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Can Dogs Eat Bison? Vet Reviewed Health Concerns & FAQ

Codee Chessher

By Codee Chessher

Can Dogs Eat Bison

Vet approved

Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs love almost all types of meat, which makes it challenging to choose what types you should include in their diets. Everyone knows about chicken and beef, but are there other meats I can feed to my dog? You may have seen bison meat at your local grocery store and wondered if it’s any good. But more importantly, can your dog eat it, and is it healthy?

Yes, bison meat is a great choice for adding some meaty variety to your dog’s diet. Bison meat is a very lean meat with little fat, and its exceptionally high protein and iron content top even other red meats, like beef. Bison is also packed with Coenzymes Q10 and Q12, antioxidants that help the immune system protect from heart disease, muscle degeneration, neurological dysfunction and even some cancers.

For more detailed information on how healthy bison is for your dog, we’ve listed that info down below with some other relevant info on good meats for a doggy diet, how to add bison to a balanced diet, and more. Read on for the specifics to get started feeding bison to your dog today.

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Nutrition and Health Benefits of Bison Meat

Bison is a wild, shaggy-haired bovine prized for its rich and sweet-tasting but surprisingly lean meat. This type of meat isn’t as popular as beef or pork, but it’s well-known enough to merit a spot in most major supermarkets. If you’ve ever seen a package of bison meat at the store and wondered how healthy it is, we’ve got you covered. Scroll down for the nutritional content of bison.

Nutritional Content of Bison Meat (3.5oz/100g serving):
  • Protein: 20g
  • Fat: 7g
  • Calories: 146g

For something so protein-rich, you’d be shocked to realize it only contains a little over 100 calories! A lower amount of saturated fats in bison meat make it not only healthier for your dog but easier for you to cook. With such incredible protein, bison is a no-brainer to ramp up your dog’s protein intake or switch to a more meat-focused diet.

Two other notable things about bison meat are that it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids and that it’s considered better for dogs with allergies. Fatty acids are useful for many areas of dog health, from keeping their skin and coat healthy to maintaining a healthy immune system. As far as bison being hypoallergenic, it’s far less likely to trigger an allergy in dogs than other more common meats like beef.

Fresh raw beef steak isolated on white background
Photo Credit: Ermak Oksana, Shutterstock

Other Healthy Meats for Dogs

Bison is a really great meat for your dog, but as with people, dogs can get bored with the same food all the time. Another consideration is that a varied diet gives your pup more varied nutrition, covering their dietary blind spots, so to speak. Let’s skim over some of the best meats you can feed your dog and a bit about each.

Nutritional Content of Bison Meat (3.5oz/100g serving):
  • Beef: Contains all essential amino acids for dogs of any life stage, plus lots of protein, iron, and zinc.
  • Lamb: Lamb has not only protein but zinc, iron, fatty acids, and low calories.
  • Pork: A good source of protein, iron, zinc, selenium, and lots of potassium—that last one makes it bad for dogs with kidney conditions.
  • Chicken: The classic, low-fat protein, chicken also contains B vitamins and niacin.
  • Turkey: Turkey is a fattier meat than others but is still a fantastic source of protein, riboflavin, and phosphorus.
  • Duck: Like bison, this is a good substitute for dogs with protein allergies. It has a lot of protein, B vitamins, and other trace nutrients.
  • Rabbit: Like bison, this is a low fat, high protein meat. Game meat tends to be a healthier option as a wild lifestyle produces far more lean muscle than farm bred meat.

How to Include Bison Meat in a Balanced Diet

Bison can be used as a substitute for other meats in the case of a meat allergy to beef, but it’s also just a really tasty way to spice up your dog’s day-to-day meals. Due to the price point of bison meat, you definitely don’t want any of it to go to waste by not preparing it correctly! Before you break out the bison meat and get cooking, we have some tips you might find useful.

Tips for Including Beef in Your Dog’s Diet:
  • Don’t salt or season the meat. Your dog doesn’t need the sodium.
  • To test your dog’s reaction to bison, feed them a small amount of cooked meat on its own and observe if it causes any stomach upset or other adverse reactions.
  • Consider mixing bison meat with cooked rice, butternut squash, peas, carrots, and/or other dog-friendly veggies for a complete meal.
  • If possible, choose a package of meat with lower fat content to make it healthier for your pup and easier to cook for you.

Remember that meat should only form part of your dog’s diet; whilst game meat like bison can provide a wide range of nutrients and health benefits, dogs cannot survive on a diet of meat alone. They need a balanced diet that supplies all the nutrients they need. You can include meat as a treat in addition to a commercially prepared diet, or even substitute bison into one of these delicious home prepared foods.

Golden Retriever dog eating from the food bowl
Photo Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

Can Dogs Survive Without Meat?

Unlike cats, which are obligate carnivores and need nutrients sourced from animals, there is increasing evidence that dogs can actually survive – even thrive – on a diet without meat. But, this must be approached very carefully, as their protein needs must still be met, and not all proteins are created equal. For anyone considering a vegetarian or vegan diet for their dog, we would recommend doing your homework and choosing a commercially prepared food that has been tested and regulated to ensure it meets your dog’s needs.

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Bison meat is a pricier meat that’s worth every penny, high in protein and low in fat. Adding bison to your dog’s menu can help keep them healthier, but only as part of a nutritionally balanced diet.

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