A dog wishing it could eat the huge chunk of meat on the table.

Can Dogs Eat Meat?

You’re probably here because you googled, “Can dogs eat meat”. While some food items like onions and alcohol are a clear no-no for dogs, meat has always been a debatable food item. If you’re wondering if dogs can eat meat and what kinds of meat they should be eating, this article is for you.

Dogs can eat meat. In fact, with an origin as carnivores, dogs need protein sources (like meat) to supply a wide range of nutrients including iron, amino acids, L-carnitine, minerals, and many others. While meat is generally safe for dogs, its preparation plays a big role in how safe it is for your dog.

Do Dogs Eat Meat?

A closeup of a dog's paws on either side of a bone-shaped bowl dish of meat.
This is one patient dog to not be devouring all this meat in front of it.

If there is one thing that you can be sure dogs eat, it’s meat. While domestic dogs are omnivores, they originate from a meat eater (carnivore). This means eating meat is innate for dogs

In the wild, the majority of the dog’s diet is meat. A close study of the dentition of these animals shows elongated carnassial teeth needed to bite and tear through flesh. It is quite clear that these animals can eat meat.

Why Is Meat Beneficial For Dogs?

Meat is a great protein source for dogs because it provides them with all the essential amino acids they need in their diet. While dogs can survive on a meat-free diet, if they’re fed a balanced vegetarian diet, for example, animal-based protein is easier to digest than plant-based protein.

Also, dogs thrive on meat-based diets. The amino acids gotten from meat improve coat quality, promote lean muscle growth, and improve overall health.

Is Raw Meat Good For Dogs?

While raw meat has its advantages such as a healthy coat and better digestion, its risks far outweigh its benefits. A big issue with raw meat is that it can harbor bacteria such as Escherichia Coli, Salmonella, and many parasites. In addition to this, the American Veterinary Medical Association disapproves of feeding dogs a raw meat diet because it doesn’t provide your dog with the required balanced diet.

When Is Meat Bad For Dogs?

Take a look at these situations when meat is bad for dogs.

It Is Spoiled

Dogs can eat spoiled meat, but they really shouldn’t. Spoiled food can harbor many harmful bacteria as well as toxins. While your dog’s digestive tract is hardier than yours, spoiled meat can cause a severe case of food poisoning in these animals.

Moreover, ingesting spoiled meat can cause your dog to have botulism. This is a life-threatening condition caused by Clostridium Botulinum, a common bacteria seen on rotting meat. While your dog’s digestive system can handle eating slightly spoiled meat, it is best to avoid it.

There Are Parasite Eggs In It

Parasites, such as roundworms and tapeworms, can be found in raw or undercooked meat. This poses a major threat to your dog’s well-being. These parasites can cause a wide range of diseases ranging from anorexia to diarrhea. 

It Is A Choking Hazard

The item that dogs choke on the most is cooked bones. Meat with bones attached to it is a terrible choking hazard, and you should never feed your dog this. More than just asphyxiation, bones can injure the digestive tract, causing internal bleeding, constipation, and even leading to broken teeth.

How Much Meat Should Dogs Eat?

The amount of meat your dog will eat depends on many factors, including weight, age, activity level, nutritional requirements, and the kind of meat. Typically, for a healthy adult dog, you should give 1/3 pounds of meat per day for every 20 pounds of your canine’s total body weight. However, the best person to tell you how much meat your dog should be eating is your veterinarian.

In some health cases like obesity, you may need to reduce your dog’s meat intake as well. 

What Kinds Of Meat Can Dogs Eat?

When it comes to meat intake, pet parents have a wide range of choices for the kind to give their dogs. Although dogs eat a wide range of meat sources, the availability of meat and your dog’s taste will determine which one you feed your pet. Here is a list of 5 kinds of meat that dogs can eat.


High in vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients, beef is a great protein source for dogs. It is also affordable and readily available in most parts of the world. However, beef is quite fatty and is not the best protein source for overweight animals. 


Chicken is the most common meat source for dogs. It is low in saturated fats and has a wide variety of essential amino acids, making it a great lean-meat source for your pet.


If you are looking for a protein source to help your pet bulk up, pork is the way to go. Pork has more fat content than beef and meat and is quite salty. Hence, it is not a great protein source for diabetic and overweight dogs. However, in moderation, pork is a good protein source for dogs.


Salmon is the typical fish fed to dogs (and for some, this doesn’t count as meat, but we’re including it here anyway since it can be counted). It is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids. These acids help in brain development, support joints, and promote healthy skin and coat. Note that this fish should never be served to dogs raw as it can cause salmon poisoning.


Although lamb is rare and expensive, it is a great meat source for dogs. It is high in protein and low in calories. Lamb also has a high water content and a rich taste that has many dogs’ mouths watering.

What Kinds Of Meat Can’t Dogs Eat?

In actuality, dogs can eat any kind of meat. However just because they can doesn’t mean that they should. Here are the kinds of meat that you should avoid in your dog’s diet:

  1. Bacon and bacon grease
  2. Ham
  3. Fat trimmings 
  4. Cooked meat with bones 

What Meat Is Best For Dogs?

The best meats for dogs include chicken, salmon, beef, and lamb. These meats are relatively healthy and have a suitable protein content needed for our canine companions. To pick the best meat for your dog, you should consider availability, affordability, quality, your dog’s individual taste, and your dog’s nutritional needs.

How To Prepare Meat For Dogs

The method of meat preparation for dogs is very important. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Firstly, meat should be gotten from a trusted source. 
  2. Make sure you remove bones and fat thoroughly. This prevents choking and intestinal damage.
  3. Next, rinse the meat using lukewarm water. This helps to clean the meat and remove preservatives. 
  4. To prevent infection with parasites, meat should be well cooked. 
  5. Meat is best cooked unseasoned for dogs. Seasoning can cause your dog to have digestive issues and in some cases, seasoning can be toxic (e.g garlic)

Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Meat? 

The answer to the question, “Can dogs eat meat?” is a resounding yes! From chicken to white fish, there is a wide range of meats you can choose from to make up your dog’s diet. Ultimately, you should consider all the factors mentioned above and consult your veterinarian before choosing the best meat type for your doggo.

So, what meat do you want to give your dog? Let us know your thoughts and why in the comments below!

Toluwalase Soneye
Toluwalase Soneye
Toluwalase Soneye is a 4th-year veterinary medical student at the University of Ibadan. She is a pet writer who enjoys creating content that promotes animal welfare and educates pet owners. In her free time, she enjoys watching sitcoms and anime and cuddling her 2-year-old Rottweiler, Chester.