Can Dogs Eat Cooked Steak Fat?

Dogs eating cooked steak fat is something you may be wondering about. Perhaps your dog licked fat drippings from a pan or you're contemplating using it to entice your dog's appetite. Veterinarian Dr. Ivana shares whether steak fat is OK to feed to dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Cooked Steak Fat?

Dogs eating cooked steak fat is something you may be wondering about. Perhaps your dog licked fat drippings from a pan or you're contemplating using it to entice your dog's appetite. Veterinarian Dr. Ivana shares whether steak fat is OK to feed to dogs.

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Is Cooked Steak Fat Bad or Safe For Dogs?

Let's face it—resisting our dogs' pleading eyes and wagging tails, especially when they catch a whiff of those delicious fat drippings sizzling in the pan, is an arduous task.

The temptation to share a bite or two of that steak fat, which will be tossed out anyway, can be overwhelming, especially considering how our special bond with our canine companions makes us desire to share our meals with them.

However, as tempting as it can be, it's important to remind ourselves that dogs have different dietary needs than humans and many innocent-looking human foods can be actually harmful to them.

This situation has led to many online queries about whether cooked steak fat is bad for dogs and whether licking a pan with fat drippings will get them sick.

In this article, veterinarian Dr. Ivana Crnec, a licensed veterinarian graduate of the University Sv. Kliment Ohridski’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia, covers the following topics:

  • Four risks of dogs eating steak fat
  • What to do if your dog ate steak fat
  • Factors that make eating steak fat dangerous for dogs
  • Steps to prevent your dog from eating fat trimmings
  • Alternate foods to steak fat for dogs
Feeding dogs leftovers such as fat trimmings from a steak is very tempting

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The Risks of Cooked Steak Fat For Dogs

Cooked steak fat or trimmings are hazardous to dogs for of several reasons and can trigger different health problems—some benign and others potentially life-threatening. Here is a more detailed overview of the risks of feeding your dog cooked steak fat.

1. Digestive Upset

The first and most benign outcome is digestive upset. Dogs have very sensitive stomachs and are not equipped to digest cooked, fatty, and seasoned foods.

A dog with digestive upset may experience

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Fever

Most cases of stomach upset in dogs are fortunately transient and self-limiting, meaning the issue will resolve on its own with time. However, more severe cases of digestive upset require veterinary attention.

2. Pancreatitis

A more severe side effect of eating cooked steak fat is pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas and is often triggered by high-fat foods.

It can be the result of sudden consumption of large amounts of fatty foods or prolonged use of smaller amounts of fat-rich foods.

Either way, pancreatitis is a very serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Namely, if left untreated, acute pancreatitis in dogs can be fatal.

Common signs and symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Fever

This clinical manifestation of pancreatitis is similar to that of digestive upset. For dog owners, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. This is the reason veterinary attention is imperative for dogs that have eaten cooked steak fat.

3. Weight Gain

Long-term consumption of high-fat foods contributes to weight gain and obesity. Weight gain is not a disease. However, it increases the risk for several serious and potentially fatal conditions.

For example, obesity is a risk factor for joint issues (arthritis), diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Also, obesity limits the dog’s mobility, thus having an adverse effect on its quality of life.

It should be noted that accidentally feeding your dog cooked steak fat one time will not result in weight gain and obesity; it could be possible in dogs that are fed smaller amounts on a more regular basis.

4. Garlic and Onion Toxicity

Last but not least, and depending on the recipe, some cooked steak fat may contain added spices and seasonings. Most of these additions are hard for dogs to digest and are likely to trigger a bout of an upset stomach.

However, some spices are riskier than others. Namely, garlic and onion are toxic to dogs, and both are available in the form of powdered spices and are often used when cooking trimmings. Be careful you don't give your dog trimmings prepared with these spices.

Garlic and onion are members of the Allium family (alongside leeks, shallots, and chives), and all Allium family members are toxic to dogs. Garlic contains thiosulfates, and onions contain N-propyl disulfide. Thiosulfates and N-propyl disulfide damage the erythrocytes (red blood cells). Damaged red blood cells cannot carry oxygen and are removed from circulation. The end result is anemia.

Signs and symptoms common in dogs with garlic/onion poisoning include:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Drooling (hypersalivation)
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Pale gums
  • Ataxia (lack of coordination)
  • Red or brown-colored urine
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Cyanosis (blue gums/skin)

Garlic and onion poisonings in dogs are life-threatening conditions that warrant immediate veterinary attention.

The high fat content of steak trimmings can make dogs sick, even triggering pancreatitis

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Help! My Dog Ate Steak Fat, What Should I Do?

If your dog ate cooked steak fat, stay as calm as possible and try to assess the situation.

The first thing you should do, and in the case that you catch your dog in the act of eating, is safely separate the dog from the cooked steak fat leftovers. Then, try to evaluate how much they ate. If your dog ate a few bites, there is likely nothing to be worried about. In such a case, it is enough to monitor your dog for the next few hours.

However, if your dog ate a significant amount of cooked steak fat, you need to call the veterinarian and explain what happened. The more info you can give, the easier it will be for the vet to give instructions.

Depending on the amount of trimmings consumed and the specific recipe, your vet will probably recommend visiting for an in-person evaluation.

What to Expect if My Dog Ate Cooked Steak Fat?

The consequences of eating cooked fat steak vary from mild digestive distress to pancreatitis to intoxication. The exact outcome depends on several factors. Here is more about said factors:

The Dog's Size

The first variable is the dog’s size. Obviously, a large dog would have to eat more fat to experience an issue.

On the other hand, for a smaller dog, even several mouthfuls of fat can be hazardous.

The Dog's Age

The second factor is the dog’s age; the stomach of puppies and senior dogs is more sensitive compared to adults.

Therefore, the same amount of trimmings is likely to cause more significant damage in young and old dogs than it is in adults.

The Dog's Health

The dog’s overall health is also important. Dogs with chronic health problems like gastritis and pancreatitis are more susceptible to the adverse effects of cooked steak fat.

The Amount Ingested

It goes without saying that the amount of eaten cooked steak fat affects the outcome. The more trimmings consumed, the more severe the consequences.

The Recipe

Last but not least, the recipe used to prepare the cooked steak fat is important. Namely, cooked steak fat prepared with spices and seasoning is more dangerous than plain trimmings and trimmings featuring only salt.

So, Can Dogs Eat Cooked Steak Fat?

All in all, dogs should not eat cooked steak fat. On their own, trimmings are not toxic to dogs; however, cooked steak fat is a risky food—it can cause pancreatitis and contribute to weight gain.

Plus, depending on the recipe, the added spices and seasonings can be toxic to dogs.

Therefore, feeding your dog cooked steak fat is a big no-no. The good news is that an accidental bite or two is unlikely to cause a problem. However, if your dog eats a significant amount or is acting sick, it is best advised to call the vet.

What will happen at the vet’s office depends on several factors. The sooner you seek veterinary attention and your dog gets evaluated, the better. If your vet is not available, contact the nearest emergency clinic.

Dogs can be very motivated in surfing the countertops if they smell meat.

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How to Prevent My Dog From Eating Cooked Steak Fat

Prevention is much easier than treatment, and when it comes to trimmings, it is also easy. Here is what you can do to prevent your dog from eating cooked steak fat:

Don't Fall Into Temptation

Dogs can be persuasive when tricking you into sharing some foods. Do not fall for those puppy eyes, and never feed cooked steak fat purposefully.

Always Monitor Your Dog

Always supervise your dog around the table and foods it is not supposed to eat. If the meal is over, clean up the table immediately and put the food away.

Invest in Proper Storage

If trimmings are left over, store them in a place your dog cannot reach. Keep in mind that dogs can be crafty and may climb onto countertops.

Safe Disposal of Fat Trimmings

Safely dispose of the leftovers, which usually involves throwing the trimmings in the outside garbage can. As an alternative, you can use a pet-proof trash can.

Educate Others

If you are hosting guests for special events or the holiday season, ask them not to feed your dog trimmings or any other food without checking with you first.

What Can I Give My Dog Instead of Cooked Steak Fat?

Luckily, cooked steak fat is not the only food option you may be cooking that dogs would be interested in. In fact, there are many healthier and safer alternatives. Here are some human foods that you can share with your dog:

Chicken Breasts

You can always give your dog boiled and plain chicken meat (no bones, fat, or skin). This is an excellent protein source, and your dog will enjoy the taste.

Turkey

Another meat option is turkey. It must also be well-cooked, plain, and without skin, bones, or fat.

Turkey meat is naturally lower in fats and, therefore, a better option for dogs who need low-fat diets.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is an excellent food for dogs. Plain, cooked pumpkin puree supports the dog’s digestive tract and is delicious. It can be served alone or in combination with the above-mentioned foods.

Safe Fruits and Veggies

Finally, there are many dog-friendly fruits (blueberries, apples, pears, watermelon) and veggies (carrots, peas, broccoli, kale).

If you want to stick to commercial options, there are plenty of choices. Today, dog treats come in many recipes and flavors. Just choose the one your dog would like most.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2023 Adrienne Farricelli


(Excluding for the Headline, this article ("story") has not been edited by MiBiz News and is published from a web feed or sourced from the Internet.)