Is Deer Meat ( Venison ) Good for Dogs & Can They Eat it?

Venison, or deer meat, is one of the most popular choices of dog food for a lot of pet food companies and owners alike.

There is some debate as to whether deer meat is healthy for dogs or not.

Below I’ve broken down these arguments so we can have a look at how to best keep your dog healthy and should you feed him Venison.

Is deer meat good for dogs?

Dogs can eat venison ( Deer Meat) ; it is a popular choice and it’s actually good for the dogs. Venison works well in a raw meat diet, however, if not handled correctly the meat can harbour bacteria.

It is recommended to cook or freeze the venison to kill any bacteria before feeding it to your dog. Venison jerky is a good treat for your dog, just make sure it is a pure protein source rather than one containing a lot of additives.

A popular treat is venison sausages, these can be good for your dog but only sparingly as a lot of brands do contain lots of fat in their sausages.

Liver and heart are good meats for your dog and you can incorporate them into a raw diet, however, some dog species can get ill if they are fed too much liver, such as dalmatians.

Raw bones are good for dogs, they can be incorporated into their main raw diet or as a treat. But be careful with cooked bones as they have a higher chance of splintering in your dog’s mouth.

One common thing that owners like to do is cook their dogs meals. An example of a venison recipe includes, 5lbs of venison, 2 cans of broth, 4 cups of water, 3 cans of corn and 3lbs of brown rice.

The venison is cooked in a pan before adding corn and stock and boiling the mixture. Add the rice and leave to simmer for an hour, remove from the heat and refrigerate overnight. Read on for a more in-depth version of this recipe.

Is Venison good for dogs

Venison is used a lot by pet food manufacturers and it is used for good reason. Deer meat has a lower level of fat and cholesterol compared to other common pet food meats like beef or chicken. That being said, Venison contains a lower amount of protein compared to other meats, so if your dog requires a high protein diet this could leave them deficient.

Is cooked deer meat good for dogs?

There is a lot of debate amongst pet owners about whether a raw or cooked diet is better for your pet. Lots of people recommended cooking deer meat so that it kills off any pathogens or bacteria that may be lurking on the meat’s surface.

However, cooking the meat can make it less nutritious as it can denature some important nutrients, meaning the dog will gain less from it than eating it raw.

Cooked venison can be just as good for dogs,however there are loss of nutrients
Cooked venison can be just as good for dogs,however there are loss of nutrients

Is raw deer meat good for dogs

In recent years, lots of pet owners have shifted to feeding their dog a raw diet. This is because raw meat contains higher levels of protein and less additives than commercial pet food. Venison is a good choice of meat for a raw diet, it has less fat than other meats and dogs are less likely to have an allergy to venison than they are to commercially farmed meats like chicken.

Remember to always consult your veterinarian before making any major changes to your dog’s diet, such as switching it to raw.

Can dogs get sick from eating raw deer meat

As with any raw meat, there are risks to feeding your dog venison. There is the small chance they could have an allergy to the meat, which is why you should always introduce new foods slowly.

There is also the risk of lingering pathogens on the meat. For this reason it is recommended to have the raw meat frozen for a minimum of 24 hours before defrosting it and feeding it to your dog. This is so that any bacteria is killed.

How good is deer meat for dogs, what are the benefits!

As mentioned before, possibly the biggest benefit of feeding your dog venison is the lower levels of fat compared to other meats. Venison also has a number of other benefits, including being rich in iron, B-vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Whilst fatty acids may not sound like a good thing, it is actually good for dogs as it helps keep their coats clean and glossy.

Is venison good for dogs with sensitive stomachs?

Venison can work very well for dogs with sensitive tummies. A large reason that dogs may have sore tummies is because of a grain allergy, grain is largely present in meats like chicken as they are commercially farmed and are fed grain.

However, because venison is not commercially farmed the meat does not contain grain and is a good option for sensitive dogs. There will always be a small risk that your dog could have an allergy to deer meat so be careful when changing their diet.


Dogs Can Safely Enjoy Deer Liver,heart & Antlers
Dogs Can Safely Enjoy Deer Liver,heart & Antlers

What deer parts and products can my dog eat and are they Good for your Dog.

Now that we’ve covered that venison is a good and safe meat for your dog, you may be thinking about what parts of deer meat you can feed you four-legged friend. Below I’ve listed the benefits and risks of feeding your dog certain types of deer meat.

Venison jerky

Jerky is a common treat given to dogs, but is venison jerky good for them? Venison jerky is a good treat to give to your dog, however, be careful with which one you buy. If it is a single-source protein jerky that has been naturally dehydrated, then it is a perfectly healthy treat to give your dog.

However, there are a lot of pet food companies that put additives in their dog treats that can be very unhealthy in large amounts. So, be careful which jerky you buy.

Venison sausage

Similarly to venison jerky, venison sausages make for a great treat as long as they are free from additives. Venison sausages can easily be made as an all-natural treat with a source of fatty acids to help keep your dogs coat healthy.

A lot of dog owners have started making their own venison sausage treats as well.

Deer liver

Liver is a good source of iron for dogs and they love eating it. Venison liver is no exception. Raw meat diets often contain about 20% organs but if you want to feed the liver directly there is an easy way to do so.

Cook the liver on a very low heat for about 20 minutes and it will make for a dried liver treat that is much healthier than commercial dog treats. However there are certain dogs, such as dalmatians, that can get very sick from having too much liver so be sure to research your dogs breed before introducing liver to them as a permanent treat.

Deer heart

Similarly to liver, hearts will be included in a lot of raw diets as they are a healthy addition to your dogs diet.  Cooked heart can also make for a good and healthy treat for your dog, but always make sure to have venison hearts responsibly sourced.

As well as this, if you are planning on feeding your dog raw heart make sure it is frozen for several days before doing so.

Deer antlers

Deer antlers are a great and popular treat amongst dog lovers. My mum’s own dog begs for hers every night without fail, she’s too cute to say no to, so it’s lucky they’re a good treat.

They have become so popular because they are a completely natural and long-lasting chew. They also have a much lower risk of splintering than bones so they are arguably safer. Although you should never leave your dog unattended with any treat as there will always be a risk of choking.

Can dogs eat deer bones

A lot of dog owners debate about the health and safety benefits of giving your dog bones as treats. Let’s take a look at if deer bones are suitable for your dog.

Raw venison bones 

Bones are a common edition to raw dog meals and provide a lot of healthy vitamins for your dog. Raw bones are safe for your dog but the most important thing is to check where you are getting your bones from and make sure it is from a safe place.

So yes you can feed your dog raw bones, they are a good addition to their main meals. But if you are feeding them as a treat be careful of your source and never leave them unattended with their bone.

Cooked venison bones

There is only one type of cooked bones that are suitable for dogs and that is boiled bones. Cooked more are much more likely to splinter in your dogs mouth and can cause various problems to the dog’s mouth and throat.

Cooking also removes some of the nutrients so they are less beneficial than raw bones. But if you insist on giving your dog cooked bones, make sure that they are boiled.

How to cook deer bones for dogs.

Boiling a bone is the only safe way to provide your dog with cooked bones. This process is very easy to do, simply bring a pot of water to the boil, place the bone in the pot and make sure it is fully covered in water. Leave the bone to boil for an hour and then you’re done. You should only really feed your dog cooked bones if you vet has recommended it to make the bone softer.

Also, certain species of dogs, such as pugs, shouldn’t be given bones at all. Make sure to check what is safe for the specific dog you have.

Homemade DIY Venison Dog food recipe 

How to make dog food with venison – DIY recipes

A lot of pet owners enjoy making their dog’s food themselves. There are a lot of reasons for this but below I’ve listed out a few recipes for you if you want to try it yourself.

Venison and rice dog meal


  • Olive oil
  • 2 cans of chicken broth
  • 3lbs of frozen corn
  • 5lbs of venison chunks
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3lbs of uncooked brown rice


  • Step 1 – heat some olive oil in a pan and add the venison chunks, stirring frequently until brown.
  • Step 2 – add the chicken broth, water and corn to the pan. Bring the whole mixture to a boil.
  • Step 3 – once boiling, add the rice and stir the mixture, cover the pan and bring to a boil again.
  • Step 4 – turn the heat to low and leave the mixture to simmer for an hour. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent any mixture from sticking to the bottom.
  • Step 5 – remove the pan from the heat and divide the mixture into different containers.
  • Step 6 – once no longer hot, place the mixture into the refrigerator to store overnight before feeding to your dog.

This recipe is great because it makes a large number of meals for your dog, all of which can be frozen for safe keeping. Make sure to defrost in the fridge before serving and if you want to warm the food you can do so in your microwave for a brief period. Source for this recipe


Venison and vegetable stew


  • 4 cups of ground venison
  • 4 cups of broth
  • ½ cup of rolled oats
  • ½ cup of chopped green beans
  • ½ cup of chopped carrots
  • ½ cup of chopped broccoli


  • Step 1 – brown the ground venison in a pan, cook until about ¾ done.
  • Step 2 – turn the heat to medium and add chopped vegetables, broth and rolled oats to the venison.
  • Step 3 – bring the mixture to a boil and leave it to cook for 15 minutes, occasionally stirring.
  • Step 4 – take the mixture of the heat to cool and separate into containers.

You can feed your dog a portion of this right after it has cooled if you wish, or it can be stored in the fridge for up to five days. This recipe is not suitable for freezing.  Source for this recipe

Venison dog biscuits


  • 2 ½ cups sifted whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup dry milk powder
  • 1 crumbled beef bouillon cube
  • 1 cup browned ground venison
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 6 Tbsp shortening
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup of cold water


  • Step 1 – Preheat oven to 350°f and oil some baking sheets.
  • Step 2 – stir the flour, milk powder and beef bouillon together in a bowl.
  • Step 3 – add the browned venison, carrot, shortening and egg to the bowl.
  • Step 4 – mix and add the water to form a stiff dough.
  • Step 5 – roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick and cut into your desired treat shapes.
  • Step 6 – place on the oiled baking sheets and cook for around 30 minutes until the bottoms of the treats are brown.
  • Step 7 – cool on a wire rack before storing in an air-tight container.

If you want to make something for your dog but don’t want to commit to making all their meals this is a great recipe to try. These biscuits can be kept in the refrigerator for several days.  Source for this recipe

Deer meat is perfectly safe for dogs and it's a Great Alternative to other meats
Deer meat is perfectly safe for dogs and it’s a Great Alternative to other meats

Is there any way deer meat can be bad for a dog

There is sadly always the risk that any type of meat can be bad for your dog as it is possible they can have an allergy to that meat. Also, if not handled and stored correctly, bacteria can be present on venison that can make your dog ill. To prevent this always make sure you get your meat from a reliable source and follow any handling instructions appropriately.

Related Questions.

What to do if a dog is sick after eating deer meat.

Seeing your dog being sick can be quite scary, especially if you’re worried you have fed them something bad. Vomiting can be a sign of bad meat or also a protein allergy. If your dog has been sick right after feeding them venison you should book a vet consultation to make sure everything is okay. Avoid feeding them venison until any underlying matters are resolved.

Can cooked deer meat hurt a dog

We know that cooked bones can hurt dogs, but what about cooked deer meat? The main way in which cooked deer meat can hurt your dog is if they require a naturally high protein diet, venison is not as rich in protein and can make your dog protein deficient.

Can dogs get CWD after eating deer meat

CWD stands for ‘Chronic Wasting Disease’ and it can affect the nervous system or both wild and farmed cervids, including deer. This disease can be transmitted through an infected carcass and precautions include not consuming the brain and eyes of cervids.

Whilst there have been no reports of dogs contracting CWD, other animals that can be fed raw diets, such as cats and ferrets, have been reported contracting CWD.

How much venison can I feed my dog

Some vets say that venison should not act as the only meat in a dog’s primary diet due to its low protein. It can be fed as full meals for about 2 to 3 days of the week, depending on your specific dog.

Are deer legs good for dogs

Leg bones can splinter very easily so it is recommended to not feed your dog deer legs.

Categories Dogs