It might sound obvious, but a dog's diet should rely on lean meat due to its rich protein content. Some pet owners think that meat in any form is acceptable for canines and should thus be given without consideration.
In reality, meat might be trickier than you have imagined, especially if you buy manufactured foods for your four-legged friend. While it's true that lean meat is the best product for dogs, getting educated on which types of it work better than others is a must. That being said, let's find out which meats are suitable for canines and which ones should be given with caution.
- Raw meat
- Pork | Raw pork | Cooked pork | Pork bones | Bacon | Ham | Hot dogs | Prosciutto | Salami | Pepperoni | Sausage
- Beef | Raw beef | Cooked beef | Beef bones | Steak
- Chicken | Raw chicken | Chicken bones
Is raw meat safe for dogs?
If you're a proud dog parent, you might already know that raw food diets are on the rise. The reasons behind such a diet's popularity are many, with most people claiming raw meat as something that resembles a canine's diet in the wild.
On a positive note, most dogs can eat raw meat without any adverse complications. Some vets actually claim that raw meat boosts canine health and gives them higher energy levels and healthier skin. What's more, proponents of the raw meat diet say that raw chicken or beef is beneficial for both digestive and immune systems.
Yet, not all opinions on raw meat are the same, with some perspectives being more critical. According to the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine research, raw meat might contain bacteria harmful to dogs and humans. Of 196 raw food samples, 15 were tested positive for Salmonella and 32 for L. monocytogenes. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also spoke out against feeding raw meat to pets. Their study suggested that even commercially packaged raw meat contained the mentioned bacteria.
Vets who oppose such a diet also assume that healthier skin and higher energy levels are actually attributed to raw meat's higher fat content. Except for bacterial contamination, raw meat might also pose a choking hazard since it often contains bones and tissues that are too hard to chew.
A question that interests dog owners is intuitive and straightforward — can dogs eat pork, and in what amount? To be fair, it's not entirely clear, and the answer frequently jumps from "yes" to "no," depending on how you cook and serve it. Technically, lean pork is a superb source of protein and essential nutrients for canines. While pork is entirely OK for dogs, its forms and types, such as ham, bacon, and sausage, are different. Find out which types of pork are acceptable for your Fido and what meals are better to avoid.
When the situation with cooked pork is clear, you might still wonder — can dogs eat raw pork? Unfortunately for proponents of such diets, serving raw pork is not the best idea. Unlike some other meat products, raw pork can contain a parasite called trichinella spiralis. When consumed, it causes trichinellosis characterized by vomiting, severe diarrhea, fever, and lethargy.
As this infection can often stay asymptomatic, contact your vet if your dog ate raw pork in large amounts. So if you were about to serve a slice of pork to your four-legged friend, it's better to cook it properly.
Plain cooked pork might be the most well-rounded option for dogs since extra additives, sauces, and flavors are unwanted guests to your doggo's diet. As with other food products, abstaining from salt, nitrites, and artificial flavors is a must. Start by adding cooked, unseasoned lean pork to your dog's bowl and observe the immediate reaction. Some types of meats, including pork, might cause an allergic reaction, so starting with a tiny bite-sized serving is reasonable.
But can dogs have pork bones, at least? The answer is not that intuitive and straightforward as most pet owners think. Cooked pork bones become fragile and somewhat brittle while cooking them. Even if your doggo begs for a cooked pork bone, think twice before throwing it. When fragile, a cooked bone can splinter, potentially damaging the dog's teeth, esophagus, or even internal organs. Also, sharp pieces can become a choking hazard.
As for raw bones, dogs still shouldn't gnaw on them too much. They are generally more robust and are less likely to splinter, but the potential risks remain pretty much the same. Because pork bones have little to no positive impacts on a canine's diet, consider buying a dental chew.
Bacon is a yummy slice of meat that many hoomans and doggos enjoy eating. The question is – can dogs eat bacon, and when too much is too much? Preserved and processed meats are generally less healthy, but they taste so damn good because of their high fat and salt contents. As much as you enjoy this product, dogs should not have bacon, especially in large amounts.
What's wrong with it, and why is bacon bad for dogs? Although you can serve it as an occasional treat, regular consumption of preserved pork is dangerous. When eaten regularly, bacon is one of the products that contribute to pancreatitis in dogs. Its usual symptoms include severe lethargy, persistent vomiting, and dehydration. Since bacon for dogs brings less good than you could think, serving plain cooked pork is generally a better and healthier alternative.
And what about ham? Is it any good, and can dogs eat ham regularly? Well, it's also not the best meat you can serve your dog. Although ham is still a decent source of protein that dogs need for their well-being, you shouldn't give it to your pup too often because of its exceptionally high sodium content.
Salt isn't the most suitable ingredient for canine's digestion, causing excessive thirst, vomiting, and even more severe consequences. You should also know that ham has too much fat, which can lead to obesity. That's why you might share it as a rare treat, but not as a daily dietary staple.
And what about ham bones? While some dog food manufacturers offer such products, the situation is similar to regular pork bones. They are of questionable nutritional value, while the choking and internal organ damage risks are high.
Can dogs eat hot dogs (pun intended)? Traditional hot dogs contain preserved and processed meats, usually pork and beef, mixed with sugar, salt, and additional flavors. Same as with ham, the main problem with hot dogs is high sodium content. Canines with weaker immune systems or signs of being overweight shouldn't eat hot dogs in any amounts.
After all, artificial flavors and some extra salt on top aren't the best ingredients for a healthy dog's diet. Instead, share a few slices of bite-sized cooked pork to deliver healthy protein with no risks involved. If your pup accidentally ate a hot dog, keep a close eye on them and contact a vet in case of any unexpected reactions.
Who would ever resist a mouth-watering slice of prosciutto? It is no surprise that dogs might crave a prosciutto slice. But can dogs have it? Well, it's not the best meat product for your four-legged friend. Prosciutto is full of salt, fat, and nitrates, all the ingredients that are generally unwanted for a balanced diet. Since this meat is tough and chewy, canines are unlikely to overindulge in it. A general rule of thumb is to limit the amount of prosciutto you share and offer it only in tiny amounts.
Like all the other fatty and salty meats mentioned above, this one doesn't seem to be a good choice for canines due to its high fat and sodium content, so serve it only as an occasional treat.
If you strongly feel like sharing a piece of salami, first check it for seasonings and avoid products with extra spices and salt. But remember that in case your four-legged companion eats more than a few salami slices, possible outcomes may include excessive thirst, increased urination, abdominal pain, or vomiting.
Can dogs have pepperoni? Yes. Should they have pepperoni? No. As with other meals, including nuts, too much sodium and fat are harmful to your puppy's tummy. During production, pepperoni is usually mixed with spices to form a distinctive odor and flavor.
Although they may smell appealing for doggos, pepperoni might even be dangerous for a pup's health. Overeating this spicy meat might lead to kidney damage, salt poisoning, pancreatitis, or severe digestive irritation. You can still serve it as an occasional treat, but only in moderation and under proper supervision.
Although sausages may be made from other meats, such as beef or chicken, pork is the most common ingredient. So, you might wonder, "can dogs eat sausage?" Because of high sodium and fat content, as well as artificial preservatives, we strongly recommend against offering a sausage to your pup.
A sausage might also contain dozens of spices and artificial flavors. Abstain from this product, especially if your dog is getting enough nutrients from a great kibble or other meats.
Although some of the beef-containing products, such as sausage or salami, are covered already, you might be interested in its cooked and raw forms. So, can dogs eat beef?
Generally speaking, beef is an excellent protein source and is healthy when served properly cooked and without seasonings. Along with its decent protein content, beef is also high in vitamins and minerals needed for a canine's well-rounded diet. Thanks to fatty acids and essential nutrients, beef is a superb source of energy and health for your pup.
Can dogs eat raw beef? Beef in its raw form is a superb source of iron, healthy fats, and essential nutrients. But what makes this question complicated is the ever-present risk that raw meat contains E.Coli and Salmonella bacteria that might cause infections. That's why you should keep in mind that raw meat, including beef, is a controversial topic.
A general rule of thumb is straightforward, with a plain cooked beef being a superb protein source with little to no risks for pups.
But what about roast or corned beef? As it works with other meats, sodium, extra fat, and spices are unwanted nutrients for canines. That's why serving cooked ground beef or meatloaf is fine, whereas dogs should avoid all salty and spicy options.
Once again, the answer to the question of whether your dog should eat beef bones is the same as for any other type of meat. Cooked bones are fragile and can break easily, potentially causing massive damage to your pup's health. Uncooked ones have the same risks, complemented by the increased chance of bacterial contamination. Think twice before giving your dog a beef bone, and better give your pooch some dental chews.
A juicy steak is what many humans enjoy. Can dogs eat steaks the same way we do? If you mean a steak in a grilled form, give your Fido a slice. The situation is more complicated with steak bones and raw steaks. While the bones pose a choking hazard, raw steaks can contain the same bacteria as other meats.
A dog eating a steak that is cooked and unseasoned is the best option. Low-fat meat cuts (less than 10% of fat, for example, top round or bottom round) are the most healthy and balanced options for a canine. After all, a steak is not the most usual day-to-day meal, so share a grilled bite here and there, but don't make it a regular habit.
Chicken is one of the best lean meats you can feed your pup. The answer to "Can dogs eat chicken?" is, of course, yes! Chicken is best when served boiled, grilled, roasted, and even baked. Feel free to experiment and combine it with some healthy veggies or grains if you're up for cooking homemade dog food.
If you have a puppy, introduce chicken slowly and in small bites. The odds are low, but some dogs might be allergic to this meat, so do give it in moderation. Thanks to a wide variety of essential amino acids and micronutrients and, most importantly, low-fat content, chicken is perfect for day-to-day meals.
Okay, but can dogs eat raw chicken? Although the raw diet movement is on the rise, raw chicken can cause more harm than good. Remember about the FDA research on bacterial contamination?
Raw chicken can carry Salmonella, a less harmful bacteria for canines and felines, but still a threatening one to humans. So if you have any hesitations about raw chicken, it's better to cook it, especially with so many tasty options available.
Chicken bones are a no-go under any circumstances. Out of all bones from the meats mentioned above, they're the most fragile ones, both in cooked and uncooked forms. That means they easily splinter, becoming a choking hazard or even harming the pup's throat or stomach. Once again, it's better to avoid any bones.
Lamb is a superb source of protein, B12, and essential amino acids your dog needs to thrive. For some dog parents, lamb is an excellent option since their pups might be allergic to other meats, including pork or chicken. What's more, new canned and wet canine foods now often include lamb, making it a solid option for your doggo's diet.
The dangers of E.Coli bacterial contamination remain the same for all raw meats, and lamb is no exception. While raw lamb might be fine for some pups, the risks still outweigh the potential benefits. That's why the best lamb for dogs is the one cooked without extra sodium or spices.
As for lamb bones, they offer little nutritional value, while the risks of splintering and damaging internal organs are relatively high. Consider dental chews, which are less risky for your dog's health.
Indeed, duck is not the most popular meat humans enjoy daily. But is it safe for dogs? The answer is yes. This meat is full of protein, omega acids, and other essential nutrients your pooch needs. Some dog food manufacturers also introduced duck in canned meals. Duck is a healthy protein source that is easy to cook and share with your pup.
Wondering what the situation is with raw duck meat? It is not different from other meats. It can carry bacteria like Salmonella or E.Coli. That's why cooking a duck's meat out is the best option to serve a healthy and balanced meal for your doggo.
Duck bones are no different from other meats' bones, meaning they can easily splinter. If you care about your pup's well-being, think twice before giving them a duck bone. A recommendation here is quite the same: consider buying a dental chew.
When it goes about turkey, we humans often think about Thanksgiving. Can dogs eat turkey we cook for a Thanksgiving family dinner? Probably not, since it contains gravy, spices, and salt, and these are not the best choices for a balanced dog's meal.
However, an unseasoned bite-sized turkey is a solid protein and B vitamins source. What's more, this meat is full of riboflavin and phosphorus, two essential nutrients your pup needs. Make sure to offer it cooked and unseasoned. This way, it will bring all of its health benefits without posing any risks.
While cooked turkey is good for dogs, having it raw is highly questionable as raw turkey can put your dog at risk of bacterial infection. As it happens with all bones from birds, including turkey bones, they tend to splinter. Because of their fragile texture, sharing it with your pup is not the best idea, so don't leave these bones near your pup.
Even though dogs, being scavengers and carnivores, enjoy and rely on lean meat, it truly matters what type of meat you share with them. Generally, avoid raw meat and bones, which may pose serious health risks, especially if dogs are left unsupervised.
The most balanced meat is chicken, which is high in protein and low in fat at the same time. To prepare a healthy meal for your pup, cook it plain, without salt and spices. Cooking fresh meat for your dog is always better than offering them processed options like sausages, ham, or bacon.