Can dogs eat raw meat? The answer to this question is more complicated than a simple yes or no. All dogs are different, as are all samples of raw meat. Your pet might indulge in raw beef and suffer no consequences, or they could end up with a terrible disease.
In this article, we’re discussing the pros and cons of feeding your dog raw meat from a veterinarian’s perspective to help you make an informed decision.
Pro Tip: When you welcome a dog into your home, he or she will quickly become part of the family and you’ll want to do everything you can to look after them. But with so many potential risks, accidents can happen. Vet bills can be quite high, so consider protecting your dog (and your bank account) with a pet insurance policy.
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.
How Much Raw Beef Can I Feed My Dog?
It’s all about kcals– the number of calories a dog needs in a day based on their activity level and age.
If used as a snack or training treat, 90% of your dog’s daily diet should be nutritionally balanced food. And as difficult as it can be to resist tossing a few extra at snack time, treats should be 10% of the caloric intake.
No matter which way you offer beef, happy tippy taps will commence, but just remember that while a great addition to the bowl, raw beef alone doesn’t serve as a balanced meal for your dog. If you want to incorporate raw beef into their diet, use it as a topper to a meal that is complete & balanced or consider making the switch over to a balanced DIY raw diet.
High in Cholesterol
Steak is high in cholesterol, and a three-ounce serving contains close to 60 milligrams, which can diminish heart health.
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