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Can Dogs Eat Raw Beef? Nutrition Facts & Potential Risks

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

can dogs eat raw beef2

Every time you start to cook your delicious striploin steak for dinner, your dog is looking at you with longing in her eyes. Maybe you’re wondering if it would be okay to give your dog a tiny piece of your uncooked steak?

Is raw beef safe for your dog to eat? The answer is sort of. Beef is a safe and healthy food for your dog, but, with a number of warnings.

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Healthy Beef

Beef is a red meat that derives from a bull or cow and contains the highest amount of iron compared to the white meats of chicken or fish. It is very popular with the burger and steak crowd but is also commonly used in sausages and corned beef.

Beef contains a high source of protein as well as fat (also referred to as beef tallow), vitamins B12, B6, niacin (B3), zinc, iron, selenium, and phosphorus, and a wide range of antioxidants and amino acids.

Some of the health benefits of beef can include:

  • Excellent source of protein
  • Assists with exercising
  • Helps to prevent anemia
  • Preserves muscle mass

In moderation, beef is a very healthy source of a variety of vitamins, minerals, and especially protein.

benefits of raw dog food
Image Credit: fetrinka, Shutterstock

Beef and Your Dog

Beef clearly has a number of health benefits for humans, but what about dogs? The same healthy nutrients of beef can also aid dogs in similar ways:

  • A source of high protein.
  • Iron can help prevent anemia in dogs.
  • The source of healthy fats can boost a dog’s immune system.
  • Fatty acids can help with joint support and muscle tone.

Beef is one of the greatest sources of protein and provides quite a number of benefits, but, like with almost everything, there is a negative side to beef.

The Downside for Dogs

While beef does provide many advantages for your dog, there are also a number of issues that need to be taken into consideration.

Raw Beef

Dogs can potentially be almost as susceptible to the same harmful bacteria as people with uncooked meat. Contaminated meat could lead to an illness or infection, such as salmonella or listeria. If a dog contracts salmonella, it could be transferred to a person through its saliva and poop. This is especially dangerous if you have any young children in the home. You should definitely avoid giving any dogs with serious health conditions (such as cancer, kidney, and liver failure) or puppies raw meat.

Symptoms of salmonella may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • High fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
beef steak
Image Credit: ReinhardThrainer, Pixabay

Take your dog to the vet if you suspect any kind of food poisoning or infection.

If you allow your dog to chomp on a bone with meat on it, you are running the risk of the bone splintering and pieces getting stuck or puncturing the intestinal tract or stomach. Your dog could also crack a tooth while chewing on a bone.

There hasn’t been enough research regarding feeding your dog raw beef. Some believe that feeding your dog raw meat is safe because it closely resembles the dog’s diet in the wild. Speak with your vet if you’re thinking of adding any raw meat to your dog’s diet, as they can help you with this important decision.

Processed Meat

You will also want to avoid processed meat like bacon, hot dogs, sausages, and bologna because of the high salt content. Bloat is a condition that large dogs are susceptible to that can be caused by the dog eating too much salt and consequently drinking too much water. There can also be additional seasonings that are harmful to dogs, such as onions and garlic.

The most important step you can take is to speak to your vet before changing your dog’s diet and ensure that you properly prepare the raw beef before giving it to your dog.

Preparing Raw Meat

The first thing you should do is ensure that all bones are removed from the meat to avoid injury to your dog. Avoid rinsing off the meat beforehand. Many believe this will help wash off added chemicals or bacteria, but it actually increases the likelihood of cross-contamination (the sink, your hands, and any splashing will spread it even out even further). Cooking will kill off any bacteria on the meat anyway. Be sure to wash your hands before and after handling the meat and thoroughly clean any surface the meat has been sitting on.

Make sure the meat is not spoiled, and do not add any seasonings, oils, or butter as these kinds of ingredients could disagree with your dog’s stomach. Remove any large amounts of excess fat and cook the beef to at least medium, which should kill off any salmonella bacteria.

Dog Eating Steak_shutterstock_A.P.S.Photography
Image Credit by: A.P.S.Photography, shutterstock

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There are many advantages and disadvantages to feeding your dog raw beef. The most important step you can take before purchasing any meat for your dog is to speak to your vet first. Your vet can guide you with your dog’s diet and will take into consideration your dog’s health, weight, and age.

As long as you take the necessary steps, beef is a healthy meat to add to your dog’s diet, but whether it is cooked or raw will depend on what advice your vet gives you.

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Featured Image: webandi, Pixabay

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