Note: Preparing food for pets on a regular basis requires a lot of research, and the nutritional requirements of pets are quite complicated.
You should only give pets home-prepared food occasionally, as a small amount (up to a third of the meal) mixed into his usual food to provide a flavor-enhanced experience. Because liver is high in vitamin A, too much of it (i.e. feeding it daily for several years) can cause a condition called hypervitaminosis A that leads to a type of arthritis, with painful joint stiffness and immobility. It’s best not to feed your dog liver if he’s on a vitamin A supplement.
November 1st is National Cook for Your Pets Day. So why should you trouble yourself to do more than open another can of food or crack open the same old crunchies?
Simple. Your pooch is going to love you for it. Just like we enjoy variety (instead of eating the same old thing, day after day), dogs enjoy variety too! Preparing a special “something extra” for your dog now and then doesn’t just create variety. It’s an opportunity to show him how much he means to you. Plus, this “extra” doesn’t come with fillers or by-products that have little nutritional value. By preparing this yourself, you know exactly what your pet is getting.
Here’s a quick and nutritious way to flavor-enhance your dog’s dish and put a “wow” in your dog’s wag. It’s like giving a whole new dish, but with less risk of the gastrointestinal upset that can accompany sudden dietary changes. Know that dogs have different dietary tolerances. If you’re unsure whether liver (or any food, for that matter) is right for your dog, consult your veterinarian first.
While most people can’t stomach the idea of eating liver (or any organ meats), most dogs go bonkers over the taste of it, which has the added benefit of being highly nutritious. In general, organ meats are 10-100 times more nutritious than muscle meat (or, the meat that most people prefer). As the most nutrient-dense organ meat, liver is a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin A, several B vitamins (including folate, B6, and B12), vitamin C, and iron.
Beef, pork, lamb, and chicken liver are all good choices for your dog.
Cooking liver for your dog is easy. Here’s how to do it.
- Remove the liver from its packaging and rinse it under cold running water. (Note: If it is frozen, thaw it first in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator.)
- Place the liver in a large pot and fill with water so the liver is covered with about an inch of water.
- Place the pot on the stove and bring to a full boil. Then reduce to simmer for about 15 minutes.
- When the liver is tender but cooked (changing from a deep reddish brown to pale brownish pink), remove the pot from the stove and pour the liver into a colander to drain the water.
- Place the liver on a plate to cool. Dice it into bite-size pieces, mix into his usual food, and serve.