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A question I get all the time (and I had myself once upon a time) is where do I find organ meat? When you look at the grocery store, all you see are chicken hearts, chicken livers, chicken gizzards, and, maybe, beef liver. Out of these offerings, only the liver is fed counted as organ meat for raw feeding, the rest falls into the muscle meat category.
|Organs Fed as Secreting Organs||Organs Fed as Muscle Meat|
So, where do we find all of this variety?
Where I Source Organ Meat
There are loads of places where you can find organ meat. I buy 99% of the food I feed to my dogs through a local raw food co-op and that's where I learned about GreenTripe.com, which offers a tripe/organ blend that I give to my dogs regularly. I also buy extra pork hearts to add more nutrients to my dogs' diet. And when friends butcher a pig or cow, they give me the hearts, liver, and sometimes kidneys (pork only), which grind, mix, and I feed to my dogs.
Where You Can Find Organ Meat
The following is a list of places where I've shopped that I found most of what is on the above lists.
Do you have an Asian / Ethnic market in your town? I have several within driving distance and they have a load of variety for those of us shopping for meat, fish, and vegetables. I've found liver, kidney, brains, hearts, gizzards, and tongue. But don't allow my limited list to stop you from shopping at your local ethnic markets – what is offered at stores is based on where we live too.
Restaurant Meat Suppliers
What the heck is a restaurant meat supplier? This is a business that sources meat from farms for local restaurants. It's a way to gain access to the widest variety of meats. You can find them by searching Google for supplies in your area or, if you have friends in the restaurant business, you can ask them for a reference.
I've been able to get a lot of organ meat from a friends who raise their own meat. While some farmers use all of the animal, others don't have much use for the organ meat and are happy to sell it at a low cost or give it away for free. This is how I get pork liver, kidneys, and heart.
Raw Food Co-Ops
If you have a quality raw food co-op near you, you may have a variety of sources that offer organs, muscle meat, and bone. Being a member of a raw food co-op has helped me try new things with our dogs and the more variety I find, the more money I can save because I'm not stuck buying expensive cuts of meat.
Salvage / Discount Grocery Stores
And, finally, you'd be amazed at what you can find at salvage and discount grocery stores. We have a couple of discount grocery stores in my town and they don't have a lot of variety, but I have friends in other states that seem to strike gold whenever they go, so these stores are worth a look.
What if You Can't Find Organ Meat for Your Dogs?
Even with all of those options, some pet parents won't be able to find organ meat and this is where base mixes come in handy. Some can be expensive, but it's important to remember that we're replacing a lot of foods and supplements. Thanks to the base mixes I prefer, meal prep is a lot easier.
Dr. Harvey's Paradigm
Paradigm is called a “green food” by Dr. Harvey's and I like it because it helps me create a low-carb diet for my dogs, which is especially important since Sydney's cancer diagnosis. Low-carb and low-glycemic diets help to prevent health issues like obesity, diabetes, and cancer, while boosting the immune system to help our dogs survive a health diagnosis.
Paradigm is grain-free, contains no fillers, preservatives, wheat, corn, or soy, only contains low glycemic vegetables, and Paradigm works with a ketogenic diet for dogs, which may help to manage cancer.
Ingredients in Dr. Harvey's Paradigm
Broccoli, Green Beans, Bone Broth, Red and Green Bell Pepper, Cabbage, Pumpkin, Crushed Eggshell, Celery, Kelp, Alfalfa, Turmeric, Spirulina, Ginger, Red Clover, Milk Thistle, Slippery Elm, Dandelion, Cinnamon, Tricalcium Phosphate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid
Dr. Harvey's Raw Vibrance
Raw Vibrance is also grain-free and the biggest difference is that it contains fruits (antioxidants) and seeds (additional nutrients), while still working to boost the immune system. I like to alternate between Paradigm and Raw Vibrance so that our dogs get all of the health benefits provided by Dr. Harvey's.
Ingredients in Dr. Harvey's Raw Vibrance
Broccoli, Green Beans, Squash, Carrots, Celery, Cabbage, Crushed Eggshell, Spinach, Pumpkin, Beets, Raw Goat’s Milk Powder, Apples, Blueberries, Bone Meal, Sesame Seeds, Chia Seeds, Shiitake Mushrooms, Green Lipped Mussel Powder, Milk Thistle, Ginger, Spirulina, Kelp, Parsley, Eggshell Membrane
Meal Prep with a Base Mix
There are many base mixes available for raw feeders, but I prefer what Dr. Harvey's brings to the table because their base mixes don't contain potatoes or grains. When mixing up meal prep, I simply add 1 cup of the base mix of choice to an 8-quart bowl, hydrate the mix with hot water, and add the other ingredients. I add the oil when I'm feeding the dogs.