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Can Dogs Eat Meatballs? Vet-Reviewed Info & Tips

Written by: Cassidy Sutton

Last Updated on May 6, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat Meatballs

Can Dogs Eat Meatballs? Vet-Reviewed Info & Tips


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Is your dog staring at you, waiting for a delicious meatball to fall onto the floor just for them?

This is pretty much every dog when meat is involved. Luckily,  you can offer your dog meatballs as long as they don’t contain specific ingredients that will turn a healthy snack into something dangerous.

In this post, we cover the benefits of red meat and how to properly offer the mouth-watering food to your pup without causing harm.


Is Red Meat Good for Dogs?

You can find red meat in many dog food recipes, and for good reason. Red meat is a powerhouse of nutrition.

Red meat is packed with proteins containing essential amino acids, fats, and other vitamins and minerals that not only satiate hunger but also improve your dog’s health overall. Offering red meat to your dog can help build muscle and provide a healthy source of energy.

It’s also a source of B vitamins and iron, which are important building blocks of your dog’s red blood cells.

Raw ground turkey meat
Image Credit: MoDaVi Art, Shutterstock

Meatballs Are Healthy, Unless…

Clearly, red meat is good for most dogs, unless they have a specific allergy to it. Likewise, not all red meat dishes are safe to offer as food. Different red meats are cooked with varying ingredients. Meatballs can be good as long as they don’t contain the following:

  • Garlic and onion: Onion and garlic are toxic to dogs and can lead to a range of health problems, including anemia.
  • Excessive fats: Meatballs made of very fatty meat cuts or that are fried should not be fed to dogs to avoid the excessive calories and the risk of pancreatitis.
  • Salt: Your dog needs salt, but excessive sodium amounts are contraindicated for dogs.
  • Sauces: Not all sauces are bad, but any sauce containing garlic, onion, alcohol, sugar, and extra salt should be avoided. A plain tomato sauce could be the exception.

Dog-Friendly Meatball Recipe

A dog-friendly, easy-to-prepare meatball recipe you can prepare at home for your dogs.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


  • 1 cup Ground beef lean
  • 1 cup Ground carrots
  • 1 tbsp Ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp Oat flour
  • 1 cup Chopped cilantro
  • 1 whole egg


  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Take a tablespoon to scoop the meat and form small meatballs by rolling them with your hands.
  • Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and cook the meatballs for 20 minutes.
  • If the meatballs are larger, they will need more time to cook. Let them cool down before offering them to your dog.


Or you could give this recipe a try; however, we suggest using oat flour.

divider-dog paw

Other Beef Products to Avoid

1. Raw Meat

Dogs can eat raw meat, but there is some risk of contamination by Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and other pathogenic bacteria that can wreak havoc on your dog’s health. If you want to offer raw meat to your dog, strict hygiene precautions in the entire slaughter, cold chain, and preparation process need to be followed.

2. Corned Beef

Corned beef is full of seasonings that can be harmful to your dog. It’s also very high in sodium compared to other beef products. Avoid feeding corned beef altogether.

corned beef on a white plate
Image Credit: Gudrun Hochmuth, Shutterstock

3. Beef Jerky

Like corned beef, beef jerky is normally very high in salt and may also contain unhealthy seasonings for your dog. Thankfully, you can find pet-friendly beef jerky that’s void of the extra flavorings.

4. Beef Broth

Plain beef broth is acceptable for your dog, but store-bought broth usually has added salt, garlic, and onion flavorings that can harm your dog’s health. You can find pet-safe beef broths at several pet stores these days. You can also make your own homemade beef broth to ensure no onion, garlic, or excessive salt is included.

bowl of beef bone broth
Image Credit: Madeleine Steinbach, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Red meat isn’t entirely off the table as long as your dog is not allergic to it and you avoid specific ingredients when preparing the meatballs. If the recipe and preparation meet the criteria, go ahead and offer a meatball to your dog. Just remember to stick to the 10% rule! Meatballs should only be occasional snacks, not a main source of food.

Remember that we recommend you always consult the veterinarian before offering anything to your dog, as having their approval is always a good idea. We are happy to see how each day more pet owners are seeking better food and treat options, but make sure you follow reliable sources, where you can find all kinds of red meat treats that won’t risk your dog’s health.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Karen Laårk Boshoff, Pexels

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