While organ meat may seem a little icky, it’s full of nutrients and dogs absolutely love it, so it’s not hard to get them to eat this delicious and nutritious treat.
Liver isn’t really all that different from other meat when you think about it, other than being super high in nutrients.
If you think you can stomach it, try taste-testing a little sample for yourself while cooking up a batch for your dog (just make sure you’re using human-grade liver meat)
Who knows? You might be surprised how much you enjoy it!
In this post, I’ll explain everything you need to know about cooking liver for dogs, including the health benefits, what kind of liver is best, and how much to feed your pup.
Is Cooked Liver Good for Dogs?
Yes, without a doubt!
What would your dog eat in the wild? Mostly raw meat. Since dogs have been domesticated, their digestive systems have evolved a little bit, so raw meat isn’t as good for them and cooked meat is much better.
Liver contains 10 to 100 times the amount of nutrients of muscle meat (the type of meat that’s in chicken breast, hamburger, and more). It has tons of vitamin A, B vitamins, and is high in iron and protein. It’s also a great source of phosphorus, copper, niacin, and healthy fats like omega 3s (in cod liver) and omega 6s.
However, be sure to feed your dog not only liver meat, but other organs as well, such as the heart, kidney, and brain to give your dog other essential nutrients and balance his diet.
What Kind of Liver Is Best for Dogs?
Like any source of protein, it’s best if you can procure grass-fed and/or pasture-raised sources of liver, but if not, other types of liver are still healthy food options.
Liver from chicken, beef, pork, or lamb are all good choices for your dog. Yet. you should probably avoid liver from wild game, such as deer or turkey since you can’t guarantee its quality. It may be infected with parasites or toxins that could make the liver unsafe for your dog.
Stick to farm animals, preferably from high-quality sources, when you’re buying liver for your dog (and for yourself).
How Much Liver Can I Give My Dog?
Although liver is considered healthy, like most things, it can be harmful to dogs if consumed in large quantities.
Because liver meat is so rich in vitamin A, if your dog eats too much of it he could develop a condition known as hypervitaminosis A, which basically refers to an overdose of vitamin A.
This means your dog has consumed so much vitamin A that his body can’t absorb or process it properly. Too much vitamin A can lead to bone deformities, weight loss, bone spurs, weakened muscles, digestive issues, and more.
But don’t let this scare you off completely from feeding liver to your dog though, as it’s still a good food choice in moderation.
Feed liver to your dog as a supplement to his diet rather than as a meal replacement and make sure to consider his weight.
As a rule of thumb, organs should account for around 5% of your dog’s diet. So for a small breed dog, that might mean only 1/5 ounces a day. A medium-sized dog may need about 1 ounce of liver, while a large dog can probably have a bit more than 2.5 ounces of liver per day.
How to Cook Liver for Dogs?
Cooking liver for dogs is very easy, especially since when preparing any food for your dog, it’s best to add as few seasonings as possible. Salt, butter, and other additives aren’t great for your pup’s diet, so it’s best to leave them off.
To cook chicken (or any other) livers:
- Remove the livers from packaging (if they’re frozen, thaw them first).
- Thoroughly rinse the livers with cool water to remove any dirt or debris from the packaging.
- Place the livers in a boiling pot on the stove, and cover them with about an inch of water.
- Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow the livers to simmer for about 15 minutes.
- When the livers are tender, remove the pot from heat and drain the water.
- Place the livers on a plate to cool and dice them up before serving.
Can You Freeze Cooked Liver for Dogs?
Frozen cooked liver is a great, healthy treat with no additives or preservatives.
If you use the above recipe, you can place the diced liver pieces in an airtight container and freeze them. Whenever you’re ready to use them, pop a few pieces in the fridge to thaw.
Also, freeze-dried beef liver treats are an excellent alternative when you don’t have time to cook.
Liver is a superfood for dogs (and humans) when procured from the right sources and fed in the proper amounts. It’s full of vitamins and minerals your dog needs in his diet and dogs love the taste.
Cooking liver for dogs is extremely easy and you can even freeze it and use it later as a nutritious snack or a reward for your good boy.
Just remember that too much liver can be toxic and be sure to feed your dog other organ meats to balance his diet. Also, livers from wild game could be dangerous, so you probably want to avoid them altogether.