Can Dogs Eat Liver?

Updated 08 April 2024
Read time: 6 mins
article author
Written by Corinne Homer
article author
Reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon
Team Vet

Yes, dogs can eat liver - liver is a tasty and nutritious food for dogs. However it should only be fed in moderation, as high amounts of liver can have negative effects on your hungry pooch.

Read on for the answers to all your questions over whether dogs can eat liver, the health benefits of liver for dogs, and how often you can serve liver as a dog’s dinner time treat.

Is liver good for dogs?

Liver is a very nutrient-dense organ, so yes it is good for dogs to eat, but only in moderation. Not only does liver provide a host of vitamins and minerals for dogs, they also absolutely love the taste, so sneaking a small serving of liver in your dog’s bowl is sure to get their tail wagging.

What are the health benefits?

Liver is very rich in iron, as well as other nutrients like copper, zinc and essential fatty acids. Let’s go into why the attributes of liver are so beneficial to a dog’s health:

  • Rich in iron, crucial for a dog’s haemoglobin production and oxygenating the blood.
  • Copper and zinc, for boosted immunity and healthy enzyme function. 
  • Lots of vitamins - including B vitamins, important for cells and the nervous system; and vitamin A to encourage healthy skin, coat condition and vision.  
  • Essential fatty acids for a host of benefits, including cognitive function, joint health and a healthy heart.
  • Source of protein, vital for muscle growth and maintenance. 
  • Tastes delicious so will get your pooch eating without hesitation.

When is liver unsafe for dogs?

The biggest risk factor with liver is that it’s rich in Vitamin A, so if they eat too much, dogs can suffer from vitamin A toxicity. This can lead to bone and joint issues, stomach upset or even signs of nervous system dysfunction.

Liver, and any other organ meat is very high in purines, so also needs to be avoided by pooches that are prone to purine stones (urate or xanthine).

To be extra safe, liver should be served cooked rather than raw. It should also be fed in moderation to dogs, as an occasional treat rather than a regular food. Remember to feed as part of a nutritious, well-rounded diet; alongside a mix of lean proteins, delicious fruit and vegetables, and supplements.

Can puppies eat liver?

Liver is safe to feed a puppy in small amounts - however it’s best to feed your young pup food that’s specific to their needs. Choose a healthy, grain-free puppy food to be certain your pup’s getting the nutrition they need. 

Can dogs be allergic to liver?

Some dogs can be allergic to liver. To be sure your pooch can stomach some tasty liver, feed a tiny amount if they’ve not tried it before. Keep an eye on them after feeding to see if there are any adverse reactions, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, skin rashes or breathing difficulties. 

Can liver make dogs sick?

The biggest risk of feeding liver to your pooch is if they receive too much vitamin A. Vitamin A toxicity can lead to distressing symptoms such as stomach issues, nervous system problems, or in the long term, bone growth dysfunction. So long as you don’t feed your dog liver every day, they shouldn’t have any issues. 

Of course, if your pooch is allergic to liver, liver will likely make them sick. Look to feed your dog other sources of protein if this is the case. 

How to safely give liver to your dog?

The safest way of feeding liver to your dog is to assure it’s fresh and well cooked - the most nutritious way is to boil or oven bake it. If you pan-fry it, use a low fat oil. Cut the liver into bite-sized pieces for your pooch before serving. 

Be sure the liver is plain and doesn’t contain any other flavourings or additions such as onion or garlic, as these are toxic to dogs. 

How much is safe to give your dog?

As mentioned, it’s important to regard liver as an occasional treat as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet, so don’t give a large amount or feed it to your dog every day. If you consider it a treat, then liver (and other treats) should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s diet. The portion size will depend on the breed and size of your dog - get in touch with your vet for specifics. 

What kinds of liver can dogs eat?

Liver comes in all varieties, so let’s go into more detail over which kinds of liver are recommended for your dog.

Can dogs eat raw liver?

It’s not the best idea to feed your dog raw liver. Though some dog owners swear by a raw food diet, vets generally advise that cooking meat and offal makes it less likely to carry bacteria or contaminants. Cook it either by boiling, oven-roasting or frying in a small amount of low-fat oil, and make sure it’s plain, without flavourings.

Can dogs eat lamb’s liver?

Yes. Just like other kinds of liver, lamb’s liver is a great source of protein, and is rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, so is safe for dogs to eat. Feed in moderation as an occasional treat alongside a mix of other tasty lean proteins. 

Can dogs eat chicken liver?

Yes, chicken liver is a nutritious food for dogs. Just as with other kinds of liver, chicken liver contains a lot of protein, vitamins and minerals that have many health benefits for dogs - but it should be fed in moderation. 

Can dogs eat pig’s liver?

It’s safe for your dog to eat pork liver, but there are a few things to note. Firstly, it has less fat content than chicken liver, so could be considered a leaner source of protein - but importantly, there are also fewer nutrients. If you’re going for nutrition, chicken or lamb’s liver might be a better choice. 

Can dogs eat liver pate? 

Liver pate isn’t recommended for a pooch. Pate rarely comes in an unflavoured format - there are usually lots of flavourings and additives to give it that delectable, creamy texture. It’s also usually much higher in fat, and less nutrient dense. For a dog to get all the benefits of liver (protein, iron, essential fatty acids), go for the liver itself rather than in a pate format. 


In summary, dogs can eat iron-rich liver as a nutritious treat alongside a healthy well-balanced diet. Be sure the liver is fed in moderation, safely cooked, and avoid added flavourings such as you’d find in liver pate. 

What other foods can dogs safely eat? 

If you like the sound of liver but you’re considering other nutritious foods for dogs, why not try the following? 

Salmon as a lean protein and a source of nutritious fatty acids. As a powerful supplement version, try omega-rich Salmon Oil for Dogs.

Chicken, a nutritious lean protein that can be fed regularly to your dog as opposed to just occasionally.

High-protein dog food, with the meaty goodness of ostrich and lamb for dogs who need extra protein.

Kidneys or heart are other beneficial organ meats to feed to your dog in moderation. 

Try our natural, grain-free dog food in a range of tasty recipes using nutritious, whole ingredients - the perfect choice for your pooch’s physical and mental wellbeing. 

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