Can dogs eat pate?

Written by Dr Andrew Miller MRCVSDr Andrew Miller MRCVS is an expert veterinary working in the field for over 10 years after graduating from Bristol University. Andy fact checks and writes for Pure Pet Food while also working as a full time veterinarian. Pure Pet FoodPure Pet Food are the experts in healthy dog food and healthy dogs featured in media outlets such as BBC, Good Housekeeping and The Telegraph. Working with high profile veterinary professionals and nutritionists, Pure Pet Food are changing dog food for the better. - Our editorial process

Pate is one of those foods that looks pretty unappetising, to put it politely. Although it might look like a dog’s dinner, can dogs eat pate? The smelly, rich, meaty paste has probably caught your pup’s attention and got them sniffing the air hoping to snuffle a bite.

Plus, pate is the perfect consistency to spread on bread or crackers, and you might wonder if it is safe for dogs so you can spread a blob on a licki mat or inside a Kong. So let’s take a look at whether or not dogs can eat pate.

Can dogs eat pate?

Annoyingly, it’s not a strict “yes” or “no” answer, and whether or not dogs can eat pate depends on the ingredients. In general, dogs are better off without eating pate so the safest possible answer is to avoid feeding any to Fido.

There are dozens of different kinds of pate out there in the world, but each one is typically made using the liver of an animal and some spices, although some pates do use other cuts of meat or even veggies like mushrooms to make the decadent spread. The meat used can come from almost any animal, including chicken, duck, pork, venison, or even fish.

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If you do want to share a little lick of spread with the pooch, you will need to check the label carefully to make sure there are no ingredients that are harmful to dogs. Or if you make your own pate at home, leave out any toxic ingredients. As long as your pate recipe doesn’t contain any ingredients that are a problem for pooches, it should be “safe” for them to eat a very small piece as an occasional treat.

However, most pate recipes include onion, garlic, shallots, or onion powder or garlic powder. All these alliums are toxic to dogs, and powdered forms like garlic powder are far more concentrated than fresh plants and are they’re much more likely to make your pooch poorly.

As well as alliums like onions and garlic, some pate recipes also use nutmeg or mustard seeds which are also considered toxic to dogs. Others recipes make use of alcohol whether it’s port, wine, or Grand Marnier. Alcohol is another no-no for feeding Fido, and too much can intoxicate a dog, although the amounts used in pate shouldn’t get your dog drunk unless they scoff a lot. (Better to be safe than sorry though!)

Other than ingredients that might be a problem for your pup, pate is also high in fat so you need to limit how much your dog eats to keep them happy and healthy. There’s no guide on how much pate a dog can safely eat, but less is best.

So a tiny bit of pate on occasion probably won’t hurt your pup, but it’s not the safest or healthiest treat you could give your hound. Although pate is a great consistency for filling a Kong toy, we definitely don’t recommend it because you might inadvertently feed too much to your pooch and make them sick.

If you really want to treat your furry friend, you can make healthy homemade pate without any of the seasonings that might harm your pooch. Otherwise, a little bit of Pure makes a great Kong filler that’s perfectly safe and healthy.

You can mix Pure into a pate-like consistency and offer your pooch their healthy dinner as a Kong filler, which is a surefire way to make your dog’s mealtimes more entertaining and enriching.

Can dogs eat liver pate?

Dogs can eat a little bit of liver pate safely provided it doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients.

The problem is that pate usually does, whether that’s alcohol, onions, mustard, and so on. It’s also very fatty. In general, less is more and the safest thing is not to feed liver pate to Fido.

That being said, a tidbit of liver pate probably won’t hurt your dog if it’s a one-off. Even if the pate contains some of these tricky ingredients, they shouldn’t be in high enough concentrations to poison your pooch unless they munch a big bit of pate. If your dog licks up a blob you’ve dropped on the floor, they’ll usually be fine. But the safest thing to do for your pooch is to not feed them liver pate deliberately.

Can dogs eat Brussels pate?

Brussels pate usually contains onion and nutmeg which are both considered toxic to dogs, and the high-fat content could put your pup at risk of gaining weight or developing pancreatitis. As always, the safest option is to not feed your dog any Brussels pate.

Can dogs eat liver?

Yes, dogs can eat liver and this tasty meaty treat is so packed with protein and nutrients that it is sometimes considered a multivitamin for dogs. It’s super healthy and provides a whole host of vitamins and minerals for your furry friend, including a ton of vitamin A, vitamin B, folate, copper, and iron.

The problem is that liver is VERY rich in vitamin A, and too much of this vitamin can actually harm your precious pup. They need some to stay healthy, but their body can’t remove excess levels so it can build up in their system and cause toxicity if they eat too much of it. Even us humans are advised to only eat liver or liver products like pate once a week at most because munching more can do more harm than good!

You can feed your pooch pieces of liver as a tasty and healthy treat, but you will need to moderate how much they eat to make sure their levels of vitamin A stay within the normal range.

Is pate good for dogs?

Pate contains a fair bit of protein which is normally quite good for dogs, but there’s a lot of reasons why pate would actually be considered “bad” for dogs.

As mentioned above, most pate recipes will contain at least one or two ingredients that are considered toxic to dogs, whether that’s onions, garlic, mustard, nutmeg, or alcohol.

Pate is also very rich and high in fat. Although dogs need a bit of fat to stay healthy, it can cause a lot of problems if they regularly eat fatty treats or eat too much fat all at once. Eating too much in one go could cause an acute case of pancreatitis, which will make your dog incredibly ill. However, eating fatty treats regularly could cause your dog to become overweight or trigger a case of chronic pancreatitis.

There’s also a lot of salt in pate, and that’s another ingredient you should moderate in your dog’s diet to make sure they stay healthy. A little salt on occasion is fine, and they need some to survive, but too much can make them sick. If a dog eats too much salt it can lead to dehydration, vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, and could cause sodium poisoning which requires urgent veterinary treatment.

Some dogs with underlying health conditions, such as heart failure, need to eat a low salt diet to manage their condition. Therefore these pooches definitely shouldn’t eat foods like pate.

Recap: Can dogs have pate?

The safest answer here is no, dogs can not have pate. It’s packed full of fat, salt, and usually has several ingredients that are considered toxic to dogs.

However, a tiny amount isn’t likely to cause serious harm to your dog if they eat it as a one-off. So if your pooch hoovers up a piece of cracker you’ve dropped with a little bit of pate on, don’t worry.

But don’t deliberately offer up spoonfuls of this meaty spread to your hound. It’s best to avoid feeding your dog pate as a treat unless it’s one made especially for dogs, or one without any toxic ingredients in the recipe.

It is pretty easy to make a pate at home that is safe for both you and your pup to eat. If you really want to spoil them, adjust a pate recipe to remove any problematic ingredients, or simply spoon out a portion of plain homemade pate before you add any seasoning or spices. (Then just season up your own portion and remember to label which is for you and which is the dog’s!)

If your pooch manages to eat a big chunk of pate, keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t start showing signs of illness. If you’re concerned your pooch has eaten something they shouldn’t, or they become sick, you should always contact your vet for advice.

As we said, instead of spreading pate onto your dog's lickimat or stuffing it into their Kong, why not try using their Pure instead. Pure is complete, balanced and super tasty too, so you can give your dog their full daily serving in something like a Kong to provide mental enrichment too! Much better for your pooch than pate...