Even if you think that liver and other organ foods are gross, the truth is that it is among the top dog-friendly foods. The fact is that a portion of liver contains up to 100 times more nutrients than those found in muscle meat.
This is why more manufacturers of top-quality dog food are adding liver to the wet, dry and frozen foods and treats.
So, if you are wondering can dogs eat liver – then yes. When appropriately prepared, beef, chicken, or other liver is an excellent component of a healthy and nutritious canine diet.
In many countries and cuisines, the animal liver is considered a delicacy, and others consume it because it is also recognized as a nutrient-dense superfood.
Continue reading to learn about the advantages of feeding your dog liver, how much of it is beneficial, and which type of liver is best for your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Liver?
Yes, it is an organ food rich in minerals and vitamins and is an excellent protein suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes.
Some of the nutrients it contains are copper, iron, zinc, vitamins A and B, and healthy fatty acids. It can improve your pup’s vision and helps cleans the toxins from its bloodstream.
But you should always cook the liver and cut it into small pieces or blend it into a pate before serving it to your pup.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Liver For Dogs?
Depending on which animal it comes from, the liver can contain 10 to 100 times more nutrients than regular muscle meat.
The liver is densely packed with vitamin B12, Riboflavin (vitamin B2), and Folate (vitamin B9)
Beef liver contains over 22 times more calcium and about six times the amount of iron compared to the same quantity of ground muscle beef.
Here are some of the primary nutrients in the liver which will help improve the health and well-being of your four-legged companion:
Vitamin A – contains from 860 to 1,100% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) value for humans and is an essential nutrient supporting the health of the dog’s vision, reproductive and immune systems. Also, vitamin A helps sustain the normal functioning of the dog’s kidneys and heart.
Vitamin B12 – the content of this essential vitamin in the liver is 3,460% of the RDI for humans. It helps form healthy red blood cells and the DNA and boosts brain health in humans and dogs. This nutrient is beneficial for canines suffering from anemia or fatigue.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – the liver is rich in vitamin B2, which is essential for the proper functioning of the development and growth of the body cells and the DNA formation in dogs and humans.
Vitamin B9 (Folate) – this vitamin is vital for the formation of DNA and the growth and health of the cells in the body.
Iron – this mineral helps transport the oxygen throughout the body via the blood cells and is vital for brain function and for regulating body temperature. By adding more iron to the diet of your pup, you can enhance its endurance and strength.
Copper and zinc – these minerals will improve your dog’s bone strength and joint health. Copper is vital for the metabolism of iron, proper brain functioning, and energy production.
Which Kind Of Liver Is Best For Dogs?
The most commonly available types of the liver in US butcher shops and grocery stores are beef or chicken liver. Both types are rich in nutrients, including minerals, vitamins, iron, and protein.
At the same time, they are both relatively low in saturated fat and calories.
So, each of them can be an excellent addition to your dog’s diet.
But if you are wondering which of the two will be more beneficial for your pup’s health, then you should opt for beef liver. It contains more vitamins A, B12, and B2 and is lower in fat and calories than chicken liver. Plus, it has 20 times more copper than the chicken liver. Copper is essential for boosting the health and proper functioning of the dog’s brain, skin, and heart.
If your furbaby needs a boost in the intake of selenium, iron, or more protein, then chicken liver may be a better option. Chicken liver contains twice as much iron and selenium and has more protein than beef liver.
In some butcher shops, you may be able to find other liver varieties, including duck, lamb, or pork liver. Each of them can provide similar nutritional and health benefits to your dog when cooked and served correctly.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Duck?
How Should I Feed Liver To My Pup?
You may not have any experience cooking liver or other organ foods, but don’t worry – cooking beef liver is pretty simple.
You can boil it in water on the stovetop by adding it to a pot of boiling water and letting the liver simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.
You can also bake it in the oven at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.
The liver is delicious when pan-fried, but do not add any butter, oil, or other fat when preparing it for your pup.
You can also make homemade dog treats with liver by referring to one of the many online recipes available.
Before cooking the liver, thaw it first and wash it. Also, avoid adding any seasoning when cooking the liver, including salt, pepper, onion, garlic powder, etc.
Once the liver is ready, dice it into tiny pieces or blend it into a pate that you can dilute with a bit of water to prevent the risk of choking in dogs.
It is important to avoid feeding your dog raw meat or raw liver because of the risk of harmful bacterial infections.
If you are not ready to handle and cook the liver yourself, you can choose one of the many excellent ready-made wet dog food options which contain liver as one of the primary ingredients.
There are also high-quality freeze-dried liver options for pups offered by reputable manufacturers. You can add them as toppings to the dog food or use them as tasty treats for your pup.
How Much Liver Should I Give To My Dog?
While the liver is a healthy protein, it can become harmful when fed to dogs in large amounts. The reason is that this organ meat is packed with vitamin A, and too much of it can lead to hypervitaminosis A, which can lead to bone spurs and deformities, muscle weakness, weight loss, and digestive problems in canines.
So, the recommended quantity of liver for dogs should be about 5% of their overall diet which is around an ounce for a medium-sized dog and more than 2.5 ounces for large and giant breed dogs per day.
Overall, it is advisable to add liver as a supplement to the main dog food rather than serving it as a meal replacement for your pup.