Like many cured meat enthusiasts out there who are also pet owners, you have probably wondered more than once “can I share my charcuterie board with my pets?”
As a pet owner and an avid cured meat devourer, I have been caught in the same puzzle. Every time I would be preparing a charcuterie plate, I would hear my four-legged friends tip-toeing into the kitchen. As I’d turn around and see their curious, watery eyes stuck on the pile of red meat on my cutting board, I would ponder “can my dog eat salami?” or “is it safe to feed ham to my cat?”
Now, until I did some proper research and found out the answers to all of these questions, I did what most pet owners out there would do. I let one slide. When I say “slide,” I am referring to a piece of artisanal cured meat slipping off the counter and into my pet’s hankering jaws. And, when I say “one,” I mean five…
I know that wasn’t very responsible from my side. But, I’ve learned my lesson, and if your vet has not cleared the air on what cured meats you can feed your dog or your cat, I might be able to do it for you.
Here’s the info that I found out from clinical studies, and which will hopefully help you enjoy charcuterie with your pets around!
What is a charcuterie board?
Before we set up the feeding bowl for our furry, little friends, let’s remember what a charcuterie board is.
Charcuterie is the art of assembling cold meat cuts on a large plate and combining them with a variety of sides that range from cheese to fruits, vegetables, and bread. The term comes from French, which is why you should always pronounce it "Shahr-ku-tuh-ree" while wearing a smug, snobbish smile.
The term initially referred to cured pork meat, but in time it has evolved to include beef, turkey and other tasty, edible animals. The traditional assembly of delicious cold cuts takes place on a wooden board, but you can also set it up on a countertop or a regular large plate if you don't have one.
A hearty charcuterie board should have a wide variety of artisanal cured meats, such as:
- Dried cured salami
- Turkey cuts
You can also include meaty snacks like beef jerky, pepperettes, and other dried sausages. The ideal combination will have both low-carb and high-fat types of meat, all arranged in an absolutely delicious display.
A charcuterie board that has all of the above will satisfy the carnivore in you. However, if you want to take it a step further, you can add a few sides, such as:
- Dried Fruit
- Plain crackers
Pair them with your favorite drink, and you have yourself a feast.
Can my dog eat cured meats?
Dogs are carnivore animals. They will never say no to a piece of meat dangling in front of them whether it is cured or not. Most dog owners want to please their pets, so they often share their steak with their furry buddies. However, giving your puppy a piece of salami is not always safe.
Artisanal cured meats are the epitome of top-quality meat preparation. Only the best ingredients go into their composition, which usually includes high-quality flesh from animals that lived in a natural-like environment and the best spices around. These elements come together to create a low-carb, healthy fat meat that is perfect for those who follow a ketogenic diet.
Unfortunately, cured meats also contain a significant amount of salt, which is safe for you, but not for your dog. Too much of it can lead to your puppy developing various medical conditions. Salt is rich in sodium, which can cause your dog to bloat or suffer from kidney disease. In some cases, it may even cause hypertension, which can later lead to heart disease.
Even if some medical studies have shown that pets can gradually adjust to an increasing quantity of sodium in their food, it is better to avoid giving them cured meat.
Additionally, some cured meat producers may use traditional recipes that include a large number of nitrites and nitrates in their composition. These compounds have the preservative role to fight certain bacteria and maintain color. Unfortunately, your dog can suffer from food poisoning if it consumes too many nitrates or nitrites.
Can I feed cured meats to my cat?
Cats are also carnivores, and they will stop at nothing to get a taste of whatever you are putting on your charcuterie board. It only takes a second of distraction on your part, and they will be on the countertop nibbling on your ham and dried sausages.
Cats face the same medical problems as dogs when it comes to eating salt-rich foods. Too much-cured meat can inject their blood with an overwhelming quantity of sodium. In some cases, it could even lead to kidney blockage and imminent death.
Feeding your cat a small slice of ham just to get its nose out of your plate is not life-threatening for your pet. However, as it is with dogs, you should put on the most selfish mask you have, and deny them this tasty, but a potentially dangerous threat.
How to enjoy charcuterie with pets around
Just because you have pets, it doesn’t mean that you can never enjoy a charcuterie board full of delicious, keto-friendly cured meats.
There are safe and easy ways to enjoy artisanal cured meats with dogs and cats around you. Here are a few tips on how to do it:
- Keep the pets out of the kitchen while you are assembling your charcuterie board
- Feed your cats and dogs their special pet food while you are enjoying your plate of cured meats
- Have a small plate of pet treats near your charcuterie board, and feed your pets one of them every time they're drooling over your salamis and turkey cuts
- Never leave the plate of cured meats unattended!