Why Feeding Your Dog Liver is Awesome
You may shy away from this organ meat, but liver is a doggy delicacy! Full of nutrients and protein, here’s why you should serve your pooch more liver.
Many dog owners say that their dogs will eat anything and everything – especially things that look unappetizing to us. When it comes to organ meats like liver, however, something that may look or taste disgusting to you is actually healthy (and tasty) for your pup!
Why is Liver So Good for Dogs?
Liver is a type of organ meat and, as such, you may not think about feeding it to your dog in the same way you might feed him chicken or beef. Organ meats like liver, however, are extremely rich in nutrients and they are a vital part of your dog’s diet. In fact, the raw food diet for dogs focuses specifically on raw organ meats like liver in combination with raw bones and muscle meat. Not only is liver very rich in protein, but it also contains healthy fats and key nutrients. Liver is a good source of vitamin A, iron, copper, phosphorus, and zinc as well as various B vitamins and essential fatty acids.
Related: Homemade Beef Liver Dog Stew Recipe
Vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins a dog needs in his diet – it helps to aid digestion, keeps his reproductive organs working well, and it acts as a powerful antioxidant. Various B vitamins (especially vitamin B12), help to protect your dog’s mental health and they also help to prevent anemia. Iron, an essential mineral, plays a role in many important functions such as brain development, regulation of body temperature, and metabolism – this mineral can be found in abundance in fresh liver. Liver also has an anti-fatigue factor which can be particularly beneficial for active and working breed dogs. It is important to note that the nutritional value of liver is highly affected by heat, so avoid cooking it if possible.
How Much Should You Give Your Dog?
It is generally safe to feed your dog small amounts of liver once or twice a week as a nutritional supplement to his regular diet. It is up to you whether you feed your dog pieces of fresh liver or you can purchase liver treats online or at your local pet store. Liver treats make it easy to keep track of how much you are giving your dog – this is very important because feeding your dog too much liver can lead to an overdose of vitamin A known as hypervitaminosis A. For small-breed dogs, one or two liver treats twice a week should be safe while medium-sized dogs can have 3 or 4 treats twice weekly and large breed dogs can have 5 or 6 treats. You can feed your dog liver from chicken, beef, lamb, or pork – even bison – but be wary of liver that comes from wild game because you cannot guarantee the quality of the organ meat.
As is true for all things, liver is a food that should be enjoyed in moderation for your dog. While it provides some significant health and nutritional benefits, there can be too much of a good thing. Stick to the recommendations provided above and your dog will experience the benefits of liver as much as possible.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor’s degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.