Feeding your dog is one of your most important tasks as a pet parent. Dogs, like humans, need the proper diet with the correct levels of fats, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. One of the most important for dogs is protein, which can come from several sources, including meat. One question you may have is whether dogs can eat ground beef.
Yes, ground beef is an excellent source of protein, but there are a few things to know first. To learn more about feeding your dog ground beef, including how to prepare it and how much your dog should eat, read on.
What Type of Ground Beef is Best for a Dog?
The main difference between types of ground beef at the grocery store is how much fat they contain. There are four common cuts of ground beef, with different levels of fat, including:
The two types of ground beef best for most dogs are extra-lean and lean. Medium and regular beef are too high in fat to feed your dog regularly, but can be given as an occasional treat.
How Often Can Dogs Eat Ground Beef?
Ground beef should not be the only food source you feed your dog, but if fed as part of a nutritionally balanced diet, it can be given daily. Dogs are facultative carnivores, which essentially means that they have evolved to eat a carnivorous diet, but can do well, even thrive, as omnivores. They need the right balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins to stay healthy, and beef alone will not provide this. If you are thinking about feeding your dog a home-prepared diet, speak to your vet about making sure you are including everything your dog needs.
How Much Ground Beef Should I Feed My Dog?
The rule of thumb for feeding ground beef to your dog is that, for every 20 pounds they weigh, you can feed them ⅓ of a pound (5.3 ounces/150 grams) of ground beef.
- if your dog weighs 40 pounds, you can feed them ⅔ pounds of lean or extra-lean ground beef as an occasional special meal. If your canine companion weighs 60 pounds, you can feed them a pound of ground beef.
How Should Ground Beef Be Prepared for a Dog?
Although raw diets have become fashionable in recent years, ground meat/mince is one meat that should NEVER be fed raw. The reason for this is that most of the pathogens associated with meat are on the outside surface. This is why just searing the outside of a steak is generally considered to be safe; the hot temperature kills off any bacteria on the meat’s surface.
With ground beef, the outside and the inside are all mixed together, meaning that any potential pathogens have also been mixed through. The USDA states that the pathogens Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, Listeria, and Staphylococcus aureus are all found in raw meat. To make sure they are eliminated, the ground beef needs to be cooked all the way through.
A few more things to keep in mind when cooking ground beef for your dog:
- Pour off the excess fat drippings before feeding.
- Never add salt, pepper, garlic, or onions.
- Let the ground beef cool before serving so your dog doesn’t burn its mouth when it gulps the beef down.
Should You Add Ground Beef to Your Dog’s Regular Dog Food?
Adding ground beef to a dog’s regular kibble can help picky dogs eat their regular food with more enthusiasm. One thing to remember, though, is to reduce the amount of regular dog chow when you add ground beef so that the overall amount equals their daily food requirement. If you don’t make this adjustment, they are likely to gain weight.
Dogs need protein, and ground beef is an excellent source. As we’ve seen, it should be lean or extra-lean ground beef, it must be fully cooked, and you should never feed ground beef to your dog in its raw state.
When cooked correctly, your dog can eat ⅓ of a pound of ground beef for every 20 pounds it weighs. You should cook the ground beef without seasoning and pour off any fat that rises to the surface, especially if your dog is overweight.
You can feed ground beef as an occasional treat or as part of a nutritionally balanced diet. Talk to your vet if you are thinking about feeding a homemade diet, to ensure you are meeting all your dog’s nutritional requirements.
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