Feeding your dogs with the liver might sound like a repulsive thing to do.
But before you toss out the idea at the window right away, check out first the article below and see if there is merit in doing so for your dog. You’ll also never know if your dog will like this treat.
Are you ready to find out if dogs can safely eat liver?
Can Dogs Safely Eat Liver?
One of the reasons why you might find sharing some liver with your dog revolting is because of its primary role in the body is as a natural detoxifier which cleanses the body of toxins.
You might think that sharing some liver with your dog is detrimental because of this role. But don’t worry, livers do not store toxins and poison your dog.
In fact, the liver is a healthy addition to your dog’s meal when given in moderation. It will also support the health of their liver.
So yes, dogs can safely eat liver.
Apart from the liver, it is also good to feed dogs with other organs such as the heart, kidney and brain to balance his diet.
Benefits of Eating Liver for Dogs
Did you know that livers contain 10 to 100 times the amount of muscle meat? It has a wealth of vitamins and minerals beneficial for this health:
Vitamin A – It is a powerful antioxidant that supports digestion and reproductive organs.
Vitamin B and Folic Acid – essential in supporting mental and nerve health while also preventing fatigue and anemia.
Vitamin D – This vitamin is important for immune function and helps prevent cancer and autoimmune and infectious diseases. This vitamin is also beneficial for muscle and bone health.
Iron – This mineral helps form hemoglobin and also helps transport oxygen throughout the blood cells. Apart from also regulating body temperature, it also increases a dog’s endurance and strength.
Copper and Zinc – these other two minerals also provide a healthy coat and skin plus supports immunity and bone health.
Liver is also rich in protein but lower in fat than muscle meat.
Risks of Dogs Eating Liver
Liver is rich in nutrients but too much consumption can bring negative consequences.
Vitamin A overdose – Because the liver has high content levels of Vitamin A, consuming more than the recommended daily amount of it can cause its toxicity called hypervitaminosis A. This vitamin overdose, if for example, they ate large amounts in just a week, results in anorexia, bone deformity, bone spurs, digestive issues, muscle weakness, weight loss and even stiffness. If these symptoms show, help from the vet must be sought out. If left unchecked, vitamin A toxicity can lead to death.
Copper toxicity – Some dog breeds have problems with copper metabolism such as these breeds:
- Bedlington Terriers
- West Highland White Terriers
- Skye Terriers
- Labrador Retrievers
Those who are experiencing poisoning from copper will exhibit weight loss, reduced appetite, excessing urination, diarrhea and vomiting. If you see these symptoms, contact the vet at once.
Can Dogs Eat Beef Liver?
Yes, go for beef liver for your dog. Among other foods, beef liver has a very high concentration of Vitamin A and contains 100 times more nutrients than other meat. Therefore, it is an excellent choice for your four-legged furry best friend.
It is also high in the following vitamins and minerals:
Can Dogs Eat Chicken Liver?
Yes, dogs can eat chicken liver. Chicken liver is rich in the following vitamins and minerals:
- Retinol from Vitamin A
- Beta Carotene
- Vitamin B1 or Thiamine
- Vitamin B3 or Niacin
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
Compared to beef liver though, the chicken liver has 30% more total fat. Even so, the chicken liver still has lower fat than muscle meat.
Can Dogs Eat Turkey Liver?
If the liver is from a wild game such as deer or turkey, you should probably stay away from it as you do not have a guarantee as to the quality of the meat. You will never know if it is infected with parasites or toxins already that will make it unfit for your dog’s consumption.
However, if you bought the turkey liver from a local supermarket, local butcher shop or even at an abattoir or slaughterhouse, you are assured of the quality of this innard.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Liver?
There are actually two opposing sides on this: one side recommends eating raw liver but the others really suggest cooking it.
For those who are pro feeding raw liver, they argue that cooking kills a lot of nutrients. They will even say that feeding raw liver is the best option for dogs.
In a 2007 USDA finding, the simmering liver can cause loss of the following:
- 40% of Vitamin A, iron and magnesium
- 55% of Vitamins B3 and B6
- 35% of Folate
- 30% of Phosphorus
- 25% of Vitamin C and copper
Nutrients such as calcium, beta carotene and choline are minimally affected by heating.
They also argue that back in the days, prehistoric dogs did not even have access to heating or cooking and they lived along fine.
If you are to make that decision, make sure to involve your veterinarian. If your vet approves feeding raw, prepare it in a way easily digestible by your dog by grinding it up in a food grinder. You can also portion it and store the others in the freezer.
Take note that it is not necessary to feed your dog liver every day; moderation should always be exercised to avoid Vitamin A and copper toxicity.
Can Dogs Eat Cooked Liver?
Then there’s the other side of the fence, those who recommend cooking liver before feeding it to dogs. This will always be a safe bet as you’ve seen above that vitamin A and copper are reduced in cooking.
But yes, as with any food, the nutritional value is decreased with cooking. Again, it is always a great idea to check your vet’s final recommendation.
How to Feed Dogs Liver?
Are you now ready to feed your dog liver?
Introducing Liver to Dog’s Diet
If your dog is new to liver, share only a few portions of it. Since the liver is rich in nutrients, they can end up having diarrhea and tummy upset.
If after 24 to 48 hours, no bad symptom persists, go ahead and add it in his diet from time to time.
Preparing Liver Menu for Dogs
It is always best to buy liver from pasture-raised animals; however, if that is not an option, do not let it hamper you. Here’s a simple guide on how best prepare the liver for dogs:
- Remove the liver from its packaging and thaw it if frozen
- Rinse the liver thoroughly with cool water
- Place the liver into a boiling pot or stove with water about an inch higher than them
- Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat after. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Check if the meat is tender; if it is, take it out from the heat and drain the water
- On a plate, cool the liver and dice it into bite-sized pieces
If you are used to adding seasoning such as salt, skip this part. Even butter, onions, garlic are not welcome in your dog’s tummy. Your dog will thrive well on a bland diet.
How Much Liver Can Dogs Eat?
Moderation is key and makes sure never to give too much liver for your dog.
Liver Serving Size for Dogs
As a rule of thumb in terms of serving size in feeding organs:
- If you are feeding several organ meats, it should be 25% of the dog’s diet
- However, if it is only one organ or just liver to be fed, it should be 5-10% of their total diet.
Following the 5% rule, it can translate to:
- Small dog- ⅕ ounces a day
- Medium-sized- 1 ounce
- Large- 2.5 ounces of liver per day
Well, you don’t need to feed your dog liver daily, though.
Liver Serving Ideas for Dogs
There are also fun ways to share the liver with your dog:
- Dehydrate to make it a snackable jerky
- Serve as a treat
- There are also liver tablets or capsules in health food stores but nothing can beat the fresh ones, of course.
Conclusion: Should Dogs Eat Liver?
Liver can be a great addition to your dog’s diet because it is very healthy! But the caveat is, because it is rich in certain vitamins and minerals, poisoning is also possible when they are fed with too much of it.