These days, the term “offal” appears in countless pet nutrition debates. From canine diet news stories to vet blogs, there are many who tout the benefits of offal for dogs. However, you’d be forgiven for wondering why it belongs in your dog’s meal plan. If this sounds like you, don’t worry – you’re not alone. In this piece, we explore this much-ballyhooed ingredient, and explain how it can enrich your furry friend’s life. We also share some warnings about the types of offal to avoid.
Firstly, what IS offal?
Long story short, “offal” is a culinary way of saying “organ meats”. Just as you call cow meat “beef” when it’s on your doggo’s plate, so too do organs become “offal”. While many organs can become offal, the most common to appear in our pooches’ dinner bowls is liver.
Secondly, what are the benefits of offal for dogs?
Simply put, offal (or organ meat) is a powerhouse source of poochy nutrients. Organ meats – especially liver – contain a range of vitamins and minerals, including zinc, iron, niacin, phosphorus, copper, vitamin A, and vitamin B. They’re also a source of healthy fats, proteins, and omega-3 and omega-6, which are crucial to balance your pup’s diet.
From an evolutionary point of view, eating organ meats is nothing new for dogs. In fact, as hunters, dogs evolved to feast on every portion of their prey’s carcass – meat, bones, and organs. By feeding our furbabies offal, we’re not only doing what’s healthy, but also what’s natural.
Now that we know the benefits of offal for dogs, what are the risks?
Like coffee, CrossFit, and Netflix, offal is best enjoyed in moderation. This is doubly true for our dogs, who can suffer a vitamin A overdose if they eat too much offal. Symptoms of excess vitamin A can include digestion problems, weaker muscles, and bone spurs, the latter of which can be very painful (but could put your pooch in good stead for a U.S. presidential campaign). To combat this risk, we suggest capping your furry friend’s offal at 10% of their total diet. By doing so, they’ll enjoy all of offal’s pros, and none of its cons.
Another risk can stem from the types of offal your dog consumes. Namely, spinal tissue and brain can potentially lead to BSE, also known as Mad Cow. That said, if you stick with liver, your dog will think you’re a giver!
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