Ham Hocks to the Dog: Good or Evil?

It’s like bacon, but for dogs.

I’ve been just ripping the meat off for him, but we’re getting down to the hard nub at the end of the ham. I am not even sure if there is a bone in it. Can you give it to the dog or will he choke?

Perfectly fine. That bone is normally crushed and splinters in small pieces, not big jagged long pieces. That’s why poulrty bones are bad. As with any treat though, keep an eye on him while he eats it.

I don’t typically give my dog treats that are heavily salted, though. Ham hocks usually are.

Good to know. He really goes for the water after a little ham and I had wondered about the amount of salt. Baked ham is a rare meal for us, so I’ll probably indulge him. Thanks ElGuapo!

I also discovered that he loves those frozen round bones pieces they sell at the butcher.

If your dog chokes on a ham hock he wasn’t a real dog anyway.

Imagine this is a picture of man holding chicken and leaning on the trunk of '50s era car, his dog at his feet.

Cooked pork bones are no bueno for dogs because they splinter, unless you like paying for intestine surgery.

warning super dog farts will ensue.

As long as your dog isn’t Jewish or Muslim, you should be ok.

This. Cooked bones of any kind can be dangerous. You should save the ham hock for making bean soup, a much better use for it!

Ummm, what kind of bones do you give a dog if they aren’t cooked? Raw bones?

Several times a week in our house.

everything I’ve read has indicated that giving any kind of cooked bone to a dog is risky. However, if this is entirely in a supervised setting where the bone is taken away once it’s been cleaned, you’ll probably be okay. Note that I’m not responsible for doggie injuries or vet bills if he cracks into it and swallows sharp bones.

Raw bones, as in they haven’t even been boiled? As in raw meat still dripping off them? Or you take the bones and let them dry in the sun?

I’ve fed my dog plenty of bones say, after having a tbone steak or a lamb chop, and never had an issue, except for once, where he got a piece stuck by his tooth, which I removed.

I don’t know, YMMV, but it seems overly cautious to me.

We have two little dogs and let them go at the ham hock (with a little meat still left on it) for a minute while watching them, because it’s fun to see how they react. We’re overly cautious about bone splinters though I guess. And we also get chided about using it to make a soup, but neither of us care enough to bother with it.


Animals are well equipped to deal with raw meat.

Depends on your risk level, I guess. Humans can often eat undercooked meat with no serious ill effects, but it is still better to cook it thoroughly to avoid e-coli and other bad things because when they do happen the results can be pretty severe.

Likewise dogs can often deal with cooked bones and not have a problem, but in the instances where there is a problem, eg. they get a piece of shredded bone jammed in their digestive system, it is extremely painful for them and very possibly fatal if untreated.

Completely anecdotal here but I know of two people with dogs who have had problems with their dogs eating cooked bones (in both cases they thought it was fine because their family had always given bones to dogs).

In both cases the dogs were eventually ok but they went through about half a day of hellish pain and the owners ended up with extremely large vet bills.

My pet Chihuahua was deathly allergic to ham and processed pork and nearly died twice from intestinal bleeding from some relative or guest sneaking ham to him. Just FYI.

Yeah cooked bones are bad karma - they splinter as others have mentioned. Chicken bones are espcially bad about this, but it’s not just restricted to those. Depends on what your dog wants to do with it as well - if they just want to tear off the sinew that is left, they’ll be fine. But if they’re like my dogs (who want to cruch it up and eat the marrow) you’ll want to avoid it.

And yes, I’m sure you’ve done it and it’s been no problem (it was never a problem for our old dog who would get into the trash and eat 30 chicken wing bones at a time either), but who wants that vet bill?

I have always heard that chicken bones were bad. I can’t even see the bone on on the ham hock, though. I’ll have to watch him as he chows down.