Tag Archives: liver

Labeling of raw ingredients

I use a fair amount of lambs fry (liver) since I make my own dog treats and cakes. A friend recently bought some liver at the supermarket and was feeding it to her dog (raw) as a treat. I asked her if she had frozen the lamb first, and she hadn’t.

I explained that the liver I buy from the supermarket, which is human grade, comes with this warning:

She had purchased her human-grade liver from her local supermarket but it wasn’t marked. So I asked a few questions about labeling and, apparently, a warning about freezing or cooking is only required if the liver is sold for pets; if selling for humans, this type of labeling isn’t required because it is assumed that humans will be cooking the liver. My supermarket opts to label the lambs fry even though it is sold in the human-grade butchery area.

Eating of raw liver (if not frozen beforehand) increases the risk of hydatids. Since many pet owners opt to buy human-quality food, I wonder if we are missing a vital step in educating people about the risks? Raw pet food retailers in our area all supply their products to consumers in a frozen state.

Anyway, my friend promised to go home and freeze the remaining liver first before feeding it to her dog…

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

In praise of liver


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


Homemade doggy ice cream

I can claim another culinary victory this week.

I truly believe that good nutrition is the basis of a long life.  As I say in my dog massage classes, “Senior dog care starts before your dog is a senior.”

And I have successfully created some dog ice cream for Izzy that is a nutritious treat.  It uses probiotic yogurt, fresh pureed pumpkin and cooked liver (lamb’s liver in this case).

Best of all, it looks like orange/chocolate chip ice cream!

Izzy's ice cream

I’ve poured this mixture into ice cube trays and Izzy can indulge in it a few times a week.

This is a treat – not a core dog food of course.  But I’m very pleased with the result.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand