Generally, dogs can eat raw liver. A liver from beef is a very protein-rich treat, low in fat and high in the all-important iron. The essential vitamins A, B2, B12, biotin, and other essential nutrients round off the liver’s high importance in dogs and cats’ wholesome diet. The liver’s digestibility is excellent, although excessive amounts of food can easily have a laxative effect.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Liver

The short answer is yes! As long as it follows BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), it will be okay for your dog.

BARF or raw feeding – this trend in dog nutrition has many names. Whatever you like to call it, this feeding type focuses on a healthy, natural diet for the dog.

The problem of a definition begins because “close to nature” means something different for everyone. Some are strongly oriented towards the wolf and its diet. Others say that today’s domestic dogs are much more adapted to human diets than wolves.

All approaches can agree on at least one essential component: meat and served raw. The meat makes up between 50 and 70 percent. Bones and innards are also included.

A special form of BARF, the Prey method, is almost exclusively fed with muscle meat, bones, and offal. The idea is to use it to recreate a prey animal like a wolf would kill in nature.

However, with the usual raw feeding, the ration is supplemented with fruit, green vegetables, and colored vegetables. There are also high-quality oils.

That is the bare minimum. Depending on the approach, dairy products are added, sometimes cereals. Besides, there are various additional feeds such as brewer’s yeast, egg, and honey, which some always feed, some as a cure.

Whoever starts with the BARF, he first calculates the food ration for his dog. Once all the components have been determined, and the quantities are written down, they are distributed on a cash plan, optionally calculated over one or two weeks.

There are things we need to keep in mind about BARF and serving raw liver to your dog:

  • Is it possible to do BARF in part?
  • Are there any risks in serving raw liver?
  • Does BARF make dogs bloodthirsty?

Is it possible to do BARF in part?

Of course, that is also possible. Usually, this feeding is called Teilbarf.

Although ready-made food is still being fed from the can or the sack, some meals correspond to the BARF concept. Teilbarf can be fed up to a percentage of around 20 percent without any problems.

If there is more or more permanent BARF, the BARF portion of the feed should also be balanced. This means that it must contain all the necessary components in a balanced amount according to the BARF considerations.

Are there any risks in serving raw liver?

If you put your dog’s food together yourself, you have to accept the risk of doing something wrong. Malnutrition, due to incorrectly composed feed, is unfortunately many.

However, if you familiarize yourself with the matter, consult several sources, watch your dog closely, and repeatedly question the calculated portion. You will get along well in most cases.

Many dog ​​owners worry about pathogens when they feed raw livers. There isn’t much to worry about here, however.

Most dogs don’t mind salmonella and should only play a minor role in the hygienic handling of meat. However, it would help if you avoided raw pork as it can contain the Aujeszky virus.

Does BARF make dogs bloodthirsty?

There are many barf misconceptions and rumors about raw feeding. Very few of them are true.

Especially when it comes to whether dogs suddenly become dangerous or bloodthirsty when they are fed raw meat. There are no known cases where raw meat has affected a dog’s aggressive behavior.

Neither to animals nor humans. The same applies to hunting behavior.

Interestingly, most higher-quality foods are now more expensive than feeding the dog a raw liver. On the one hand, the kilo prices are considerable.

On the other hand, a dog needs a higher daily ration from the ready-made food. Of course, you can always find something cheaper, so that there are types of feed that are cheaper than raw feeding. This also depends on whether you can get your meat cheaply from the butcher or whether you have to rely on a possibly more expensive dealer.

How Much Liver Can I Give My Dog

Typically, liver feeding once or twice a week is sufficient. It is also crucial for balanced dog nutrition.

For a balanced diet, a dog should be given a liver at least once a week. An adult dog needs around 15 percent offal per meal when BARFing. At least 1/3 of this should be liver.

The following table shows an adult dog’s final weight and the average daily recommended amount of liver.

Weight (kilograms) Amount of liver (grams)
15 13
20 17
25 22
30 26
35 30
40 35
45 39
50 43
55 48
60 52


How do we get these numbers?

Here is the explanation:

An adult dog needs an average of 2% of its body weight in food every day. It does not matter whether the dog is given dry food or raw.

Example calculation:

  • The dog weighs 15 kg -> 15 kg times 0.02 = 300 grams per day
  • The dog weighs 25 kg -> 25 kg times 0.02 = 500 grams per day
  • The dog weighs 40 kg -> 40 kg times 0.02 = 800 grams per day

However, it also depends on your dog’s age, race, and acceptance. Raw liver is particularly suitable for feeding convalescent dogs and lactating mother dogs.

Therefore, you have to find the formula based on your dog behavior after tasting it. Though, if the liver is slightly cooked before feeding, the animals’ acceptance increases.

Why Feed Your Dog With Raw Liver

The liver should not be missing in the menu of balanced dog nutrition. The raw liver tends to make the stool softer; boiled liver has a more “constipating” effect.

The liver is very rich in protein and lean. It contains glycogen, which is rather difficult to digest. However, the body can only use small amounts of glycogen.

It converts the excess glycogen into fat in the liver. This can lead to obesity.

Therefore, you should be careful when feeding the liver to your dog. The liver makes the feces relatively soft. And it has a slight laxative effect. Therefore, you must adhere to the feeding recommendation of no more than once or twice a week.

The glycogen is broken down microbially in the large intestine. Therefore, feeding larger amounts of liver can have a laxative effect.

A raw liver is a relatively high copper,  iron,  B vitamins, and biotin content. The high vitamin A content of the liver should be taken into account. The liver should not give raw liver more than once a week or a maximum of twice a week.

The complete renouncement of liver feeding would mean more a “loss” than an “advantage” in the dog’s balanced and healthy diet. Some dogs are not particularly “fans” of raw offal.

However, most of the time, they enthusiastically eat boiled (cooked) offal or offal in dried form as dry BARF, or treats, or rubbed dried over the food.

However, these different taste preferences are not a cause for concern. In this case, you can easily replace the liver as a feed component with, for example, dried liver.

Raw liver vs. dried liver

In any case, please ensure that the dried meat and offal significantly reduce in weight through the drying process. That means: if you decide to feed dried liver instead of raw, fresh liver, the weight ratio is approx. 1: 4!

The sample calculation is:

1kg fresh liver corresponds to approx.  250g dried liver.

You can easily feed dried liver in between meals or on the go. Or you can mix them with the food. Please also make sure that your dog has sufficient water available when consuming dried meat and treats.

Dry BARF products are also ideal as feed for on the go, such as on hikes. They are easy to transport, light, and can serve as feed for short periods.