Offal: the viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal removed in dressing.
This refers to: lungs, kidneys, intestines, heart, liver.
Yep, not the most appetizing of sights. That’s a beef liver, by the way.
Offal is most often discarded and looked askance at, but in a raw diet, offal is extremely important for your pet. It contains essential vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in other muscle meats, such as thighs or breast.
The problem is, offal such as lamb liver, which is popular among raw feeders, is easy to overdose on. Overdosing on lamb liver easily leads to loose stools, diarrhea, or in the worst case scenario, vitamin A poisoning.
[Warning: Given the fact that pet owners today love to add supplements to their pets’ foods, vitamin A poisoning is getting more and more common, so please take note! If you are already feeding canned/kibble and an additional multi-vitamin tablet, it make sense not to sprinkle more liver powder over your pet’s food!]
So what do we do?
I like to use the prey-model ratio (suitable for both cats and dogs), which is the best way to go, personally, because it follows the % found in prey that your pet would catch naturally if it were wild.
Here’s a prey-model ratio example:
- 5-10% organs, half of which is liver
- 5-10% edible bones
- 80-85^% muscle meat (and the rest of the animal, such as the ears, fat, connective tissues, cartilage and etc.)
If you want to be even more specific, here you go:
Mostly muscle meat, some bone, some organ (secreting organs like liver/kidney/pancreas), some fat and some heart meat. Which puts the ratio more like this respectively:
- 80 % muscle meat
- 5 % bone
- 5 % organ
- 5 % fat
- 5 % heart (which can also be considered a muscle meat)
So it is not okay to just feed meat alone without organs.
OF COURSE, knowing that people are icky about organs, most raw pet food diet manufacturers have come up with supplements, such as the Wysong Call of The Wild Canine and Feline meat diet supplement–or TCfeline, or Platinum Performance, just to name a few–that contains just the right amount of powdered liver and bone.
Even so, it is good to feed the occasional piece of offal–occasional, because remember, too much of anything is not good, and you are already supplementing your meat with, well, balanced supplements.
For the perfectionist among us who need ‘just the right proportions’ down to the last percentage, I must add that no one really knows what a ‘perfectly balanced diet’ is, and this certainly isn’t found in canned/kibble offering. Companies will claim that theirs is perfectly, completely balanced, but…if you were the company, wouldn’t you? You did the studies, and you hope that the product will sell. You wouldn’t sell your product as ‘MOSTLY COMPLETELY BALANCED’, would you? Or ‘COMPLETELY BALANCED UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE’? haha!
In all honesty, what we can only do is to MIMIC what wild cats and dogs do eat in the wild, and what they eat varies wildly, especially if you have cats, because anything that’s smaller than them is game for dinner. I have yet to see a dog eat grasshoppers or half-dead bees!
(One time, my cats ate a cockroach and I nearly had kittens on the spot because I was so grossed out AND terrified that they’d get poisoned. Also, my cats will eat any lizard they can get their paws on, hence my house is unusually lizard-free…although I will still stop them if I see them guzzling down a freshly-caught lizard because of pesticide fears)
You can balance over time: one meal can have more bone, another more meat, and yet another with some organ inside. Just please, do not feed things like chicken necks (yes I know they are good!) and chicken butts (Cold Storage always stocks them, but I admit I have not yet tried those) chicken feet, and drumsticks alone with nothing else. That will be terrible–and that is why raw diets can be dangerous! Just remember to 1.) buy human-grade offal and 2.) if you must, you can lightly blanch the offal. Lightly! Not cook it into shoe leather!
If you are still squeamish, remember that squeamish-ness is psychological and you can definitely overcome it.
Remember this? This is Kuay Chap, a famous Singaporean chinese dish made of offal/eggs and flat white noodles.
If you can eat this, why do you balk at feeding your pet offal? 😉
For the haters of Kuay Chap, you can slowly change your mindset by looking at these:
Or cut-up beef hearts that don’t look like beef hearts:
Just remember that you can condition yourself out of anything–yes, including that fear of spiders–and you can definitely condition yourself into feeding your pet that bit of offal!
😉 Keep going!
Categories: The Raw Explorer