Thanks to its crunchy deliciousness, bacon is a favorite food for breakfast in many households. With bacon also comes bacon grease, or what is left after frying your bacon. What can you do with the remaining bacon grease?
Some people suggest giving bacon grease to dogs. There are claims that it can help brighten your pup’s coat when you spread the bacon grease on their food.
Others use bacon grease to fatten their dogs up. This makes sense, but it is only suitable for skinny dogs.
On the other hand, some people opine that there are more risks to using bacon grease than benefits. Several healthier alternatives can help your dog without putting their health at risk.
Of course, nothing much will happen if your dog gets hold of some bacon grease once in a while; it is improbable that they will develop obesity or other related diseases from just one incident. But, as much as possible, put your dog off bacon grease.
The Dangers of Bacon Grease
This sludgy, oily mess is not only unattractive to the eye but also unhealthy. Let us look at some of the dangers behind bacon grease and its risks to your dog.
The pancreas is equipped to handle most foods sent its way, but not bacon grease; the grease is thick and overwhelms the pancreas. It causes the organ to swell, making it unable to perform its primary function, which is breaking down starch, sugar, and fat.
When the pancreas swells, the enzymes found in the pancreatic juice are affected. Your dog’s pancreas might not have enough strength to release enough enzymes, making the produced enzymes overwork. Even with the extra effort, the pancreas might be unable to break down fat completely.
This causes an accumulation of grease, which causes the pancreas to swell even more. It also inhibits its function, meaning anything sent its way cannot be broken down. A swollen pancreas is painful and a great source of discomfort.
It also affects stomach muscles, causing problems with digestion. It constricts the intestines and hinders the functions of organs around the abdomen. This is especially a problem with puppies who have weaker digestive systems.
Pancreatitis surgery to remedy the situation is quite expensive and involves removing part of the damaged pancreas tissue, which can destabilize your furry friend.
2. Gastrointestinal Problems
Once the grease from the bacon cools, it thickens into a paste that looks like leftover sludge. This thick sludge is what will happen to the bacon grease once ingested. It thickens in your dog’s system, causing a paste-like blockage.
The congealed mess can be overwhelming for dogs with weak digestive systems, but it also poses a problem for regular dogs. It affects their ability to absorb fatty food effectively, slowing digestion and causing gastrointestinal discomfort.
Your dog’s body will take longer than usual to decompose the congealed fat. This, in turn, makes it restless and uncomfortable. The blockage also makes it difficult for other organs to function.
Your dog might also get indigestion from the undigested food and constipation, putting them in great pain.
3. Sodium Poisoning
Bacon contains high amounts of sodium, and some remain in the bacon grease. Salt poisoning is one of the most dangerous things for your dog as it causes their cells to shrink once the sodium gets into their bloodstream.
The cells shrink to remove the excess salt and regain the ideal salt-water ratio in your dog’s body. The shrinking of the cells causes dehydration, which subjects your dog to extreme thirst, making it drink a lot of water to curb the effects of dehydration.
Drinking too much water, unfortunately, gives rise to another problem, bloating. When dogs drink water quickly, they also take in a lot of air, resulting in stomach bloating. The experience is quite painful and can lead to vomiting.
Sodium poisoning also puts your dog at risk of salt toxicity. This happens when the salt attacks your pet’s cells, and they don’t have enough water to fight the salt molecules. Because their body cannot handle the absence of water, the cells will shrink even more – including the brain cells. This can cause muscle spasms, seizures, and in worse cases, death.
Bacon grease is pure fat, and fat contributes to obesity. Letting your pet overeat fat regularly is one of the surest ways of causing obesity in dogs. While some might think obesity isn’t that big of a problem, you also have to consider the other diseases that arise from this condition.
The grease consists of a high percentage of saturated fat content. Saturated fat is dangerous to dogs posing several health risks, including inflammation, hip dysplasia, CAD-coronary heart disease, and lethargy.
5. Heart Disease
There is no shortage of the disadvantages and unhealthiness of bacon grease. One of the unhealthy factors found in it is the amount of cholesterol. The cholesterol can build up in your furry friend’s system over time, resulting in several heart diseases.
Cholesterol can be good and is even necessary in controlled amounts. Too much of it accumulates in your canine’s system and obstructs their arteries. The constricted arteries cannot carry enough blood for your pup’s entire system. This leads to a shortage of blood supply to the brain, consequently lessening brain functions.
When brain functions are impaired, your dog’s body cannot effectively carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the brain, rendering the brain almost useless, as its operations are reduced to only the most necessary.
The reduced blood supply will also eventually cause cardiac arrest. It mostly happens when your dog still carries out the same exercises they used to when they were healthier. Their body will be unable to handle the exercises as they require more blood and oxygen than their heart is able to supply, resulting in heart attacks.
Are the Claims True?
So, can bacon grease really help fatten skinny dogs or make their coats brighter?
Bacon grease is one of many things you can use to fatten up your dog. The high saturated fat content can cause weight gain even in the leanest dogs. However, many health implications come with it.
For example, the high sodium content in the bacon grease can harm your dog, putting him at risk of the above dangers. This fattening process is therefore unhealthy and harmful. There are healthier ways to get your dog to add weight than putting their health and life at risk.
The second claim is also true; bacon grease can make a dog’s coat shinier. It is tied to the overwhelming amount of saturated fat in the bacon grease; it supplies your pup’s sebaceous glands with the oil it needs to make hair follicles shine.
Some pet owners also use grease to thicken their dog’s furs, especially those dealing with hair loss. However, like everything related to bacon grease, the risks outweigh the benefits.
Related: Coconut Oil For Dog Shedding
Alternatives to Bacon Grease
Instead of putting your pup at risk with bacon grease, you can turn to these healthier alternatives that offer its benefits minus the risks.
It doesn’t only contain a rich aroma but has a rich flavor from the chicken skin. Your dogs will be enticed and delighted to have some. Moreover, the chicken broth contains essential fatty acids necessary for your dog’s diet.
The broth contains just enough fat, and you can control the amount of sodium in it.
It is delicious and has a smell that dogs love. What’s more, fish oil has omega-3 fatty acids (you wouldn’t get this in bacon grease) and is also known to improve intellect and eye vision in dogs.
Olive oil has low fat levels and lesser cholesterol and is one of the best plant-based alternatives to bacon grease. It also contains helpful nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties that are an added benefit to your dog’s immune system.
What to Do if Your Dog Eats Bacon Grease
Your furry friend can sometimes get out of control and eat things you don’t want him to, so what do you do. Start by determining the amount of bacon grease eaten and whether it is dangerous for him.
If he ate a lot of bacon grease, seek help from the vet immediately. If it was not too much bacon grease, stay with him at home and observe your dog’s reaction to see if there are any effects from eating the grease.
You should also have a bowl of water handy but ensure they don’t drink too much to prevent bloating. If you see any strange behaviors, contact the vet straight away.
Bacon grease is dangerous for dogs if consumed in large amounts; thus, you should not let them anywhere near it. This involves avoiding foods cooked with bacon grease or bacon fat. Get your vet’s help if your dog eats a lot of bacon grease to prevent unwanted reactions.