would be around 1,750 calories. Using your dog’s specific weight, you can calculate how many calories you should be feeding them a day. 

To put this into perspective, let’s take a look at the average amount of calories in some different brands of pork rinds. Microwave pork rinds usually have about 128 calories per 30g, and pork crackling usually has about 107 calories per 30g.

So if you were to feed your pug 30g of either of these in a day, it would take up a whopping amount of their daily calorie intake. This is without noting the fact that you are likely to give them this as a treat on top of their daily meals. 

Dangerous Ingredients 

So it is clear that pork rinds, scratching and crackling is not good for your dog. And that’s without even thinking of the dangerous ingredients that could be used in the manufacturing process of these store-bought options. 

As we said earlier, the list of human foods and ingredients that are toxic to dogs is seemingly never-ending. Unfortunately, a lot of the ingredients that are poisonous to dogs are ingredients that are very common in human foods, including onions and garlic. But this isn’t often the dangerous ingredient that you will find in pork rinds. 

No, the dangerous ingredient that you need to look out for in these types of pork is salt. And let’s face it, you would be hard-pressed to find pretty much any food that does not contain salt. It is in pretty much all human foods, even sweet dishes, so the chances are that you will not find a pork rind ingredients list without this on it. 

Salt isn’t very good for us humans, so it really is no surprise that it is also bad for dogs. In dogs, eating too much salt is connected to a health condition known as salt-poisoning which requires veterinary treatment.

Symptoms of this condition include seizures, diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, and lots of other unpleasant things. So you should never give your dog any treat which is high in salt. 

Can Dogs eat Pork Skins?

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about pork rinds, so let’s take a look at some other cuts of pork that your dog shouldn’t eat. Pork skins are one of them! This probably won’t come as a surprise as pork skins and pork rinds are pretty much the same thing as one another. They are especially similar in the way that they are cooked, and it is this which makes pork rinds so dangerous. 

Just like pork rinds, pork skins are also usually coated in salt before being fried in fat. So, no, your dog can’t eat pork skins as it puts them at risk of salt-poisoning, and lots of other unpleasant health conditions linked with foods high in salt and fat. 

How about Pork Scratchings?

We’ve already mentioned this, but no, your dog should not eat pork scratchings. You might be a bit confused by what we mean by pork scratchings, as this isn’t a term used here in the US.

But, over in the UK and other European countries, pork rind/skins are known as pork scratchings. They are store-bought and usually prepared in the exact same way that pork rind is prepared here in the USA. 

It is due to the way that they are prepared that pork scratchings are not suitable for consumption by dogs. So, if you are a UK reader, you should never feed your dog pork scratchings.

What about Pork Crackling?

Pork crackling is slightly different from both pork skin and pork rinds, however the same principle applies. So, no, your dog cannot eat pork crackling.

The main difference between pork crackling and pork rinds, is that pork crackling tends to be home-made. It is often cut away from a lump of pork during the cooking process, and due to this, some people think that it is safe to feed pork crackling to your dog. 

However, it definitely isn’t. Even though it isn’t fried, and also isn’t drenched in salt in the same way that pork rinds are, pork crackling is still full of lots of unhealthy things. In particular, it will be soaked in oils and other seasonings that were used when cooking the pork.

These pose the risk of being toxic to your dog, and are also just generally unhealthy as fatty foods can cause pancreatitis. So, no, you cannot feed your dog pork crackling. 

What happens if my Dog eats Pork Rind?

We’ve come a long way from there, but right at the beginning of this guide we told you that it is very important not to panic if your dog eats pork rind. The same goes for pork crackling, pork scratching, and pork skins. 

Even though all of these cuts of pork are not good for your dog, in most cases consuming them will not cause any harm. There are a lot of foods that your dog could eat which will result in an immediate medical emergency, but, thankfully, pork rind is not one of these foods. The only time you will need to take veterinarian action immediately is if you know that your dog has an allergy to pork, or they appear to be choking on whatever it is that they were eating. 

In a lot of cases, your dog will eat this type of meat, and nothing bad will happen. As we have said, the issue with pork rinds is that they are unhealthy, so it is unlikely that you will see the effects that that high intake of salt had on your dog. But, if you are very concerned, it is always best to speak to your veterinarian about what your dog has eaten. 

However, if your dog does not have any immediate bad reactions to eating the pork, it is best to simply monitor them for 24 hours. Your dog might not have any bad reactions, or they might have a delayed reaction, which is why monitoring them is so important. So if your dog does eat pork rind, watch out for any of the following symptoms:

Salt-Poisoning

One of the worst things that can happen if your dog eats a lot of pork-rind is that they will begin to suffer from salt-poisoning. This is a condition brought on by eating too much salt which results in dehydration, and has symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. 

It is best to monitor your dog for any of these symptoms, however, the risk of them developing salt-poisoning is fairly slim. In order to get salt-poisoning, a dog would need to consume a lot of salt.

However, your dog might be more likely to develop this condition from eating pork-rind if they are a smaller breed. This isn’t because smaller dogs are less-resistant than older dogs, it is simply because smaller dogs have less body weight, so a smaller amount of salt will be more dangerous. 

Salt-poisoning might not cause symptoms to show immediately after your dog eats the pork rind. In fact, in most cases it will take a few hours for any of these symptoms to begin. This is why it is very important that you monitor your dog for 24 hours if they have eaten anything that could be dangerous. 

Stomach Upset

One of the most common reactions that your dog will have to eating pork rind is a bad stomach. Although they will try to eat pretty much anything, dogs often suffer with sensitive stomachs. So, your dog may experience vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or stomach cramps in the hours after they eat pork rind. 

Not all dogs will experience this, it is all dependent on your dog’s digestive system. As we have said, a lot of dogs will eat this and have no bad reaction (as long as they only ate a very small amount), but other dogs will have a bad reaction.

Generally, this stomach upset will go away within 24 hours of your dog eating the pork rind. So, it is very important that you only stick to regular dog food within this time to let your dog’s stomach recover. You should also make sure that your dog drinks lots of water during this time to avoid them becoming dehydrated. 

As we have said, it is very important that you monitor your dog for the first 24 hours after they eat pork rind. Usually their stomach upset will clear during this time, but if it does not then it is best to contact your veterinarian for advice. 

Recovery Period 

If you have been a dog parent for a long time, then you might not contact your veterinarian if your dog’s symptoms do not clear after 24 hours. Through years of owning your dog, you get to know them and their digestive habits, so you might recognize that they are unwell, but not believe that they are sick enough to rush them to the vets. 

After all, when us humans get stomach bugs, they can often last for a few hours, so it makes sense that you might hold off taking your dog to the vets. If you want to let your dog recover at home, there are some things that you can do to help ease their pain. 

These include:

  • Supplying them with lots of water. 
  • Speaking to your vet on the phone. 
  • Feeding them a bland diet of rice and chicken for a few days. 
  • Holding off on walks or exercise until they have fully recovered. 
  • Protect them from extremely hot and cold temperatures. 

As we have said, in most cases, dogs will not have an extreme reaction to eating pork rind. So, it is best to simply monitor your dog’s symptoms and make decisions from there, rather than panicking as soon as they eat this meat. Generally speaking, these symptoms will pass within a couple of days. But if you want to help speed up their recovery, follow the steps we’ve outlined above. 

Summary 

In conclusion, no dogs can’t eat pork rinds. Additionally, they should also never eat pork skins, pork scratchings, and also pork crackling. All of these foods are high in fat and also high in salt which can be very dangerous for your dog.

So, as tempting as it might be to give your dog a piece of pork rind when they give you those puppy dog eyes, you should never do this. 

 

Kerry White

Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.

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