I personally can’t stand the taste of liver, but it is a different story for Izzy and the dogs I see in my practice.
Liver, an organ meat, is found in the ‘offal’ section of supermarkets. It’s very much worth buying some liver for your dog to be fed two-three times per week and this can be done easily with a commercial food diet by boiling the liver and adding the liver and the water over the food. A third of a cup of the meat is sufficient per serving. (I don’t like feeding raw foods combined with cooked/commercial foods – because the digestive enzymes needed for raw vs cooked are different.) If feeding a raw diet, it’s okay to feed raw liver.
I also make my own liver treats which I use as a reward for dogs in my massage practice.
Liver is nutrient-rich. It’s a source of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, and Co-enzyme Q10. It’s a good antioxidant and, for performance dogs, it’s a super food.
It’s possible to feed too much of a good thing and this is also the case with liver. If a dog is fed too much liver, it can develop a condition known as hypervitaminosis A; this is an overdose of vitamin A.
Symptoms of a vitamin A overdose can include bone deformity, bone spurs on the dog’s legs or spine that cause him to limp, digestive upsets, muscle weakness, stiffness and sometimes weight loss.
If feeding a commercial diet, I think liver is one of the easiest ‘toppers’ you can introduce that will bring some fresh ingredients into your dog’s diet.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand