Beginner’s Guide to Feeding Beef Dog Food


Beef can be used in a variety of ways in dog food. It can be offered as freshly prepared meat or a dehydrated ingredient in dry dog food kibbles.

Although the beef quality can vary from one dog food brand to another, beef is regarded by both veterinarians and canine nutritionists as one of the most digestible, nutritious, and palatable forms of animal protein for dogs.

If it is such an excellent source of animal protein for dogs and it is so easy for them to digest, you may wonder why it is less popular than chicken as a dog food ingredient. This is where we can help! This guide will explain why many dog food manufacturers favor poultry over beef. From there, we will explain why it is worth seeking dog foods made with beef and how you can begin feeding them to your canine companion.

So, if you are ready to learn about beef dog food, let’s get started!

Why Is Beef Dog Food Less Common Than Chicken Dog Food?

While some argue that red meats, like beef, are relatively high in cholesterol, so they are less healthy for dogs than white meat, like poultry, the simple truth is many dog food manufacturers favor chicken as the primary protein because it is far more economical. In the past, many dog food brands would promote chicken as the healthiest type of protein for dogs as a way to sell their low-cost dog foods.

As you will learn, beef-based dog foods can be slightly more expensive than chicken-based alternatives, but they are also incredibly healthy and offer several important advantages over dog foods that contain significant amounts of poultry.

Is Beef Healthy for Dogs?

Golden retriever dog licking its lips while lying down eating from bowl

Beef is safe for canine consumption and is one of the most nutritious and digestible types of protein a dog can eat. It is rich in bioavailable protein, meaning the protein within the meat can be absorbed by your dog’s digestive system without causing any digestive issues.

Unfortunately, many dogs suffer from chicken allergies and sensitivities, meaning they experience an immune response when their bodies digest any chicken. On the other hand, beef allergies are far less common in canines.

If you would like to know more about canine chicken allergies, as well as the importance of offering your pooch an alternative to chicken-based dog food, we recommend reading our informative guide – How to Choose Non-Chicken Dog Food that Fits Your Needs.

What Does Beef Offer Dogs?

If chicken is not the best kibble option for dogs, you might wonder what makes beef a superior choice. As mentioned, beef is incredibly nutritious for dogs. Not only is it high in protein that the canine digestive system can break down and absorb, but it is also an incredibly excellent source of iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and vitamins B12, B3, and B6! Read more about the nutrition facts for beef here.

These nutrients are vital for a dog’s short-term and long-term health. Beef is an important source of good fats for dogs, essential for supporting their active lifestyles.

In other words, lean cuts of natural beef are one of the healthiest forms of protein a dog can eat. This also means that high-quality, beef-based dog foods are often superior to the alternatives.

Should You Feed Your Dog Beef Dog Food?

Unless your dog has a rare beef-related allergy or digestive sensitivity to beef, you should seriously consider switching them to dog food that contains beef.

Simply put, beef is a high-quality source of digestible protein that provides dogs with essential amino acids and a wide range of other vital nutrients. Although beef indeed contains comparatively more cholesterol than chicken, dietary cholesterol is not a significant health risk for dogs, especially during their earlier life stages.

This is because the canine digestive system is optimized to break down red meat and the cholesterol within it. This means red meats, like beef, are safe and healthy for dogs.

The one drawback of beef-based dog foods is they can be more expensive than those made with chicken, or more specifically, chicken meal, but they are healthier. That said, spending more money on your dog’s food is well worth the investment.

Given that the quality of a dog’s diet is one of the most important factors for their short-term and long-term health, investing in better quality dog food is one of the best things you can do for your pooch.

What to Consider When Choosing Beef Dog Food

As is the case with any type of dog food, quality is key. Check the ingredients label to ensure that the beef the dog food is made from is real beef.

You also need to ensure that the beef recipe is paired with a highly digestible carbohydrate, such as chia seed, brown rice, barley, or sweet potato, as this will help provide your dog with the energy they need. The beef protein can help them build strong and lean muscles, while the carbohydrates can sustain their daily energy levels.

You should also look out for blends fortified with antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, omega 6 fatty acids, and vitamins E and A, which can help support your dog’s overall health and immune system.

How to Introduce Your Dog to Beef Dog Food

Samoyed dog lying on floor in front of full bowl of dog kibble

Once you have chosen a beef dog food you can trust, you should slowly introduce them to the new food. This helps the dog’s digestive system adjust and prevents any reaction to the new food.

Start by adding a small amount of beef dog food to their current dog food. On the first day, aim for roughly one-fifth of the meal to be the new beef dog food. Over the next week, slowly increase the quantity of new food and reduce the amount of old dog food.

After a week of slowly transitioning your pooch, they should be on a diet that consists exclusively of the new beef dog food. As mentioned, this slow transition is important, as it will help prevent digestive upset that can occur when a dog’s diet is completely altered suddenly.

Since most dogs enjoy the flavor and aroma of beef, you should not encounter any issues when it comes to having your dog eat their new food.

What Type of Beef Dog Food Should You Provide for Your Dog?

Given that quality differs so much from one brand to the next, we suggest choosing one of the following options for your canine companion:

1. Purina Pro Plan High Protein Beef & Rice Dry Dog Food

This high-quality dog food recipe contains real lean beef and brown rice. It is fortified with all the essential vitamins and minerals dogs need and is packed with prebiotic fiber and probiotics for digestive and immune system health.

2. Merrick Classic Real Beef + Brown Rice & Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food

This dry food blend contains real deboned beef as the primary ingredient. It also has high-quality sources of carbohydrates, like brown rice, barley, and quinoa. Each kibble is fortified with everything your pooch needs to support heart health and healthy skin.

3. The Honest Kitchen Whole Clusters Grain Free Beef Recipe

The Honest Kitchen advertises this beef dog food as one of the world’s first human-grade dry dog foods. This means the quality ingredients are unmatched and prepared in a food facility that would meet standards for human food processing. The beef is 100% lean muscle meat and liver meat, so it is highly digestible. It is also fortified with all of the other nutrients your dog needs.

For More Information

For more information on high-quality dog food options, read our 5 Best Limited Ingredient Dog Foods list.

You can also visit our Dog Food Portal to learn more about specific brands and the best options for particular breeds and canine life stages.

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