Dogs evolved to eat mostly meat. They can consume fruits and veggies as well, but their diet needs to be made up of mostly meat. As you might imagine, meat contains tons of protein and fat – which is precisely what canines need to thrive.
Ground beef is used to make everything from burgers to tacos. It is also relatively inexpensive, which is mostly why it is used so widely by humans today. While ground beef is absolutely meat, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should share your ground beef with your canine.
Generally speaking, plain ground beef is safe for most pets. However, there is a lot you can do to ground beef that can make it unsafe. We’ll discuss these situations below.
Feeding Raw Ground Beef to Dogs
From a nutritional standpoint, the nutrient values of raw ground beef will differ from cooked ground beef, which also depends on the percentage of fat in the ground beef. Contrary to popular belief, it is a myth that cooking ground beef or other foods destroys nutrients. It does not destroy them; it just changes them. Raw meat fed to dogs has its pros and cons, and you, as the dog owner, need to decide what is best for your dog.
Feeding Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed Beef for Your Dog
Often, dog owners want to know if grass-fed beef is better than beef from cattle fed a diet of grains. The short answer is that grass-fed meat has many advantages over grain-fed beef. Studies have shown that cattle fed an exclusively grass-fed diet are associated with a healthier fatty acid profile and higher antioxidants because of the lush greens they consume. Grass-fed beef is also typically lower in overall fat content while having twice the omega-3 fatty acids as conventional grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is also higher in Vitamin A and E precursors, such as beta-carotene. While dogs can mainly use Vitamin A in the form of retinol, they can use beta-carotene as an antioxidant and free radical fighter, which is beneficial for immune system health.
What Types of Meat are Good?
From a safety standpoint, it’s best to feed raw ground beef from a high-quality source such as a local farm or co-op. Grocery store ground beef is ok to provide but is not as high quality as a local farm. If the raw ground beef is grass-fed, that’s also a plus! Salmonella and other harmful bacteria can be present in raw meat, so high-quality beef is key to reducing bacterial risks.
Unfortunately, a raw meat diet is not as simple as putting raw ground beef, eggs, and bones for calcium in a dog bowl and feeding it. You need to make sure that you are meeting nutrient requirements for your dog using NRC or AAFCO standards, and a raw diet like the one listed above would considerably fall short in meeting nutrient requirements. Dog owners who want to feed a raw diet are best off feeding a commercial raw pet food product to meet nutrient requirements or working with a canine nutritionist for a complete and balanced recipe.
Is ground beef better raw or cooked for dogs?
How much raw ground beef should I feed my dog?
Can I cook ground beef for my dog?