Dogs are often viewed as meat-loving pets and are often given meat-based treats. However, not all types of meat are safe for dogs to eat, including corned beef. While your dog may not show initial signs of sickness from eating corned beef, they can experience health issues if they eat large amounts or continue to eat small amounts over a long period of time.
Even if corned beef isn’t necessarily toxic to dogs, it contains ingredients that are unhealthy for them. So, it’s best to pass on feeding your dog this food and look for safer alternatives.
Why Shouldn’t Dogs Eat Corned Beef?
Most dogs can eat plain, lean cuts of beef as long as they don’t have a beef allergy. However, corned beef isn’t a safe food for them to eat because of how it’s prepared. Here are some reasons why corned beef is an unhealthy food for dogs.
Corned beef is often made using brisket, one of the fattiest cuts of beef. While this engrained fat gives corned beef a lot of flavor, it can be very detrimental for your dog. Of course, eating a high-fat diet over time can contribute to weight gain and obesity. Also, eating a high-fat meal may put a dog more at risk for digestive upset and pancreatitis, a potentially serious disease.
Too Much Salt
Corned beef contains a lot of salt due to being prepared in a salt brine. While your dog isn’t likely to experience salt toxicity, they can still face negative health consequences from eating a lot of salty foods. Eating a large chunk of a high-salt food can lead to dehydration if enough water isn’t taken in, and it can also increase blood pressure, which is most dangerous for dogs with heart disease.
The brine used for corned beef also usually contains a good amount of sugar, and added sugar is another unnecessary ingredient in a dog’s diet. Eating too much sugar can lead to an upset stomach. Dogs can also experience other health complications if they continue to eat sugary foods. Too much sugar can lead to obesity, diabetes, and pancreatitis.
Pickling Spice Blend
Corned beef brine uses a pickling spice blend, which can contain herbs and spices that are harmful to dogs. The ingredients that go into pickling spice will vary, but you can commonly find mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, and cloves. All these spices are harmful to dogs and can lead to gastrointestinal issues.
Some corned beef brines contain several cloves of garlic. Garlic and all other plants in the allium family are toxic to dogs. Some dogs will feel sick right after eating a piece of garlic and may experience diarrhea or vomiting. If dogs continue to eat garlic over time, it may cause damage to their red blood cell membranes. This may lead to anemia and prevent red blood cells from carrying an adequate supply of oxygen throughout the body.
Safer Alternatives to Corned Beef
Fortunately, there are many safer alternatives to corned beef. Since beef is a popular food for dogs, you can find plenty of treats that are either made entirely out of beef or use beef as a main ingredient.
You can also set aside a plain, lean cut of beef if you’re making homemade corned beef. Make sure to prepare this cut of beef safely before feeding it to your dog. It should be fully cooked and unseasoned and have most of the fat removed. There’s also no need to cook it in oil.
Corned beef isn’t a necessary component of a dog’s diet, and it’s actually not safe for them to eat in excess. If you want to feed your dog a beefy snack, stick to cooking an unseasoned cut of lean meat or feeding your dog a beef-based dog treat. These safer alternatives won’t negatively affect your dog’s health like corned beef could. Your dog will also enjoy eating these tasty snacks and won’t feel like they’re missing out on corned beef.