How to Cook Liver for Dogs

How to Cook Liver for Dogs woman boiling liver in kitchen

This organ meat seems to have an unpleasant reputation, however there is a reason it is called a nature’s “multi-vitamin”.  By the end of this article, you will learn how to cook liver for dogs and learn that liver is truly amazing!

Your furry best friend will be delighted you are learning how to cook liver for dogs. Dogs can eat beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, and wild game liver. Some liver sources are less fatty and more nutrient dense then others.

The health benefits of adding liver to your dog’s diet is numerous, you might even want to fry some up for both you and your pup.

You might be pleasantly surprised that once you learn how to cook liver for dogs that it is quite palpable and easy to serve to your dog.

If you would prefer baking homemade treats for your dogs, a tasty recipe was added just for you.  As with all food, dog’s need to limit how much liver they consume daily.

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What Exactly is Liver?

Before we get into how to cook liver for dogs, let’s define exactly what is liver.  Liver is an organ meat found in all vertebrates.  In simple terms, the main function of the liver is to detox, synthesize proteins and produce essential chemicals for digestion.

How to Cook Liver for Dogs Bowl full of liver

How to Cook Liver for Dogs:  Liver Sources

While all liver is contains essential vitamins and is low in calories, some are richer than others.  The most common liver served to dogs is chicken and beef.  The lesser-known sources are deer, elk, pork, and turkey.

Now that you decided you want to learn how to cook liver for dogs, you need to find a reliable source to purchase the liver.  Most grocery stores have fresh or frozen chicken and beef liver. Your local meat market will also sell liver from a variety of animals.

When we compare the two most common liver sources, beef, and chicken, one is slightly better.

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Beef liver is lower in calories and fat then chicken liver. It’s also higher in B vitamins and vitamin A. Beef liver contains 20x’s more copper than chicken liver.

Chicken liver has slightly higher protein and contains 2x’s the amount of selenium and iron then beef.

It’s a great idea to alternate between chicken liver and beef liver, that way you can get the benefits of both food sources.  We know that liver is packed with nutrients, but we will be looking closer to see exactly what is in this organ meat.

How to Cook Liver for Dogs Cutting board with liver

How to Cook Liver for Dogs:  The Health Benefits

Your dog will consume liver strictly for the delicious smell and taste.  We serve them liver due to its reputation of being one of the most nutritious foods!

Liver is a nutrient dense food that holds multiple benefits for dogs. It’s easy to see why dog owners want to learn how to cook liver for dogs.

It’s loaded with vitamins such as vitamin A, E, D, and B vitamins.  It also contains minerals like iron, copper, and zinc. Two additional benefits are its high protein content and it is a great source of essential fatty acids.

Vitamin A contains antioxidants that supports vision, kidneys, reproductive organs, and healthy heart function. Vitamin A also promotes healthy digestion.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), B9 (folate), B12 (cobalamin), play a role in growth and the function of body cells. B vitamins prevent fatigue and anemia. B12 provides daily energy as well as nourishing the brain, nerves, and blood cells.

Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that supports healthy immunity. It also offers our dogs protection from cancer and infectious diseases.

Iron is animportant mineral that supports oxygen to the blood, regulates body temperature, and supports brain function. Iron helps dogs who are anemic or struggle with fatigue. It also supports a healthy metabolism.

Copper is a unique mineral that supports brain, heart, and skin functions.

Zinc is amineral that supports healthy bones and joints.

Protein is needed fordogs to keep up their energy levels. In 1 oz. of liver there is 7 grams of protein.

Essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 are found in liver.  They promote healthy immune function and are nourishing for the dog’s skin and coat.

Liver is an incredible source of healthy vitamins and minerals with numerous health benefits. 

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How to Cook Liver for Dogs: How Much Liver is Healthy?

One commonly asked question is can my dog have too much liver?  The answer is yes.

A well balanced diet for dogs consists of 5%-10% organ meats. So, 5%-10% of your dog’s weight. For a medium sized dog that would equal to approximately 1 oz. of liver a day.

Introduce liver to your dog’s diet gradually! A dog’s digestion is delicate and needs to adjust to this new food.

Too much liver consumption can cause vitamin A overdose.  Keep an eye on your dog’s stool, if it’s loose, reduce the amount of liver they are consuming.  Going overboard on liver can possibly give your dog copper toxicity.

Woman boiling liver in kitchen

How to Cook Liver for Dogs

The five most common ways to prepare liver for your dog are freeze drying the liver, dehydrating, boiling, pan frying and baking it.  Let’s go into a bit more detail on how to cook liver for dogs.

Prepare the Liver. Thaw your liver if it’s frozen. Rinse your liver in cool water before cooking.

  1. Freeze Dried Liver.  To freeze dry the liver, you will need a Freeze Dryer.  The benefits freeze drying are that it helps retrain the original color, taste, and nutrients of the liver. Freeze dried liver can be stored on your pantry shelf for several years.
  • Dehydrating Liver. If using a commercial dehydrator, follow the instructions for your machine. Slice the liver into strips and place on dehydrating trays.

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  • We’ve been using this dehydrator (affiliate link) for years and it’s been super reliable. It dries evenly and you don’t have to rotate the trays.

If dehydrating using your oven, then preheat your oven to 170º.  Cut the liver up into small pieces or strips and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cook the liver for approximately 4 hours.  After 2 hours, flip the pieces or strips over. Keep in your refrigerator for 5-7 days.

  • Boiling Liver.  Place the liver in a large cooking pot on the stove top. Add enough cool water to cover the liver. Simmer the liver for approximately 15 minutes. The liver is done when it is tender.  Thicker pieces of liver will need to simmer longer, and thinly sliced liver will need a few minutes less.
  • Pan Fry Liver.  In a cast iron skillet, add 1 tsp. of lard or bacon fat.  Slice your liver into strips and add it to the skillet. On medium heat, begin cooking the liver until it’s tender.  Approximately 2-3 minutes on each side.
  • Baked Liver.  Preheat your oven to 325º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cut the liver into strips and place on parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir or flip over your liver.  Bake an additional 10 minutes until tender.

When learning how to cook liver for dogs, remember that dogs do not need additional oils, butter, salt, or seasonings.  Liver is already very palpable to a dog, making it perfect just as it is!

How do I tell if it’s done?  When you cut into the liver, the juice will not be red.  The insides may remain pink due to the nature of liver. 

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How to Cook Liver for Dogs:  Oat Liver Roll Recipe

For those that enjoy a little food preparation, especially for their dogs, this recipe was included with you in mind.  It takes approximately 15-20 minutes to prepare and 20-25 minutes to bake.

Oat Liver Rolls

1 c.      beef or calf liver (thawed and rinsed)

3 c.      oat flour (rolled oats ground up in a blender)

2 large free-range eggs

2 T.      coconut oil or avocado oil

Preheat your oven to 190º. In a food processor, chop up the liver until it resembles a paste.  Add in the oat flour, eggs, and oil.  Pulse until well mixed.  The mixture will resemble dough. Dust a cutting board with oat flour and begin rolling out the dough.

Use a knife to slice the roll into desired sized slices. Place the slices on a parchment line baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Store in fridge or freeze for later.

When first learning how to cook liver for dogs, chose a method that you are most familiar with to begin.  If you make homemade jerky in your oven, then dehydrating or baking the liver would be easy for you. It comes down to which way is going to be efficient for your lifestyle.

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How to Cook Liver for Dogs:  Worth Every Effort

Dogs naturally love eating liver. Many people are not a huge fan of liver but will prepare it for their dog strictly because it’s a nutrient dense food. It’s important to introduce liver slowly to your dog.

Call your local meat market or grocery store meat department and find out what is readily available in your area.  If you are a bit squeamish about blood, you might begin with chicken liver.

It’s a satisfying feeling knowing we are providing our canine family with a naturally nutritious food. Liver is loaded with vitamins and minerals that will support your dog’s health.

Your dog will reap the benefits in the form of a healthy immune system, a shiny coat, healthy vision, and a healthier heart. 

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