Most people are omnivores, and so are dogs. So there's no reason you can't break bread together now and then and share the same meal. And what could be better than a delicious steak dinner! But you may wonder if it's OK for your dog to eat steak. Wouldn't it be great if you could cook him a thick, juicy steak knowing that it was vet-approved dog food?
How to Cook Steak for Your Dog
Well, other than pouring him a glass of syrah to go with his sirloin, your dog can indeed enjoy a steak dinner with you occasionally — just skip the trimmings like onions and mushrooms, and don't cook it in coconut oil.
Foods that dogs should never eat
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, foods that dogs should never eat include alcohol, coconut and coconut oil, mushrooms, chocolate, citrus, grapes and raisins, nuts (in particular, macadamia nuts), onions and their relatives (garlic, chives), xylitol, yeast, and raw or undercooked meats.
Many of these foods are dangerous for dogs, however, while feeding raw meat may be controversial, many domestic dogs thrive on a raw diet known as BARF. And garlic in small quantities in larger breeds is known to be beneficial and sometimes recommended by holistic vets.
Nuts, in general, should be avoided due to high levels of fats and oils, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets. Macadamia nuts are poisonous to dogs and can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs.
So while you might want to pan sear that tenderloin to a juicy medium rare in coconut oil with a heap of sliced onions and a crust of pistachios, it would be a bad idea for your dog. But don't skip the veggies — serve her some tasty sauteed carrots, green beans, or sweet potato to round out her special meal.
How to cook the steak
When cooking a steak for your dog, trim the excess fat and don't season it with salt or pepper. The ASPCA says too much salt is bad for dogs and salt can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures, and even death. Consequently, avoid giving your dog any salty pretzels or potato chips that you might be having alongside your meal unless they are salt-free.
Cook your dog's steak stove-top in a pan or skillet, under the broiler, or BBQ until it's well-done. Of course, dogs in the wild hunting prey don't have caring owners to cook their meat for them, but that doesn't mean your dog needs to eat raw meat. According to Purina, dogs in the wild consume the whole animal, bones and all, to get the balanced nutrition they need. For people who wish to recreate a balanced raw diet, consult with your veterinarian and do the research necessary to develop a safe and nutritionally complete diet that meets your dogs' requirements.
The nutrition in a steak
As omnivores, dogs require a significant amount of protein for energy. The Merck Vet Manual says that adult dogs require 18 percent of their diet to be protein, which in most traditional dog diets is derived from meat. However, protein can be obtained from many other plant-based foods as well. By contrast, only 5 percent of a dog's diet should be fat. So if you splurge on the occasional steak for your dog, keep it lean.
Beef is a high source of protein, fatty acids which contribute to muscle tone and healthy skin, hair, and joints, and Omega-6 which helps give dogs a shiny coat. But dogs also require many other minerals, vitamins, and nutrients they can't get from steak or beef alone. A cooked steak dinner should always be an occasional treat, not a regular part of your dog's diet.
Enjoying a steak with your dog
If you are feeding your dog a steak with bones, such as a T-bone, keep in mind that bones easily splinter and present a choking hazard, especially cooked bones. The American Kennel Club reports that dogs eating bones run the risk of needing surgery to remove the bits of bone since they can cause obstructions in the intestines.
In a recent Pet MD article, T. J. Dunn Jr., DVM, says, "Cooked bones should always be off-limits. They become brittle and easily break into sharp shards that can do a lot of damage when they pass through the gastrointestinal tract. Never feed your dog cooked bones. This includes those that originate in your kitchen and those that can be purchased."
To be on the safe side and avoid the potential hazard — and vet bills — that eating bones can cause, feed your dog boneless cuts of steak such as tenderloin, ribeye, sirloin, or similar cuts, or at least make sure to trim out any bones along with the fat.
Dr. Karen Becker says if you're feeding a raw bone for mental stimulation and to keep the teeth clean, select a raw bone that is approximately the size of your dog's head, which allows gnawing but reduces the chance of a chunk breaking off and being swallowed. And always closely monitor your dog when he's chewing on a bone.