How to Cook Liver for Dog Food
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How to Cook Liver for Dog Food

For picky eaters or for dog parents who want to enrich their dog’s diet, liver is an excellent source of iron and vitamin A and B vitamins for dogs. You can have a choice of different liver for dogs such as beef liver, chicken liver, and pork liver that are high in health benefits. The best way to make sure this organ meat is fresh and nutrient-packed is to cook the liver yourself. Below we have different ways to utilize liver for your dog’s benefit and some cool recipes that he won’t be able to resist!

How to Cook Liver for Dog Food
Image by Tamara Bellis from Unsplash

Why Liver?

There are some people that are averse to organs compared to regular muscle meat, so why should you feed your dog something you wouldn’t eat? The stigma is understandable, but liver is actually a regular ingredient in many parts of the world. Livers are a great source of vitamin A, protein, iron and can provide a host of health benefits. Also, your dog’s palate is different from yours so to him, beef liver is a delicacy.

When compared to muscle meats, liver yields higher levels of calcium, iron, manganese, vitamin A, protein, copper, zinc, choline, phosphorus, and more. When we say higher levels, we mean over 100 times more in some categories. Basically, a few liver pieces added to your dog’s daily kibble will provide more nutritional benefits than a much larger amount of muscle meat.

Of course, you have to pick and choose the liver for dogs as you would choose your meats. Pasture-fed and grass-fed animals will have healthier livers for your dog. Of course, eating liver will benefit your dog’s liver, regardless of feeding chicken liver or pork liver to your dog.

Other than beef liver, chicken, liver, and pork liver, you can also look into turkey, duck, goat, and lamb liver as well just to spice up the recipes. While liver is easily accessible in supermarkets, we would suggest going to the butcher’s or even a market that has fresh liver will be better choices.

A Liver is a Liver is a Liver?

Why Liver?
Image by Rarnie McCudden from Pexels

No, not all liver is the same. Depending on the type of animal, there could be different advantages. Beef liver, for example, is richer in minerals than some other types with high levels of calcium, copper, iron, and zinc to name a few. Beef liver is beneficial for red blood cells, bones and teeth strengthening and of course, muscle growth.

Chicken liver is great for many other things such as cardiovascular health, antioxidants, and overall immune system maintenance. However, they are fattier than beef liver, so that is something to keep in mind.

Feeding Your Dog Liver

It’s recommended to feed your dog raw liver. Cooking liver can take away some of the nutrients, so raw is better. Raw liver will allow your dog to directly absorb all the minerals and vitamins, which will is more advantageous in the long run. However, some dogs may not like the taste of raw liver. If he won’t eat the pieces of liver, you can think about changing the texture.

Grinding it down to a paste could be more appealing, or you can even grind different livers together or grind them down with wet dog food or food toppers. Many dog food brands have freeze-dried raw liver treats that you can feed to your dogs a few times a week. That isn’t really the same as cooking liver for your dogs yourself, but the freeze-dried process will still retain most of the nutrients and save you the hassle of preparing the liver on your own.

Related: 8 Best Tasting Dog Foods for Picky Eaters

How Much Liver Should I Feed My Dog?

How Much Liver Should I Feed My Dog?
Image by Karsten Winegeart from Unsplash

Like with most ingredients, you shouldn’t overdo it. After all, too much of a good thing can be bad. The amount will of course correlate with the breed of dog you have, the size, how many times a week you feed the liver whether you are feeding other treats and raw meats.

For those just feeding raw liver to their dogs, do not exceed more than 10% of the ratio. Add the liver amount slowly. Keep in mind that liver is a very rich organ, so for those pets lucky enough to be on a very nutrient-dense diet like Orijen recipes, make sure you decrease the kibble to balance it out.

Dogs with a cast-iron stomach may not react to the beef liver, but there are dogs that don’t take well to even the slightest change in diet and the liver can cause an upset stomach. In this case, wait for his bowel movements to stabilize before attempting to feed the organ meat again in a lesser amount.

How to Cook Liver for Your Dog

How to Cook Liver for Your Dog
Image by arinaja from Pixabay

Searing in a pan can really decrease the nutritional benefits, so a great way to cook liver all the way through and not sacrifice all the micronutrients is to bake it in an oven.

  • Cut the liver into appropriate sizes and lay them flat on a foil-covered medium-sized baking pan.
  • Then heat the oven to 250 degrees F. Place it in there for 15 minutes then remove the tin foil and turn over the liver for another 10.
  • There will be a lot of juices floating around when completed, and we find it to be an excellent topping for dry dog food without the liver. You can pour it out into a container for later use.
  • Wait for the liver to cool before cutting it up into bite-sized pieces.
  • You can also cut yourself a small sample just to see what it tastes like
  • Depending on how large the pieces are, feed one to a few pieces to your dog as a food topper.
  • You can store the rest of the liver in a sealed glass container or zip-lock bag in the freezer and add a few pieces to your dog’s meals per day.

Another way to cook liver without searing it is by boiling it in water.

  • Start by removing all the packaging from the liver and running it under cold water just to wash off any residue.
  • Place the liver for dogs in a medium-sized pot with enough water to cover at least half of the livers.
  • Boil the water with the liver for dogs inside for about 15 minutes.
  • Drain the pot and remove the liver and allow them to cool on a cutting board or plate.
  • Once they have cooled, you can cut them up into pieces. Liver pieces are easier to feed and store.
  • You can treat the pieces of organ meats as liver treats. Since you have to store the leftover pieces in the freezer, they also make for excellent liver treats to supplement your dog’s diet.

Be careful not to feed too much to your dog as copper toxicity and vitamin A excess can have adverse effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cooked liver good for dogs?

Yes, cooked liver is good for dogs. It’s an excellent source of micro-nutrients and can supplement your dog’s diet for a more balanced meal. Eating liver can help your dog’s liver health, bone and muscle development, and overall immune system.

What kind of liver is best for dogs?

Dogs can eat different types of liver from animals such as cows, chickens, pigs, ducks, and turkeys among others. While all liver will benefit liver health, different types may possess different micro-nutrients. Beef is better for muscle growth while chicken liver is better for cardiovascular health.

How much liver can I give my dog?

Around 1 or 2 ounces of liver a day for your dog depending on the breed, age and size will suffice. Overfeeding can lead to issues such as copper toxicity. In the beginning, feed the liver slowly and monitor your dog’s tolerance before increasing to the full amount.

Can you freeze cooked liver for dogs?

Yes, you can freeze cooked liver for dogs. In most cases, cooked liver is better stored in a freezer to preserve the freshness and they can make excellent training treats and positive reinforcement awards throughout the day. However, keep track of how much you fed them during the day to not overfeed them during meals. Most experts recommend feeding raw organ meats instead of cooking liver because it offers more health benefits and retains all of its nutrients.

Conclusion

Dog bones with different colors
Image by deborahmiller56 from Pixabay

Your furry companion is your lifelong friend or fur child. They deserve the best care, and the best way to ensure healthy development is through their diet. A good way to make sure his meals are balanced is by adding supplements when you can. Liver is an excellent source of micros and macros that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. They can be frozen and fed to your dog as rewards as well. If you don’t have time to cook your own liver, there are tons of liver supplements on the market that can add to your dog’s health.

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