Is lamb easy to digest for dogs? Is lamb good for your dog?
So you want to know, is lamb easy to digest for dogs?
Yes, lamb is easy to digest for dogs.
But there is more you need to know about lamb dog food.
Because if fed incorrectly, lamb can upset your dog’s stomach and even cause pancreatitis.
This is why this article will tell you everything you need to know about:
- What are the risks of feeding lamb to your dog?
- Can dogs eat raw lamb meat?
- How to serve lamb to your dog?
We’ll also tell you about:
- How to identify quality lamb dog food
- Can your dog eat lamb bones?
- And more
We give lamb to our two dogs (German Shepherd and Doberman) all the time.
In fact, our Doberman is on a daily lamb diet.
This is why this article is based on both extensive research and extensive personal experience.
Let’s do this.
Let’s make sure your dog gets full benefits and zero risks from eating lamb.
So, is lamb easy to digest for dogs?
Yes, lamb is easy to digest for most dogs.
Lamb is easier to digest than beef, for example.
In fact, lamb has one of the highest digestibility scores among all meats!
This is why we recommend lamb for dogs with sensitive stomachs (more on this later).
But note that raw lamb can be too hard to digest for some dogs. So we don’t recommend raw lamb for dogs with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues.
Also, think twice before giving lamb to your puppy. Puppies have more sensitive digestive systems than adult dogs. This means that a rich food like lamb can upset your puppy’s stomach.
It’s also worth mentioning that lamb organs (liver, heart, kidney, and spleen) are extremely rich. So give lamb organs to your pup only in small portions to avoid nutrient overload or digestive upset (more on this later).
Is lamb good for dogs?
Yes, lamb is good for dogs.
In fact, lamb is better (at certain things) than chicken and beef.
Compared to chicken, lamb comes with more vitamin B12 and vitamin B9 (folate). Also, grain-lamb meat dog foods are easier to digest than grain-chicken meat and grain-free dog foods.
Compared to beef, lamb contains more vitamin A, magnesium, calcium, and iron. Lamb also provides more energy than beef. This is because lamb is packed with essential amino acids and dietary fats that help sustain energy levels. As mentioned earlier, lamb is also easier to digest than beef.
Studies show that dogs prefer lamb over chicken, liver, and horsemeat.
Lamb meat benefits for dogs
Here are the key benefits of lamb for dogs.
Omega fatty acids
Lamb is packed with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
These omega fatty acids:
- Support healthy brain development (especially important for puppies & younger dogs)
- Reduce inflammation
- Bost kidney & heart health
- Reduce pain (great for dogs who struggle with arthritis and other chronic pain conditions)
- Support healthy skin & coat
- Protect against arthritis,
- Reduce the risk of allergies
Compared to beef, lamb contains 20% more Omega-3 fatty acids.
Healthy skin & coat
Lamb comes with B12 and B3 vitamins, which contribute to skin and hair health.
Healthy skin and coat are essential in protecting your dog from:
- Potentially harmful bacteria & pathogens
- And other environmental risks
Healthy skin and coat also play an important role in a proper regulation of body temperature.
Lamb helps maintain an acidic environment in a dog’s gut.
A properly functioning acidic environment helps kill harmful bacteria and pathogens.
Strong immune system
Lamb also contains plenty of zinc and iron, which are key in maintaining a strong immune system.
As mentioned earlier, lamb is easy for dogs to digest, making it less likely to upset your dog’s stomach or cause gastrointestinal issues.
This is why our Doberman, who has a sensitive stomach, is on a lamb diet.
And this is why we recommend lamb for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Did you know?
Lamb used to be considered an uncommon ingredient in dog food. This is why lamb was often recommended for dogs with allergies to chicken or beef.
This also gave dog owners the incorrect impression that lamb was hypoallergenic (eliminates the risk of allergies and intolerances).
That’s right, lamb is not hypoallergenic.
Also, lamb is today considered a common protein.
Still, lamb is widely considered a suitable protein for dogs with chicken or fish allergies or sensitivities.
By the way, the most common food allergens for dogs are beef, chicken, pork, rabbit, dairy, wheat, egg, soy, fish, and lamb.
Luckily, our Doberman loves lamb.
In fact, most dogs love lamb, making lamb an ideal protein for picky eaters.
Lamb is also great for senior dogs and dogs recovering from illness who are experiencing decreased appetite.
Important: If your pup has no appetite, visit your vet to rule out health issues.
Key ingredients per 100 g of lamb
- Protein 21.9 g
- Fat 4.7 g
- Phosphorus 194 mg
- Calcium 7.2 mg
- Zinc 4.5 mg
- Iron 2.0 mg
- Potassium 344 mg
- Vitamin B6 0.10 mg
- Vitamin B12 0.96 μg
Lamb is a high-quality protein source.
Lamb contains all 9 essential amino acids that your dog needs for healthy growth and maintenance. Essential amino acids are responsible for keeping healthy your dog’s muscles, nails, coat, and hormone levels.
Protein is especially important for injured or sick dogs (protein rebuilds muscles and shortens recovery times).
Did you know?
Dogs can’t store excess protein in their bodies.
This is why protein must be provided to your dog in daily meals.
Lamb is an excellent source of healthy fat.
Lamb is also a great choice for very active dogs, who need all the energy that healthy fats deliver.
Just make sure to feed your pup lean cuts of lamb. This will ensure your dog gets all the health benefits of healthy fats, without risking the adverse effects of consuming too much fat.
Phosphorus works with calcium to help maintain homeostasis in your dog’s body (homeostasis is a self-regulating process to maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are best for survival).
Phosphorus also helps maintain healthy kidney function in dogs.
Calcium is another great ingredient in lamb recipes for dogs.
- Optimal growth
- Healthy teeth & bones
- Muscle development & function
- Healthy heart
- Strong nervous system
Zinc is essential for optimal growth and formation of proteins, hormones, and enzymes.
Zinc also supports a strong immune system, proper thyroid function, and effective wound healing.
Lamb is a great source of iron.
A dog’s body uses iron to make hemoglobin (protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of a dog’s body).
Iron also allows the production of myoglobin, which is a protein that provides oxygen to muscles.
No wonder, feeding your pup a diet that is rich in iron can prevent anemia and promote proper blood cell formation and oxygen supply.
Potassium is essential for maintaining proper blood pressure, muscle contractions, and fluid health in dogs.
Lamb contains more vitamin B6 than most meats.
Vitamin B6 supports healthy:
- Glucose levels
- Red blood cells
- Nervous system
- Immune response
- Niacin synthesis
- Potassium-sodium balance
Not enough vitamin B6 in your dog’s diet can lead to severe anemia and cardiac dysfunction.
Your dog needs vitamin B12 to maintain a healthy brain and nervous system.
Vitamin B12 also supports:
- Formation & growth of new blood cells
- Intestinal health
- Digestive system
Possible risks of feeding lamb to dogs
Generally, lamb is perfectly safe for dogs to eat.
Still, some dogs may get sick after trying lamb.
Like with almost any meat, lamb may not agree with your dog’s stomach.
Too much fat
Some cuts of lamb may contain a lot of fat. This can irritate your dog’s stomach, especially if your dog is small or has a sensitive stomach.
Eating too much fat can also cause vomiting and diarrhea. Some dogs may also gain too much unwanted weight after eating too much fat.
In extreme cases, eating too much lamb fat can lead to pancreatitis (redness, swelling, and inflammation of the pancreas).
Raw lamb can be too hard to digest for some dogs. This can lead to gastrointestinal issues.
Raw lamb can also be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli.
As mentioned earlier, lamb is one of the common allergens for dogs.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction in dogs include:
- Itchy skin
- Wheezy breathing
- Runny nose & eyes
- Gastrointestinal issues
If your dog shows any of these symptoms after eating lamb, contact your vet for advice.
Here are the most common symptoms suggesting that your dog may be experiencing a bad reaction to consuming lamb:
- Discomfort & bloating
- Upset stomach
- Loss of appetite
Can dogs eat raw lamb meat?
Yes, dogs can eat raw lamb meat.
But raw lamb is denser than cooked lamb. So consider cutting raw lamb into little chunks for easier chewing and digestion by your dog.
We also recommend that you feed your dog only lean lamb meat – just remove all the skin and fat content. Lamb contains more saturated fat than other red meats.
But note that raw lamb is not safe for all dogs.
This is because raw meat is harder to digest than cooked meat. So we don’t recommend raw lamb for dogs with digestive issues or sensitive stomachs. We never give raw lamb to our Doberman, who is on a daily lamb diet.
Also, raw meat comes with a higher risk of bacterial contamination such as Salmonella or E. coli, compared to cooked meat. So make sure to only buy lamb from reputable sources.
Vets also recommend against raw meat if your dog has a weakened immune system. This is why raw meat is not ideal for puppies, as their immune systems are in the process of developing.
Raw meat is also not recommended for dogs with liver or kidney disease.
Can dogs eat lamb bones?
Lamb bones can be dangerous for dogs, especially cooked lamb bones.
This is because lamb bones can splinter during chewing. This can cause serious damage to your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
Bones, including lamb bones, are also a choking hazard to dogs.
Also, while a dog’s stomach can usually break down bones, they can still cause irritation to a dog’s digestive tract.
Raw bones can also contain potentially harmful germs and bacteria.
Still, if you decide to give your dog lamb bones, make sure to:
- Only give your dog raw bones
- The bone needs to be large enough, so it can’t be swallowed whole (but even a large bone can splinter and pose a choking hazard)
- Closely supervise your dog until it’s done with the bone
- Clean up the area after your dog is done with the bone (to remove any bacteria and germs)
But are there any benefits of raw bones?
Lamb rib bones are “meaty bones”, which can serve as a tasty treat for your dog.
Also, chewing lamb rib bones exercises your dog’s jaws and will help to clean the dog’s teeth.
Furthermore, raw lamb bones are very nutritious. They’re packed with calcium and phosphorus, which will strengthen your dog’s own bones.
Never give your dog the following types of raw lamb bones:
- Chop bones
- Large marrow bones
Chops and cutlets splinter too easily.
Knuckle and marrow bones are too thick and heavy, which can damage your dog’s teeth.
Can dogs eat cooked lamb bones?
No, never give your dog a cooked bone, including a cooked lamb bone.
Cooking breaks down the structure of a bone, making it too soft and too brittle.
This is why cooked bones can splinter during chewing and cause serious internal damage.
For example, sharp bone splinters can cut your dog’s mouth and tongue. They can also pierce your dog’s esophagus or intestine, which can be life-threatening.
How to serve lamb to your dog
Lamb dog food comes in various forms, including:
- Kibble (as an ingredient in canned or dry dog food)
- Raw lamb meat
- Homemade food
The best way to add lamb to your dog’s diet is with a high-quality dog food that features lamb as the first ingredient. We recommend that you buy dog food that uses lamb meat from grass-fed or free-roaming livestock.
If your dog is trying lamb for the first time, make sure to gradually introduce your doggy to lamb over a few days.
And don’t forget to monitor your dog’s reaction to a new diet.
If you decide to prepare lamb yourself, we recommend that your follow these rules:
- Remove all bones (they can irritate the digestive tract or pose a choking hazard)
- Remove all skin (high fat content in skin can upset digestive system)
- Avoid seasonings and spices (they can cause gut issues)
Did you know?
Salt, pepper, garlic, onion (and more) can be toxic to your dog.
Best lamb treats
We recommend green tripe as the best lamb treat for your dog.
Our two dogs (Doberman and German Shepherd) love green tripe!
And there is a good reason for it: Lamb tripe is the tastiest part of lamb (according to our dogs).
Also, lamb tripe is one of the most nutritious parts of lamb (it contains more nutrients per ounce than just about any other lamb part).
When we first saw green tripe, we weren’t sure what to think about it. Green tripe is… green.
But for our two dogs, it was love at first sight.
And the unique smell of green tripe instantly intrigued our dogs. At last, something new!
How to identify quality lamb dog food
Here are the characteristics of high-quality lamb dog food.
Lamb is the first ingredient
Dog food manufacturers are required to list the ingredients in descending order, based on the weight of each ingredient.
The ingredient weighing the most is listed first.
The ingredient weighing the second most is listed second, and so on.
So when looking for high-quality lamb dog food, make sure lamb is the first ingredient.
Packed with omega fatty acids
High-quality lamb food is packed with omega fatty acids.
As mentioned earlier, lamb contains 20% more Omega-3 fatty acids than beef.
Omega fatty acids will keep your dog in top form, from a healthy brain to a shiny coat.
Full of antioxidants
High-quality lamb food also contains tons of antioxidants.
Antioxidants will keep your doggy healthy, by eliminating harmful free radicals.
No artificial additives
When looking for high-quality lamb dog food, avoid products that contain artificial additives and preservatives.
To be sure, dry dog food must include some preservatives to keep it shelf-stable. Still, look for dog food that uses natural preservatives – and as few of these as possible.
Frequently asked questions
Can my dog eat lamb chop?
No, you shouldn’t give your dog lamb chops.
Lamb chops contain small bones, which can cause a blockage and choke your dog.
Can my dog eat a lamb heart?
Yes, your dog can eat a lamb heart.
A lamb heart is packed with protein, vitamins, and iron.
A lamb heart is also a great source of choline, which is essential for brain and muscle health in dogs.
Furthermore, a lamb heart contains heme iron, which promotes digestion and iron absorption (heme iron is a form of iron that is most readily absorbed by a dog’s body).
But make sure to always cook or boil a lamb heart before serving it to your dog.
Can my dog eat cooked lamb meat?
Yes, your dog can eat cooked lamb meat.
But don’t overcook it. Slightly cooked lamb will retain all the essential amino acids and protein content.
Just don’t season or add any condiments when cooking lamb for your dog.
Can my dog eat lamb shank?
Yes, your dog can eat lamb shank (it’s packed with protein, iron, and vitamins).
As you may already know, lamb shank is typically cooked with the center bone intact.
Just make sure to remove the bone before serving your dog lamb shank. And make sure lamb shank is not seasoned.
Can my dog eat lamb doner meat?
Yes, your dog can eat lamb doner meat.
But ensure it’s not seasoned and is cooked well.
Can my dog eat lamb fat?
No, your dog shouldn’t eat lamb fat.
Always cut skin and fat off before serving lamb to your dog (yes, lamb skin is high in fat too).
Lamb fat can upset your dog’s stomach and cause diarrhea.
Lamb fat can also trigger pancreatitis (redness, swelling, and inflammation of the pancreas).
Can my dog eat lamb liver?
Yes, your dog can eat lamb liver.
Lamb’s liver contains vitamins B2, B9, and B12, as well as vitamin A, copper, and iron.
Lamb’s liver is also a great source of protein.
But remember that too much lamb liver in your dog’s diet can cause vitamin A toxicity.
Vitamin A toxicity occurs when the dog’s liver can’t process the excess vitamin A quickly enough.
Can my dog eat lamb kidney?
Yes, your dog can eat a lamb kidney.
Like other organ meats, a kidney is super tasty to dogs and is packed with nutrients.
A lamb kidney is also a great source of vitamin A, some of the B vitamins, and iron.
Is lamb good for dogs with allergies?
Lamb is great for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
But lamb is not hypoallergenic – it doesn’t eliminate the risk of food allergies or sensitivities.
Still, lamb is a suitable protein for dogs with chicken or fish allergies.
Can my puppy eat lamb?
Remember that puppies have more sensitive digestive systems than adult dogs.
This means that a rich food like lamb can upset your puppy’s stomach.
Still, some puppies easily tolerate small pieces of lamb. We recommend small pieces of lamb as high-reward training treats.
But avoid giving raw lamb to your puppy if your doggy has a compromised immune system (raw lamb can upset your puppy’s stomach and even cause food poisoning).
Can my dog eat lamb organ meat?
Yes, as mentioned earlier, your dog can eat lamb organ meat (liver, heart, kidney, and spleen).
Lamb organ meats are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Each organ type will provide your dog with a unique nutrient boost, including iron, zinc, copper, potassium, taurine, and vitamins A, D, and E.
But be careful when giving lamb organ meat to your dog!
This is because lamb organs are very rich.
So only give lamb organ meat to your dog in small portions to avoid nutrient overload or digestive upset.
Can my dog eat lamb every day?
Yes, your dog can eat lamb every day.
Lamb is a balanced protein source with all the nutrients your dog needs to thrive.
This is why our Doberman is on a daily lamb diet.
But you should talk to your vet before you start feeding lamb to your dog daily. This is what we did for our dog.
Can lamb make my dog sick?
Normally, lamb shouldn’t make your dog sick.
Still, lamb can irritate your dog’s stomach (and even cause pancreatitis), if you don’t follow certain rules when giving lamb to your doggy.
For example, make sure to always remove fat from lamb meat before serving it to your dog (check this article for more tips on how to safely give lamb to your dog).
You wanted to know: Is lamb easy to digest for dogs?
Yes, lamb is easy to digest for dogs.
But there is more you need to know about lamb dog food!
Because if you serve lamb incorrectly, it can seriously upset your dog’s stomach (and even cause pancreatitis).
This is why this article told you everything you need to know about:
- What are the risks of feeding your dog lamb?
- Can your dog eat raw lamb meat?
- How to serve lamb to your dog?
We also told you about:
- How to identify quality lamb dog food
- Can your dog eat lamb bones?
- And more
Our team wishes your dog a good appetite!
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Check out our Editorial Process for details on how we research and review pet products and topics.
And don’t forget to visit our About page for more details about our editorial team.
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 illness, pain, or distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.