If your dog is anything like the dogs in our life, they can and will eat most things, whether it’s edible or not. Nothing gets a dog moving faster than asking them what they have in their mouth.
Yes, dogs can eat raw beef, although you do have more options than just throwing them a porterhouse steak to chomp down on.
What type of beef can I feed my dog?
While cartoons may have you believing that dogs will only go wide-eyed for round bone sirloin steaks, dogs will happily eat more than just that. Muscle meat (mince, steak etc.) is the obvious first choice, but organ meat is also incredibly beneficial. When choosing the grade of meat to give your dog, ask yourself if you would eat it yourself (or if you’re vegan like me, ask yourself would you be happy to serve it to human friends and family), and if not, don’t feed it to your loyal companion.
Why would you feed your dog raw meat?
Modern doggos have come a long way from their wolf-like ancestors. And while they might be more interested in the call of the blanket and comfy chair than the call of the wild, there’s a huge benefit to paying attention to that wild side.
In the grand scheme of dog domestication, the advent of kibble and canned meaty chunks are a fairly recent invention. Before this, they thrived off of meat and pieces of fruit and vegetables. Fans of the raw food diet say that you will see improved benefits by returning your furbaby’s meal plans to a diet similar to wild dogs. These can include a glossier coat, better digestion and even better smelling and manageable poos.
The easiest way to do this is to serve up specially formulated raw pet food. Typically, about 80% of the food is raw meat. The remaining 20% comprises fruits and vegetables that provide fibre and additional nutrients. While you can find other types of raw food such as chicken, fish and venison, beef remains the popular choice.
More traditional types of dog food have gone through multiple processes to make them shelf-stable. Humans have started pushing back against highly processed foods in their own diets, so it would make sense that dog owners are following suit.
Is it dangerous?
Raw food is uncooked; like any raw meat, you need to carefully handle it and follow good hygiene practices when storing and serving it. Most commercially made raw food is frozen as soon as it is prepared to lock in nutrients and prevent any spoiling of the food, which helps keep it safe.
If proper care isn’t taken with raw food, harmful bacteria could make a home in it before it reaches your dog’s dinner bowl. Raw food that is not stored correctly is the biggest danger to both pets and their humans. Clean hands and clean bowls are vital to making raw food a safe option for your dog.
Where can you buy raw beef food?
Freezers and fridges are becoming a much more common sight in the pet food aisle of larger supermarkets. While you might think this automatically means you can get raw food almost anywhere, you will want to check that the fridge or freezer is actually stocked with raw food. There are several brands on the market that look like raw food but are more similar to tinned dog food; they just come chilled rather than in a can.
If you want to pick up raw food in person and would like to have a larger selection, it would be best to go to a specialist pet store. I would also recommend checking out larger gardening centres, as they often have very extensive pet sections. Don’t be afraid to ask the shop about their storage procedure for raw food. As you don’t see the full supply chain, you wouldn’t want to risk the food thawing out somewhere en route and then freezing again.
Subscription services are an ideal way to ensure freshness for raw food. The food is made to order as required and then shipped directly to your door. This bespoke service minimises the chance of it getting too warm in transit and thawing. When shopping around for a subscription service, look for one such as Bella & Duke that freezes their food in the same location it is made to shorten the supply chain further.
Companies that offer subscriptions also tend to be more attentive to their customers’ needs. It’s what they do, and they want to make sure you are happy. A good company will have worked with nutritionists to craft food blends and offer a range of options for dogs at different life stages and always be happy to answer your questions.
Make it yourself.
The DIY option is a sure-fire way to shorten any supply chain issues. If you are an avid cook who knows their way around the butchers block, then you may want to create your own mix. Take a look at these raw food recipes from Dogs Naturally Magazine to get an idea of where to start. But please be aware that by mixing up your own food you do run the risk of serving up meals that may not be nutritionally completed. This method is only recommended for the truly knowledgeable.
Turn your dog loose in a cow field
I do hope you realise I’m joking with this method. Providing a raw food diet to your doggo for a more natural lifestyle is one thing, but I’m not suggesting that you turn them into an actual hunting machine! Always keep dogs on leads around livestock for both the dogs and the farm animals’ safety.
With so many pet food options on the market, I hope this has helped demystify your options when it comes to feeding raw beef to your dog. If you are planning on changing up the food choices of your canine companion, remember to make the transition slowly and don’t be afraid to seek out veterinary advice if you have any questions.