Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

“Meet the Meats”

Saturated fat content is lower in poultry and pigs compared with mutton or beef, but this does not generally affect the digestibility unless your pet has a particular health issue.  The type of protein in commercial foods has become an issue with an emphasis on fish, particularly salmon.

Most of the problems associated with skin diseases and gut dysbiosis, rises from feeding a foreign (“foreign” meaning “cooked”) protein at weaning…not the actual protein source itself.

Red meats are more ‘inflammatory’ in nature than white meats so as your dog ages, more emphasis should be placed on the ‘white’ meats and other sources of high quality protein, i.e. cheese, fish and eggs.

Meat is best served in lumps for chewing, thus exercising the jaws and teeth.

Minced meat does not allow for this exercise, however it is useful when changing the diet and for young puppies with no teeth.

Meat Values

All meat should be fed raw.  Cooked meat is foreign to your dog’s gut – it decreases protein digestibility.  A healthy gut in your dog can deal with the risk of eating raw meat.  Meat should never be the sole source of food…it is low in calcium, often deficient in iodine and copper and excessive in protein and phosphorus.

  • Beef

Some dogs are OK feeding beef meat but the muscle meat of beef has a propensity to cause skin problems.  It has the highest acidity of all meats, rich in iron and zinc but low in sodium and unfavourable cholesterols.  Often intensely farmed, this may be one of the reasons it has become a potential problem.  Avoid beef steak/mince in skin problems.

  • Chicken

At the very least, this has to be free-range.  It is easily digested providing a source of Vitamin A and essential fatty acids.  Best fed on the bone, the marrow providing a good source of iron.

Chicken has higher cholesterol levels than beef, protein levels are lower and is low in calcium and magnesium.  The meat itself is low in zinc and iron.  Adequate levels of B Vitamins and no Vitamin C.  If your dog has a skin problem then best to take chicken out of the diet in the meantime.

  • Lamb

This meat can be fatty.   Zinc levels are highest in the shank and neck chops.  Low in sodium and high in potassium which is useful for heart and kidney problems.  Shanks are higher in sodium than other cuts.  Calcium levels not self-sufficient without the bone.  Iron levels reasonable.  Safe to feed after being frozen.  Lamb is the least acidic of all meats so a useful dietary source of protein in a calcium oxalate urolith diet.

  • Offal (Organ Meats)

Dogs eat offal in the wild – one of the first things they eat following a kill.  Feed small amounts often.  Particularly valuable during times of growth, reproduction and stress.  Most organ meats have excellent levels of high quality protein.

Liver                   rich in Vitamin A

Kidneys             good quality protein and rich source of iron

Hearts               an excellent source of protein, B Vitamins and iron.

Tongue             reasonable levels of zinc and provides some of the B Vitamins

  • Possum

Possums eat a variety of foods, (fruit, grasses, berries and leaves), resulting in a meat that is high in Omega 5’s and 6’s.  It is one of the few non-farmed sources of meat hence organic and a great easily digested new protein source.  Watch that coat shine!  Consider its use in skin problems and cardiovascular conditions but may give rise to smelly flatulence

  • Venison

Another low fat meat rich in iron and low in cholesterol, high in B Vitamins and phosphorus.  Contains purines so avoid in conditions of excessive uric acid.  Consider use in dietary management of obesity and cardiovascular problems.

  • Fish

Fish is a good source of Omega 3’s and an excellent source of high-grade protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids and minerals (especially potassium and iodine).  The unsaturated fats will vary with species and seasons.

Freshwater fish provides magnesium, phosphorus, iron and copper.

  • Bones (and Sticks!)

Bones and sticks are among the most dangerous items for your dog as they can KILL!

Bones cause the greatest number of emergency room visits to vets.  A rotten bone (previously buried or from among the rubbish etc.) and a bone that can splinter or break from the force of a dog’s bite are all potentially dangerous for your dog’s health.  When giving your dog a bone look for the safe raw beef bone types – canon, femur, shin and to some extent, brisket.

Sticks are the second most common cause for an emergency visit to a vet!

When playing fetch with your dog, avoid sticks…sticks can splinter.  Dogs can chew sticks and swallow pieces of them; sharp sticks can lodge in a dog mouth or stomach; thrown sticks can bounce up from the ground and injure a dog’s eye or lodge into their body.


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