Organ Meats in a Dog’s Diet: Good or Bad?

November 1, 2012

Recently, I read an article by Greg Aldrich, Ph.D. about the use of organ meats as a quality source of protein in pet food.  By organ meats, the author referred to the guts of an animal – offal, entrails, tripe, giblets.  Included are the intestines, heart, liver, lungs, spleen, bladder, among others.  Dr. Aldrich spends time making a good case for the use of organ meats for dogs and cats.  He talks about how consumers feeding raw diets to their pets have been including organ meats for years.  He suggests feeding pets “fresh, chilled or frozen viscera,” saying “it contains a modest amount of protein and a relatively high amount of fat.”  He also mentions that pets seem to love the earthy aroma.

Aldrich goes on to say that “In many pet food marketing campaigns, organ meats are being shunned because they are categorized derisively as by-products – by-product or delicacy – it’s in the eye of the beholder.  Maybe the critics just don’t understand what dogs and cats really want.”

The last two sentences are where I beg to differ with Dr. Aldrich.  As disgusting as some of those organ meats sound to us, we all know that dogs and cats like them and will happily eat them.  I’m sure my dogs would be thrilled if I fed them these goodies.  The problem is not the meats themselves that become the so-called by-products.  It’s all the garbage that goes into the rendering vats along with the organ meats that create the by-products.  I’ve written about the rendering process in other posts.

Basically, the rendering trucks pick up old grease from restaurants, dead animals from zoos, euthanized animals (including whatever drug was used to kill them) from veterinarians, and old meat from supermarkets – still in their plastic and Styrofoam packaging.

All of the mess picked up by rendering company trucks goes into huge vats.  There is no separating out the bad stuff.  It’s all dumped in the vats.  The entire contents are rendered, creating by-products.

Decide for yourself:  Are any foods containing by-products healthy for pets?  Not for my fur-kids.

If you choose to feed organ meats to your pet, please choose the fresh or frozen varieties and follow your veterinarian’s instructions for including them in Fido’s and Fluffy’s diet.  Because of the higher fat content, they may not be good choices for some animals.  Feeding large amounts of organ meats may cause diarrhea, so your vet is your best source of information.

The benefits of fresh organ meats are many.  Those meats are high in vitamin content and minerals.  They are excellent sources of Vitamin E (for healing and fighting diseases) and iron.  Some experts suggest feeding organ meats twice a week to pets.  Others recommend including them in small amounts in an animal’s daily diet.

Avoid meats that can cause diseases like trichinosis, such as raw pork.   Organ meats from chicken, lamb, and beef are most commonly found.

Should you want to include organ meats in your pet’s food, please include your vet in the decision and seek expert advice about  meat choices and amounts.

Leave a Comment

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Linda June 13, 2017 at 10:44 pm

I have a higher shepherd/wolf, 5 yrs and a little dog, 12 lbs, 16 yo. I feed them chicken livers & gizzards on their food everyday. My bet said it was good for them. Is it? I buy them fresh, freeze them, & then cook them. I NEVER feed it to them raw. Appreciate your opinion.
Thank you


Previous post:

Next post: