Raw steak or hamburger patties can contain bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli, that can be harmful to dogs and people. Keep a careful eye on the meat as you prepare the grill because the aroma will definitely get your dog’s attention, and they may try to sneak a tasty morsel of the uncooked meat.
However, if you want to throw a plain patty on the grill, unseasoned and cooked hamburger meat can be a healthy source of protein in addition to your dog’s regular, balanced diet. This is true in general of ground beef, turkey, chicken, and pork. Just make sure to cut the meat up into bite-sized pieces to prevent dog choking hazards.
If you’re looking to give your dog a bite of the burger you’re munching on, you might want to reconsider. Chances are, your burger might have added salt, spices, and toppings that can be dangerous to dogs, such as onion or garlic. For our dogs, feeding seasoned meat is a recipe for unpleasant digestive upset at best, and pancreatitis at worst.
If you’re at a cookout with your pup, you might be wondering: Can I give my dog a bit of my food, especially my hamburger? We generally recommend dogs not receive table scraps to avoid developing bad eating habits and to prevent gastroenteritis due to a change in a dog’s regular diet, as well as to prevent obesity. Whether you can occasionally give them a bite of burger depends on the meat in question.
What Makes Raw Beef a Good Choice?
Your dog, the carnivore, NEEDS meat to thrive.
Think about what dogs ate before they were members of the household. What did generations of animals eat when they roamed apart from us. Surely, they didn’t hunt wild kibble… No, a dog’s biology supports a carnivore’s diet.
Dogs share 99.9% of the same DNA as the grey wolf. As we’ve domesticated animals, we’ve bred them for specific propensities (think hunting or herding) and aesthetics (looking at you pugs), but we haven’t bred out their DNA.
The basic physiology, i.e., their internal anatomy, has changed little since domestication, which also means their nutritional requirements haven’t changed.
Take a peek inside their mouths–
Large canines and pointed molars meant for ripping and tearing meat from the bone.
Little to no salivary amylase (the enzyme necessary for breaking down carbs) in their mouth.
High acidity levels in their stomach can handle the number of bacteria found in fresh prey.
With anatomy like that, a dog’s diet should match.
And, of course, a diet low in carbohydrates, no more than 25% or so (but the less, the better) from vegetables, fruits, seeds, even minimal amounts of predigested grains.
But before you add a hunk of raw beef to your carnivore’s bowl and call it dinner, there are a few things you need to know first.
Not all beef offers equal nutritional value. Most animals used in beef production are grass-fed or grain-fed. Your canine companion benefits most from the grass-fed variety, and here’s why.
Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are essential components of a carnivore diet. Dogs can’t don’t produce them naturally, so we must include them in their daily diets.
What’s more, Omega 3 and Omega 6 have to be balanced to reap the benefits. The target ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 should be 1:1 in the diet. This is crucial, so those ears should be at attention, pups.
Too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3 can lead to chronic inflammation and ultimately havoc on the body, including diabetes, gut issues, or cancer.
Raw grass-fed beef has a more balanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 essential fatty acids. The meat of grass-fed cows contains almost five times the levels of Omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed cows with higher levels of Omega-6.
And then there’s the fat difference. Grass-fed animals have leaner muscle mass because they’re out roaming the pastures all day and not carb-o-loading. That means less stress-caused oxidation to cells and more nutrients in the muscles and organs.
For Mr. Squishmallow, grass-fed is the superior choice.
Are there Risks to Giving Dogs Raw Meat?
In addition to the risk of nutritional deficiencies, raw meat does pose other health risks—both for you and your dog.
Not only does it pose a risk to your dog, but it poses a risk to you and your family, according to an FDA study. Raw meat is likely to contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli and more.
Cooking meat to a safe temperature kills off those harmful bacteria. By feeding uncooked meat, there’s a higher risk your dog will develop a foodborne illness or other type of bacterial infection. Additionally, there’s an increased risk you or a member of your family will come into contact with the bacteria and develop a foodborne illness. Handling the raw meat, letting your dog lick your face, cleaning up his feces or touching any contaminated surfaces increase the risk of infection. If you do choose to feed your dog a RFD, we recommend referring to the safety guidelines published by the FDA, CDC or AVMA. Doing so will help minimize the risks of contamination and foodborne illnesses. It’s worth noting many therapy dog associations, such as Pet Partners, prohibit dogs on RFDs from being part of their program. This is because the raw food poses too much risk for the humans they are trained to help.
What happens if a dog eats raw hamburger?
How much raw hamburger should I feed my dog?
What raw meats can dogs eat?
- Muscle meat, often still on the bone.
- Bones, either whole or ground.
- Organ meats such as livers and kidneys.
- Raw eggs.
- Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery.
- Apples or other fruit.
- Some dairy, such as yogurt.
Is raw hamburger or cooked hamburger better for dogs?