Can You Give Liver to Eat to a Dog?

Your chopped liver is his little slice of heaven.

Your chopped liver is his little slice of heaven.

Your pooch will likely wolf down any liver you give him. For most dogs, all that matters is its taste. For you, what matters is that it's highly nutritional and easy to find at your local market. Liver has a few drawbacks, however, so go feed with caution.

Why Liver's Good

Liver and other organ meats are high in nutritional value. Liver is an ideal source of protein, vitamin A, good fatty acids and many other minerals and nutrients. Your pooch can benefit from a little liver in his diet as a treat or as a main part of the meal a few times a week.

Dietary Evolution

In the wild, wolves will go after and consume the internal organs before the tougher, less nutrient-rich muscle meat in their prey. Preferred organs include the liver, heart and stomach. These organs are the best part of the body as far as nutrients go. Supporters of raw diets cite the domestic dog's ancestral diet as one of the main reasons to go raw. Liver and other organ meats, along with ground meats, are the protein sources in these diets. Other experts contend that the domesticated dog's diet has greatly evolved to mimic the human diet, however, and that other items are needed for a healthy pooch.

Liver's Bad Side

Feeding your pooch liver can have more than a few drawbacks, despite how healthy it is. Liver is high in vitamin A, so high in fact that it could cause a vitamin A overdose. Too much vitamin A can lead to bone spurs, muscle weakness and digestive issues. Liver can also contain the hormones and any other additives that were fed to the animal the liver came from. Deer and game animals could potentially have liver flukes or other diseases in the liver which could harm your pup.

How Much and When?

Even in a homemade diet, liver shouldn't be the primary and only source of protein. For the best results from raw and other homemade diets, your pup needs a variety to stay healthy and get the most nutritional quality. Liver treats are ideal for training purposes as most dogs genuinely love the taste. Small portions of liver are ideal a couple to a few times per week, but not more than this.

 

About the Author

With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.

Photo Credits

  • Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images