Most people that I know do not really find the feet of animals palatable. In fact, many pet food manufacturers use hooves and feet as by-product fillers in pet food.
In some cuisines, especially German and Asian, pig feet or pig trotters are seen as a delicacy. There are either deep fried, grilled or braised as a dish. The high-fat content in the pig’s feet gives the meat a lot of flavor.
Fatty meat is delicious to dogs and my dog gets some pork from time to time. But can our dogs eat pigs’ feet without any health risks? Dogs can eat pig feet but in moderation due to the high-fat content. Make sure that the raw pig meat comes from a reputable source as uncooked pork can contain bacteria that are harmful to dogs. The bones in raw pigs’ feet should be given raw and not cooked.
In this article, it is important for dog owners to understand the pros and cons of feeding pig feet to our dogs. And ultimately, is it the best kind of meat for your dog to be eating?
What Is Pig Feet?
As the name suggests, pig feet is from pigs that have been slaughtered for their meat. The feet are sold separately and can be bought for cheap in many supermarkets.
Also known as pig’s trotters, raw pig’s feet don’t have much meat compared to other parts of the pig. Pig feet is mostly made out of thick skin and connective tissues which are full of gelatin and collagen.
Many like to eat this part of the pig as it is said to be good for the joints and skin.
One thing to note about raw pig feet is that it is very high in fat content. Here are the nutritional values for 100g of pig feet:
- 16g fat
- 107mg cholesterol
- 22g protein
Here’s the breakdown for 100g of lean pork meat:
- 9.5g fat
- 85mg cholesterol
- 29g protein
Right off the bat, we can see that raw pigs’ feet have a lot more fat and cholesterol but lesser protein than lean pork.
Can Dogs Have Raw Pig Trotters?
Dogs can have raw pig trotters but there are a few things that you need to be mindful about when letting your dog eat raw pig feet.
This disease is also known as pseudorabies in the United States. This virus is very contagious and it primarily affects pigs via body fluids and aerosol transmission.
Aujeszky’s disease is caused by the herpes virus and can remain dormant in a pig for many years before becoming active.
The scary thing is that this virus can survive up to three works outside a host and can be passed on to our dogs and cats.
The virus can be transmitted to the dog when it eats contaminated raw meat from a pig or when it comes into close contact with pigs infected with this disease.
Dogs with Aujeszky’s disease show similar symptoms as dogs with rabies. Unfortunately, there is no cure and the majority of dogs will die from it.
How To Prevent Aujeszky’s Disease In Dogs?
There isn’t a known cure or vaccination for this disease at this point. The only best ways to prevent your dog from getting infected are to keep it away from pigs and to only feed your dog properly cooked pork meat.
I know this disease sounds pretty scary but it has been more or less eradicated in domestic and farmed pigs globally. There is still the risk of contracting the virus from wild pigs or boars but the possibility is very slim.
Trichinella Spiralis is a parasite that resides in the gastrointestinal system of pigs. It is also known as ‘pork worm’ because the most common mode of transmission is from eating contaminated pork meat.
Once these parasites take up residence in the dog’s intestines, they will start to multiply aggressively and cause many health issues like:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
How Do I Treat Trichinella Spiralis In My Dog?
Trichinella spiralis is under control in most parts of the world but wild and domestic pigs in Thailand and Papua New Guinea are still known to carry this parasite.
Thankfully, this problem can be resolved by putting your dog through a course of antibiotics to kill off all the parasites in its body.
Always get your raw pork from pork producers that are reputable and ethically raise their pigs in a clean environment.
If cost is not an issue, you can consider free-range or organic meat just to be extra sure about the cleanliness of the meat.
Can Dogs Eat Pigs’ Feet That Are Cooked?
If you are very concerned about the risk of your dog getting a food-borne disease, then you will need to cook the pigs’ feet properly before feeding your dog.
Even when cooked, dog owners need to be aware that pig feet is very high in fat. Giving your dog cooked pigs feet once in a blue moon is fine. But if you are feeding your dog frequently, a fat-rich diet can cause health issues in your dog.
Too much fat for your dog can cause problems like:
- Heart disease
I know of a dog owner that stopped giving his dog cooked pig’s feet because it made his dog too darn gassy. And you know how stinky our dog’s fart can be at times.
A good diet for a dog should be 90% protein and 10% fat. You can throw some complex carbs in there in your wish but it ain’t necessary.
If your dog is already on a good diet (not dry dog food), it is already getting an adequate fat intake. Anything more will just be stored as fat if your dog doesn’t burn it off.
A good feeding frequency would be one pig feet once a week.
Is Pig Feet Bones Good For Dogs?
If you have seen a piece of raw pig’s feet before, you’ll notice quite a few bones in there. And depending on the size of the pig, the bones can get rather huge.
Letting your dog chew on bones can help remove tartar from the top of the dog’s teeth and aid in mental stimulation.
But never give your dog cooked bones as it is very dangerous for your pooch.
Cooked bones are very brittle and can splinter when chewed on by your dog. These splintered bits are sharp enough to cut your dog’s mouth and insides when swallowed. They also pose a choking risk to your dog.
If you want to give your dog bones, always give it raw bones instead. It helps that the size of the bone isn’t too big in relation to the size of your dog’s mouth.
How Long Do You Boil Pigs Feet For Dogs?
Preparing cooked pigs feet for your dog is very simple. Make sure to wash the pig feet properly and then boil it in a big pot of water.
Let the pigs feet simmer for about four hours and it should be nice and tender. If you are in a rush, using a pressure cooker can get the job done in half the time.
Remember to debone the pig feet before feeding a few pieces to your dog.
Here’s a pro tip.
Simmering or cooking the pig’s feet for so long makes really tasty broth for your dog. Drain out the broth from the pit and let it cool. There will be a lot of fat in the broth so try and skim off as much as your can.
You can add some to the cooked pig’s feet and your dog will love it.
Can Dogs Eat Smoked Pig Feet?
Your dog eating smoked pig’s feet is a bad idea. Smoked pig’s feet are usually cooked with a thick dry rub marinate that contains a lot of sodium, herbs and spices.
Too much salt in your dog’s diet and lead to salt toxicity which includes symptoms like:
- Excessive thirst
Not only is the excess sodium bad for your dog, the herbs and spices in the marinate can also be toxic for dogs when ingested.
The best type of pig’s feed to give your dog is either raw or boiled or steam (without the bone) and devoid of any seasoning.
Better Alternatives To Pig Feet?
I can understand that not all dog owners are keen on giving their dogs pigs feet or any type of animal feet for that matter.
The thought of feeding your dog a part of an animal that is in poop and urine all day isn’t exactly comforting. Furthermore, pig feet isn’t very nutritious due to the high levels of fat content.
There are in fact many other types of meat that you can give your dog or cat besides the usual chicken. This can be beef, lamb, rabbit, turkey and even fish.
I have written more about the best types of meat that you can give a cat but the same rules apply to dogs too.
Always make sure to prepare and handle the meats properly to prevent any risk of contamination.