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Can Dogs Eat Cow Tongues? Vet-Reviewed Health Concerns

Melissa Gunter

By Melissa Gunter

Can Dogs Eat Cow Tongues

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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As dog owners, it’s up to us to decide what is on our dog’s daily menu. This includes their high-quality dog food, treats, and other additions we throw in. With this kind of responsibility, loving dog parents are always trying to learn more about what’s safe for their pups.

This includes cow tongue. While it may not sound overly appetizing to you, dogs can eat cow tongue. Beef tongue, as it is often referred to, is nutritious and appetizing for your dog. However, like with anything we feed our pets, there are things you need to know before introducing cow tongue to your dog. Let’s learn more below.


A Bit of Information About Cow Tongue

You might not be aware that this meat is used in several popular dishes all around the world. Have you heard of the Italian dish, lingua fritta? Guess what? It’s fried tongue. Cow tongue, or beef tongue, is just another muscle meat. Oddly enough, it can be cooked in many ways and offers both us and our pets lots of nutrients, in addition to being a strong source of protein.

cooked sliced cow tongue on white background
Photo Credit: zcw, Shutterstock

Is Cow Tongue Healthy for Dogs?

Knowing that cow tongue is a safe meal for your dog leaves most of us curious about the health benefits of this organ meat. Cow tongue isn’t different from most meats when it comes to calories. It is considered moderately high, offering roughly 340 calories per 3-ounce serving. These high calories come into play thanks to the high amounts of protein and fat inside the tongue. As most pet owners know, protein is used to keep your dog healthy and active. The same 3-ounce serving of cow tongue offers 16 grams of protein. It also has 19 grams of fat which includes a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats.

Let’s take a look at the other healthy benefits your dog will receive from cow tongue.

  • High in zinc
  • Rich in fatty acids
  • Good source of iron
  • Provides vitamins B2, B3, B6, and B12
  • Contains 20% less fat than most meats

Risks of Eating Cow Tongue for Dogs

As with any food, there are a few risks that come into play when offering your dog cow tongue. Several of these risks come into play through the preparation process. Raw cow tongues can be quite dangerous for dogs.  Not only is raw cow tongue too tough for dogs to eat, but it is also hard for them to digest. Certain dangers come with consuming raw meat, even for dogs. Raw meat can contain bacteria that are dangerous for your dog if consumed. Raw cow tongues can also contain gristle and bones that are not only difficult to eat but can present choking hazards. These small bones can also splinter and break, which can cause lots of damage to your dog’s mouth, throat, and stomach.

Another thing to keep in mind with cow tongue is that it should only be fed to your dog in moderation. This will help avoid giving your dog too many calories or saturated fats if they are having weight or health issues. You’ll also find, like with any food, that there is always a risk your dog is allergic to cow tongue. If your dog is trying this treat for the first time, you have no way of knowing their reaction. If you see signs of breathing difficulties, rashes, vomiting, or diarrhea after your dog has tried cow tongue, contact your veterinarian immediately.

veterinarian examines a dog teeth at the clinic
Photo Credit: Yavdat, Shutterstock

How to Prepare Cow Tongue for Your Dog

Now that you’ve learned a bit about cow tongue and the health benefits it offers your dog, let’s learn how to properly handle and cook this food. If you stop by your local grocery you’ll find raw beef tongue available. Not only is this meat healthy for your dog, but it’s also relatively affordable.

Of course, like other meats, there are several ways you can prepare cow tongue for your pooch. It can be boiled, roasted, fried, and baked. Here’s a guide on how to easily prepare tongue for your dog.

  1. Open the package and thoroughly rinse the cow tongue in cold water.
  2. Place a pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil.
  3. Place the cleaned cow tongue in the boiling water.
  4. Simmer for around an hour or until cooked thoroughly.
  5. Remove from the pot and allow to cool.
  6. Cut all the gristle and bone away.
  7. Chop the tongue into smaller pieces for your dog to enjoy.
  8. Once finished you can offer the cow tongue as a treat, as a food topper, or even in homemade dog food and treat recipes.

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Final Thoughts

Cow tongue is a great treat to offer your dog if it’s cooked properly and given in moderation. This will give your pooch a healthy, tasty treat they can enjoy. Another bonus is that cow tongue is easy to find and can even make a meal for yourself if you’re willing to give it a try.

Featured Image Credit: Alp Aksoy, Shutterstock

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