Can dogs eat haggis? Our 2023 update
Updated: Nov 18
Can dogs eat haggis? Generally no as many brands of haggis can contain ingredients that can be potentially toxic for your dog because of their high fat content and the addition of other ingredients like spices, fillers and most importantly onions and garlic which contain disulphides and thiosulfinates that can potentially cause illness and anemia in dogs. Read on for our in depth look at whether dogs should eat haggis.
✅ Unfortunately, due to the ingredients, none
❌ Contains onions which can be toxic for dogs
❌ Can contain nutmeg which can be toxic for dogs
❌ Can contain garlic which can be toxic for dogs
❌ Can contain high levels of fat
Table Of Contents
Our guide to can your dog can eat haggis
What is Haggis?
Haggis is a unique Scottish dish that holds a special place in Scottish culture and has a history that dates back centuries. It is often associated with celebrations, particularly Burns Night, a Scottish holiday dedicated to the poet Robert Burns.
Haggis is usually served alongside "neeps and tatties," which are mashed turnips and potatoes, respectively. The combination of haggis, neeps, and tatties creates a satisfying and nutritionally well-rounded meal that's enjoyed by many, especially during festive occasions.
While haggis has a devoted following and is considered a culinary tradition in Scotland, its ingredients and preparation might seem unusual and somewhat to those not familiar with it. Some people find the idea of consuming offal and organ meats less appealing, but for others, haggis is a beloved dish that embodies the rich history and cultural heritage of Scotland.
What are the ingredients in haggis?
The traditional preparation of haggis involves taking the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep, which are then minced and mixed with spices, onions, oatmeal for its distinct texture, and suet. This mixture is seasoned with a blend of spices, including salt, pepper, and often nutmeg or mace, which contribute to the dish's rich and flavorful taste.
Traditionally, haggis was then cooked by stuffing this offal mixture into a prepared sheep's stomach, which acted as a natural casing. Today, artificial casings are more commonly used for health and safety reasons although haggis using the traditional methods are still widely available. The dish is then boiled or simmered until fully cooked, resulting in a hearty and savory meal.
How is haggis made?
As noted above, haggis is a traditional Scottish dish that is made from the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep, mixed with various seasonings and spices, all encased in a sheep's stomach lining.
Although the main ingredients in haggis may seem perfect for dogs, the high fat content found in some haggis along with the addition of onion, nutmeg and in some cases garlic mean that if your dog were to eat haggis it has the potential to make them quite poorly which is why dogs shouldn't eat haggis as a safety precaution.
Here's a general overview of how haggis is made:
Sheep's heart, liver, and lungs
Onion (which can be toxic for dogs)
Suet (fat from around the sheep's kidneys)
Salt and pepper
Spices (such as nutmeg or mace which again can be toxic for dogs)
Stock (usually from the boiled organs)
Sheep's stomach (for casing)
Preparing the Organs:
The sheep's heart, liver, and lungs are thoroughly cleaned and any excess fat, blood vessels, and connective tissues are removed.
Cooking the Organs:
The cleaned organs are then boiled until they are fully cooked and tender. The water used for boiling can be seasoned to help flavor the organs.
Chopping and Mixing:
Once cooked, the heart, liver, and lungs are finely chopped or minced. Some variations might include a mix of coarser and finer textures for added texture.
The chopped organs are mixed with finely chopped onions, oatmeal (for texture and to help bind the mixture), and suet (for flavor and moisture). Seasonings such as salt, pepper, and spices like nutmeg or mace are added for flavor.
Some stock from the boiled organs might be added to adjust the consistency of the mixture. The goal is to achieve a mixture that holds together but is not too dry or too wet.
Stuffing the Casing:
The mixture is then carefully stuffed into the cleaned and prepared sheep's stomach, which serves as the casing. The stomach is sewn or tied shut to encase the haggis mixture.
Cooking the Haggis:
The haggis is traditionally cooked by simmering it in water for a few hours. It's important to avoid boiling it vigorously to prevent the casing from bursting.
Once cooked, the haggis is removed from the water, the casing is removed, and the cooked filling is sliced and served. Haggis is often served with mashed potatoes, mashed turnips (neeps), and a whisky-based sauce known as a whisky sauce or whisky cream sauce.
It's worth noting that while the traditional recipe involves using a sheep's stomach for the casing, modern versions often use artificial casings due to hygiene and convenience reasons. Additionally, there are vegetarian and vegan versions of haggis available that use plant-based ingredients instead of meat which may or may not be more suitable for dogs.
Is haggis good for dogs?
Feeding haggis to dogs is generally not advised due in most part to the additives which can be toxic for dogs. This dish often includes ingredients such as nutmeg, onions, garlic, and a high-fat content that can be detrimental to a dog's health. These components might lead to digestive problems, toxicity, and other potential health issues including anemia so feeding your dog haggis is to be avoided.
Opting for a diet formulated to meet your dog's nutritional requirements is the safest approach. If you're uncertain about suitable foods for your dog, seeking advice from your vet is recommended.
Can haggis be toxic for dogs?
Yes, haggis can potentially be toxic for dogs. The added ingredients like onions, garlic, nutmeg, and in some cases a high-fat and salt content can be harmful to dogs if ingested. Onions and garlic, in particular, are known to be toxic to dogs and can lead to a condition called hemolytic anemia, which can be very serious.
Additionally, the high-fat content in haggis can cause digestive issues and pancreatitis in dogs. It's best to avoid feeding haggis to your dog to ensure their safety and well-being. If you suspect your dog has ingested haggis or any other potentially harmful food, it's advisable to consult a vet.
Read our in-depth review about the dangers of onion and garlic for dogs.
Conclusion - Can dogs eat haggis?
In conclusion, it's essential to understand that whilst haggis may look like a great treat for your dog it is not appropriate for a dogs' diet mainly because of the spices and added ingredients. These ingredients commonly found in haggis are onions, garlic, nutmeg, and excessive fat which individually and combined can carry considerable risks to your dogs health including gastric problems and anemia. These elements have the potential to trigger digestive complications, toxicity, and lasting health challenges which is why dogs should not eat haggis. To ensure the safety and health of your four-legged companions, it's recommended to avoid giving them haggis or any human foods that could jeopardize their well-being. Instead, adhering to a well-balanced diet recommended by a vet will contribute to the overall health and happiness of our dogs.
So to summarise, can dogs eat haggis, no.