Wondering whether dogs can eat liverwurst, also known as braunschweiger? This is certainly a good question considering that many dogs go bonkers over liverwurst.
First of all, a clarification needs to be made. What exactly is liverwurst?
In many cases, liverwurst is confused with other types of deli meat and sausages that may go by similar sounding names but are totally different products.
Differentiating these products is important so avoid confusion
What is Liverwurst?
So what is liverwurst exactly? Liverwurst, also known as leberwurst or liver sausage, is a typical food consumed in many European countries including Austria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
As the name liver sausage implies, liverwurst is a type of sausage that is made of liver.
Now, it's important to point out that not all liverwurst is created equally. For instance, in the USA, many types of liverwurst are spreadable and contain usually pig or calves' liver.
Liverwurst often also contains a variety of spices so read the label carefully to know exactly what is contained in it. You may find several spices listed such as black pepper, marjoram, thyme, mustard seen or nutmeg.
Depending on where you travel, liverwurst may be served in different ways. You may find liverwurst served in packages pre-sliced or you may spot it served in open-faced sandwiches.
In the United States, if you stumble on liverwurst up North, you'll often find it on rye or whole grain bread garnished with red onions and mustard.
In the Southern states and the Midwest instead, you'll find liverwurst served with sweet pickles also known as gherkins; whereas, in the Northeast it is served with dill pickles.
What is Braunschweiger?
In the Midwest, liverwurst is also known as Braunschweiger (now try to pronounce that!) while in Germany the name Braunschweiger Mettwurst is used to depict a smoked, soft and spreadable sausage made of raw minced pork and some added spices.
To further confuse things, in the United States and Canada, the word Braunschweiger is used to depict a sausage made of pork liver that is almost always smoked, contains bacon and is stuffed in natural casings, whereas, liverwurst is never smoked nor does it contain bacon.
If you are confused about all of this, play it safe and simply read the package's labeling so that you know exactly what is contained within the "liverwurst" you are planning to purchase and whether it is safe for your dog to eat.
Can I Give Liverwurst to My Dog?
In general, liverwurst isn't bad for dogs, so much so that even veterinarians and veterinary behaviorists at times recommend its use. Here are a few examples.
Veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker in an article for DVM360, suggests feeding high-value treats such as Deli turkey, Braunschweiger and liver treats to dogs who are fearful of going to the vet. These treats "will win you a friend for life," he remarks.
Veterinarian Dr. Rebecca suggests trying liverwurst to get dogs to take their medication. She claims: "the best way I know to get a dog to take distasteful medication is to put it in liverwurst. It can be formed around the pill."
Indeed, one of the best features of liverwurst is that its consistency, coupled with its irresistible smell, can help cover up the smell and texture of some bad-tasting pills.
The truth is, most dogs go bonkers over liverwurst. It’s very smelly and has a strong flavor which attracts dogs if you need to do some serious training.
Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Gary Landsberg in his book " Behavior: A Guide For Practitioners, An Issue of Veterinary Clinics of North America" suggests using Braunschweiger to condition a dog to wear a muzzle.
Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Laurie Bergman in an article for Veterinary Partner, claims that when it comes to training, most dogs work well for liver in different forms and she mentions liverwurst, freeze-dried liver and cooked liver as options for rewards.
Finally, veterinary behaviorist, Terrie Curtis mentions using choice of liverwurst, hot dogs, cheese when throwing "storm parties" to help dogs overcome their fear of storms, as well as dogs who don't have any storm-related fears yet.
Did you know? While many photographers praise film or a type of camera for obtaining great portraits of dogs, photographer Mildred Stagg confesses that her favorite piece of equipment for obtaining lovely pictures of dogs is liverwurst.
Is Liverwurst Bad for Dogs?
In general, liverwurst isn't bad for dogs. As with many things in life though, it's best to practice everything in moderation.
Liverwurst is over all rich. Some dogs with sensitive tummies don't do well when they eat things they are not used to which may lead to an annoying bout of vomiting or diarrhea.
In a very small dog, or in a dog with a sensitive stomach, consider that the fat content in liverwurst can potentially trigger a bout of pancreatitis, warns veterinarian Dr. Rebecca.
Also, consider that, some ingredients in liverwurst may be troublesome to dogs. For example, some types of liverwurst may contain onion which is an ingredient you may want to avoid considering the risks for Heinz anemia.
A Liverwurst Recipe for Dogs
The Everything Cooking for Dogs Book by Lisa Fortunato suggests a wonderful recipe made of liverwurst, in particular to be used as a soft and malleable option for concealing pills.
The recipe lists 3 ounces Boar's Head liverwurst at room temperature mixed with some cream cheese as well at room temperature. Once the two ingredients are mixed well, 3/4 cup of crushed shredded wheat in added so to obtain an ideal consistency for forming them into balls.
The balls can be used to hide pills and can be stored in a plastic bad in the fridge for up to a week.