A St. Patrick’s Day celebration isn’t complete without a pint of green beer and a helping of corned beef and cabbage. Of course, this tasty meaty dish has to be shared.
If you’re a dog lover, it just makes sense to share this with your four-legged friend. Now, cabbages are completely safe for dogs to eat, but what about corned beef? Can dogs eat corned beef?
As you might know by now, not all human foods are safe for dogs. Some people food, although healthy, might even be harmful or toxic to dogs. The question is: Is corned beef one of the foods your dogs should or shouldn’t eat?
Don’t worry. We’ll get to that in a bit. After all, Dog Food Guide and its team just love to uncover the truth behind any dog-related matters- their behavior and the food they can and can’t eat, corned beef included.
Meaty Corned Beef Facts
Corned beef and cabbage is a staple Irish meal that’s eaten during St. Patrick’s Day. But did you know that this traditional dish wasn’t always corned beef and cabbage?
Back in the day, the must-have Irish dish was bacon and cabbage. However, in the 1800s, bacon and the like were too costly for Irish immigrants in the United States. Thus, they had to settle for something more affordable. Enter: Corned Beef.
Corned beef is made using beef brisket. This is a tough cut of meat that originates from the cow’s front or lower breast. The term “corned” doesn’t really talk about corn kernels. Instead, it refers to the salt used to preserve or cure the meat.
The brisket was dry-cured at that time, using large-grained rock salt, aka “corns” of salt. Nowadays, this often goes through a brining process wherein the meat is tenderized by submerging it into a saltwater solution. The brine can also include sugar, vinegar, garlic, and other pickling spices.
While corned beef and cabbages seem like a perfect match, there are other ways of eating corned beef, like a corned beef sandwich and corned beef hash. Casseroles and soups also taste good with some corned beef.
Nutrition-wise, corned beef (just like other preserved meats) has a reputation for having low nutritional value. Yes, it is a good protein source, but it is also high in fat and sodium. Nonetheless, it still contains a couple of vitamins and minerals. This includes:
- Vitamin B12
Can Dogs Eat Corned Beef?
Now that you know the back story behind corned beef, let’s find out if corned beef kill dogs or if it is safe to eat.
Beef is generally safe for your dogs to eat, but corned beef is a different story. Corned beef isn’t toxic like chocolates and grapes. As such, giving your dog a small amount won’t kill it. However, it isn’t entirely safe.
Yes, you can probably let your dogs eat a few bites of corned beef every Saint Patrick’s Day as an occasional treat. But adding this to your dog’s diet routinely is a bad idea.
Same with humans, unwanted health issues are bound to happen if you choose to feed corned beef to your dogs in large quantities or regularly.
Benefits Of Feeding Your Dog Corned Beef
Giving your dog corned beef once in a while can add a few nutrients to your pet’s diet. After all, this tasty treat contains a couple of vitamins and minerals, like protein, iron, and vitamin B12, that can help keep your dog’s red blood cells in tip-top condition.
However, the fact remains that corned beef is still a processed red meat. Humans and dogs alike gain little nutritional benefits from eating this type of food.
Why Is Corned Beef Bad For Dogs?
While corned beef isn’t in any way toxic, feeding this to your dogs the wrong way comes with risks. And, truth be told, the stakes are far greater than the benefits. To give you an idea, here are some of the problems your dogs might encounter:
Excessive Thirst Or Dehydration
Incorporating foods with way too much salt in a dog’s diet means trouble. Same with humans, eating salty foods can make your dogs thirstier. A body with too much sodium in it will pull out water from its cells.
So, if your dog ate corned beef, make sure to hydrate them by giving them a bowl of water. Milk isn’t recommended since a good number of dogs are lactose intolerant.
Digestive System Problems
Feeding your dog too much fatty foods like corned beef can disrupt your dog’s digestive system. Vomiting, diarrhea, and an upset stomach are just some of the things you can expect.
If worst comes to worst, a dog who eats a diet high in fat can also develop a potentially life-threatening condition called pancreatitis – which can range from mild to severe pancreatitis. Its symptoms include GI problems, bloody diarrhea, fever, nausea, lethargy, and lack of appetite.
While long-term medication may not be necessary, severe cases require dogs to be hospitalized, and some need surgery. Acute pancreatitis in dogs will also require diet modification.
Another problem your dog might face when eating foods with high fat and salt content is weight gain. So, if your dog is already overweight, it’s best to avoid feeding your dog corned beef since the salt and fat in this treat won’t help at all in your dog’s weight loss journey.
Heart & Kidney Issues
If you think that’s all the adverse effects of eating salty food and fatty food on your dog’s health, think again. Apart from weight gain, GI issues, and dehydration, excessive salt and fat also increase your dog’s chances of getting high blood pressure, kidney stones, and other heart and kidney diseases.
Whether homemade or canned corn beef, both will have loads of sodium that your dog won’t need. After all, corned beef isn’t considered “corned” if salt isn’t added to the mix.
To give you a clearer picture, a dog’s daily sodium requirement is only 200mg (according to nap.edu). Now, try comparing this to the amount of sodium an 85-gram cooked corned beef contains. According to Healthline, this approximately contains around 837mg of sodium.
While it is true that dogs need to eat salt to stay healthy, too much salt can be lethal and can even lead to sodium ion poisoning.
Symptoms of sodium ion poisoning, aka “salt poisoning or toxicity,” include vomiting, excessive urination and thirst, diarrhea, lack of appetite, incoordination, and lethargy. If the poisoning is severe, this can even lead to seizures, tremors, coma, and even death.
Can Contain Ingredients That Are Harmful To Dogs
Apart from having too much salt and fat, corned beef can also have other harmful ingredients. This includes garlic, sugar, pepper, and other spices. The added additives and seasoning can be detrimental to your pet’s health.
How To Feed Your Dogs Corned Beef
As mentioned, letting your dog eat corned beef occasionally is alright. So when the occasion comes, like St. Patty’s Day, make sure to do the following to keep all the potential dangers at bay.
Always Check The Labels
If you’re feeding your dogs canned corned beef or any kind of canned meat, it’s always best to opt for those with lower sodium and fat content.
And while you’re at it, check as well the ingredient list to ensure that there are no other ingredients (like chili peppers) that can harm your dog’s tummy or health.
Mix It Up With Other Dog-Friendly Food
If you’re serving corned beef and cabbage, feel free to give your dog a few bites. Cooked and raw cabbage, after all, is safe for dogs as long as it’s given in moderation.
Apart from cabbage, you might also want to know if dogs eat onions and potatoes. Onions are considered toxic to dogs, so you better avoid feeding your dog onion-rich foods.
Potatoes (from the nightshade family), on the other hand, can be given in moderation. However, it has to be served plain and cooked. Raw potatoes contain harmful compounds that are deadly to dogs.
When your pet eats corned beef, make sure to share corned beef in small quantities. Wondering how much is too much? Your vet is the best person to ask if you want to know how much corned beef your dogs can eat.
Keep Your Dogs Hydrated
Since the amount of salt in both homemade or canned corned beef can make your dog thirsty, make sure to have a bowl of water ready to keep your dogs hydrated.
Food For Thought
Can dogs eat corned beef? The short answer is yes. So, if your dog ate some, don’t worry. Your dog will live another day. Giving them a little on rare occasions is OK.
The bottom line is that TOO MUCH fatty and salty foods are never good for dogs. So, if you want to know if it’s okay to let your dogs eat bacon, the answer is the same. Now, if you want to know if you SHOULD let your dog eat corned beef, the answer is a bit different.
A dog eats anything that you give them. Dogs aren’t that picky after all. A fresh carrot stick will already make them woof for joy. If you simply want to make your dog happy, just give them vet-approved treats instead of giving them corned beef.
We’re sure your local pet or grocery stores have oodles of dog-friendly treats that contain good fats and are a lot more hearty.