My Dog Ate Raw Ground Beef: Good or Bad? (Solved & Explained!)

Dogs are great at snatching bites of things that we may not always intend for them to eat, especially if it has a delicious smell. One item dogs are notorious for gobbling up is meat! But, what happens if your dog eats raw ground beef? We know that raw meat is a health hazard for humans, but does the same hold true for dogs? 

If your dog ate raw meat they will likely be okay. If they consumed meat that was rotting, sitting at room temperature for too long, or in an extremely large quantity for their size, then you may consider calling your vet. However, if it was a small amount they snatched when you weren’t looking, this won’t usually be a cause for concern. 

In this article we will discuss why dogs are able to eat raw meat, the potential dangers of raw meat, which dogs should avoid raw meat, and how to safely prepare raw beef for your dog. 

Can Dogs Digest Raw Ground Beef?

While we know that raw beef is likely to make humans sick due to the bacteria it contains, this isn’t always true for dogs. However, we aren’t in the business of recommending you feed your dog a raw food diet, this is something you need to decide with a  veterinarian or pet dietitian. 

But, if your pet accidentally ate some raw ground beef and you’re curious if they even have the ability to pass this through their system we can offer some helpful advice. Most dogs should be able to pass raw beef without any issue due to the way that their digestive system works. 

Dogs have a higher level of acidity in their stomach than humans due, which helps them break down the bacteria found in raw meat. However, this only holds true for ground raw beef that is safe for consumption. This means it should be cold, high-quality beef. 

Dogs also have  a much shorter digestive tract. Their food travels through them much quicker than it does for us, which gives the bacteria much less time to colonize in their gut. 

Can Raw Beef Provide Any Benefits To My Dog? 

Quality raw ground beef does have the potential to provide your dog with some benefits, but it must be prepared correctly in order to minimize the risk of illness. 

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Raw beef is obviously a great source of protein for your dog, which is the number one nutrient used for muscles, ligaments, skin, and calls. It also provides your pet with the energy they need. 

Plus, grass fed beef in particular provides a high amount of fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6. 

Omega 3 is higher in beef fed a grass diet and can help maintain your pets skin and coat, as well as support heart health and immune health. 

What Are The Potential Dangers Of Raw Ground Beef? 

If your dog eats ground beef that has been sitting out, was in the trash, or simply isn’t of high quality and is likely contaminated then there are some risks here. In fact, even with the best precautions, there is always the potential that raw beef can negatively affect your dog’s stomach. This is why many vets discourage raw diets. 

Raw ground beef may contain salmonella, which is the largest concern. Salmonella is bacterial contamination in food that causes issues in your dog’s gastrointestinal systems. 

The risk of a dog getting salmonella from ground beef is higher than from other forms of raw beef due to the way it is prepared. When it’s ground up it causes all of the bacteria from the surface of the meat to mix together.

So, if your dog has eaten raw ground beef from the store that has been sitting in your fridge for a few days or was from the trash, there is a higher risk of salmonella poisoning. 

What Are The Signs Of Salmonella Poisoning? 

If you think your dog has eaten raw ground beef that may have been contaminated you should look out for the following signs in your dog that they may have salmonella poisoning: 

  • High fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Tiredness

If you notice these signs after your dog has consumed raw ground beef you should attempt to contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

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If none of these signs are present and your dog has passed the food, is eating and behaving normally then you likely have no reason to be concerned, 

Are Some Dogs More At Risk For Poisoning From Raw Ground Beef?

Everything we have discussed so far applies to the average, healthy dog. 

However, some dogs should never be consuming raw ground beef as their bodies are not able to digest it. These dogs include those that are immunocompromised, dogs with liver failure, dogs with kidney failure, or dogs with cancer. 

If your dog falls into any of these categories and has eaten raw ground beef we again recommend contacting your veterinary professional as soon as you can to discuss with them. 

Is There A Safe Way To Give My Dog Raw Ground Beef? 

If you want to start feeding your dog raw ground beef we recommend discussing this change with your veterinary or dog dietician. 

In addition, some simple steps you can take to ensure you are minimizing the risk of harmful bacteria in your dogs raw ground beef is to: 

  • Buy prepared raw food from a reputable company for your pet
  • Wash your dog’s food bowl after every meal
  • Don’t let raw food sit in your fridge for longer than five-seven days

These three steps can help minimize the risk of bacteria poisoning. 

Final Thoughts: Dog Will Likely Be Okay After Eating Raw Ground Beef

Although there are risks to your dog eating raw ground beef, as long as it was a small quantity, and the meat was unlikely to be contaminated then your dog will generally pass the food quickly through their system and will be fine. 

If your dog is displaying signs of salmonella poisoning you should contact your veterinary professional right away. 

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However, many dogs eat a raw meat diet and are able to digest these meals easily, which is something to keep in mind if you find yourself panicking after your dog swiped a raw ground beef portion from under your nose. 

Dogs have tough stomachs and can break down more bacteria than we think. For most pet parents, the worst that will happen is a slightly upset stomach and your dog will be just fine the next day. 

As always, if you’re worried about your pet, contact a veterinary office.