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If you’re at a cookout with your pup, you might be wondering: Can I give my dog a bit of my food, especially my hamburger? We generally recommend dogs not receive table scraps to avoid developing bad eating habits and to prevent gastroenteritis due to a change in a dog’s regular diet, as well as to prevent obesity. Whether you can occasionally give them a bite of burger depends on the meat in question.

Feeding Dogs Hamburgers

If you’re looking to give your dog a bite of the burger you’re munching on, you might want to reconsider. Chances are, your burger might have added salt, spices, and toppings that can be dangerous to dogs, such as onion or garlic. For our dogs, feeding seasoned meat is a recipe for unpleasant digestive upset at best, and pancreatitis at worst.

However, if you want to throw a plain patty on the grill, unseasoned and cooked hamburger meat can be a healthy source of protein in addition to your dog’s regular, balanced diet. This is true in general of ground beef, turkey, chicken, and pork. Just make sure to cut the meat up into bite-sized pieces to prevent dog choking hazards.

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Raw Burgers

Raw steak or hamburger patties can contain bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli, that can be harmful to dogs and people. Keep a careful eye on the meat as you prepare the grill because the aroma will definitely get your dog’s attention, and they may try to sneak a tasty morsel of the uncooked meat.

Grilled Meats

  • Don’t give grilled bones of any kind to dogs. Cooked bones splinter and can cause obstruction along the gastrointestinal tract, anywhere from the mouth to the colon or rectum.
  • Don’t give fatty foods or food containing spices, onion or garlic (such as hot dogs or hamburgers with garlic powder, etc.). Onions and garlic are toxic to dogs.
  • Don’t give cooked or seasoned pork to dogs.
  • The white meat of a cooked chicken breast can be offered if all the bones are removed and if the skin has no spice present.
  • Depending on the dog, grilled beef items, such as a bite of steak, can be offered if the size is not too large (especially for smaller dogs) and if fat is trimmed.

Most importantly, all food should be put away and trash secured in well-closed garbage cans to prevent your dog from taking food when you aren’t looking. While you’re at it, leave the hotdogs on the grill, too.

Related article: Can Dogs Eat Hotdogs?
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