Have you heard that feeding your dog offal can have health benefits? Are you wondering if feeding Sweetbreads is a safe choice for adding organ meat to your dog’s diet? If you want to know details about serving Sweetbreads to dogs, then I am here to help you out with everything you need to know.
So, can dogs eat Sweetbread? Dogs can eat Sweetbread when it is served in moderation. Many Sweetbreads are high in vitamins K & A, trace minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. The reason Sweetbreads need to be fed in moderation (perhaps in rotation with other organ meats) is because they can be high in purine which can cause bladder problems in some dog breeds. Sweetbread can be served as part of a meal or as a treat.
Sweetbreads are a great addition to the diet if added and fed properly.
So let’s look at exactly what that entails, including feeding frequency, quantity, and how to serve them.
But before we do, let’s take a closer look at exactly what this offal is!
What Are Sweetbreads?
Sweetbreads is a common name for cuts of organ meats, specifically from the thymus gland and pancreas of young animals such as calves and lambs raised for their meat.
These organ parts became known as Sweetbread because when made for human consumption, some found that the thymus gland and pancreas had a slightly sweeter taste than other organ meats – but don’t expect anything sugary!
For dogs, Sweetbreads can be a good source of vitamins K & A, omega-3 fatty acids, and extra trace minerals.
Sweetbreads are considered offal that can make up part of a dog’s raw food diet.
What Sweetbreads Can Dogs Eat?
Dogs can eat the Sweetbreads of several animals, with the two most common options being veal and lamb Sweetbreads.
Nutritionally, Sweetbreads are very similar no matter the animal they come from.
However, there are things you will want to consider when deciding which type of Sweetbreads you may like to feed your dog.
One of the most popular Sweetbread types is veal. Veal Sweetbreads come from calves bred specifically for the meat market industry.
Veal Sweetbreads are tender, full of flavor, and have a great nutritional profile.
Veal Sweetbread is loaded with vitamin K, a vitamin that can help prevent dogs from experiencing blood clots.
It also contains vitamin A, which helps dogs develop and maintain healthy bones.
Veal Sweetbreads are larger than lamb Sweetbread.
If you have a very large dog or want to cut your Sweetbreads into multiple servings, veal may be a good choice.
Veal Sweetbreads can be purchased directly from local butchers or through online meat markets that specialize in selling and shipping offal.
Veal is usually the easiest type of Sweetbread to locate for purchase.
Plan to pay more for veal Sweetbreads than other organ meats because of its place as a delicacy in some cuisines.
The other commonly purchased type of Sweetbread is lamb Sweetbread.
Depending on where you live, lamb Sweetbread may only be available for purchase at certain times of the year.
Lamb Sweetbreads are smaller than veal Sweetbreads which makes them a good choice for owners of small dogs who will not eat much meat at one time.
Lamb Sweetbreads contain the same helpful vitamins A & K along with Omega-3s and minerals as veal.
While lamb Sweetbread may be harder to find depending on the time of year, it is often more affordable than veal in places where the market sheep industry is thriving.
Other Types Of Sweetbreads
Veal and lamb make up most of the Sweetbread market, but it is possible to feed and find Sweetbreads from several other animals.
Dogs can eat the Sweetbreads of goat, elk, and pork.
These Sweetbreads may not be as easy to locate because they are less popular in the food world, but if you can find them, they may sell for a lower price than veal and lamb.
Sweetbreads can also sometimes come from older cows or sheep. People don’t tend to enjoy the flavor and texture of Sweetbreads from older animals as much, but dogs don’t mind that these Sweetbreads may be a bit tougher.
If you want affordable Sweetbreads, these options may be your answer.
How Many Sweetbreads Can Dogs Eat?
Sweetbreads are an item that can be fed daily in small quantities based on your dog’s ideal weight. Though, Sweetbread should not make up more than 5% of a dog’s daily diet.
Too much Sweetbread can lead to a build-up of purine which can create bladder problems for some dogs.
Sweetbreads fall into a food category known as glandular offal. If a dog is being fed a 100% raw food diet, offal (including Sweetbreads and other offal types) should make up no more than 10% of a dog’s diet.
Sweetbread itself should not make up more than 5% of a dog’s daily diet.
The exact amount of Sweetbread you give your dog depends mostly on their size.
A dog will generally eat 2-3% of its body weight in food each day.
For a 50-pound dog, this means eating 1 pound of food each day. 5% of that food could be Sweetbreads – around 1 ounce.
A 25-pound dog would be half an ounce, etc.
All of this is to say that when you purchase Sweetbreads, it is smart to have a plan for portioning your Sweetbread into smaller servings that you can give your dog over time.
If you are using Sweetbreads as a treat and not part of a full diet plan, keep the amount under 1 oz of Sweetbreads cut into small pieces.
How To Feed Your Dog Sweetbreads
Sweetbreads can be fed to your dog raw or cooked. They can be mixed in with other ingredients in a raw food diet, added as a small supplement to kibble or store-bought food, or even used as a training treat.
To get the most nutritional benefit, many people prefer to serve their dogs, raw Sweetbreads.
Avoiding cooking and processing the Sweetbreads preserves the vitamins and nutrients within the meat.
The one major exception to safely feeding Sweetbreads raw is if you are using pork Sweetbreads.
Uncooked pork can carry unique parasites that may make your dog ill. Always cook any pork meat before feeding it to your dog.
Some people do not like the appearance and texture of raw meats and may choose to cook Sweetbreads before feeding them.
The most common way to cook Sweetbread for serving to a dog is by boiling the Sweetbread in water on a stovetop.
After they have cooked and cooled, you can cut the Sweetbread into servings for feeding with meals or as a treat.
Cooking Sweetbreads may slightly lower the number of vitamins and minerals in the meat, but Sweetbreads will remain highly nutritious even after being cooked.
You can mix Sweetbreads into your dog’s regular meals.
Simply place the Sweetbreads on top of your dog’s other food, or if you are worried your dog will avoid this new food, try stirring it into their usual food.
For training purposes, Sweetbreads can become a nutritious and highly desired treat.
Dogs typically love the smell and texture of meat products and will enjoy being rewarded with small pieces of Sweetbread during the day.
When To Feed Your Dog Sweetbreads
You should consider feeding your dog Sweetbreads if you are changing your dog to a fully raw/fresh food diet. Feed Sweetbreads at your usual meal time with other items your dog is used to eating.
If you want to make sure your dog is getting enough vitamins A and K, healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, or a protein boost, Sweetbreads are an option to consider.
Because Sweetbreads are enjoyed by dogs for their scent and flavor, they can often be used to tempt a picky dog to eat an otherwise normal meal.
This can be useful for a dog who hasn’t felt well or may be aging and having trouble smelling and tasting food as well as they used to.
When being trained or learning new tricks, the higher the reward, the better.
For this reason, using Sweetbreads as a nutritionally sound, high-reward treat is also a good choice for adding it to your dog’s diet.
Other Considerations When Feeding Your Dog Sweetbreads
Introduce Sweetbreads Slowly
Any major change to a dog’s diet may cause digestive upset. Introduce Sweetbreads slowly in very small amounts to help avoid this problem.
Consider starting by giving your dog small teaspoon-sized servings of Sweetbread during the day, and then build to your desired daily amount.
Introducing the food slowly creates a positive experience for your dog and prevents them from having negative side effects such as diarrhea.
Store Sweetbreads Correctly
Sweetbreads and other offal should be kept refrigerated or frozen until feeding.
Storing Sweetbreads at room temperature invites bacteria growth that can make an animal sick.
Sweetbreads can be served directly from the refrigerator or even served frozen.
To store Sweetbreads in your refrigerator, seal them in a plastic bag or another airtight container for only 1-2 days.
If you bought more Sweetbread than you can use in one day, you do not need to panic.
Simply cut the Sweetbreads into portions, wrap them with saran wrap or insert the pieces into a freezer bag, and deep freeze.
In a freezer, Sweetbreads can maintain their quality for several months.
Humans will not want to eat Sweetbreads that have been frozen as freezing changes the texture, but dogs are usually as excited to eat frozen or frozen and thawed Sweetbreads as they are fresh Sweetbreads from the market.
If You Have Questions, Call Your Veterinarian
This article has helped you learn about Sweetbread types, feeding suggestions, and storage.
If you have remaining questions or are planning to make major changes to your dog’s diet, consult with your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian can answer questions about food choices, help you determine the best amounts to feed based on your dog’s size and health, and help you if your dog’s digestive system doesn’t react well to eating Sweetbreads.
Sweetbreads, while pricier than some other offal choices make for a delicious and nutritious snack or meal ingredient for dogs.
Take your dog’s size and current diet into consideration when adding Sweetbreads, and remember to use them as part of a varied, well-rounded diet.
Other offal feeding guides you may want to read:
- Can Dogs Eat Heart?
- Can Dogs Eat Tongue?
- Can Dogs Eat Kidneys?
- Can Dogs Eat Tripe?
- Can Dogs Eat Spleen?
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.