Dogs need more protein than humans but that doesn’t mean they can eat just any type of meat. Stick with boiled chicken, turkey, or ground beef. These meats offer a good source of protein without excess fat, which could harm your dog’s heart and gastrointestinal tract. Best of all, your dog will also love them.
Although dogs are often considered omnivores, meat is a huge part of their basic nutritional needs. A good quality kibble should be what a dog eats daily, but sometimes giving them whole meat choices will help provide a rounded and well-balanced diet. This complete guide will show you which ones are good for dogs and their nutritional values.
Table of Contents
- What Meat Is Good for Dogs?
- Which Meats Are Bad for Dogs to Eat?
- What’s Better for Dogs—Chicken or Beef?
- What Meat Can Dogs Not Eat?
- Can Dogs Eat Tuna?
- Can Dogs Eat Salmon?
- Can Dogs Eat Shellfish?
- Are Eggs Bad for Dogs?
- Can Dogs Eat Dairy Products?
- Can Dogs Eat Meat Every Day?
- Is Too Much Meat Bad for Dogs?
- Can I Feed My Dog Raw Meat?
- Should I Give My Dog Cooked Bones?
- Are Raw Bones Ok for Dogs?
What Meat Is Good for Dogs?
Although most dogs seem to enjoy the flavor, density and texture of pork, it does have a high fat content. Regardless, it can be a good option on very rare occasions. There are a number of cuts you can get such as butt, leg and shoulder pieces.
But these should be free of bones so the dog doesn’t choke on them. This is why many owners go for ground, unseasoned and uncured pork. It’s inexpensive and there’s no worry of bones or seasonings being in it.
Just about any poultry is good for dogs to eat and they love it, in some cases more than beef. But, any feathered meat will present more risks than other kinds. Not least of these is Salmonella. This means the dog must have any type of poultry well-cooked.
Chicken: A healthy, lean meat with lots of protein to supplement a dog’s high energy. The nutrients contained within chicken provide for strong bones, teeth, muscles and a beautiful coat. It contains more protein and less fat than pork or beef.
Turkey: Not only is turkey excellent for dogs with food sensitivities, it’s also lean with highly digestible proteins. Don’t worry about tryptophan contained within turkey making your pooch sleepy, pork and chicken have infinitely more and dogs are often fine eating those.
Quail: This is excellent for dogs with food allergies. Traditionally a favorite among hunters, it provides high fat and calories while being low in protein. But, there are some dogs that don’t like the gamey flavor of quail.
Ostrich: An excellent meat for dogs with food allergies, ostrich can provide a nice array of nutrients and protein while being relatively lean. But, there aren’t many calories so it may be better to give it to pups who also suffer from obesity issues.
Pheasant: Another hunting favorite, pheasant is a good meat for dogs to eat. It has tons of protein, calories and fat. So, it’s good if you’re looking to fatten up your pooch.
Duck: This is a great option if your dog is a picky eater with issues being under weight. Duck is the fattiest poultry available with a low protein content, so it’s not good for dogs with obesity issues.
Beef is a common ingredient used in many commercial dog kibbles. So, it’s also a popular and safe go-to for people to give to their dogs as a whole meat since it’s nutritious and affordable.
Cow: Cow meat is nutritious for dogs, it contains fatty acids that maintain muscle tone and joint support with plentitudes of Omga-6 fatty acids. The best cuts will be ground beef as well as round or chuck steaks.
Bison: Bison steak and ground meat are good for dogs to consume. It’s leaner than pork or beef but provides less protein than both. However, dogs seem to appreciate and love its flavor.
Kangaroo: There are a number of dog foods containing kangaroo, so it’s a good meat if you can get your hands on it. It’s lean, low calorie and packed with as much protein as beef.
Deer Venison: With a similar caloric density as chicken, venison can be a great option for owners who are also hunters. Although it has less protein and more fat than chicken, it is a viable meat to give to dogs.
Lamb: Lamb is for dogs with food sensitivities since it contains essential fats to sustain energy. It also provides beautiful skin and fur along with muscle development. It’s in many commercial dog foods and is very nutritious because of its high water content with low calorie count.
There are a few exotic and rare options dogs can have if you can get your hands on them. These are often acquired through hunting and can prove to be quite pricey at the store.
Alligator: Although only in a few commercial dog foods, alligator is similar to duck. It has few calories and little fat. Since the taste is something like chicken, it’s doubtful that your dog will know the difference.
Rabbit: Rabbit is good for most dogs, especially ones that go hunting with their owners. It has one of the best sources of protein it’s but a little rich in fat. However, the gamey flavor of rabbit can be off putting to some dogs.
Goat: Goat is a healthy, rich protein that is low in fat. But the strong flavor of goat may not be palatable to some dogs.
There are several fish good for dogs to eat, but not all because of the high fat content. Aside from the list below, they can eat cod, haddock and pollock.
Salmon: Although moderate in protein, salmon chocks full of Omega-3 fatty acids, an essential nutrient in keeping your dog’s coat and skin healthy. If your dog suffers from bone or joint problems, the constituents in salmon help reduce inflammation. Only give dogs fully cooked salmon.
Tilapia: A low-calorie protein, tilapia can be a great meat option for your pup and is just as good as beef. However, not all dogs like this kind of fish. So, ensure the dog will eat this before filling your freezer with filets.
Which Meats Are Bad for Dogs to Eat?
Before delving into the meat choices, please consider a few things. First, dog stomachs aren’t as refined as humans, so you want to avoid health problems. Any meat you give a dog shouldn’t have any added salt or pepper. Also avoid giving your dog processed meats like cold cuts, sausage, bologna, hot dogs, liverwurst, bacon, gyro meat and etc.
What’s Better for Dogs—Chicken or Beef?
Chicken and beef are both common ingredients in homemade dog food recipes, as they are both nutritious and healthy sources of protein. Beef often contains more protein than chicken but that does come with more fat.
Chicken is leaner and, therefore, is better in the long run than beef. Nonetheless, beef is perfectly fine for your dog as long as you buy a leaner cut, such as 90% lean ground chuck.
What Meat Can Dogs Not Eat?
Dogs should not eat bacon, sausages, or anything that contains too much fat. Dogs’ stomachs are highly sensitive to fat so consuming high-fat meats such as these can cause diarrhea, gas, and quick weight gain.
Additionally, avoid feeding your dog overly salty meats that can lead to hypertension. If you feed your dog liver, keep it to only one or two meals a week. Too much liver can lead to hypervitaminosis A (a condition caused by too much vitamin A in the blood).
Can Dogs Eat Tuna?
Tuna is perfectly fine for dogs and can make a nice treat to replace chicken throughout the week. If you own cats, you’ll know that your dog already loves to eat tuna-based wet foods so why not mix it into their diet?
Be careful to avoid buying tuna with bones and always cook tuna before serving it to your pet. Try to only feed your dog tuna once or twice a week. It often contains high mercury levels that can harm your dog in the long run.
Can Dogs Eat Salmon?
Salmon is another good option if you want to mix up the meats in your dog’s diet. Salmon is packed full of nutrients and is perfectly safe for your dog to eat. As with tuna, they will also love feasting on salmon once or twice a week.
Compared to tuna, salmon has far lower mercury levels but you should still avoid overfeeding your dog salmon, as it has a high quantity of fat that can upset your pet’s stomach.
Can Dogs Eat Shellfish?
It may come as a surprise but your dog can also enjoy shellfish such as shrimp, crustaceans, and mollusks. They are a good source of protein and your dog will love the flavor of seafood. Always be sure to cook shellfish before serving them to your dog though.
Shellfish often carry bacteria that can harm your dog if you don’t cook them properly. Also, be sure to remove the shells, heads, and legs from shrimp, crab, or any other type of shellfish you feed to your pet.
Are Eggs Bad for Dogs?
Although they aren’t dogs, foxes are notorious for feasting on chicken eggs. That’s to say that eggs are completely fine for your dog to eat. They are a common ingredient in homemade dog food recipes and also pack a lot of protein into a small area.
We recommend hard boiling an egg, peeling it, and chopping it up into your dog’s meal. Eggs do contain a lot of sulfur, though, which can produce foul-smelling gas if your dog is not used to eating eggs. Start slowly and introduce eggs one step at a time.
Can Dogs Eat Dairy Products?
Avoid feeding your dog milk, yogurt, cheese, or any other dairy product. Unlike humans, most animals are incapable of digesting lactose past infancy. The gene that codes from lactase—the enzyme that breaks down lactose—is shut off once they reach maturity, meaning they won’t be able to digest milk.
If your dog consumes dairy, they will likely have the same reaction as a lactose intolerant person:
- Abdominal pain
If these symptoms persist, seek medical attention by taking your dog to the vet.
Can Dogs Eat Meat Every Day?
Dogs have very specific dietary needs. Their meals should consist of roughly 50% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 10% fiber. This means your dog will need some source of protein every single day. Animal protein is typically better for dogs who have evolved to break down meat more efficiently than starchy, fibrous plants.
Is Too Much Meat Bad for Dogs?
Although dogs are canines and, therefore, close relatives to wolves, they are not entirely carnivorous. Dogs do need a daily source of protein but they cannot live exclusively on meat. Their diet needs some variety, including vegetables and grains.
Try to add white rice or gluten-free oatmeal to their meals. Additionally, throw in some peas, broccoli, spinach, or any other green to guarantee that your pet is getting all of its necessary vitamins and minerals. You can speak with your vet to plan out highly nutritious meals at home.
Can I Feed My Dog Raw Meat?
Despite what you may have seen on television or in the movies, you should never feed your dog raw meat. Raw meat is host to millions of bacteria that can make your dog sick or even harm its digestive system.
If you are planning to switch your pet to a home-cooked diet, be sure to cook all meat before serving it to your furry friend. This will prevent them from catching E. coli or any other foodborne illness.
Should I Give My Dog Cooked Bones?
Don’t give your dog cooked bones, especially if they come from turkey or chicken legs. Cooked bones can easily splinter in your dog’s mouth, causing cuts and wounds on their tongue, gums, and throat. Additionally, cooked bones can easily get caught in your dog’s throat, posing a choking hazard.
Are Raw Bones Ok for Dogs?
If you are going to give your dog a raw bone, we recommend getting it directly from the butcher so that it’s clean, fresh, and meat-free. You can even wash the bone using food-safe children’s soap before giving it to your dog, just to be safe.