Liver gets a bad reputation because many people don't like eating it, and it's an organ that filters toxins. It doesn't store those toxins, though, so liver won't poison your dog. In fact, liver is good for your dog in moderation, including boiled or dehydrated chicken liver, because it is high in protein and vitamins, is bite-size, and makes great treats for dogs.
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However, chicken liver and other organ meat is only one part of a balanced diet. Organ meat shouldn't make up more than 5 percent of a dog's diet and should be cooked.
Benefits of chicken liver for dogs
Liver, especially that from chickens that are fed quality diets, is a very vitamin-rich protein that's not only safe for your dog but nutritionally beneficial as well. Liver contains vitamins A and B, iron, copper, zinc, and essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6.
Liver is good for increasing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and supports healthy vision. However, chicken liver can be fatty, so it should be fed only in small amounts. Excessive fat in a dog's diet can lead to pancreatitis.
How to boil chicken liver for dogs
There are several ways to cook chicken liver for dogs. You don't need any special equipment other than a pot. Rinse the chicken livers. Bring water to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, drop the chicken livers into the water, and boil for about 40 minutes.
Note that the livers should be cooked until they are no longer pink in the middle. Remove the livers and allow them to cool. Feed your dog the livers or pieces of the livers as treats.
You can also mash the boiled chicken livers to create chopped liver). Add whatever might benefit the dog, such as hard boiled egg, oats, or a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, and roll it into balls to create your own dog treats. Boiled chicken liver pieces can easily be frozen.
How to dehydrate chicken liver for dogs
If you have a dehydrator, this might be the best option. Rinse the chicken livers thoroughly. Spray the racks of the dehydrator with nonstick spray. Randomly place the chicken livers on several tray layers in the dehydrator, leaving about 1 inch between each liver. Livers should be a uniform size for even cooking. Cut larger pieces of liver if necessary.
Dehydrate the chicken livers for about eight to 10 hours, changing the racks around midway through the process. Note that the drying time will vary depending on the machine. The temperature should be set to at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit in order to kill pathogens in the organ meat.
Not all dehydrators have reliable thermometers, so using a meat thermometer inside the machine to track the temperature is a good idea. If you are concerned about the meat reaching the desired temperature to kill bacteria, flash cook the chicken livers in an oven preheated to 275 degrees for 10 minutes before dehydrating.
Chicken liver dog treats
Chicken liver for dogs should be fed in moderation and should be considered a treat or supplement rather than a main course. Giving dogs chicken liver once or twice a week is plenty, whether boiled or dehydrated. Liver is rich in vitamin A, and too much vitamin A causes hypervitaminosis, which can lead to weight loss, weakened muscles, and digestive issues.
Chicken liver treats are very tasty for dogs, and the best part is that you know exactly what is in them, and that's one ingredient: chicken liver. Sourcing the livers from organic farms is even better. Both boiled and dehydrated chicken livers for dogs should be stored in the refrigerator. Boiled chicken liver dog treats last no more than two days in the fridge, but they last longer in the freezer. Refrigerated dehydrated chicken livers last up to two weeks.