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Can Dogs Eat Liver? [You’ll Be Glad You Checked]

Do you find yourself wondering if eating more meat would be good for your dog’s nutrition? Have you heard about people feeding organs such as liver to their dogs? If you are curious about feeding liver to your dog, here is everything you are going to want to know, do, and consider.

So, can dogs eat liver? Dogs can eat animal liver (chicken, lamb, and pork), in moderation, with around 1oz per day considered the maximum amount to feed (per day). Liver is safe and highly nutritious (it is packed with vitamin A, iron, vitamin D, protein, and other minerals) when served as part of a well-rounded diet, but overconsumption can be toxic.  

If used in the diet appropriately, liver is considered by some animal experts as a dog superfood.

So it is something you really do want to introduce.

But while feeding liver has many potential benefits for dogs, it can be detrimental or even dangerous if fed or relied upon excessively.

As we shall learn in the next few sections.

So if you are interested in introducing this particular offal to your dog’s diet, keep reading.

I’ll be walking you through exactly how to feed it to ensure your dog gets all the benefits without any of the risks! 

What Liver Can Dogs Eat?

Dogs can safely consume lamb, chicken, pork, beef, or goat livers. Most livers can be served raw or cooked, though pork livers must be cooked first.

One of the first questions people often have about feeding liver to their dog is exactly what kind of liver they should offer. 

You will want to consider how much liver you need, the types of animals raised where you live, and possibly a few other nutritional aspects when making a decision. 

Below we talk about common choices for feeding your dog liver and what you need to know about each one.

Lamb Liver 

Lamb’s liver is a great option for feeding liver to dogs. Lamb’s liver is mid-size compared to the livers of other animals, which makes it great for preparing servings for medium and large dogs alike.

Lamb’s liver is lower in fat than many other types of liver.

If you are trying to pack your dog’s diet with protein while keeping the overall fat content low, then lamb liver could be the perfect fit for you.

For the highest nutritional value, lamb liver should be served raw. If other cuts of lamb are commonly eaten by people where you live, you may be able to find lamb liver at your local meat counter.

Lamb liver can also be purchased online from butchers and specialty meat retailers.

Chicken Liver

Chicken liver is a popular choice for people with small dogs who may not eat larger livers before they expire.

Though smaller in size, chicken livers are densely packed with the nutrients that a dog needs to thrive.

Chicken livers pack a strong nutritional punch in a small package, being one of the densest sources of vitamin C, selenium, and iron when compared to the organs of other animals. 

Many owners like chicken livers because of their low-calorie count when compared to beef or pork liver, though they are higher in fat than lamb livers.

Chicken livers can be served raw or cooked, with raw providing more nutrients than cooked.

Chicken liver can be bought at many grocery stores and butcher shops. It is easy to buy multiple chicken livers at once to last you several feedings.

Pork Liver

Pork liver is the third popular option for providing liver to dogs.

Pork livers are easy to purchase in most places and are low in fat and cholesterol.

Pork liver is not as nutrient-dense as chicken and lamb liver but is still a strong source of vitamins A, copper, zinc, and iron.

One thing to know about pork liver is that for your dog’s safety, it must be cooked before being served.

Raw pork meat often carries the larvae of the parasite trichinella spiralis, which causes the harmful infection trichinosis.

By cooking pork meat and organs before feeding them, the parasite will die and be of no harm to your pup.

Other Types Of Liver

We have discussed three of the most common liver types fed to dogs and that are used as part of dry dog kibble and treats.

Of course, dogs can also eat other kinds of liver, such as beef, ox, or goat.

Most ruminant (grazing) animal livers are safe for dogs to eat. If you are unsure about feeding your dog a certain type of liver, check with your veterinarian. 

How Much Liver Can Dogs Eat?

Experts suggest keeping the maximum amount of liver an average-sized dog eats per day at 1 oz or less. For smaller dogs, this may need to be adjusted downward.

While liver has countless nutrition benefits, the saying ‘too much of a good thing’ can hold true with serving liver.

Liver is high in Vitamin A and the mineral copper, which support reproductive health, immune system function, and vision health.

Too much vitamin A and copper can damage a dog’s liver and become toxic over time.  

While an average dog (20 – 50 pounds) would need to eat a large amount of liver to experience vitamin A or copper toxicity, keeping daily intake at 1 oz is a safe measure. 

If you have a toy breed, puppy, or otherwise very small dog, talk with your veterinarian first about the best amount of liver to feed your dog.

Very large dogs may also benefit from more than one ounce per day.

Depending on the type of liver you choose to feed, you may find you are taking a larger liver and slicing it into portions.

For very small livers, such as chicken livers, you may end up feeding more than one at a time.

A food scale that can measure your servings can be helpful as you learn what amount works best for you and your pet.

How To Feed Your Dog Liver

Chicken, sheep, and livers that are not pork are most commonly served raw. Serving liver raw protects it from nutrient loss that can happen during the cooking process. If you feel more comfortable serving cooked liver, it will still be a very nutritious food item.

Pork liver is the one liver that should never be served raw.

Pork meat is known to commonly carry parasites that are harmful to dogs. Cooking the pork will kill the parasite and make the food safe to eat.

To cook liver for your dog, you can cook it on the stovetop over low-medium heat, bake it at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes (adjusting based on liver size), or boil it in a pot of water until it is tender.

Allow any freshly cooked meat to cool before feeding it to your dog.

When it comes to serving meat to your dog, you have several choices for presentation.

As A Topper On A Meal

Many owners choose to use liver as an occasional supplement in a dog’s diet, perhaps once a week or every few meals.

In this case, it often makes sense for the liver to be diced into pieces and placed on top of or beside a dog’s normal food.

Smaller livers may not need to be chopped, and larger dogs may eat larger pieces left whole.

Start with offering the food cut and have fun experimenting with what size or cut of pieces works best for you.

If you are feeding your dog store-bought kibble and want to give a nutrition boost, meal topping with liver is a great choice.

Liver As A Snack Or Training Reward

Many dogs are crazy about the taste of liver which means it can often make a high-value reward during training or as a way to make your dog feel extra loved. 

By cutting up liver into bite-size pieces, you can feed it to your dog from your hand as you go for a walk, work on a new skill, or play together. 

If you are only feeding liver on very rare occasions, be careful not to overdo the amount.

Sudden large changes to a dog’s diet may upset their stomach.

Another way to serve liver as a treat is by purchasing freeze-dried liver or liver that has been processed into treats for dogs.

While this will not be as nutritionally beneficial as feeding unprocessed liver, it does allow you to keep liver safely in your cupboard and is sometimes less messy to serve your dog. Keep an eye out for liver treats at local pet stores.

When To Feed Your Dog Liver

If you want to increase your dog’s vitamin A, protein, iron, vitamin D, or healthy fatty acid intake, then it’s time to consider feeding your dog liver.

Compared to other organ meats, liver is low in calories which makes it a good treat for dogs who are watching their weight.

Liver can be used to get a picky dog to show more interest in their food. The taste and smell of liver is very appealing to most dogs and can get a dog who has started to avoid food to start eating again.

This is especially helpful with older dogs whose sense of taste and smell has started to dwindle.

As mentioned before, liver is also a great treat for training.

If you want your dog to learn a new skill or give an extra reward during a training session, liver can make a good surprise.

Other Considerations When Feeding Your Dog Liver

Introduce Liver Slowly

Liver is wonderful for your dog, but like any diet change, it should be added slowly over time.

If you plan to make liver a part of your dog’s regular diet, start with just a small sample of liver mixed with their regular meals.

Then with each feeding, increase the amount of liver until you reach your desired daily feeding amount.

If you are using liver as an occasional treat, don’t go overboard.

A few special pieces should be plenty without upsetting your pup’s stomach.

Store Unused Liver Safely

Fresh liver needs to be kept in the refrigerator. If liver is left out on the counter at room temperature, bacteria can begin to grow, and the meat will spoil.

In a sealed container in the fridge, liver will keep for three to five days.

Wrapped and stored in a freezer liver will keep for 3 to 4 months.

If you are only using small amounts of liver at a time, consider cutting and portioning your liver into small packages and freezing.

Then you can thaw the small amounts you are ready to use and have the rest for later.

Be Careful How You Cook It

Boil or bake it.

Never fry the liver, unless you have the ability to do so without oil, butter or any other fat.

Know When To Talk With Your Veterinarian

While adding liver may increase nutrition in a dog’s diet, large concerns about your dog’s health and nutrition should be discussed with your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian can tell you if they feel liver is the best choice for your dog’s specific situation and guide you as you try feeding something new to your dog.


Liver is one of several possible organs you can choose to add to your dog’s diet.

It is great for boosting vitamin A levels as well iron and protein.

Liver of most animals is safe to feed to dogs, and your dog will likely be craving more after their first bite!

Related Questions

Can dogs eat cooked liver

Dogs can eat cooked liver. Just be sure not to cook liver in fats such as cooking oils or butter, as this can cause digestive upset in your dog. Boiling the liver in saltwater for 10-15 minutes is typically best.

Can dogs eat liver raw

Dogs can eat lamb, beef and chicken livers raw, though not pork liver. Pork liver can contain a particular parasite (trichinella spiralis) which is only killed by cooking.

Can dogs eat pork liver

Dogs can eat pork liver, though it should be cooked first before. Gently boiling the pork liver is the best cooking method.

Can dogs eat beef liver

Dogs can eat beef liver, both raw and cooked. Though they should only eat beef liver in moderation due to vitamin toxicity that could result if consumed in excess.

Can dogs eat lambs liver

Dogs can eat lamb liver, both raw and cooked. Though they should only eat beef liver in moderation due to vitamin toxicity that could result if consumed in excess.

Can dogs eat chicken liver

Dogs can eat chicken liver, both raw and cooked. Though they should only eat beef liver in moderation due to vitamin toxicity that could result if consumed in excess.

Is liver good for dogs everyday?

Liver can be good for dogs everyday, but only if you serve 1oz (the total amount should vary depending on the size and weight of your dog). Smaller serving sizes are required with daily feeding to prevent toxicity.

Wondering what offal dogs can eat? Be sure to read my guide below: