Ground Beef For Dogs

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Choosing the right dog food is important it helps your dog to live longer and healthier. It can range in price, but at ground beef for dogs it’s very affordable to purchase and order compared to dog food brands. Ground Beef for Dog treats yield a tasty and healthy raw food diet adaptation of your dogs krunchies. Why just throw ground beef in the oven, when you can buy a dehydrator and make delicious, healthy, natural dog treats in half an hour?

Can Dogs Eat Ground Beef?

Ground beef is a high-protein, nutritious option to boost your dog’s diet by adding some to your pup’s regular dog food as an additional topper or even using it as part of a bland diet as a home remedy for an upset stomach. When your dog has a random bout of diarrhea or vomiting, cooked, low-fat, lean ground beef along with a starchy carbohydrate like rice can be used to reset and settle your dog’s digestive system. We’ll discuss using ground beef as part of a bland diet later. And if you’re wondering about feeding your dog raw ground beef, we’ll cover that too. We’ll talk about the ways you can feed fido ground beef, whether cooked or raw meat, how to use it in a bland diet, the nutritional benefits, and how to add some to your dog’s food, whether kibble or freeze-dried.

BENEFICIAL NUTRIENTS IN GROUND BEEF 

The nutritional value of 100g of 90% lean 10% fat, cooked, pan-browned ground beef is 28.5g of protein. It contains many essential amino acids, including histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, and more. Essential amino acids are required in a dog’s diet because dogs cannot create them within their body, so the food must supply the amino acids. While not a complete food on its own, ground beef is still a nutritious lean-meat protein source for dogs that can be used to create balanced cooked or raw dog food diets.

A BALANCED DIET IS IMPORTANT FOR YOUR DOG.

balanced diet for your dog

Of course, it’s best to make sure your dog’s diet is complete and balanced with the help of your veterinarian or canine nutritionist. Cooked ground beef also contains many vitamins and minerals, including B6, B12, B3, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and potassium. There are five different types of ground beef based on their fat percentage – we will talk more about fatty acids and fat percentages below. Remember that the nutritional value for 100g of ground beef at different fat percentages will alter the nutritional value. 

GROUND BEEF – GOOD SOURCE OF OMEGA 3 FOR DOGS

Ground beef also contains multiple fatty acids that benefit overall skin health and the immune system. Your dog needs essential fatty acids from both omega-6 and omega-3 sources, and ground beef does provide both but not necessarily in the amount to meet the minimum fatty acid nutrient requirement most dogs require. However, ground beef can contribute to the overall requirements for omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids by adding additional sources of both fatty acids to meet fatty acid nutrient requirements and balance between both fatty acids.

FATTY ACIDS IN GROUND BEEF FOR DOGS

Ground beef contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including linoleic acid (LA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and a few long-chain fatty acids, including arachidonic acid. If you want to make sure your dog is getting the proper amount of fatty acids in their diet, consider Native Pet’s Omega Oil, which is packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to help promote healthy skin and fur.

FAT CONTENT IN GROUND BEEF

The fat content of ground beef varies by product and is sold as 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%,  25%, and 30% fat. The fat percentage of the ground beef also means the content of fatty acids will vary based on the specific percentage you choose to feed your dog. Ground beef is known in the human food world as high in saturated fat content, but that depends on the fat percentage you are consuming. The higher the fat percentage of the ground beef, the more saturated fat. However, the way saturated fat affects humans is not the same as dogs. Healthy dogs do not get heart disease from saturated fat as humans do. 

Choosing the correct fat percentage of ground beef to feed your puppy depends on a few factors and the individual dog. Below are a few scenarios:  

  1. What is the goal of feeding the ground beef?
    1. For example, for a healthy young athletic dog, if feeding ground beef as an additional energy source on top of the dog’s diet of kibble or freeze-dried dog food, then a higher fat ground beef might be the best choice as long as the dog can tolerate more fat.
  2. Does your dog have an intolerance to fat pancreatitis, or is your dog overweight or in the obese range?
    1. If your dog has any of these conditions, you’ll want to stick to ground beef that is 5% fat, 10% at the most.
  3. Is your dog having an upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting? Do you want to use ground beef as part of a temporary bland diet?
    1. For stomach issues and using ground beef, it’s best to choose 5-10% fat ground beef and always cook it. The lower the fat for digestive problems, the better. 

FEEDING GRASS-FED VS. GRAIN-FED BEEF FOR YOUR DOG

Often, dog owners want to know if grass-fed beef is better than beef from cattle fed a diet of grains. The short answer is that grass-fed meat has many advantages over grain-fed beef. Studies have shown that cattle fed an exclusively grass-fed diet are associated with a healthier fatty acid profile and higher antioxidants because of the lush greens they consume. Grass-fed beef is also typically lower in overall fat content while having twice the omega-3 fatty acids as conventional grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is also higher in Vitamin A and E precursors, such as beta-carotene. While dogs can mainly use Vitamin A in the form of retinol, they can use beta-carotene as an antioxidant and free radical fighter, which is beneficial for immune system health. 

FEEDING RAW GROUND BEEF TO DOGS

From a nutritional standpoint, the nutrient values of raw ground beef will differ from cooked ground beef, which also depends on the percentage of fat in the ground beef. Contrary to popular belief, it is a myth that cooking ground beef or other foods destroys nutrients. It does not destroy them; it just changes them. Raw meat fed to dogs has its pros and cons, and you, as the dog owner, need to decide what is best for your dog.

WHAT TYPES OF MEAT ARE GOOD?

From a safety standpoint, it’s best to feed raw ground beef from a high-quality source such as a local farm or co-op. Grocery store ground beef is ok to provide but is not as high quality as a local farm. If the raw ground beef is grass-fed, that’s also a plus! Salmonella and other harmful bacteria can be present in raw meat, so high-quality beef is key to reducing bacterial risks. 

Unfortunately, a raw meat diet is not as simple as putting raw ground beef, eggs, and bones for calcium in a dog bowl and feeding it. You need to make sure that you are meeting nutrient requirements for your dog using NRC or AAFCO standards, and a raw diet like the one listed above would considerably fall short in meeting nutrient requirements. Dog owners who want to feed a raw diet are best off feeding a commercial raw pet food product to meet nutrient requirements or working with a canine nutritionist for a complete and balanced recipe.

USING RAW GROUND BEEF AS AN ADDITION

Use Raw Ground Beef As An Addition

You can still use raw ground beef to add to your dog’s regular dog food by topping some on their kibble or freeze-dried pet food. Just be sure to consider the fat content of the beef, so you avoid digestive upset. If your dog is prone to pancreatitis, it is best to work with a canine nutritionist or veterinarian before adding additional ingredients to your dog’s regular dog food. 

While ground beef is boneless, you want to avoid feeding large, weight-bearing, raw beef bones (like the knuckle) to your dog. These weight-bearing bones can break teeth, splinter, or cause a blockage. They aren’t as safe to feed your dog as other raw meaty bones might be. Raw beef marrow bones can be a safe chew as long as you supervise your dog during this time. It’s also important to remember that you should never feed your dog cooked bones as those are very dangerous. 

FEEDING GROUND BEEF AS PART OF A BLAND DIET 

A bland, cooked diet is used for a short period to alleviate gastrointestinal upset a dog might be experiencing for many reasons. The bland diet temporarily replaces a dog’s regular dog food, whether kibble, freeze-dried or raw diet, to calm down a dog’s stomach and allow it a chance to heal. In the simplest explanation, your dog’s regular pet food will be replaced with bland foods consisting of a lean-meat protein source, starchy carbohydrate, with a bit of fiber. These bland foods are fed to your dog as a home remedy to stop vomiting or diarrhea so your dog can return to normal pet food with regular bowel movements. Raw food or any dog treats are not recommended for a bland diet.

Because ground beef is high in protein and can be low in fat while providing many nutrients, it can be an ideal lean meat to use in a temporary bland diet. It can also be soothing to the stomach if prepared correctly and, well, bland. A typical bland diet might include 90-96% lean cooked ground beef with overcooked oatmeal, mashed russet, or sweet potatoes. Fat can greatly upset your dog’s stomach even further, so we want to avoid that by using the leanest ground beef while feeding a bland diet. 

When cooking ground beef for a bland diet, it is best not to add any oil or butter. On the stovetop, you can use water in the pan, and you can bake beef in the oven on parchment paper or tin foil without adding any extra fats to the mix. You can also boil the ground beef if that is easiest. Avoid feeding large amounts of bland diet right away, and you’ll want to make sure you’re working to transition your dog back to a regular diet safely and to avoid any other digestive flare-ups. 

For more wellness advice, join my Community on Dogly. You can ask questions and get 24/7 access to certified experts across nutrition, training & behavior, and wellness to give you and your dog your best life together.

If your dog could use some digestion help and a healthier gut to absorb and access all the good nutrients you’re feeding, check out Native Pet’s Probiotic, carefully created by their team of nutritionists and veterinarians.

FOOD

How to Prepare Ground Beef for Dogs

Stew With Beef Chunks for Dogs

Offering your pup some tasty ground beef as the occasional treat, or if he needs an appetite boost because he isn’t well, is OK in moderation. Ground beef should never be substitute for a dog’s healthful commercial dog food diet, and it should be prepared properly so it doesn’t upset his tummy.

Step 1

Use lean beef. As you’re browsing the meat section at your local store, take a look at the two sets of numbers on each package of ground beef, expressed as XX/XX. The first number indicates how lean the beef is, and the second number represents the fat. As you can imagine, lots of nasty fat can give your puppy some serious digestive problems. Go with at least 90/10 ground beef.

Step 2

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the ground beef. Break it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon or something similar.

Step 3

Remove the pot from the heat once the beef is cooked all the way through. The meat should appear entirely brown. If you notice any pink, keep your pup’s soon-to-be tasty food on the burner a little while longer.

Step 4

Place a bowl in the sink — big enough to hold all the water from the pot — and sit a colander over the bowl. Pour the meat into the colander so that all the greasy water is transferred into the bowl. The bowl keeps the grease from finding its way into your drain. If you knock the bowl over or a bit of water escapes down your drain, turn on the hot water for a few minutes, and pour a small amount of dish detergent into the drain.

Step 5

Rinse the meat with hot water. Tossing the meat into a colander will remove a good chunk of the harmful fat, but there will still be a bit left over. Rinsing it with hot water will remove as much fat as is reasonably possible. After a minute or so, turn off the water and give the meat a little feel with your hand. Allow it to cool until it feels lukewarm.

Step 6

Scoop some into your pup’s bowl and refrigerate or freeze the rest. If you only boiled a bit of beef to settle down your pup’s upset stomach, go ahead and refrigerate it. If you’re using the meat as a long-term meal plan, freeze it so it doesn’t go bad.

Warnings

Tips

Items You Will Need

  • Pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Colander

How to Cook Ground Meat for Dogs

White puppy eating from dog dish.

You take control of your dog’s well-being and health when you eschew commercial dog kibble to become your best friend’s in-house chef. Soon, the art of cooking ground meat and combining it with wholesome, nutritious ingredients is second nature. Since most dogs prefer beef, knowing a few tantalizing ways to cook this protein powerhouse is the key to a satisfying, nutritionally complete homemade diet.

Benefits of a homemade diet

Like people, dogs thrive on a varied diet. Prepared with fresh, whole foods such as beef, grains, vegetables, legumes, eggs, and cottage cheese, home-cooked meals are tasty. When properly prepared, they provide adequate quantities of quality protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Most importantly, homemade food does not contain the nasty tidbits found in many commercial foods, such as slaughterhouse wastes; heavy-metal contaminants; pesticides and herbicides; artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives; and non-nutritive fillers. Always consult your vet when changing your dog’s diet to make sure your dog is getting the proper nutrition.

Health benefits of beef and choosing a cut

Beef is rich in omega-3 fats, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein, and conjugated linoleic acid, all of which support cell development and energy.

Buy ground lean beef chuck, or grind lean cuts such as top round, bottom round, the eye of round, flank and strip loin in a food processor.

Buying your beef from local farms in bulk to store in the freezer is an economical alternative.

Boiling ground beef

Since most dogs love beef, it’s the ideal choice of meat for a homemade diet. Dogs don’t require the higher protein content of meats such as lamb, fish, chicken, and turkey, but if your dog doesn’t like beef, these meats can be cooked in the same way.

To boil ground beef, add the meat to a large, cold skillet, break it up and spread to fill the pan, then cover in water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until the meat is no longer pink. Pour into a colander to drain off the fat if your dog is overweight, otherwise use the meat and its juices.

Sauteed ground beef

For extra flavor, sauté ground beef with vegetables such as finely grated carrot or zucchini and chopped, fresh parsley using the ratio of two tablespoons of veggies to one cup of beef. Heat one-to-two teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the carrot or zucchini for two-to-three minutes. Crumble in the beef and sauté, cooking until it’s no longer pink — about five-to-seven minutes. Mix in the chopped, fresh parsley and let it cook on low heat for a few more minutes.

Making muttballs

For fun, scrumptious “muttballs,” roll ground beef into one-inch balls, sprinkle with low-fat, grated Parmesan cheese, place on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, and bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer indicates they are well-done. Serve on a bed of brown rice and your dog’s favorite cooked vegetables or as a side with polenta.

Mix it up

Meat is dramatically low in calcium, so home-cooked recipes must contain other ingredients in addition to beef to ensure the optimum balance of nutrients. Select organically grown produce whenever possible.

  • Cooked whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat couscous, cornmeal, oatmeal, and quinoa.
  • Cooked legumes such as split peas, lentils, kidney beans, and pinto beans.
  • Raw vegetables and herbs such as carrots, zucchini, alfalfa sprouts, parsley, and basil.
  • Cooked vegetables such as corn, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes.
  • Eggs and cottage cheese are good sources of protein.

Consult with your veterinarian for additional vitamin and mineral supplements recommended when feeding a home-cooked diet.

Recipe for a beef entreé

Versatile, economical, and nutritionally sound, this easy-to-remember, one-to-one ingredient ratio entrée yields about 4 1/2 cups of food or one daily ration for a small dog about 15-to-30 pounds.

  • For toy dogs, weighing up to 15 pounds, a daily ration is a little less than two cups.
  • For medium dogs, weighing 30-to-60 pounds, a daily ration is six-to-seven cups.
  • For large dogs, weighing 60-to-90 pounds, a daily ration is about eight cups.
  • For giant dogs, weighing over 90 pounds, a daily ration is nine-to-10 cups.

Bring two cups of water to a boil. Add one cup of brown rice and simmer for about 40-to-45 minutes until tender. Blend in one cup of cooked ground beef, one cup of cooked kidney beans, one tablespoon of chopped, fresh parsley and one tablespoon of finely grated carrot or zucchini.

Refrigerate unused portions up to two days or make larger quantities and freeze in individual portions in airtight containers. Thaw portions by adding a little warm water and gently mixing with a fork.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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