Is Liver Good For Dogs?

is liver good for dogs

Dogs eat pretty much anything, but how nutritious and beneficial is the food that you are giving them? Providing a balanced nutritious diet is vital to keep your pet healthy, happy, and active.

The liver and other organs may not be your favorite menu item, but for dogs, they love it, and it is very beneficial for them when given in conjunction with a balanced diet. Let's take a look at how incredible this dog delicacy is.

What Organ Meat Is Best For Dogs?

You can feed your dog various organ meats such as heart, kidney, and liver, and all have their own unique set of beneficial vitamins and minerals. The more variety you feed to your dog, the better mix of nutrients your dog will receive.

You can feed your dog the following organs: brain, eyeballs, heart, kidney, liver, lung, reproductive organs, trachea, spleen, stomach, sweetbread (pancreas), and tongue. While most of these items may not be readily available, the most popular are liver, heart, and kidney, which are usually not hard to find.

What Are The Benefits Of Feeding Your Dog Liver?

Liver is packed full of healthy benefits for your dog; in fact, it contains one hundred times more nutrients than any other lean muscle meat.

You can feed liver from chicken, beef, lamb, pork, and even bison if the animal was healthy and properly raised. Do not feed wild game organs to your dog as it is difficult to guarantee its quality.

Pasture fed animals contain even higher levels of essential nutrients than grain-fed.

Organ meat provides many vitamins and minerals which have a range of health benefits.

Health Benefits

The liver helps clean toxins from the blood and significantly boost nutrients for dogs who have been sick or injured. The protein promotes muscle growth, tissue repair, immunity, and is an excellent source of energy, liver also helps to fight fatigue which is ideal for active working dogs.

Nutritionally liver is a rich source of:

  • Vitamin A - antioxidants, aids digestion, healthy eyesight, and reproductive organs
  • Vitamin B & B12 - aids mental health, helps prevent anemia promotes red blood cell production
  • Iron - assists brain development, regulates body temperature, metabolism and provides oxygen to the blood cells
  • Selenium - supports cartilage formation and nerve function
  • essential amino fatty acid - aids brain development, strengthen immunity and reduce inflammation
  • Fat - energy source, promotes brain development and heart health

Beef liver is reasonably high in copper, be aware that excessive build-up can be poisonous. Some breeds are more sensitive than others. If you are unsure, its always best to check with your veterinarian.

How To Prepare?

Grinding up raw liver in a food grinder and freezing portions is the best way to prepare, that way, you can defrost small portions as you need.

The liver's nutritional value is profoundly affected by heat, and it is more beneficial to your dog if it is served raw. Some dogs are not used to raw food, it may upset their stomach, so make sure that you consider your dog's regular diet and try them with small amounts to allow their body to adjust to the new food. It is possible to lightly cook the liver and add vegetables if that is more palatable.

Please do not add any seasonings such as salt or pepper, as it is damaging to their sense of smell.

Are Liver Treats Good For Dogs?

If the idea of handling liver is not to your liking, there are a variety of pre-prepared liver treats available. Read the ingredients, as some dog treats are bad for dogs because they only contain a small amount of entrails or are highly flavored. Also, avoid treats produced under high temperature as it can destroy the nutritional benefits, always opt for premium treats to ensure quality. 

Serve it as treats - dogs love it. Great to use for any training, especially puppies.

Most dogs love liver, so be sure not to overfeed your dog, it is a rich meat treat, and too much can cause damage, stick to the feeding recommendations. A small dog should have no more than two treats per week and large dogs five or six treats twice per week.

How Much To Give?

It is essential when introducing new foods to your dog to start slowly, particularly if they are sensitive to certain products. Monitoring their bowel actions is also an excellent way to determine how their bodies react to the new food. Too much liver can have a laxative effect and cause loose bowel motions.

Liver is a very rich and nutrient-dense food and should only be given sparingly. Too much can lead to hypervitaminosis type A, vitamin A overdose, potentially causing complications such as muscle weakness, weight loss, bone deformity, and digestive problems.

The amount of liver to feed your dog will vary depending on the size of your pet. An average guide would be one tablespoon per day or 10% of their daily intake.

It is not essential to feed your dog liver every day. Instead, mix it up a bit, your dog will love the variety, and it keeps mealtimes interesting.

Where To Buy

Always use a trusted supplier like a local butcher or supermarket. Never from a wild source as the meat's quality could be compromised, and it has an additional bacteria risk, which can cause illness and disease. Most forms of bacteria can be killed by the cooking process, traditionally the organs are served raw, which could be particularly dangerous.

The best source is your local butcher as they will be more likely to have organ meat available, and it would be very fresh. They could order for you from their slaughterhouse if they did not have any in stock.

Summary

As a pet owner, you always strive to keep your animals as healthy and happy as possible. A big part of this is maintaining a healthy and balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals.

Bad dog food does not benefit your pet in any way and can do more harm. Remember when feeding liver to your dog, do not give too much and try to keep it raw if possible and purchase from a reputable supplier. Keep an eye on your dog after feeding new foods as some dogs are more sensitive than others. Don't be afraid to introduce other organs into your pet's diet; they will love you for it and will continue to be by your side for many years to come.