On occasion, our posts contain affiliate links. However, we only recommend products that we truly believe in. For more information, visit my privacy policy page.

Phew, this website is a labor of love and largely a one-woman show so unless indicated, all articles written by J.Tsukamoto

If you're a a owner of dog fortunate enough to be enjoying a fresh raw or cooked homemade diet than you should have knowledge on the importance of incorporating organ meats into their meals.

And if not, this article will definitely inform you on the benefits of what some call "Nature's multivitamins." 

variety of fresh, raw organ meat for dog's diet

What Is Organ Meat?

Organ meats, also called ”offal”, are the various organs found inside an animal’s body.

Organs are generally classified as “secreting” or “non-secreting” organs.

Secreting organs are organs that both produce and secrete various substances in forms such as hormones or enzymes. A common example is liver, which produces and secretes bile that is essential for digesting fats.

Non-secreting, or “muscular” organs such as the heart, brain, and lungs don’t secrete anything.

While both organ types are highly nutritious  - secreting organs are the most nutrient packed of the two with lots of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.

organ meat to incorporate into a dog's fresh homemade raw or cook diet

Secreting organs are especially packed with:

  • B Vitamins
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin A 
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Selenium

Common organs you probably know of include liver, hearts, and kidneys. 

But those are actually just a few of the organs available for both human and dog consumption.

Other less popular organs include:

  • Tongue
  • Brains
  • Stomachs
  • Intestines
  • Eyes
  • Testicles
raw pork tongue for dog raw or cooked fresh diet

Benefits of Organ Meats For Dogs

Organ meats are great for dogs because they are packed with more essential vitamins and minerals than other common cuts of “meat”.

Often referred to as “nature’s multivitamins”, nutrients from organ meats are superior to synthetic nutrients in multiple ways.

Vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds from whole foods work together synergistically, allowing the dog’s body to better absorb and utilize the nutrients.

When making fresh, homemade food for your dogs, if various organ meats are not included in the recipe, the need for synthetic vitamins and minerals will substantially increase.

fresh raw dog organs and meat for healthy homemade diet

Organ meats are also loaded with quality proteins as well as essential fatty acids like DHA, a critical component for dog’s brain and central nervous system functioning.

From an environmental standpoint, feeding your pup organ meats promotes sustainable and ethical eating. 

Instead of throwing away the parts of the animal that humans don’t typically eat, feeding your dog organ meats adheres to the “nose-to-tail” approach of eating essential in many traditional human diets.

What Type of Organ Meats Are Best For Dogs?

Secreting organ meats like the liver are a lot more nutrient dense than non secreting organ meats like the heart.

Both types of organ meats can be included in a fresh and balanced dog’s meal.

However secreting organs are more valuable in terms of adding critical vitamins and minerals often lacking in most fresh dog diet recipes.

Additionally, organ meats from different animals have different nutrient profiles to consider.

raw dog meat being ground

Are Organ Meats Safe For All Dogs?

Organ meats given in correct “serving sizes”, are safe for the majority of healthy dogs and puppies.

However dogs with either kidney disease, Hyperuricosura, and copper-associated liver disease  should not have certain organ meats like liver due to their condition.

Consult with a veterinarian, or preferably a veterinary nutritionist to discuss your dog’s specific needs. Dogs with these conditions will likely need to receive their nutrients from synthetic sources.

Certain organ meats contain higher than recommended amounts of certain vitamins and minerals. Beef liver is very high in vitamin A and giving over the recommended servings size of 2% of a dog’s meal can be harmful.

raw tripe

Do Organ Meats Contains Toxins / Pathogens?

Organ meats, especially from reputable, organic sources typically contain low to trace amounts of heavy metals that are safe to consume in reasonable amounts. 

This is why it’s important to know where the organs come from.

Organs from cattle being allowed to graze in pastures contaminated with industrial pollutants will contain much more heavy metals then cattle that graze in healthier conditions.

raw brain organ

It’s important to understand that while the liver and kidneys process toxins of all sorts, they do not store any of these toxins.

However this does not mean that organ meats do not contain toxins. Various studies found that toxins such as heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, environmental pollutants as well as hormones and antibiotics can be found in animals exposed to them. 

Pathogens such as e.coli and salmonella can also contaminate raw organ meat though healthy dogs with a strong immune system already have an immunity to these types of pathogens.

Although relatively rare, especially in the United States, bovine spongiform encephalopathy or "Mad Cow Disease" is found in the brain of infected cattle. Caution needs to be taken when sourcing brain organs for use in dog meals.

Older and sicker dogs should not be fed raw meats as their weakened immune system may not be able to tolerate the presence of these common pathogens.

raw fresh organ meat

How Much Organ Meat Should You Give Your Dog?

The optimal amount of organ meat to feed your dog depends on various factors, mainly, what’s already in your dog’s meal and if giving your dog certain organ meats is contraindicated.

Also, the amount of organ meat needed in a dog’s meal is different for raw meals compared to cooked meals with raw feeders requiring more organ meat supplementation over cooked meal feeders.

Many raw feeders follow the “Prey Model” or “species appropriate diet” recipe formulation that consists of 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ meat.  (5% or less liver, rest other %).

This diet is supposed to mimic what wolves and wild dogs ate.

However, this method of feeding could be a bit flawed due to the fact that it's likely most wild prey is made up of more than 10% organ meat.

This means that most fresh diets, especially raw, can incorporate a higher percentage of organs provided that there is a good balance between secreting organ meat and muscular organ meat as well as no more than 5% of an individual organ

For example a healthy raw fed dog could have a diet that includes 18% organ meat consisting of:

  • 2% beef liver
  • 4% chicken kidneys
  • 5% beef heart
  • 4% spleen
  • 3% tripe
raw dog's diet with vegetables

Best Way To Prepare Organ Meat

If you know that organ meats come from a reputable source, serving fresh organ meat raw is great for healthy adult dogs with strong immune systems. 

If your dog has never had raw meat before, it’s best to slowly acclimatize the dog to eating raw meats by only giving small portions at first and slowly increasing the amount over time.

If feeding raw is not an option for you, lightly cooking the organ meats is also perfectly fine and in some cases better for certain dogs such as older dogs and dogs with a weak immune system

various raw chicken organ meats at store

Where To Find Organ Meat

Fresh, raw organ meat can be found in most local grocery stores, dedicated butcher shops, abattoirs, and asian / international markets. 

You’ll likely find only a few types of organ meats at grocery stores whereas butcher shops should have a lot more variety.

Organ meats can also be found online in both raw and freeze-dried from.

Other novel but great places to look for organ meats include local farmers as well as local hunters. 

raw chicken feet for dog's fresh made meals

Organ Meats For Dogs - Glossary

Liver - 

  • Most concentrated source of vitamin A 
  • Supports immune system
  • Keeps heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs working properly
  • Because of the amount of vitamin A, most liver should only be at 5% while duck and other ruminating animals should be capped off at 2 to 3%  

Kidneys -

  • Concentrated in selenium and B vitamins
  • Different organs from different foods have different nutrient profiles for example beef and bison kidney have much higher vitamin D, variety is good

Spleen -

  • High in iron
  • Makes hormones
  • Helps promote good blood circulation
  • Great for puppies and kittens

Pancreas -

  • Provides digestive enzymes which is great for dogs with sensitive tummies
  • Also called “sweetbreads” - thymus / pancreas from a lamb?

Brain -

  • Is unique because it provides DHA omega-3 fatty acid
  • 1 to 1 fat to protein

Thymus -

  • Not as nutrient dense as other organs but is still good source of B12
  • Aids in immune function

Testes -

  • B vitamins, potassium, iron, phosphorus
  • Called Rocky Mountain Oysters when used for human consumption

Ovaries -

  • No nutritional data
  • Hard to find
  • If uterus is available, ovaries are sometimes attached
my first shiba official logo

Thanks for visiting Myfirstshiba.com! We do our very best in providing our readers with awesome content about our beloved Shiba Inu breed. Some of our articles include reviews and recommendations to our favorite products. We do occasionally earn commissions from certain affiliate links that help support our work and mission. Thanks again for visiting. Shiba Kisses To All!