Undercooked or raw pork may infect a dog with trichinosis, a disease that infects pigs with roundworm. However, uncontaminated pork in itself is not harmful to most dogs, though some breeds have difficulty digesting its rich and fatty content. Pancreatitis is another disease that dogs on a high-fat diet are at risk of.
Though any meat may contain the parasite responsible for trichinosis, pork is more likely to have it. In fact, the parasite, Trichenella spiralis, is also called pork worm. Other carriers include wild game. Eating infected meat can spread the disease to dogs, and humans too. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and muscle stiffness. Humans may experience swelling around the eyes. The disease is treated with antiparasitic drugs, but can be fatal if left untreated.
Trichinosis is easy to prevent as one only has to avoid undercooked pork. Pet owners should take the added precaution of preventing access to waste that may include pork leftovers.
The New York State Department of Health recommends cooking pork products well at a temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The parasite can also be killed by freezing pork at a temperature of -13 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for at least 10 days.