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Can Dogs Eat Spam? | Is Spam Good for Dogs?

can dogs eat spam

Spam took over the world during World War II where its long shelf life proved useful to soldiers. It’s evolved over the years to include over 15 flavors! Spam is a quick and easy snack for humans, but what about for dogs?  Before we share any, there are a few important questions we should ask first. Can dogs eat spam? Is spam good for dogs?

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Can Dogs Eat Spam Safely? (The Short Answer)

No, it’s best to avoid giving this food to your dogs. There are really few health benefits of spam. On the other hand, spam is high in calories, fat, sodium, and preservatives which can all negatively impact your dog’s health.  While one or two accidental pieces won’t be an immediate death sentence, there’s a ton of better options to give your pet! 

It’s important to remember, that even with the best of intentions, accidents happen and dogs can easily eat things they shouldn’t.  Unfortunately, even if those accidents aren’t fatal, they can result in huge, unexpected veterinary expenses.  That’s why we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.

Is Spam Good For Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat spam?” Now, let’s learn about the benefits of feeding your dog this food! Is spam good for dogs?

No, spam really isn’t good for dogs.  Spam actually only contains six ingredients—pork with ham meat added, sugar, salt, water, potato starch, and sodium nitrite. One of the only good things about it is that it does contain a decent amount of protein. In one slice of spam there contains 7 grams of protein. 

While protein is important for everything from building healthy cells and tissues to repairing organs, the cons of spam greatly outweigh the pros of the added protein. 

That being said, the other ingredients such as salt, sugar, potato starch, and sodium nitrite don’t have any health benefits for your pup. In fact they can even be harmful in larger quantities. 

Is Spam Bad for Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat spam?” Now, let’s learn about the dangers of feeding your dog this food! Is spam bad for dogs?

Yes, spam is bad for dogs!  While there are a few nutritional benefits, the negatives outweigh the positives by a landslide.  It’s high in calories, fat, and sodium!  Additionally, some flavors may have spices and seasonings added to them that can be dangerous to dogs. 

The health concerns that arise from feeding your dog spam include pancreatitis, obesity, dehydration, and sodium poisoning. Spam is high in fat, and high-fat foods are the main culprit behind the development of pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is when the pancreas becomes inflamed. This would manifest symptoms such as hunched back, persistent vomiting, distended abdomen, diarrhea, dehydration, lethargy, and loss of appetite. 

An obvious problem with feeding your dog high-calorie and high-fat human foods is obesity. A dog being classified as just moderately overweight will likely decrease their life expectancy by nearly two years! 

If your dog accidentally gets some spam, they should be okay, depending on how much they ingested.  One slice is unlikely to cause a lot of harm, but you should monitor them. The high sodium content in spam means that your pup could easily become dehydrated. Decreased energy, thick and sticky saliva, and vomiting may be signs that your dog has become dehydrated. Salt can cause more serious issues than just dehydration. If your dog got a lot more than a few slices, you should monitor them for signs of sodium ion poisoning which include increased thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy.  If any of these symptoms start to develop, you should seek professional help immediately. 

Finally, the different seasonings that are added to flavors and the preservatives are also an issue. Some flavors, such as teriyaki, contain ingredients in the seasoning that are dangerous such as garlic and soy sauce. Sodium nitrite is the preservative in spam and, although it’s approved for use in dog food, high quantities of it can cause a blood disorder called methaemoglobin which can be deadly.

Other Varieties & Related Foods:

Can Dogs Eat Spam Meat?

No, dogs should not eat spam meat. If you’re here because your pup stole a slice when you weren’t looking, you shouldn’t panic…they should be alright. If they had a significant amount of spam, you may want to seek professional veterinary advice. Spam meat is high-calorie, high-fat, and high-sodium, making it an unhealthy option for your pup. 

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Spam?

Also, no. Cooked Spam doesn’t have any more nutritional value than uncooked spam does. Despite your dog begging for some, you should opt for a different treat

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Spam?

No, dogs probably shouldn’t have spam.  While it does have protein in it, it’s a high-calorie snack with fats and sodium in it that make it an unhealthy choice for dogs.  There is the added potential for unsafe ingredients to be put into different flavors as well.   A slice likely won’t be harmful to your dog, but it’s strongly recommended to avoid giving it to your dog frequently to avoid possible complications. 

Want to Learn More?

Check out these related articles from our “Read Before You Feed” series for more advice on safe foods for dogs!

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians and this article should not be taken as medical or veterinary advice.  If you have any questions about your pet’s health or dietary needs, please contact your local veterinarian.