In the quest to find the best nutrition for our furry friends, some of the questions most pet parents have are: Can dogs eat organ meats? If so, what is the best organ meat for dogs?
More and more pet parents are providing a homemade diet for their furry pals. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons. First, pet parents are finding out that besides the best dog food out there, a lot of other commercial pet foods simply do not support the optimum health for dogs. Pet parents should know that while the Food and Drug Administration does provide some regulation over the manufacture of pet food because commercial dog food is considered “feed grade,” the FDA doesn’t regulate the product as they would something made for human consumption.
As a result, many pet products contain ingredients that are harmful to our fur babies. Many commercial dog foods contain bone meals, animal by-products, blood meals, and a host of preservatives and artificial flavoring (on top of other additives) that can make Fido really sick. Pet parents are seeing dogs develop allergies among other health issues.
Pet parents, in an effort to combat this issue, are moving toward a more “human food” diet for their pups—even trying out raw feeding. For some, a dog’s raw diet can even include raw food like organ meat.
Sometimes this means providing organ meat for dogs.
What is organ meat?
As the name implies, organ meat typically comes from the entrails of an animal. This may also be the internal organs of an animal as well. In cattle, we consider organ meats to be the liver, kidneys, and even the intestines of the animal. In poultry, this may be the gizzard, the heart, and the liver. All of these are suitable to be fed to dogs, and they may often be found easily in your local market.
NOTE: Chicken livers are readily available at most grocery stores, and they are very high in protein and iron.
What makes organ meat so special?
Organ meats tend to contain more nutrients than muscle meat. They typically possess more of the vitamins A, B, D, and E. They may contain fat, but it is usually a “healthier” form of fat than that found in muscle meat. The protein contained in a piece of organ meat tends to have a higher quality of protein. Finally, organ meats usually contain minerals that are highly beneficial to your dog’s health, including selenium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.
Because organ meats contain so many important nutrients and vitamins, they are one of the most nutrient-dense foods that pet parents can provide to their canines. Even the entrails (the intestines and similar organs) contain a host of valuable nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. In addition, entrails also contain healthy fats and premium protein, as do other organ meats.
Providing these nutrients for your dog offers Fido everything he needs to be a happy and healthy dog.
More information regarding the nutrients in organ meats
Pet parents understand that protein is essential for dog nutrition—for a happy and healthy pup. Protein provides a great deal of the building blocks that carry out tissue repair, muscle repair, immune functions. They may even assist in carrying oxygen through the blood and provide energy.
The amino acids in proteins are highly essential for the health of your dog. Particularly, essential amino acids cannot be produced by your dog’s body, so you’ll need to provide these in your dog’s diet.
There are also nonessential amino acids that your dog’s body does produce, and you don’t have to provide these via your dog’s diet.
Fats are also essential to your dog’s health, especially the healthy fats present in organ meats. Fats are a highly dense source of energy for your dog. Fats have more calories per gram when compared to the carbohydrates and protein your dog eats, but they are important calories nonetheless .
Fats also provide a source of essential fatty acids. These nutrients provide building blocks for the brain development of puppies, and they help to strengthen the immune system of dogs. Essential fatty acids like those found in the best fish oil for dogs, can reduce inflammation in the body of your dog, so dogs that may experience arthritis definitely need essential fatty acids. In addition, these nutrients help dogs bodies to fight cancer and they support a healthy heart—just as healthy fats provide the same benefit to humans. Finally, essential fatty acids provide a wealth of benefits for canine health.
Certain dog vitamins are needed by canines for their best health. In particular, water-soluble vitamins are highly important for your dog to metabolize protein, fats, and carbohydrates. This helps to provide energy for your dog. Water-soluble vitamins must be provided as a part of your dog’s diet; they cannot produce these vitamins on their own. Fat-soluble vitamins are necessary for bone formation and the functioning of cell membranes. They are also important for your dog’s vision.
Minerals are pivotal to a wealth of bodily functions. In particular, they are imperative for the formation of bones and cartilage. Minerals are also needed to maintain the balance of fluids in the body, as well as transport oxygen throughout the body. Minerals are also important for the production of hormones in the body.
Minerals are grouped into two types: minerals and trace minerals. Minerals typically include sodium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium. Trace minerals include iron, manganese, iodine, zinc, selenium, and copper. Dogs need a larger amount of minerals than they do trace minerals, but minerals are typically found in a greater amount in the body naturally.
What types of organ meat should dogs eat?
For canines, all organs are acceptable pieces of the doggie diet. This includes:
- the brain
- the eyeballs
- the heart
- the lungs
- the stomach
- the reproductive organs
- the pancreas and thymus (also referred to as sweetbreads)
- the tongue
In an ideal world, and in the way dogs were created to process meats, dogs can and should get all these organ meats as a part of their diet. However, it is understandable that most humans don’t care to purchase eyeballs and brains for Fido. Sometimes the best solution is to find a happy medium, as the dog’s diet should contain as many organ meats as their human parents can and will provide.
Each organ possesses its own particular vitamins and minerals to your dog’s diet. The more organs one can add to the dog’s diet, the better your dog’s diet will be.
The thought of eating liver sounds gross, we know, but it’s one of the top organ meats you can give your dog. A serving of liver contains 10 to 100 times the nutrients found in a serving of muscle meat. One of the most nutrient-rich organs available, it’s loaded with protein, iron, B vitamins, vitamin A, CoQ10, and essential fatty acids, so tell your pup to eat up!
The CoQ10 found in the liver is twofold in important uses! It improves joint health, which is especially beneficial for large breeds and dogs who suffer from arthritis. Secondly, Coenzyme Q10 is good for heart health; increasing the “good cholesterol” in your dog’s body. It also helps to lower blood pressure and protect muscle tissue in the heart during cardiac trauma. Fatty acids improve coat health and all those B vitamins help your dog fully reap the benefits of the fat and protein found in the liver. Since it is so densely packed with iron, it’s also effective in treating anemic animals.
An entire beef liver may weigh nearly thirty pounds! For dogs, eating beef liver provides a highly concentrated source of Vitamin A. This particular vitamin can help with digestion, and it is also a powerful antioxidant. The liver offers a great deal of folate as well as the B12 vitamin. The liver is also an excellent source of both iron and copper, trace minerals that your dog needs.
Tripe is the muscular stomach lining of grazing animals like cows, pigs, sheep, and goats. Feed this fatty organ in moderation to reap the benefits! Like the liver, it is high in protein and contains vital B vitamins. It also contains selenium, which helps monitor enzymes and zinc, which strengthens the immune system and aids in blood clotting.
If you can get past the stink, tripe can also provide your dog with high levels of a healthy probiotic known as Lactobacillus acidophilus. These good for the gut bacteria compete with harmful types of bacteria – like salmonella, listeria, and E. coli – and prevent them from taking over the digestive system. When fed to your dog, Lactobacillus acidophilus aids in healthy digestion and ensures proper nutrient absorption. It helps to get rid of those super stinky dog toots, too!
The heart is both a muscle and an organ, so it’s similar to feeding your dog a steak with an extra punch of protein and vitamins. Both chicken and beef hearts are excellent sources of B vitamins, iron, and essential fatty acids, keeping your dog’s coat silky smooth for cuddle time! It also contains phosphorus, which helps build and strengthen your dog’s skeletal system. The folate found in the heart is important for DNA health and can help prevent anemia and IBD . Thiamine, which is also found in the heart, improves carbohydrate metabolism and is necessary for nourishing the brain and other high-energy organs. Don’t forget it’s got a healthy dose of taurine!
A beef heart may weigh nearly ten pounds; of course, you shouldn’t offer the entire organ at one time. The heart of a cow offers dark red meat with a dense layer of muscle meat. There is also a layer of those healthy fats we previously mentioned.
Like most other organ meats, a heart can provide a great deal of protein as well as a certain set of minerals you may not find in other organ meats. Typically, the beef heart contains a great deal of iron, zinc, phosphorus, selenium. Feeding your dog beef heart can help to provide the nutrients she needs for a healthy bone structure as well as lots of cell energy. The beef heart contains both minerals and trace minerals that provide so many benefits to your dog.
1. What organ meats are good for dogs?
All organ meats are good for dogs, but the liver and tripe can be of the most benefit for dogs if pet parents are looking for easy ways to provide organ meats.
2. Should you cook organ meat for dogs?
Yes. Dogs should never be provided raw meat due to the possibility of bacteria that is easily cooked out of your dog’s diet.
3. Is Too Much organ meat bad for dogs?
No. Your dog should be provided organ meat as it provides healthy fats, high-quality protein, and loads of vitamins and minerals they won’t get from other cuts of meat.
4. Can dog eat organ meat daily?
Yes, and most experts believe that this type of meat should be provided daily.