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Feeding Offal to Dogs in a Raw Food Diet

DepositPhoto/OlgaPink

 

Organ Meat vs. Offal in Raw Feeding

Despite spending a year researching raw dog food, I honestly thought that I just needed to add AN organ to my dogs' diet and that organ was liver.  Not only was this wrong, my dogs got diarrhea because liver is rich and I fed too much because I also thought I could eyeball their meal and figure out the 80/10/10.

Yep, I made many mistakes.

I feed my dogs a modified version of the BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) Model.  When I was comparing BARF to Prey Model, I came to the conclusion that I wasn't okay with taking away muscle meat and increasing bone to add vegetables.  So I create a model that works for my dogs.

  • 80% muscle meat
  • 10% bone
  • 5% offal
  • 5% liver
  • vegetables, fruit, dairy, eggs, and supplements

When it comes to making raw dog food, the meats that we as humans identify as “organ meat” may fall into the muscle meat column.

Organs Fed as Muscle Meat Organs Fed as Offal Other Cuts Fed as Muscle Meat
Heart Pancreas Green Tripe
Gizzards Kidney Trachea
Lung Spleen Tongue
Testicles
Brain

 

Why We Feed Offal to Dogs

Organ meat (offal) are packed with nutrients and the least expensive part of my dogs' diet, so they never go without.

  • Vitamins: A, B, D, E, and K
  • Minerals: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, iodine, potassium, sodium, selenium, and zinc
  • Omega-3 fats EPA and DHA

Quality Sources for Offal

I thought the easiest source for offal was the local grocery store; I was wrong.  Our store only carries liver.  I've heard that you can get variety at an Asian Market, but I have yet to explore one thoroughly.  So I order all of my ingredients through a local raw food co-op.

  • pork kidneys
  • pancreas
  • green tripe/organ blend that contains liver, spleen, and pancreas*
  • organ blend with liver and kidney*
  • venison, pork, or turkey liver

* With the organ blends on the market (sold by GreenTripe.com and Columbia River Pet Foods) try and get the amount of each ingredient.  If an amount isn't available, then I look at the order of the ingredients (the first ingredient is the most; the last is the least).

How I Feed Offal to My Dogs

My dogs eat a ground raw food diet; I grind enough offal to equate to 10% of the batch of raw that I'm making.  Usually, I grind pork kidneys, turkey liver (because it's small), and mix it with an organ blend that contains pancreas and spleen.

I choose to add offal in the batch of raw dog food that I mix every other weekend.  It's easier for me to feed offal to my dogs this way; otherwise, I worry that I'll forget.

How Much Offal I Feed to My Dogs

Offal is 5% of my dogs' raw diet, and half of that 5% is liver.  I started low and worked my way up because organ meat is rich.  To decide how much offal to add to my raw dog food, I do the following calculation:

Step One: calculate the bone

  • 40 pounds of duck wings = 61% muscle meat and 39% bone
  • 40 pounds of duck wings x 39% = 15.6 pounds of bone

Step Two: calculate the offal (this is easy)

  • 15.6 pounds / 2 = 7.8 pounds of offal and 7.8 pounds of liver

Step Three: calculate the total amount of muscle, offal, and bone

  • 15.60 pounds of bone / 10% = 156 pounds of total meat (muscle, offal, and bone)

Step Four: calculate the additional muscle meat needed

  • 156 pounds x 80% = 124.8 pounds less 24.4 pounds (this is 61% of the duck wings) = 100.4 pounds of muscle meat
  • To make up the 100.4 pounds, I add trim (muscle meat, no bones), gizzards, and hearts

Step Five: mix everything together and freeze

  • I usually make seven days of meals every other week.  I alternate this food with other proteins to provide variety: duck, venison, emu, rabbit, green beef tripe.

 

Feeding Organ Meat in a Raw Food Diet for Dogs
Thank you to Ewegurt for being a generous sponsor of Keep the Tail Wagging®.  Ewegurt is an all natural supplement made with sheep's milk and other natural, healthy ingredients that help to ease anxiety in dogs.  I add it to my dogs' meals as a food topper or I feed it to them as a treat before thunderstorms, windstorms, when there will be fireworks, and before they are exposed to a situation that increases their anxiety.  It works great for my dogs and has no side effects.
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