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Can dogs eat liver?

Updated on May 9, 2011

Dogs are voracious eaters! Dogs have a stomach of steel. Dogs, even well fed ones will still filch food from the table and raid trash cans. These are the preconceptions about a dog’s eating habits. Dogs really would eat anything…edible and non-edible. Thus a dog would certainly be in dog heaven if its doting momma would fill the food bowl with cooked or raw liver. Yes, dogs love this nutrient packed food. However, we know that there are human foods that should not be given to dogs for the reason that they have a different metabolism and different digestive capabilities. Foods that are good for humans can have an unwanted effect on the dog.

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The liver

A liver is a hardworking organ that performs more than 1,000 different tasks one of which is the detoxification of wasted and poisons. The liver is a truly unique organ as it has the capability to regenerate. Vitamins are produced and stored in the liver as well. This means that this organ is very rich in nutrients and a good source of vitamins. Of course all the impurities of the body are stored in this organ as well. What do you think will happen to a dog that will ingest the liver of an unhealthy animal or one whose liver is infested with parasitic flatworms?

Beneficial effects of liver in a dog’s diet

Liver is an energy booster. This food aids in maintaining the general health of dogs as it promotes muscle growth and brain power. Liver is a good source of vitamin A and B. Vitamin A, is popularly known as the good vision vitamin although it also promotes good muscle development and enhances the good condition of the skin and the coat. Dogs deficient in vitamin A may fail to reproduce as females may not ovulate and males commonly become sterile.

Dangerous effects of liver in a dog’s diet

Regular inclusion of raw or cooked liver in a dog’s diet is dangerous. Liver is one of the human foods that must not be given in large quantities to dogs as it would result to vitamin A toxicity.

Vitamin A toxicity

Feeding the dog three or more servings of liver in a week is noted to have negative effects. Because liver is very rich in vitamin A, excessive feeding of this food would result to vitamin A toxicity. Abnormal bone growth especially in the spine and elbows and deformed bones are manifestations of this disorder.

Symptoms of Vitamin A toxicity

A dog with this disorder will be depressed and lethargic. The dog would have very low appetite and may even totally refuse to eat. The dog would either have constipation or diarrhea. Stiffness and limping will be noticed when the bones and muscles starts to get affected.


Vitamin A toxicity can be prevented. Liver can be given to the dog but it must be ensured that it will not be given in large quantities and not more than three times a week. Make sure that canned food and vitamin supplements have no liver content if the dog was already given liver for the week.

Stanley eats liver


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