A dog with a wary expression looking at ham bones, showing they are harmful to dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Ham Bones?

No, dogs should not eat ham bones. These bones, whether cooked or raw, pose significant health risks for your furry friend. Ham bones can splinter easily, leading to choking hazards or serious injuries to a dog's mouth, throat, stomach, or intestines.

A photo of Stefan Stumpfl, the co-author of this article.

By Stefan Stumpfl, in collaboration with Dr. Ali Raza.

Updated on Jun 12, 2024

Did You Know?

Cooked bones, including ham bones, can splinter and cause serious injury to your dog's mouth, throat, or intestines.

Ham Bones



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Feeding Frequency


Allergic Risk


Why Are Ham Bones Bad for Dogs?

Ham bones are particularly brittle and can break into sharp fragments. When ingested, these splinters can cause choking, internal bleeding, and blockages in the digestive tract. The high salt content in ham can also upset your dog's stomach and cause dehydration or sodium toxicity.

How Many Ham Bones Can Dogs Eat?

Ideally, dogs should avoid ham bones completely. However, if a small piece was accidentally consumed, it is generally less harmful in tiny amounts. Larger quantities intensify the risks mentioned above and could result in severe complications. Always observe your dog for any signs of distress if they manage to get their paws on a ham bone.

Common Misconceptions

A common myth is that all bones are safe for dogs. While wild canines might consume bones, domestic dogs face different risks, particularly with cooked bones like ham. Unlike raw bones that may offer some dental benefits, ham bones can create life-threatening situations due to their brittleness.

Similar Harmful Products

  • Chicken Bones: Cooked chicken bones can splinter and pose the same risks as ham bones.
  • Turkey Bones: Similar to ham, turkey bones can shatter easily and cause internal injuries.
  • Rib Bones: Whether they're from pork or beef, rib bones are also prone to splinter and should be avoided.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Ham Bones?

If your dog eats a ham bone, watch them closely for signs of distress such as choking, vomiting, bloating, or lethargy. Seek veterinary care immediately if any concerning symptoms appear. Avoid inducing vomiting, as this can cause further damage without professional guidance.

Long-term consumption of harmful foods like ham bones can lead to severe health problems, including gastrointestinal perforations and infections. Medical treatments for such conditions can be costly, making pet insurance a valuable tool for mitigating these expenses and ensuring your furry friend's well-being.

What Are Healthy Alternatives?

Instead of ham bones, consider these safer options that will satisfy your dog without the risks:

  • Raw Carrots: Great for chewing and low in calories.
  • Kong Toys: Durable toys you can stuff with treats or peanut butter.
  • Bully Sticks: A natural, digestible option that's less risky than bones.


To sum up, ham bones are not a safe option for dogs due to their tendency to splinter and cause internal injuries. Always consult your vet if you're unsure about any food, especially if your dog has specific health issues or dietary needs. Better safe than sorry!