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Can Dogs Eat Ground Beef? Is Ground Beef Safe for Dogs?

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

can dogs eat ground beef

Dogs evolved to eat mostly meat. They can consume fruits and veggies as well, but their diet needs to be made up of mostly meat. As you might imagine, meat contains tons of protein and fat – which is precisely what canines need to thrive.

Ground beef is used to make everything from burgers to tacos. It is also relatively inexpensive, which is mostly why it is used so widely by humans today. While ground beef is absolutely meat, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should share your ground beef with your canine.

Generally speaking, plain ground beef is safe for most pets. However, there is a lot you can do to ground beef that can make it unsafe. We’ll discuss these situations below.

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Should you feed your dog ground beef cooked or raw?

Close up of beautiful dog eating from the bowl
Image credit: dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

Canines indeed have a more robust digestive tract than we do, especially when it comes to meat. Many dogs can eat raw meat and be just fine. However, raw meat can contain bacteria and parasites that can cause problems for your canine. Many people swear by the raw diet, but there is little evidence that raw food is safer or better for dogs than cooked food.

Cooking the meat removes many of these parasites and much of the bacteria raw beef can include. For this reason, we generally recommend feeding your canine cooked ground beef. While they may not get sick from raw ground beef, there is some additional risk involved.

How much ground beef should I feed my dog?

Raw Ground Beef
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Preferably, your dog should be getting a varied diet. This helps ensure that they are getting all the nutrients they need to thrive. This can be done by feeding them a commercial diet that includes various ingredients or by switching up their diet often.

If you’re feeding your dog only meat, you should feed them about ¼ to ⅓ pounds of meat per 20 pounds. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but meat is very nutritionally-dense, so dogs typically don’t need very much at all.

Of course, most people are not going to feed their canine only ground beef. We don’t recommend it either, since dogs need a varied diet.

Even if you aren’t only feeding your canine ground beef, you can use this calculation to figure out how much you should feed them. If you’re mixing it with commercial food, consider how much commercial food your dog needs a day. Figure up the amount of ground beef you want to feed them, and then subtract the appropriate amount from their commercial food.

For example, let’s say you have a 60-pound dog. They need either 3 cups of kibble or a pound of meat a day. If you decide that you want ⅓ of their diet to be meat, you should feed them ⅓ pounds of ground beef and 2 cups of kibble. If you have a 20-pounds dog, they may need either a cup of food or ⅓ pound of ground beef a day. If you want half of their diet to be ground beef, you should feed them 1/6 pounds of ground beef and half a cup of food a day.

You can do this sort of simple calculation for any canine.

Can I mix ground beef with dry dog food?

English Bulldog eating
Image credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Yes. However, you will need to lower the amount of dry dog food your pet is eating. You should not keep feeding them the same amount of dry food and then add extra ground beef. This will give them too many calories and can cause obesity.

Mixing ground beef with dry dog food can be an excellent way to increase your dog’s interest in the food. Be sure to strain and rinse the meat as well. This can remove the extra fat that is sometimes found in ground beef.

With that said, it is essential to realize that your dog not eating kibble isn’t necessarily a sign of a “picky” eater. Dogs can skip meals and often do. Dogs in new situations may be too nervous to eat. Dogs may have a small stomach ache. There are a lot of reasons your dog may decide not to eat. Typically, picky eating isn’t one of them.

Therefore, you should not mix ground beef in your dog’s food to get them to eat it. This can mess with their ability to self-regulate and cause obesity. If you want to give your dog ground beef to increase their diet value, that is an entirely different story, however.

What type of ground beef is best for dogs?

Typically, you want the leanest meat possible for your dog. Preferably, it should be above 90% lean. While dogs do need fat in their diet, they don’t need that much fat. This is true for all ground meat, whether beef, chicken, or turkey.

You should not add anything to the meat your dog is going to consume either. This is mainly because many spices can cause problems for dogs, such as onion and garlic. It is best not to add anything to the meat for this reason. All the extra spices may cause a problem in high amounts or when fed regularly.

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Ground Beef is Safe for Dogs

Ground beef is safe for dogs to eat, along with other ground meats. It is quite nutritious, which makes it a right decision for many canines. It can be used as a regular part of your dog’s diet as long as you feed it to them correctly. You will need to calculate how much ground meat your dog will need and subtract this from their usual commercial diet.

You should feed your dog plain ground beef, not meat that has been seasoned. This is because many seasonings can be dangerous to canines. You should avoid them for this reason.

Instead, choose to feed your dog plain ground beef when possible.

Featured Image Credit: Vezzani Photography, Shutterstock

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