I’m a dog person. I love everything about dogs, from their bouncy enthusiasm to their wet nose kisses to the way they look when they sleep. But whenever I hear a “funny” story about someone’s dog getting into something it shouldn’t have, my heart sinks.
Because the truth is that it isn’t funny at all. While dogs are definitely not human children—and are prone to some behaviors we find less than adorable—they also aren’t miniature adults or robots. Like us, they can be susceptible to illness and injury.
That’s why I’m here today with a bit of information you’ll hopefully never need: what if your dog ate raw steak off the counter?
There is a risk to doing that as meat on the counter can allow bacteria to grow on it when it is at room temperature. Bacteria multiply rapidly between 41 and 135 degrees F, posing a serious health risk to your dog.
In this post, I will share the dangers as well as preventative measures you can take.
This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
- Risks of your dog eating raw meat
- Signs of a health problem
- How can I prevent my dog from getting sick from raw meat?
- What to do if your dog gets sick from eating raw steak?
- Are other raw foods good for dogs?
- Conclusion: What if Your Dog Ate Raw Steak Off the Counter?
Risks of your dog eating raw meat
1. Digestive Problems
If your dog eats raw meat, she’s at risk for some serious gastrointestinal problems.
Raw meat can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and food poisoning—a.k.a. the three worst things about being a dog (sorry to break it to you).
This is a big deal because these symptoms can lead to blockages in the digestive tract or perforation of the intestines.
If you notice any of these symptoms after giving your dog uncooked meat products: call your vet immediately!
The bacteria E. coli is found in most cattle, sheep, and goats and it can also be present in other animals like deer, bison, and elk.
This nasty bacteria can cause illness in both dogs and humans if they ingest raw or in undercooked meat, especially beef products.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection include vomiting, diarrhea, and fever that lasts for more than 24 hours after eating the contaminated food.
If a dog ingests raw meat containing this bacterium, the result can be fatal in some cases.
Humans who handle uncooked meat without gloves are also at risk of contracting this dangerous infection!
3. Food Poisoning
Food poisoning in dogs is a serious condition that can cause a dog to become very ill and even die.
This is most commonly caused by eating contaminated food or water, but it can also be caused by ingesting toxic substances.
The main symptoms of food poisoning in dogs are vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Sometimes these symptoms appear right away, but other times they may take several days to develop after the initial exposure to the contaminated food or water.
Raw meat can contain bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli that can cause food poisoning in dogs.
Dogs who eat raw meat may develop symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy within 12 to 24 hours of eating contaminated food.
Signs of a health problem
If your dog eats raw meat off the counter, he or she may experience some symptoms of illness. These include:
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Increased thirst and urination
- Increased heart rate
- Respiratory problems
- Salivation (drooling)
If your dog ate raw meat, you should spend the next 24 hours watching out for signs of illness and consider taking them to the vet if they do not improve.
Your vet may recommend a blood test to check for toxins in the blood and an X-ray to make sure there are no broken bones caused by vomiting or diarrhea.
If there are raw bones in the food that your dog ate, they are often harmless (but be sure to keep a close eye).
Cooked bones, on the other hand, can be dangerous since they shatter easily and can be swallowed by the dog. These can then be stuck in their digestive tracts and cause damage.
How can I prevent my dog from getting sick from raw meat?
If you’re going to feed your dog a raw diet, you should take steps to lower the risk of food poisoning. Here are some tips you can follow.
Amount of time outside
Don’t leave raw meat out at room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour if it’s 90 degrees F or above). Discard any leftovers after 2 hours (1 hour if it’s 90 degrees F or above).
Clean your hands to prevent cross-contamination
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling raw meat or poultry.
Clean all food preparation tools
Wash countertops, cutting boards, utensils, bowls, and anything else that comes into contact with raw meat or poultry with hot soapy water before and after use.
Buy premade raw food
Companies who sell raw dog food will go to great lengths to ensure that the food is safe for your dog and that it has fewer bacteria than meat purchased at a supermarket (generally).
I highly recommend Stewart’s Pro-Treat freeze-dried beef liver as a tasty snack for your dog.
Keep trash out of reach
Who doesn’t have a dog that likes to poke its nose into the trash bin? I know I do. The problem is that things like food scraps start to decompose and can cause a nasty reaction in your dog if they start digging around and eating them.
The best thing to do is to throw trash out of the house as soon as you can or keep them out of reach for your pets.
Consider cooking first
Sure, there are benefits to feeding your dog raw food, but if they are not accustomed to it or maybe they have a weak immune system, cooking the food first is also a good way to serve up a delicious meal for your dog.
What to do if your dog gets sick from eating raw steak?
If your dog has eaten raw steak and becomes ill, it’s important to take action right away. The sooner you can get your dog to a veterinarian, the least likely it will develop into something serious.
First, call your vet. Don’t wait until morning or the next day. Call them immediately and ask for advice.
Then do whatever you can to keep your dog from eating anything else until you visit the vet. Feeding it small amounts of water is fine, but no food.
Chances are, it will go away in 24 hours, but if you feel or observe otherwise, make a trip to your vet the next day.
If possible, confine him in a small room with no other animals or people, just him or her and one caregiver.
If it’s vomiting, watch for any blood in the vomit (it could be coming from his stomach). This is a sign of a very serious problem and you should rush it to the nearest animal hospital.
Are other raw foods good for dogs?
Many veterinarians recommend feeding your dog a diet high in protein and fat because it helps keep their coat healthy and shiny.
A diet high in protein and fat also helps them maintain a healthy weight and avoid obesity.
Raw beef is one of the best sources of protein for a dog’s diet because it contains all the essential amino acids that he needs to stay healthy.
It also has vitamin B12, which helps convert carbohydrates into energy so that your dog can run around all day without feeling tired or sluggish.
But raw meat isn’t the only way to feed your dog a high-protein diet.
Fruits like apples, bananas, and blueberries can provide them with essential nutrients as well as other vitamins and minerals that are important for good health.
Just remember: 90% of calories should come from a well-balanced diet, while the other 10% come from snacks or treats!
Conclusion: What if Your Dog Ate Raw Steak Off the Counter?
If your dog ate a small amount of raw steak, you might not need to do anything at all.
However, if the steak contained bones or was a significant portion of your dog’s meal, you should be on the lookout for signs and symptoms that suggest an illness.
If your dog shows any signs described above after eating raw meat, contact your veterinarian promptly.