Although dogs are omnivorous, meat is a vital part of their diet. Meat contains protein, which is a good source of amino acids that are essential to a dog’s health.
However, not all meats are equal, as some meat offer dogs more nutritional benefits than others. To narrow down the search, here is the top 10 best meat for dogs.
Beef is a commonly used ingredient in countless pet foods. It is a popular choice amongst many pet owners. It is nutritious, affordable, and most importantly, dogs love it. Beef is a great source of iron, zinc, and selenium. It also contains vitamins B3, B6, and B12.
Red meat, in general, is high in protein and rich in vitamin B12 and iron. In addition, leaner cuts of unprocessed red meats are healthier for dogs as they contain less fat.
Keep in mind that beef is one of the most common allergy triggers in dogs. Therefore, if your dog has a history of food allergies or intolerances, you may consider choosing another type of meat.
If you are not aware that your dog is allergic to beef, observe him after eating the meat. Chronic skin and ear infections, itchy skin, vomiting, and diarrhea are signs of an allergic reaction. Stop feeding your dog beef if he suffers from these symptoms and seek veterinary advice.
Pork is a great source of protein, B vitamins, iron, selenium, and zinc. This meat’s downside is that it is significantly high in fat. Pork is not a good addition to a geriatric or sedentary dog’s diet.
Ensuring that the pork comes from a reputable source is crucial as well. Pigs that are farmed in stressful and poor living conditions are highly susceptible to a disease called porcine stress syndrome (PSS). This is a genetically transmitted disease that is triggered by excitement or stress.
PSS can significantly affect the quality of the pork. Some pigs suffering from PSS may yield pale, soft, and exudative (PSE) muscles. This is often viewed as low-quality due to its unappealing, mushy, and loose texture. It is very different from high-quality fresh pork, which is reddish-pink in color, firm in texture, and significantly free from surface juices.
Similar to beef, pork is a prevalent food allergen in dogs. So, keep watch on your dog when feeding it to him. If he displays signs indicating pork allergy, do not include it in his meals and ask for help from the vet.
Bison’s texture and taste are a lot like beef. However, compared with beef, bison has a lower protein content. However, on the plus side, bison is very lean meat; hence, it is lower in sodium and saturated fat than beef or pork.
This popular red meat is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid. Moreover, it is rich in vitamin B12, niacin, iron, selenium, and zinc.
Like beef, chicken is one of the major meat sources in dog foods. It is an affordable meat protein source for our furry companions. Chicken contains more protein and less fat compared to beef and pork. Other essential nutrients in chicken include vitamins B3, B6, phosphorous, and selenium.
Beware when choosing chicken, and do not pick commercially produced ones. They are not the best options since they are poorly bred and usually contain high amounts of antibiotics.
The healthier alternative is organic or free-range chickens. They live outdoors and are fed on chemical-free feeds. Moreover, they are free from growth hormones or antibiotics.
Studies show that organic and free-range chicken meat has less fat and higher protein, iron, and zinc nutrients than conventional birds.
Beware of Salmonella bacteria, which easily thrive in chickens. However, we are actually more at risk than our dogs. So, always place raw meat and poultry in a separate area from other foods and groceries. Also, be sure to wash your hands and kitchen utensils after handling uncooked poultry.
Chicken is one of the most common food allergens for dogs. Watch out for signs of an allergic reaction the first time he is fed chicken. The allergy symptoms include itchiness, nonstop scratching, inflamed skin, and diarrhea. If he shows these symptoms, stop feeding him chicken and consult the vet.
Turkey is an excellent protein source for dogs. It is leaner and has lower fat content compared to chicken. Turkey is also rich in vitamin B6, iron, niacin, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc. Opt for the breast meat, not the legs and skin, since this part has less fat.
However, turkey is often more expensive than chicken. This can be due to many factors, including the turkey requiring more feed and needing more space since they are large birds. There is also the rising cost of the turkey feed, which makes sellers consider hiking up the price. Turkey meat prices shoot up during holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving as the demand for it is higher at these times.
Turkey is prone to Salmonella contamination like chicken. Thus, proper hygiene practices should be carried out. Make sure to clean surfaces and items that have come into contact with raw turkey with great care. Be sure to wash your hands properly after handling the meat.
Venison contains a similar caloric density to chicken. However, it has more fat and less protein than chicken.
Whilst it might not be the best choice for senior dogs and obese dogs, venison is a good option for pets with allergies. It’s considered a unique protein source that is used to manage their condition.
Compared to other types of meat, lamb is a lot leaner and pound to pound contains more proteins. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids.
Sheep are mostly grass-fed and roam freely in a healthy and stress-free environment. As a result, lamb is packed with vitamins B3, B12, selenium, and zinc. Lamb is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 acids.
Like turkey, lamb is considered a novel protein source and a great alternative to common meat allergens. This meat is now widely used in pet foods to prevent allergic reactions in dogs and cats.
Goat meat has lower cholesterol, fat, and calories than beef, chicken, lamb, and pork. Most importantly, it has higher protein levels and is a great source of iron. Young goat meat is more tender and has a milder flavor than lamb. However, meat from older goats is tougher to chew on and has a stronger taste.
Kangaroo is one of the least fatty meats on our list. It only has a fat content of 2% to 3%. Kangaroo is a valuable source of protein, vitamins, and minerals for dogs. It contains vitamin B, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc.
Kangaroo meat is mostly produced from the ones caught in the wild. Thus, it is organic, leaner, and healthier than most red meat on the market. For this reason, it is an ideal meat choice for dogs with food allergies.
Salmon is rich in protein content. It is also high in omega-3 fatty acids and is known to effectively reduce inflammation, thereby preventing some chronic diseases. Salmon is abundant in B vitamins, too, including vitamins B6 and B12.
When it comes to feeding fish to dogs, there is a general worry about freshwater fish containing high levels of mercury. Fortunately, wild salmon coming from countries with fewer water contaminants have low levels of mercury.
So, when choosing salmon for your dog, pick the ones from Canada or Scandinavia, as these waters have lower pollution levels. Avoid purchasing salmon coming from the waters of the United States because of its high harmful chemical level.
Many vets advise against serving raw salmon as it is harmful to dogs. This type may contain Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasites, which are the main cause of salmon poisoning.
This alarming condition will cause dogs to suffer from fever, diarrhea, dehydration, and vomiting. Only serve properly cooked salmon to your pup to avoid this danger.
What is the best meat for your dog?
To ensure that you choose the right type of meat for your pooch, consult your vet first. They will help you correctly evaluate what type of meat is appropriate for Fido and which one you should avoid.
Keep in mind that our furry companions have different nutritional needs. Several factors can affect their dietary requirements, including age, breed, size, and energy level. The best meat for one dog may not apply to another.
Preparing meat for dogs
Here are a few reminders when you prepare meat for your dog:
If possible, always opt for organic and free-range meats. Human-grade meats are good options too. These are free from or contain fewer hormones and chemicals.
Raw and cooked meat should be boneless. Cooked bones can easily splinter and cause injury to dogs’ mouths and digestive tracts. They can also cause choking and stomach obstruction.
Introduce meat to dogs gradually. Sudden changes to their diet may affect their sensitive digestive systems. This can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. It is also advisable to chop the meat into small pieces to make it easier for dogs to digest.