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Sometimes I have cooked meat or fish in my refrigerator that is a week old. Is this food safe to feed to a dog without reheating? Is it safe to feed to a dog after reheating?

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    Would you eat it? – JoshDM Dec 4 '13 at 20:27
  • @JoshDM No, I would not. – drs Dec 4 '13 at 20:33
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    @JoshDM that's not really an argument, I would totally eat chocolate but my dog shouldn't. Dogs can cope far better with old and rotten stuff than humans. – Baarn Dec 4 '13 at 22:30
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    If a cooked piece of meat rots in your fridge in only a week, get a new fridge. That old one evidently is faulty. – Esa Paulasto Dec 5 '13 at 0:26
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    I think, if you can afford to own a dog, you can certainly afford fresh food. If you have fresh food, I wouldn't bother risking it. – gitsitgo Dec 5 '13 at 17:09
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One thing to know is that dogs that become feral are known to be scavengers1 and as consequence are not necessarily eating fresh, unspoiled meats. From that aspect, you can discern that dogs are capable of eating meat that could very will sicken and kill us. The reason that dogs are able to do this is that their stomachs are very acidic and that allows for the dog's natural biology to destroy harmful bacteria.

So, despite the evidence that would indicate that it is probably safe to feed your dog the meat, I don't know that I would. In general, if (s)he is already getting a properly balanced set of meals and snacks, I'd just toss the meat. The risk may be low, but there's no real value in it anyways.

1The Behavioural Biology of Dogs, edited by P. Jensen, 2007, pages 157-158

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There is no definitive time frame to say, it is ok or not ok to feed a dog meat at this point. Has the meat been thawed and prepared hygienically. Has been kept refrigerated? What other foods have been prepared with it (as some food will go off before others)? What type of meat is it? How fresh was the meat when it was cooked?

Dogs can eat many things that would make a person ill, some gross examples being, they can eat dog poop, and drink from toilets without necessarily becoming sick, which I doubt any person could do ever. They can manage to digest food with higher levels of bacteria than we can. Having said this, they don't need to be fed bacteria platters.

  • The general rule I use is, does it smell off? Does it look off?

If it smells off, this means it is off, the smell is coming from bacteria and I would advise against feeding this to your dog.

If the meat looks dry and so unpalatable for a person, this doesn't mean that a dog will not enjoy it. As John said in his answer dogs can be scavengers. However, if it is green or has growth on it, then toss it. Any obvious signs of bacteria and it's not a good thing for your dog.

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