A lot of people get a bit squeamish when it comes to talking about eating liver, can dogs eat liver though? A lot of us did not grow up on eating it, which makes some people a little hesitant against it. You will be surprised to know that dogs do not have the same opinion on it. Most dogs love liver and will be one of their favorite meals. There are a few things you need to keep in mind though, please read below.
Why Can Dogs Eat Liver?
Yes, dogs can eat liver. What you should know is that liver can contain between 10 and 100 times the nutrients of muscle meat. This is something you can find in chicken breasts as well. The liver has a large number of vitamins, there are several B vitamins, vitamin A, along with trace minerals, iron, and CoQ10. Not to forget it is a good source of protein.
The best type of liver you are looking for is grass-fed, along with pasture-raised animals. They are raised with a much better nutrient profile. Even though they will be better for your dog, it does not mean you cannot buy any other type of liver.
Doesn’t Liver Store Toxins?
Even though the liver is known for cleaning toxins from the body, it does not actually store the toxins. If you decide on getting just conventionally produced liver, it is still a good nutritional benefit.
Liver can help your dog if they are suffering from fatigue, weakness, or maybe even anemic. This is because it has such a high nutrient content.
What You Need to Know When Feeding Your Dog Liver
Please take note, if you decide to feed your dog liver, it is a very rich type of food and can cause your dog to have loose stools if they have eaten too much.
Something you should keep in mind is if your dog has not eaten liver before you should only feed them a little bit to see how they react. You should only be feeding half a tablespoon every few days if your dog is a medium-sized dog, less if they are a smaller breed.
You should keep an eye on their stool, if you start to notice their stool is loose, you will need to decrease the amount you are feeding them, and possible spacing the times out even more.
Some dogs suffer from copper metabolism, this can be found in beef liver, which is high in copper. If your dog has copper problems, please discuss it with your local vet before even feeding them it.
There are certain breeds of dogs that can have problems with copper metabolism. Bedlington Terriers are one of the breeds that have trouble excreting the copper.
Some other breeds that can be vulnerable to copper toxicity are:
- Labrador Retrievers
- Skye Terriers
- West Highland White Terriers
Copper toxicity can be something that does not happen straight away but happens over time. So it might just sneak up on you. This can result in your dog having liver disease, from the toxicity of the copper. Some signs are intermittent vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, excessive urination, reduced appetite.
Please note though, if you do decide you want to add it to your dog’s daily meal, you should consult your dog’s veterinarian first. They will be able to tell you the best personal advice for your dog, your dog might not need it. As dogs receive everything, they need from their daily dog food.
Disadvantages of Feeding Liver to Your Dog
It is to be noted that dogs cannot eat large amounts of liver, or on a regular basis like mentioned above. It is best not to exceed the amounts mentioned above or consult a vet first. If you do, they could get a condition called hypervitaminosis A, which is an overdose of Vitamin A.
Symptoms of hypervitaminosis A can be muscle weakness, bone spurs, bone deformities, weight loss, digestive problems, and stiffness. If you see any of the issues above, you should contact your veterinarian straight away. They should be able to provide a solution and get your dog back to their healthy selves.
You should not feed your dog liver again if this happens. This is just the safest bet, to make sure your dog does not have another overdose of vitamin A.
Where Can I Get Liver From?
Even though it is probably not something you shop for, liver is available in most grocery stores.
If you are looking for more clean and organic liver, you are best looking at butcher shops and farmers markets. Even if they do not display it on their counter, they will more than likely have it available.
You can lightly cook liver or even serve it raw if you trust the source, so this would come under the butchers I mentioned above. They will be able to give you more details on the liver your buying. You should also make sure your dog is used to and accustomed to raw foods, Dehydrated beef liver is good for a treat.
When feeding your dog anything new, be it human food or dog food you should give it to them in small portions to start off with. This is just in case they have a reaction to anything. If they do and you are worried, then you should contact your local veterinarian or emergency clinic.
Yes, you can feed your dog liver, raw or cooked. Please make sure you just follow the above guidelines above. You should not be feeding liver to your dog on a regular basis without the consent of your dog’s veterinarian. Liver has a high amount of vitamin A in and you must take that seriously. You do not want your dog overdosing on Vitamin A.