Feeding dogs and cats a raw or other homemade pet food diet, has been growing in popularity for the past decade. What could be more natural than feeding them wild game? Their wild cousins hunt and eat wild animals, such as deer or rabbits. With a little help from you, nature can serve up a lot more variety to further complete the diet and ensure a balanced nutritional profile. Additionally, it’s a budget-friendly way to avoid hormones, antibiotics and other additives often used in the agriculture industry.
These novel protein sources may help pets who are suffering with allergies. Introduce them slowly and watch for their reaction, be it positive or negative.
10 Types of Wild Game For Dogs & Cats
Can I feed deer meat or bones to my dog? Can I feed wild duck to my cat? How nutritious is squirrel meat?
We’ve been asked a lot of questions about feeding wild game to pets over the years. The interest in biologically-appropriate diets has only increased the interest of caring pet parents.
A natural, balanced diet for your cat or dog can certainly include wild game. Cats are easier, since they’re obligate carnivores. They can eat as much meat as they like, barring any health conditions that may restrict it. Dogs are scientifically classified as carno-omnivores and do well with a more varied diet.
“Dogs are carno-omnivorous animals, adapted to eat a varied diet,” states a study in the American Journal of Physiology. “Whereas cats are carnivorous and naturally eat a diet of principally protein and fat, with very little carbohydrate.”
- Deer Meat (Venison) is a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus and Zinc, and a very good source of Protein, Niacin and Vitamin B12.
- Elk is high in cholesterol, but a good source of Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc and Selenium, and a very good source of Protein.
- Caribou is very high in cholesterol, but it’s a good source of Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus and Selenium, and a very good source of Protein, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, Iron and Zinc.
- Moose is high in cholesterol, but low in saturated fat. It’s a good source of Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc and Selenium, and a very good source of Vitamin B12.
- Rabbit meat is low in saturated fat, a good source of Iron, Phosphorus and Selenium, and a very good source of Protein and Niacin.
- Squirrel is a good source of Niacin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus and Selenium, and a very good source of Vitamin B12 and Iron.
- Pheasant/Partridge is a good source of Protein, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Selenium.
- Duck is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, but is a good source of Thiamin, Vitamin B6 and Iron, and a very good source of Protein. You can reduce the fat/cholesterol by removing the skin.
- Wild Turkey is high in cholesterol, but a good source of Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein and Selenium.
- Deboned, non-predatory fish species vary widely in nutritional value so it’s best to look each one up individually. Look for high levels of Omega 3, Niacin and Calcium. Fish, in general, are a very good source of, Omega 3 fatty acids, Protein, Niacin, Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus and Selenium. Go fishing for small, non-predatory fish to avoid higher concentrations of contaminants (like sardines).
Source: Nutritional profiles for wild game are available from SELF Nutrition Data.
“Unless your dog gets regular, intense exercise, use lean meats (no more than 10 percent fat), remove skin from poultry, and cut off separable fat,” suggests Mary Straus on Whole Dog Journal. “It’s better to feed dark meat poultry than breast, however, unless your dog requires a very low-fat diet.”
We recommend avoiding the organs and cooking wild meat before feeding it to your pets, to help prevent parasites and bacterial infections. Check out the infographic, Can My Dog Get Sick From Raw Game Meat for more information.
If you’d like to try feeding wild meat to your dog or cat but don’t hunt, you can order some varieties from merchants like Raw Wild. More manufactured pet food blends include wild game these days, as consumers demand a more natural diet. The most popular wild protein in manufactured foods are venison, elk, bison and fish.
Easy Instant Pot Recipe: Wild Stew for Dogs
Stews are especially great for hiding healthy food & supplements that your dog may normally reject, such as seaweed powder. There’s lots of room for variety in this pet food recipe, so put some thought into what your dog needs and likes.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb wild game meat, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 tbsp pea or insect flour
3 cups unseasoned, warm drippings (from roasted wild game and/or bone broth)
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup chopped spinach or other dark, leafy greens
1/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 tbsp pure tomato paste
2 tsp raw sea salt
1/4 tsp seaweed powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried parsley
Supplements: We recommend Spark natural supplement powder
- Add olive oil to the Instant Pot. Select the Saute function.
- Brown meat on all sides in the heated oil (3-4 minutes each side).
- Sprinkle flour into the pot and stir to coat.
- Add broth to the pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom.
- Add remaining ingredients & stir.
- Turn the pot off (Cancel).
- Secure the lid and close the vent.
- Select the Manual or Pressure Cook function. Program for 15 minutes.
- When the time is up, natural-release for 10 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure.
- Refrigerate for up to three days. Freezes well in an air-tight container.
This recipe isn’t intended to be a source of complete, daily nutrition. It can be included as part of a nutritious diet for dogs.
Can I feed raw, wild game bones and antlers to my dog or cat?
Bones and antlers of any kind come with a certain amount of risk of injury or infection. However, wild game bones don’t pose any more of a risk than bones from farmed animals.
Of course, it’s important to follow local laws, practice humane hunting and follow guidelines for safe food handling. Consult with your veterinarian before making changes to your pet’s diet.
??? Have you ever fed wild game to your pets? Please share your experience in the comments below.
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