Do dogs need meat to survive? (answered!)

A simple answer to this question is no; dogs don’t need meat to survive. However, it is essential that whatever diet dogs consume, they must get the required nutrients from that diet.
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Do dogs need meat to survive? It’s a question that many dog owners are faced with. Some may say “yes,” while others will argue that they don’t need it at all. 

In this article, we will take a closer look at this topic.

Let’s get started.

Do Dogs Need Meat to Survive?

Do dogs need meat to survive - can dogs survive without meat

A simple answer to this question is no; dogs don’t need meat to survive. However, it is essential that whatever diet dogs consume, they must get the required nutrients from that diet. Meat is full of proteins, and protein is required for muscle growth and healthy life. 

If dogs are not being served meat, they must be given some other food to fulfill their required protein needs. 

It is important to note that dogs are in the order Carnivora which means they belong to a group of animals that eat meat. But over the course of years, dogs have undergone an evolutionary process, and now they are physiologically Omnivores. 

Omnivores can eat a variety of things not only from non-vegetarian sources but also from plant-based sources. 

What Happens if a Dog Doesn’t Eat Meat at All?

Dogs have been eating meat since their birth. Meat contains many proteins and fatty acids that are essential for the healthy growth of your dog. However, it is completely possible for dogs to survive on a meat-free diet, and there is nothing wrong in going meat-free. 

However, is it advisable for dogs not to eat meat at all? 

The answer is no. Meat provides some nutrients that are essential, and they are hard to replace. Dogs need more proteins than humans, and meat is a readily available source of proteins. Other than that, meat contains essential fatty acids that are hard to find in meat-free diets. 

Supplements provide an alternative, but supplements are not as effective as the natural fatty acids obtained directly from meat. 

Hence, you should never put your dog on a complete meat free diet. Dogs should be fed with some kind of meat in their diet. 

Can Dogs Be Fed With Raw Meat?

Do dogs need meat to survive - can dogs survive without meat

“Can raw meat be fed to dogs?” is a controversial question because some people encourage feeding raw meat to your dog while others strongly discourage it. 

A number of vets, however, are against feeding raw meat to your dogs. Raw meat contains bacteria and parasites that must first be killed through cooking otherwise they pose a serious threat to gut health. In addition, bacteria in raw meat attack the intestine and cause infections. 

However, if you want to shift to giving your dog a raw meat diet, you first need to prepare it. You cannot serve your dog just off-the-counter meat that you just unwrapped from its packaging. Over-the-counter meat needs to be neutralized of any bacteria and parasites before serving. 

What Kind of Meat Can a Dog Not Eat?

Other than raw meat that is infected with disease causing bacteria and parasites, there are some cooked meats that your dog must not eat. 

Top of the list are bacon, ham, and meat trimmings. These are high-fat foods. The excess fat can ail your dog with pancreatitis. 

Additionally, bacon and ham are heavily salted. Eating meat that has a high salt content can upset your dog’s stomach. In addition, it leads your dog to drink plenty of water that can result in fatal stomach bloating. 

What Are The Healthy Meat Options for Your Dog?

There are a number of meat options that you can feed your dog. Meat is a source of protein, and dogs for healthy growth require proteins. 

The healthy meat options available for your dog are:

  • Chicken and poultry
  • Turkey
  • Lean Ground Beef
  • Kangaroo
  • Chuck Steak
  • Lamb
  • Rabbit
  • Duck
  • Venison
  • Bison
  • Goat
  • Alligator
  • Ostrich

Frequently Asked Questions

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Can Dogs Eat Spoiled Meat?

No. Dogs cannot eat spoiled meat. Although a dog’s stomach is really acidic and it might digest spoiled meat, dogs must not be served meat that has passed the stage where it can be eaten.

Over the years, your dog gets vulnerable to having digestive issues, and stale meat can aggravate these. Stale meat can infect your dog with lethargy, abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, and loss of appetite. 

Can a Dog Be Vegan or Vegetarian?

Yes. Dogs can be vegan or vegetarian. A meat-free diet should provide all the essential nutrients. If a vegan or vegetarian diet fulfills all the necessary nutrient requirements of your dog, it can be served to your dog.

What Are The Disadvantages of a Meat-free Diet for Your Dog?

Meat is a great source of proteins, and your dog needs more proteins than humans. In a meat-free diet, it gets difficult to fulfill all your dog’s protein requirements.

Meat also contains essential fatty acids that are hard to be replaced with supplements. These fatty acids are required for a shiny coat and smooth skin. Skipping meat creates a deficiency of fatty acids that turn dog skin rough, itchy, and flaky. 

Can Dogs Be Served With Chicken Dark Meat?

Yes, dogs can be served with dark-meat chicken. Chicken is a good protein source and is also found in many dog foods. It is also rich in Omega-6 fatty acids that are required for healthier skin, shiny coats, and strong bones. However, chicken must be cooked without onion, garlic, or seasoning. Also, never serve raw chicken to your dog. 

Is Steak Okay for Dogs?

Steak is rich in proteins, iron, Omega-6 fatty acids, minerals, and other nutrients that your dog needs. Steak is good food for your dog. Make sure it is cooked to at least medium and without any salt or seasoning. 

Why Doesn’t My Dog Eat?

If your dog is not eating any food, chances are it might be having a medical condition. Some of the most common ailments under which dogs stop eating include stomach upset, infection, allergy, pain, dental issue, parasite attack, or a dysfunctioning of the digestive system. 

If your dog stops eating, contact your dog’s vet as early as possible.


Dogs can survive without meat. There are many dogs that eat only vegan or vegetarian food. That is because dogs are omnivores and can eat from a wide variety of foods. 

If you have a choice, however, don’t let your dog go meat-free on his diet. 

Meat is an essential source of protein and fatty acids – nutrients that your dog needs to stay healthy. That is why all packaged dog food comes with some kind of meat.

That being said, I have to say thank you for reading this far.

I hope you find this article helpful and that it answers your questions on feeding your dog fruit snacks.

I wish you many moments of joy and happiness in the company of your beloved dog.

Until next time!

A big hug.

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Housam Ayouni
Housam Ayouni

I am a professional in the field of canine behavior and care with many years of experience. Through my dog blog, which has reached over one million dog owners, I offer practical tips and guidance to support dog owners in creating strong, positive relationships with their pets and promoting the well-being and happiness of all dogs. My goal is to help dog owners create a harmonious and fulfilling life with their furry companions.

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