Liver is the best organ meat for dogs. It has high levels of vitamin A and is easy to obtain. Heart and kidney organs are also excellent choices to add to your dog’s raw diet. Kidneys are high in iron and zinc, and the heart is packed with CoQ10.
Is your dog receiving the nutrition they need? As pet owners, we do our best to make sure our furry friends get the nutrients and vitamins to keep them happy and healthy, but sometimes we still fall short. Instead of adding outside supplements to your dog’s food, have you ever considered feeding them organs? The benefits may surprise you.
The Top 3 Organ Meats For Dogs
When dogs in the wild catch their prey, the organs are often eaten first because of their high nutritional value. But you most likely aren’t feeding your dog an entire dead animal for their meals, so here are the most nutritious organs to fix up for Fido.
The liver is probably the most commonly eaten organ in a dog’s diet. This organ is essential because of the high levels of vitamin A it supplies. It is also the easiest organ to obtain, making it a great addition to your dog’s diet.
Unfortunately, the liver has a bad reputation because it is used in detoxifying the body. However, the liver DOES NOT store toxins. It is entirely safe for your dog to eat liver that has been prepared correctly.
Feeding your dog liver ensures that they’ll receive the vitamins that they would not get from ordinary kibble.
The kidneys are another great organ to feed your dog. They are be a fantastic source of both vitamin A and vitamin B.
The iron and zinc content of kidneys is another reason to consider adding them to your dog’s diet. The high protein content of the kidneys is nothing to sneeze at either.
Beef or lamb kidneys are easy to find as well. Keep your dog healthy and happy with a bit of kidney in their diet.
The heart is another powerhouse of amino acids, protein, and other goodies that keep your dog’s body and brain in excellent health.
Hearts are packed with CoQ10, a key amino acid. People often feed their pets CoQ10 in capsule form to make up for diet deficiencies, but there is no better source than the heart itself. Other key nutrients in hearts include thiamin and taurine.
Other Healthy Organs For Dogs
While the liver, heart, and kidneys may be the ‘high-profile’ organs to feed your dog, other organs still provide a lot of benefit for dogs.
Stomach (also referred to as tripe) is a significant source of probiotics to keep your dog’s digestive system running smoothly. Pig brains are full of ingredients that help keep the nervous system healthy. Even reproductive organs such as testes, ovaries, and uterus provide natural hormones that help with issues such as incontinence .
The bottom line is that organs are an excellent addition to your dog’s diet. The liver, kidneys, heart, and other organs are all worth adding to your dog’s food.
Where Do I Get Organs?
Fortunately, the nutritional value of organs has been long known in many cultures. This means that giving your dog a healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to go out and hunt down fresh prey yourself. There are multiple sources for organs that are readily available.
These markets often have a good supply of organs. Liver, kidneys, brain, tongue, tripe, and other organs can be found at ethnic markets. Look for them in cities, often in cultural districts. Asian markets often have a nice inventory of what you will be looking for.
If you are in a rural area, you may have access to some local farms. Farmers are often willing to sell or even give away organs from their animals. Reach out to those around you and see what you find.
Butchers sell prime cuts of meat to the public, but if they process their product in-house, they may have a steady supply of organs as well.
If you are unsure whether your local butcher has organs, ask away. Organs may not be on display at the butcher’s, even if they have stock. Organs on display can be off-putting to people, so they may not be in the public eye.
Finally, it is always worth a look to see what your local grocery store has in stock. You would be surprised at the range of meat that some grocery stores carry. Discount grocery stores usually get the “less desirable” parts of animals, including organs. Since many people do not have access to some of the other options, this may be the best option.
A Few Tips When Feeding Organs to Your Dog
Your dog is your best friend. We know you want to do what is best for them. Just like other dog foods, organs can be of varying quality. Here are a few things to look out for when you decide to start your dog on organs.
The term “organ meat” can get thrown around on dog food to make them more appealing to the consumer.
If the label on food says that it was made with “organ meat,” it is far too vague to place any confidence in the amount of organs actually present in the food.
This means that the nutrition present in organs may not actually be present in substantial amounts. Dry dog food can also lose nutrition because of its production process. Fresh foods will always have more nutrition than dry dog foods.
Preparing Organs for your Dog
Organs are easy to prepare for your dog. While wild dogs may process raw organs efficiently, domesticated pets require a little preparation.
The organs themselves can often be bought at low prices, and getting them ready takes little effort. For liver, kidneys, and heart, simply boil the organ in either water or a low-sodium broth for around five minutes.
If you are someone who follows the principles of raw feeding for their dog, you may have received some misinformation about the amount of organs needed in their diet.
It is common for raw feeders to follow the 80-10-10 rule, which dictates that a pet’s diet should be 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ meat. However, most animals are not 10% organ meat. Instead, they fall closer to the 25% mark.
This means that raw feeders that follow this 80-10-10 principle are not accurately following a natural diet. If a raw feeder only gives their dog 10% organ meat, they are not feeding them enough organ meat.
Dangerous Organs – Avoid These!
By now, it should be clear that organs are great for your pet. They can keep their brain sharp, their coat shiny, and their digestive tract working as intended.
But it is still important to consider potential health risks when feeding your dog organs. Venison brains can contain prions that cause chronic wasting disease. This is not something to mess around with.
Cow brains can also contain Mad Cow Disease. Fortunately, brain from pigs does not share the same risks as these sources. Be smart about where your organs are coming from, and there should be no problems.
Organs are an amazing superfood for your dog. Adding organs to your dog’s diet will keep them youthful and sharp, often for a very low cost. While each dog is different and has different needs, supplementing organs into their diet makes mealtime more tasty AND nutritious.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.