Can My Dog Eat Raw Liver?


This article is part of a series “Can My Dog Eat X” by Pala Petfoods, where our dog nutrition experts review the benefits and dangers of different foods to dogs. Our mission is to help you make informed decisions that prioritise your furry friend's health and break some bad myths in the process.


The Benefits

  • Nutrient-Rich: Liver is a nutrient powerhouse, rich in essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, and trace elements. Pala offers raw dog treats made from 100% high-quality beef, gently air-dried for best taste and nutritional value.
  • Protein Content: It contains high-quality protein that is excellent for a dog's muscle development and energy levels.
  • Palatability: Many dogs find raw liver very palatable and enjoy its taste, which can be beneficial for picky eaters.

The Dangers

  • Vitamin A Toxicity: Consuming too much liver can lead to vitamin A toxicity, which can cause serious health issues including liver damage and bone problems.

The Details

Before beginning to feed your dog raw liver, take into account the following important aspects:

  • Moderation is Key: Treat liver as a supplement rather than a main dietary component; it should make up no more than 5% of your dog's diet.
  • Source Quality: Ensure the liver comes from a reputable source, preferably grass-fed and hormone-free animals, to minimize the risk of contaminants.
  • Size and Breed Considerations: Adjust portions appropriately according to your dog's size, age, and breed; smaller breeds may need smaller amounts.
  • Freeze First: Freezing liver for two weeks before feeding can help kill any potential parasites present in the raw meat.
  • Slow Introduction: Gradually introduce liver into your dog's diet to avoid gastrointestinal upset. Start with small amounts and monitor your dog's reaction.
  • Diet Variety: Incorporate other organs and muscle meats to provide a more balanced nutrient profile and prevent over-reliance on any one food source.
  • Cooking Option: If concerned about raw feeding, lightly cooking the liver can reduce the risk of bacterial infection while still retaining most nutrients.
  • Regular Health Checks: Ensure your dog has regular veterinary check-ups to monitor their health, especially when making significant dietary changes.
  • Watch for Allergic Reactions: Be on the lookout for any signs of an allergic reaction or food intolerance, such as itching, ear infections, or gastrointestinal upset.
  • Vitamin A Monitoring: Be aware of other dietary sources of vitamin A to avoid cumulative excess that could lead to toxicity.
  • Safe Handling: Practice safe food handling measures to reduce the risk of cross-contamination to humans and other pets in the household.

As always, it's best to consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new foods to your dog's diet to ensure they're safe and beneficial for your pet specifically. Check out our other articles in this series for more information on what you should or should not feed your dog.