The Short Answer is:
This question has two answers: yes and no. Fortunately dogs can ingest small amounts of suet without problems. Take a look at the bones you might give your dog (making sure they are safe first). Many of them have remnants of fat left on them for them to chew on. Their system will not be negatively affected by a tiny amount of fat.
In this research you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Eat Suet?“.
Let me let you in on a little secret. I am an avid homemade foodie.
In other words I like to try new foods but even more I like to prepare them at home.
My meals are often experimented with new ingredients because of this.
Recently I have been experimenting with suet as an ingredient.
You probably already know another thing about me.
I love sharing my food with my furry friends.
As a responsible “parent” I also make sure whatever I feed my pups is safe for them.
Before I share my latest creations with them I always research and make sure it would not have any detrimental effects on them.
What is Suet?
I asked myself this question when I heard about suet for the first time.
Suet is a raw hard fat that can be found around a loin or kidney of beef lamb or mutton.
When you look at the suet it looks like small balls of fat.
There are not many people who eat suet like that its usually made into tallow by boiling it down.
The use of suet in deep frying and as a replacement for butter in pastries is common.
Many of the recipes that include suet originated in the United Kingdom or areas nearby such as dumplings haggis and mincemeat.
Dog owners should also know that suet is used to feed birds which is another very common use.
Birds like woodpeckers goldfinches bluebirds and more enjoy suet with their birdseed. Roll a small ball of suet in birdseed and place it in the bird feeder.
Birdseed and suet will be eaten by the birds. Also it is a good idea to be aware of the things that can be in our dogs’ environments and make them as safe as possible.
A Brief History of Suet
A lot of time has passed since suet was invented. It has been used as a traditional ingredient in Christmas pudding since the early 1400s!
The earliest known recipe that includes suet is English College Pudding. Since 1617 this pudding has been served to Oxford and Cambridge students!
People traditionally purchased suet from their butcher together with their meats.
Then depending on their recipes they would either boil the raw suet down into tallow or shave it into small pieces.
Suet is available in many grocery stores today and it is commonly used in cooking. Online is the best place to buy new recipes that are not from your region if you’re like me and enjoy trying new things.
Three types of suet
When sharing food with our furry best friends we must ensure that the food is safe for them to consume.
Checking the ingredients included in that food is often one aspect of this.
Food that we purchase is especially susceptible to this.
Dogs may be harmed by different amounts of sugar or preservatives in different brands.
There is only one true ingredient in basic suet and that is fat.
The bodies of animals such as beef lamb and mutton contain fat stores.
The simplest form of suet comes straight from the animal without any additions.
Most people today buy their suet at the store or online rather than getting it from the butcher.
Some types could have different ingredients so this is where it comes into play.
Online I have found that Atola is the most popular brand of suet.
It is primarily made up of fat (beef lamb or mutton depending on the type) but also contains flour and wheat.
Even though none of these substances is toxic to dogs it is important to double-check better safe than sorry.
A new type of suet has gained popularity in recent years vegetarian suet.
As with traditional meat-based suet Atola is probably the most popular brand of vegetable-based suet.
Based on a close look at the ingredients we find that they use vegetable oil instead of animal fat.
Wheat and flour are also found in vegetable-based suet.
Dogs cannot be harmed by anything on this list.
Suet balls and cakes for birds
We now turn our attention to a “third” kind of suet that is for birds for the sake of clarity.
Okay that was a terrible pun but it is very important to address the suet that is used in bird feeders.
The actual suet used in this recipe is the same as that used in recipes but the addition of birdseed needs to be addressed.
It is unlikely that your dogs will have any issues if they eat a couple of pieces of birdseed.
You should monitor the situation closely and schedule a vet appointment as soon as possible.
However what if they ingest a large amount of birdseed? Could they eat a ball of suet covered with birdseed if it fell from the feeder and because it smells so good they ate it?
This is a very dangerous situation and I do not wish to alarm you.
Birdseed can clog the intestine of a dog when it becomes lodged in large amounts.
Even worse birdseed can actually ferment in their stomachs! Bloating and even Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GVD) can result from this.
You must contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if your pet is suffering from gastric dilation volvulus.
You should keep birdseed and therefore any suet for birds away from your dogs.
My recommendation would be not to have it in the house at all. Dogs get into a lot of mischiefs and I believe it is better to be safe than sorry.
So can dogs eat Suet?
This question has two answers: yes and no.
Fortunately dogs can ingest small amounts of suet without problems.
Take a look at bones you might give your dog (making sure they are safe first). Many of them have remnants of fat left on them for them to chew on.
Their system will not be negatively affected by a tiny amount of fat.
The same applies to using suet as a cooking ingredient.
In general dogs are unlikely to have problems with suet-cooked foods if they do not have problems with other baked or fried foods.
However we should address a few long-term health issues that dogs may face. Dogs normally store fat in their bodies in order to store energy.
The excess of stored energy can also have negative health effects such as clogged arteries and pancreatitis.
We too want to monitor the amount of fat our animals consume over time just like humans do.
Keeping the amount of suet we feed our dogs at a reasonable level is also important. Dogs are notorious for getting into mischief as I mentioned earlier. Like a stick of butter on the counter they’re likely to eat the whole thing if they’re given access to it.
As soon as they can reach it they’ll eat it. If your dog consumes too much suet or any other high-fat food they can experience stomach pains cramps and even bloating. While its unlikely that they’ll have any long-term health problems its best to get them to the vet as soon as possible to make sure they’ll be ok or to help them pass whatever they ate.
I’m glad to know that I can share a few bites of my first homemade mincemeat pie with my tail-wagging friends as I get ready to make it. However even though I know that the suet in the recipe will not cause them any problems I will still limit how much I give them.
It is important for them not only to enjoy my treat but also to maintain good health so they can enjoy many more of my experiments in the future. As I know I need to make sure that I keep my extra suet away from those mischievous noses with their enhanced smell and make sure that I keep my yard free of bird seed that could harm them.
One of the best ways we can show that we love our fur babies (and other pets too) is to make sure what we share with them is fun. Because of this I always do my research to find out what is safe to share with them and I share it with you and your pets too.
If you want to read more about dog food tips read here: Dog Food Tips and Tricks.