Can dogs eat Beef?

Updated 29 May 2024
Read time: 10 mins
article author
Written by Corinne Homer
article author
Reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon
Team Vet

Absolutely! Dogs can eat beef. Beef is a favourite food for most dogs, and a mainstay ingredient in many commercial dog foods. Lean, well-cooked beef is full of protein, minerals and other nutrients that keep a dog functioning and strong.

There are plenty of ways to serve beef, however, so read on for more detailed answers on how to feed beef to your hungry pooch. 

Is beef good for dogs?

If it’s a quality cut of beef that’s served safely, then yes - beef is definitely good for dogs. A dog’s body thrives on protein-rich meats (it’s long been part of their ancestral diet) and so feeding your dog a meal that’s mostly lean protein, such as beef, is the first step to ensuring a well-rounded diet. 

What are the health benefits of beef?

Beef is full of benefits to a dog’s health, so long as it’s served up in a way that’s safe to a dog’s body (stay tuned for more on that).  Here are some of the perks of feeding beef to your dog: 

  • High in protein - Protein is essential for a dog’s muscle development, maintenance of the body, and contains amino acids. 
  • Amino acids - The building blocks of protein, amino acids perform important functions around muscles, tissues and hormones. 
  • Good fats - In moderation, beef fat helps keep a dog full as well as boosting skin and coat condition. 
  • Super tasty - Dogs love the taste of beef, so it will keep up a healthy appetite.
  • Lots of B vitamins - B vitamins including B3, B6, B12, niacin and riboflavin are essential for a dog’s metabolism, formation of red blood cells and a healthy nervous system.
  • Minerals such as iron, zinc and selenium - Important for oxygen transportation around a dog’s body, as well as immunity and skin health. 

  • When is beef unsafe for dogs?

    Beef is so versatile, it’s one of the reasons humans love it. With dogs, however, feeding beef in simple formats is best - for their digestion and overall safety. 

    Beef can be unsafe for dogs when: 

    • Served raw (especially mince beef)
    • Not fresh or fully defrosted
    • Covered in seasoning, spices, sauces or marinades
    • Served with lots of fat attached
    • Your dog is allergic to beef

    Can dogs be allergic to beef?

    Yes, some dogs do have a beef allergy; in fact it’s one of the most common allergies in dogs (though that’s likely just due to the fact that beef is so present in dog food, so there’s a high sample of cases). 

    It’s likely you’ll discover a beef allergy at an early age, as so many commercial dog foods contain beef as a hero ingredient, so it’s hard to avoid it! If, for some reason your pooch hasn’t eaten beef before, introduce the meat slowly and keep an eye on how they react to it in the hours afterwards. 

    A dog’s allergic reaction to beef could include: 

    • Itching and scratching due to a rash, or reddened or itchy skin
    • Licking their face and paws excessively
    • Vomiting and diarrhoea: severely, or for longer than a day
    • Tummy pains or bloating
    • Swelling 
    • Breathing problems or wheezing
    • Ear problems or infections
    • General changes in behaviour (lethargy, down in the dumps)

    Can beef make dogs sick?

    If your dog is allergic to beef, yes it can make them sick. In all cases, the same risks apply to beef as with humans; if it isn’t prepared or served safely, it carries the risk of causing harm to a dog’s health, possibly causing gastrointestinal issues which can make them very sick. 

    How to safely give beef to your dog?

    Beef is a delicious, nutritious food to give your dog when it’s prepared and served safely. Here is the preferred way to serve which is the most beneficial to your pooch:  

    • Make sure the beef is fresh and high quality. Get the leanest beef you can find.  
    • Cook it well (either by roasting, pan-frying or grilling), as raw beef 

    is too risky to give to a dog.

    • Don’t season the meat or serve with any sauces - keep it plain. Your pooch will find it tasty and juicy enough on its own.
    • So long as it’s cooked, your dog can eat plain steak, mince, burgers and other cuts of fresh beef - but don’t serve processed or cured meat unless it’s specifically developed for dogs. 
    • Chop the meat into bite-sized pieces to avoid the chance of choking (dogs will wolf beef down very quickly!)

    How much is safe to give your dog?

    As with any food you give a dog, don’t serve just beef. If your dog’s meal is mostly lean protein, such as beef, that’s great! Lean proteins offer the most benefit to dogs. However, balance out their meals with a good amount of nutritious vegetables, fruits, botanicals and supplements to ensure their diet is well-rounded. 

    How much beef you should feed your dog will depend on their breed, size and age. If the beef comes as part of a healthy, grain-free dog food, then the ideal serving size should be outlined on the pack.

    Can dogs eat beef everyday

    Yes they can! It’s not harmful to serve your pooch beef every day, in fact, we tend to recommend dogs stay on the same food if they tolerate it well.  Changing their diet can often lead to GI upset - so as long as their beef dog food is balanced with vegetables and other fresh foods (to ensure a wide range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals) - it’s all good. 

    Can puppies eat beef?

    In theory, puppies can eat beef - it’s full of proteins which contribute towards muscle development and strength-building, which are essential for a puppy’s healthy growth. That said, if your regular puppy food contains beef, it may be better to stick to that rather than home-cooked beef, until your pup is ready to eat a broader range of foods. 

    Check with your vet first if you’d like to try a new food with your pup. If you do give your puppy fresh beef, make sure it’s cooked well, served plain, and chopped into pieces suitable for little puppy mouths. 

    What types of beef can dogs eat?

    Beef is not only delicious, but versatile! From burgers to short rib, a dog can potentially eat beef in a whole meat locker of ways - but some are safer and more nutrient-rich than others. Let’s go into more detail as to what kinds of beef are suitable for your pooch. 

    Can dogs eat raw beef?

    Dogs can eat raw beef in theory - and many do, particularly those with owners who are raw food advocates. Raw beef still contains the same proteins, vitamins and minerals that contribute to a dog’s health and wellbeing as cooked meat does. However, vets generally recommend cooked beef as there are fewer risks of carrying harmful bacteria - not just for a dog’s health but for dog-to-human contamination. 

    Can dogs eat mince?

    Yes - cooked minced beef is a safe and healthy food for dogs, with high levels of protein and amino acids. Ideally, keep it the leanest mince possible, and cook it well. Raw minced beef is much higher risk than raw steak or fresh cut beef, so you want to be extra safe that it isn’t served raw. Also serve it plain to your pooch with no seasoning, sauce or salt.

    Can dogs eat corned beef?

    Corned beef is a no for dogs. The classic tinned meat (which humans tend to eat with sandwiches or in a corned beef hash) is full of salt and fats which are of no nutritional value to a dog and could even cause harm. Put simply, it’s way too processed and too far from the source beef it came from to be suitable for a dog’s belly. 

    Can dogs eat steak?

    Dogs can eat steak, it’s an excellent protein source! However, given its richness it should be seen as more of a treat than an everyday meal. 

    Be sure it’s lean, cooked (either pan-fried or grilled), and served plain without salt, spices, butter or seasoning. Ideally, chop off thick fat rinds and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces; there are choking hazards with steak as it can be chewy. 

    Can dogs eat beef bones?

    Dogs can eat large beef bones - chewing really relaxes dogs and it’s great for their teeth, too. Just be sure to supervise your dog while they’re chewing, and be extra careful if it’s a cooked bone, as they’re more prone to splintering. If you’re wondering ‘Can dogs eat beef ribs  or short rib?’ then the same rules apply. As we’ve said, just be sure the meat isn’t seasoned or covered in sauce. 


    Can dogs eat beef jerky?

    Dogs should avoid commercial beef jerky for humans as it will likely contain added salt and flavourings. Beef jerky for dogs, however, is the perfect option for a meaty, protein-rich snack as it won’t contain preservatives or junk. 


    Can dogs eat roast beef?

    Absolutely - beef that’s been roasted is a safe way to feed your dog beef. Just be wary when it comes to portion sizes, and don’t serve roast beef that’s been marinated or covered in salt and seasonings. Cutting some plain, cooked meat from the centre of a roast beef joint is a good option.

    Can dogs eat beef burgers?

    So long as they’re well cooked, dogs can eat beef burgers as a treat. Serve them plain without sauces or seasoning, and avoid the burgers with added onion or garlic in the beef mix. 

    Can dogs eat beef fat?

    In moderation. Though cuts of beef with a bit of fat attached won’t harm your dog and can actually help them feel full, it’s not healthy for your pooch to eat thick pieces of fat as a snack. Consuming fat in this way can lead to pancreatitis or weight gain, and it can also be a choking hazard.

    Can dogs eat beef liver?

    Yes - beef liver is full of iron, copper, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin B12 - all super important for a dog’s healthy coat and skin, and in the smooth-running of their internal bodily functions. Beef liver is also really tasty to dogs - just make sure it’s cooked and served plain.

    Can dogs eat beef pate?

    No. Pate is so delicious to us humans, but that’s because it’s very high in salt and fat. Your dog will definitely love the taste of beef pate, too - but it’s best to avoid it, or else risk your pooch having a dodgy stomach all evening. 

    Can dogs eat beef stock cubes?

    No - dogs should never eat beef stock cubes or other kinds of gravy thickeners. Not only do they provide no nutritional value to a pooch, they can be dangerous, as lots of stock cubes contain onion which could cause haemolytic anaemia in some dogs. Stick to cuts of cooked beef - it’s much more appetising!


    Overall, beef is a top ingredient in a healthy dog diet; it’s delicious, high in protein, vitamins and minerals, and nutritious enough to take up the best part of a dog’s meal. 

    The general rule is that lean cuts of beef are best, either roasted, grilled or pan-fried; and be sure never to add salt, seasoning, spices or other sauces. 

    What other foods can dogs safely eat? 

    If you’re keen on including fresh beef in your dog’s diet but are curious about alternatives, you could try the following:

  • Wet dog food with chicken and beef for a readily balanced protein-rich diet for dogs
  • Beef jerky for dogs for a meaty, protein treat
  • Wet dog food with fish for protein and essential fats that’s easy on digestion

  • Ready to browse our range of nutritious grain-free food for dogs? We include nutritious lean proteins such as beef, chicken, turkey and fish in our dog food, packed full of nutrients to keep a dog healthy and full of life. 

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