Can Dogs Eat Expired Meat? (Why It’s Bad For Dogs?)

Do our Smart Dog Owners often worry about their doggo’s food and nutritional requirements? Well, we are here for you!

Millions of dog owners are highly concerned about the best kind of food for their pups. One question is particularly prevalent among these dog-lovers:

Can dogs eat expired meat? No, they cannot. Expired meat is not a suitable eating item for dogs and humans alike and, thus should be avoided at all costs. 

Although dogs have a much better-developed digestive system than humans, feeding your pet old or expired food is in no way acceptable. It is even common for humans not to eat leftovers or food lying in the refrigerator for a long time.

Dogs are typically fans of leftovers and can stomach several kinds of bacteria looming in the food, but expired meat is a big no-no. 

Your dog’s chances of getting sick are pretty high if he eats spoiled meat, as they are prone to food poisoning if the meat is ingested in large amounts. Can dogs eat raw chicken meat? Find out here.

Is Spoiled Meat Bad For My Dog’s Health?

Dogs have a better functioning digestive system than humans and can withstand several food items humans cannot. But that doesn’t rule out the considerable risk of parasites, bacteria, fungi, and other toxins present in your dog’s spoiled food.

If a canine ingests such toxins, its chances of getting sick are undeniably high. 

That is simply because spoiled and moldy meat is the primary breeding ground for pathogens and harmful microorganisms such as Salmonella, Penitrem-A, Clostridium botulinum, E-coli, Staphylococcus, and several others.

All these bacteria have highly ill effects on health and cause harmful effects. 

Let’s take a look at their negative effect on a dog’s health:


E-coli is known to cause colibacillosis in canines, a severe disease of the lower intestine. 

Clostridium botulinum

Clostridium botulinum causes Botulism in dogs, a disorder that hampers the abilities of the nervous system, resulting in partial or complete paralysis. 


Penitrem-A is one of the most common components of expired meat. This tremor-causing microorganism can cause seizures in dogs. 


When ingested, Salmonella is one of the leading causes of bloody diarrhea in dogs, excessive vomiting, loss of appetite, and weakness. 

Staphylococcus aureus

Also known as Staph infection, Staphylococcus aureus is a highly infectious disease-causing microorganism that can be easily transmitted from canines to humans.  

Can My Dog Get Food Poisoning From Eating Expired Meat?

Yes, it is quite possible for your dog to get food poisoning if he ingests expired meat. Stale and rotten foods commonly mess up a dog’s digestive system, causing symptoms that may appear within a few hours of days of consumption. 

A few of the most common symptoms of food poisoning in dogs that eat expired meat are as follows:

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Intermittent or mild fever 
  • Temporary loss of bladder control 
  • Signs of abdominal pain or congestion
  • Dizziness 
  • Nausea 
  • Considerable decrease in appetite  

Botulism is the worst foodborne illness among the several diseases your dog can pick up from soiled meat. This disease is prone to aggravating quickly and is quite hard to spot until it has reached its full-blown stage. Although a rare complication, putrid meat may contain Botulism causing bacteria that can affect a dog’s functioning. 

Some common symptoms of Botulism include the following:

  • Weakness
  • Inflammation in or around the eyes
  • Constipation 
  • Considerable decrease in coordination 
  • Shivering  

Botulism can also cause uncontrolled seizures, paralysis, and death in severe cases. 

Fortunately, Botulism is a treatable disease. It is, therefore, crucial for you to allow your pet immediate medical attention to prevent any undesirable circumstances. 

Can Dogs Eat Slightly Spoiled Meat?

Can dogs eat expired meat
Can dogs eat spoiled meat

As discussed before, dogs have a robust digestion system and can digest a wide variety of food items, no matter their standing. Therefore, your dog should do alright if he eats slightly soiled meat in small quantities.

Dogs have guts strong enough to tolerate slightly putrid meat, as long as it has not been sitting out long enough for harmful microorganisms to grow in it. 

There is nothing to worry about if your pet eats meat that is just a smidge over the expiration date. Your dog would not need medical attention as long as the meat doesn’t seem moldy, green, or smells putrid. 

Can Dogs Eat Spoiled Cooked Meat?

No, dogs should not eat spoiled meat, whether cooked or raw. Although science shows that cooking meat for a considerable amount of time kills the bacteria in it, thereby making it relatively safer to eat. That is, however, not the case for spoiled meat. 

The microorganisms that form in rotten meat cannot necessarily be killed off by cooking. Thus, the effects of spoiled meat are not a hundred percent reversible, as even if the organisms die, the toxins they release would still be present in the putrid flesh. 

Also Read: Can dogs eat imitation Crab meat?

How Long Can My Dog’s Dry Food Last Unopened?

Contrary to popular belief, unopened dry dog food does not have an infinite shelf life. Instead, it can last about 12-18 months as a safe-to-eat food, depending upon its kind.

Some unopened dog foods also last up to two years, but that primarily depends on their type of ingredients. 

Dog foods contain preservatives that make them last longer, but it is advisable to consume the food within its expiration date. 

Can Dogs Eat Out-Of-Date Eggs?

No, dogs cannot eat out-of-date eggs. Eggs can also develop Salmonella, a dreadful microorganism that can make your pup sick.

It is even possible for very clean eggs to contain Salmonella as well, and thus giving your dog uncooked or undercooked eggs is not a wise decision at all. 

How Long Can Dog Treats Be Used After The Expiration Date?

Dogs can conveniently eat treats that have passed their expiration date by a couple of days. It is common for unopened dog treats to be used a few months after their expiration dates.

Opened treats should be consumed within two months of their opening, and it is wise to throw them out if they have passed their expiration date while being open.  

Most expired treats do not cause any problematic health complications. However, if you find your pup facing difficulties after eating a particular expired treat, refrain from letting him eat them anymore. 

What Happens If A Dog Eats Rotten Meat?

Dogs are inquisitive animals, and their heightened sense of smell makes quite a combination. Therefore, the spoiled piece of meat you threw out in the trash will become your dog’s snack later on.

It is common for dogs to rummage through the garbage and eat junk, which is nothing to worry about. 

However, if you get to know that your dog has ingested spoiled meat, it is crucial to keep a keen eye on him for at least 24 hours. Most healthy dogs can deal with the putrid flesh in their tummies on their own.

But if that isn’t the case and your pup shows some symptoms of food poisoning, it is time to call your vet. 

If your dog doesn’t vomit after ingesting soiled meat, his internal system would likely be sufficient to flush the toxins out. Do not try to force your pet dog to vomit in such a case. 

Feeding your sick dog holds paramount importance. Stick to completely clean, easy-to-digest, and fresh foods that your dog usually likes.

Ensure that your dog has convenient access to clean water, as runny stools and vomiting (common side effects of food poisoning) can dehydrate your pup. 

Steer clear of milk or foods containing traces of dairy, as they can cause further complications for an upset stomach. It is not uncommon for pups to be lactose-intolerant; thus, the milk would pose another problem for your dog. 

Can Dogs Distinguish Between Spoiled And Unspoiled Meat?

Dogs have an elevated sense of smell and thus can smell spoiled food from unspoiled food. However, that alone does not guarantee that your dog would not give in to his inclinations and gobble up the meat that smells putrid. 

Although dogs have the sense of smell that allows this distinction, they lack the mental ability to make the right decision for them. 

Can Dogs Eat Spoiled Meat Without Getting Sick?

It is not necessary for a dog to immediately exhibit signs of food poisoning after eating spoiled meat. Some pups may not show any symptoms at all, but that does not allow you to continue feeding them rotten meat.

It is likely that your dog is simply healthy enough to combat the threat on his own for one time or is in the disease-development phase as the symptoms of food poisoning can take up to six days to appear. 

How Long Does It Take For Meat To Rot?

Unrefrigerated meat is prone to rot and mold as the warm temperature is ideal for bacteria and other harmful microorganisms to grow.

Therefore, keeping your meat refrigerated when not used or cooking it as quickly as possible to ingest it in its prime freshness is crucial. Storing meat below 40 degrees Fahrenheit is preferable, preventing microbial growth. 

However, refrigerated meat does not have an infinite shelf life and can rot as well. Let us look at how long different kinds of meat retain their freshness in the refrigerator or a cool storing place:

  • Ground meat, uncooked chicken, seafood: 1-2 days 
  • Chops, steaks, and other large cut roasts: 1-5 days 
  • Cooked meat: 1-7 days 
  • Processed meat such as sausages, hotdogs, and bacon: 1-30 days 

Keep in mind that frozen meat lasts longer than refrigerated meat, even up to a year. 

What Are Some Healthy Meat Options I Can Give My Dog? 

Processed meat 

Processed meat is more durable than fresh meat and is thus least likely to give your dog food poisoning. However, it cannot, in any way, compare with the nutritional requirements of fresh meat. 


Chicken is high in protein, easy to digest, and readily available. It is, therefore, one of the best meat options for your dog, provided it is baked (to prevent the formation of Salmonella).


Beef is one of the highly loved treats in dogs. May it be minced or prepared whole, it can prove to be a healthy food option for your dog, bound to make him happy and healthy.

You can even feed your dog beef daily without any adverse side effects. Veal is really beneficial for your doggo too.


Cod, sardines, herring, and salmon are among the best fish options for your dog as they are high in omega-3 and several other vital nutrients. Unlike beef, fish does not make an excellent everyday meal but is a perfect occasional protein option


The nutritional benefits of turkey are comparable with chicken’s, the only difference being that turkey is not heavily farmed. That means they are fed natural and organic diets, which is even better for your pup. 


Many experts consider offal and organ a vital meat source for all dogs. Organs are high in nutritional value, and you should give them to your dog as a daily meat source that is light on the pocket as well.

However, organ meat possesses high-fat content, so it is advisable to give it to younger dogs. 

How Do I Treat My Dog If He Gets Food Poisoning From Spoiled Meat?

A dog showing signs of food poisoning should be immediately put on a fast, with water as the sole food source. As per the initial symptoms of food poisoning, your dog may suffer from diarrhea and vomiting.

Although that is not a huge concern, it is imperative to consult a veterinary professional immediately if the vomiting gets uncontrollable. 

If your pup can’t keep his water down, immediately take him for medical assistance. In more uncomplicated cases, vets commonly administer anti-vomiting and anti-diarrhea medicine to dogs suffering from food poisoning to allow food retention, which is crucial for recovery.  

Food poisoning usually completes its due course until the vomiting and diarrhea expel the harmful toxins from the body.

However, if such symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, your dog may be suffering from a more serious underlying complication and should be professionally diagnosed. 

If your canine exhibits such symptoms and appears to be in pain, it is advisable to take your dog’s stool sample to the nearest vet. Stool testing plays a significant role in diagnosis. 

Can Dogs Eat Expired Meat

To Sum UpCan Dogs Eat Expired Meat?

Even though dogs possess a highly functional digestive system that helps them deal with almost whatever they eat, the risk of contracting diseases and toxins from expired meat is considerably high. Therefore, refrain from giving your dog such stale foods and give him cooked, clean, and fresh meat to add to his health. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I give spoiled meat to my dog?

No, you should not give spoiled meat to your dog under any circumstances as it can cause several medical complications, such as food poisoning. 

Can dogs eat spoiled chicken?

No, dogs cannot eat spoiled chicken because of the risk of contamination from the microorganisms that grow in it. 

Which animals eat rotten meat?

Animals like vultures, crows, coyotes, eagles, hawks, condors, and hyenas can eat rotten meat. 

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Jackob Evans

Hi, I’m Jacob. I’ve been a professional blogger for over six years, and in that time, I’ve written countless blogs that have helped millions of people worldwide. A DVM by profession, I have treated and cured thousands of dogs, if not millions.

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