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Is Pork Okay to Feed?

By Mia Lund 

This is a much asked question and the answer is yes (with a few exceptions). Many raw feeders feed pork as a staple as it’s usually quite an affordable red/dark meat and easy to find in supermarkets, butchers etc.

Pork is a good protein to feed as long as not enhanced and it has very good nutrients in it (in fact better than chicken) like: Taurine, Thiamine (B1), Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin B12 and B6, Vitamin C, D, Niacine, Phosphorus, Calcium, Potassium and Iron. Also it’s high in protein and quite low in fat. Tenderloin, pork chops (minus the saw cut bone) and sirloin roast are good lean options. Pork middle, pork butt, pork shoulder, pork ribs etc are also good to feed.

Many people believe that pork is high in saturated fats, however, according to the USDA, the saturated fat content of pork trimmed to one-quarter inch of fat is only 21%. Only chicken breast without skin is lower in saturated fat than that (of commercial meat). Pork is short on Omega 3 though, so a variety of meats in the feeding plan is always recommended.

Pork is considered “Neutral” in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) so could be used as a novel protein and also as starter protein for pets new to raw.

Of course, we advise against feeding bacon or ham. Salted or smoked meats should never be fed to any pet due to the high sodium content, smoke flavoring chemicals, nitrates and preservatives.

Now there are some old myths that still hang around which make some pet owners wary of feeding pork. The most talked about is Trichinosis, the roundworm parasite, Trichinella. In many parts of the world, aggressive management steps have been very effective, and in human grade commercial meats, Trichinella is effectively non-existent.

The most common species of Trichinella is Trichinella Spiralis, which has a global distribution and is the species most commonly found in pigs. Other Trichinella species are less commonly reported as the cause of human disease and may be found in different parts of the world, usually infecting wild animals.

The overall number of cases reported has decreased because of improved pig-raising practices in the pork industry, commercial and home freezing of pork, and public awareness of the danger of eating raw or undercooked meat products.
The risk of trichinellosis from commercially raised and properly prepared pork is very low. However, wild game, particularly bear meat, may be risky…
So, Trichinella is non existent in most developed countries now but if you are not sure of your own country, freezing should kill it if done to these temps:

5°F (-15°C) – 20 days
-9.4°F (-23°C) – 10 days, or
-22°F (-30°C) for 6 days

The freeze resistant variety is the Trichinella Nativa which is found in Artic and Sub-Artic zones and has a high resistance to freezing. It is mainly found in bears and horses.

Pseudorabies, associated with raw pork, is perhaps the most notable virus of concern. Pseudorabies or Aujeszky’s disease is mainly an issue in certain parts of Europe, Asia, South and Central America, but eradication programs have eliminated this from farmed swine in many nations, including the US.
So raw pork is fine to feed in most countries. Just check the Aujeszky’s disease status where you are and don't feed wild caught pigs. The disease is controlled through bio-security, and sound management practices that include disease control and prevention.


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