What Exactly Constitutes “Organ Meat”?

There is often some confusion amongst raw feeders as to what is organ meat,  or what is “offal”.  Most people have a general knowledge of what an organ is – considering we, as humans, have many.  Where the confusion comes along is figuring out which organs from which animals are okay for our pets, which organs give the best “organ nutrition”, how

Beef organ blend is one of the best of our organ blends as it contains a nice variety of organs in an easy to use ground mix

much of them to feed and what is and isn’t considered an organ.

What is considered an organ – seems like a silly question.  We all know what organs are, but do we really understand the difference between those that constitute an organ for the purpose of raw feeding and those that do not?  Oftentimes people feed that which is most available to them.  In the grocery store that means chicken and beef livers, chicken gizzards, chicken and beef hearts, beef kidney, and occasionally beef tongue.  Arguably all are organs – in a technical sense anyway.  What people don’t realize though is that certain of those listed above (whether they are from common animals or more exotic sources), aren’t going to give your pet what they need by way of organs when their whole diet is taken into account.

First let’s start with the organs that are, for the purpose of food, considered muscle meat.  These include hearts, gizzards and tongues.  Are they still organs?   Certainly.  For the purpose of raw feeding your pets though….the rules are a little different.

Beef heart is generally considered a muscle meat and should not be figured into your final organ amounts when feeding

Muscles meats such as those listed above, while technical organs, are not going to give your dog the nutrients and vitamins that you would be feeding organs for.  Since this is the case, you cannot feed hearts, tongues or gizzards and count it towards your organ totals – which should be approximately 10% of the total diet.  You count these instead as muscle meats realizing that you must still feed liver, kidneys, spleen etc. to hit that organ recommendation.

As stated above, organs should comprise approximately 10% of your dogs total diet.  Liver is probably the most important of the organs and thankfully is quite easy to obtain – especially beef and chicken livers.  Liver is rich in potassium, copper, and Vitamin A as well as the B vitamins.  Vitamins D, K and E are also well represented.  Because of the high amount of Vitamin A, liver should be fed often but in small quantities to avoid the dread “dire rear”.  Believe me, you’ll know if you have fed too much!  Other viable organs are kidneys, which are rich in Vitamins D, K, A and E, iron and zinc, and spleen which offers much of the same.  Remember that moderation is the key – you can easily feed too much and each dog, as an individual, is going to have a slightly different tolerance level

Liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can share with your dog and should make up the greatest portion of your organ feeding

for organs.

Offal can refer to organs in general and usually does.  It also refers to items such as raw green tripe (again, technically an organ but NOT an organ for the purposes of raw feeding your dog or cat).  Essentially, the term offal encompasses organs but is not an exclusive term for organs so don’t let it confuse you!

Organs are an important part of your pet’s diet but you need to know that if you are feeding items like hearts and gizzards only you are shortchanging your pet nutritionally speaking.  Always make sure to include some liver at minimum to your pet’s diet to give them access to those vitamins that they may not receive anywhere else.