If you're like us, you couldn't possibly turn down those longing eyes sitting patiently on the floor next to you while you prepare your favorite venison recipe. Our favorite, hard-working canines are naturally meat eaters. So it only stands to reason that they could benefit from some of our delicious, preservative-free, all-natural protein.
Dog food containing venison is an excellent option for dogs who may have food sensitivities or allergies to other protein sources such as beef or chicken. Since venison is a novel protein, it may help reduce allergies and skin irritations in pets with food-related issues.
Vegetables are rich in fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes not found in meat. Still, we're betting that your prime hunting dog is not so interested in having you feed them a dinner of pureed kale. With that in mind, let's look at what makes a good venison dog food and what else goes well with some deer meat for your dog.
But first, a quick public service announcement.
Talk To Your Veterinarian
A diet like this is better for your adult dog. Discuss other alternatives for puppies with your veterinarian that can establish a good start in life for a young dog. A meat diet with added vegetables can be great for young and adult dogs for vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, Manganese, and beta-carotene, among others. Just remember, for all dogs, veggies need to be cooked by steaming, blanching, or boiling first.
Again, the best person to ask is your veterinarian. They know your dog almost as well as you do. Anyone who has ever owned dogs should understand that when you change their diet, their stool will change for a few days until they get used to it. Now is not the time to completely switch to raw deer meat, but gradually over time. Generally speaking, you should not feed your dog strictly raw venison but deer meat with a mix of other nutritious foods like rice or eggs.
Raw Venison Dog Food
Rotating your dog's protein source is an excellent way to improve nutritional quality. It makes perfect sense to include some lean, beneficial venison. Whether or not you are trying to find a new protein source, many hunters still wonder whether venison is safe to add to their dog's diet in a raw form.
The short answer is yes. This answer might put a burr under the saddle of some dog owners. They may feel it is unsafe to give raw, wild deer meat to their dog since it could thereby cause it to ingest a parasite or another disease that the animal has. Avoiding this starts with the field dressing and processing steps. Was the deer gaunt? Was there tan or yellow lumps on the inside of the ribcage? Does a portion of the muscle appear discolored or different from the rest?
You wouldn't want to give the pet meat you wouldn't eat, so scrutinize the harvest and keep an eye out for abnormalities that raise red flags. Further, to kill any parasites the game may be hosting, you should freeze the meat for at least four weeks before using it to minimize the risks of giving your dog some wild game.
Maybe the best way is to have a deer processed by a butcher. Many of us carve up our deer but aren't so keen on detecting issues in the carcass. Look for any apparent abscesses or puss-like nodules that stick out. You should have your deer tested if you are in a CWD-positive area. The bottom line is that you shouldn't give it to your dog if you wouldn't eat it.
After freezing for the allotted time, thaw it and let it air dry. You can feed it straight to your dog or continue with some preparation methods to enhance its shelf life or overall taste.
Many of us love to use our dehydrator on a low setting to give the venison time to "come back to life" so we can cut it into a size that is easier to eat. And for many, just leaving it on the dehydrator rack long enough to make tasty dog treats that last for months is enough. In this way, you're not giving your dog all those secret spices, salts, and sauces that we love on our favorite homemade jerky but can irritate a pet's stomach.
Cooked Venison Dog Food
For some, the best cut for their dog is not a cut; instead, they grind venison. It's probably the easiest meat to deal with for creating a bowl of food for your dog that they will devour. Thankfully, we don't have to worry much about presentation and visual appeal. We need to grind and cook the burger to a safe level and then mix it with other ingredients such as vegetables (which, as mentioned, also need to be cooked for a dog).
Maybe the simplest way to approach this is to add it to the dry food you are already giving your dog. This method doesn't just make a bag of kibble go much further. It also gives your dog the added B vitamins and minerals such as zinc, phosphorous, riboflavin, and iron in deer meat. Since adding a second protein source is always good, some owners like to include non-meat like plain cottage cheese, cooked eggs, or even yogurt. Remember that carbohydrates are also essential, so adding things like brown rice or white rice makes good sense.
Other quality carbohydrate choices include cooked sweet potatoes or white potatoes and even some types of pasta. Since some dogs have allergies, a grain-free recipe with venison as the first ingredient may be the only way.
Venison Dog Food Recipes
These aren't your run-of-the-mill recipes. Instead, they're things you can add to your cooked or raw venison that will take it up a notch and give your beloved pet and hunting partner the extra surge of nutrition they need when it comes time to get to work.
A ground venison meal is the easiest to deal with. Our favorite method keeps it ridiculously simple. Fry it in a pan with canola oil, drain it, and add eggs, rice, or cottage cheese. Choose two complementary vegetables, prepare them, and add them to the mixture. You can scramble the eggs or even hard-boiled and chopped to add flavor and protein. Some well-cooked vegetables include carrots, broccoli, green beans, peas, squash, and squash. Avoid vegetables that are harmful to dogs, such as onions and garlic. Finding the right venison formula might take some fine-tuning. Still, your dog likely won't mina d being a taste tester.
You can always cook up some of these things and then freeze them for later use. Dogs, unlike us, don't mind having something their owner thaws for dinner. It would be nice of you to let it come to room temperature or even warm it up, perhaps in the microwave, to make it more appealing.
Why Use Venison Dog Food?
Dry dog food companies usually take care of the recommended nutritional levels for dogs. Their balanced and efficient use of intelligent ingredients has the research and development to back them up. Remember, real venison and its high-quality protein are suitable for dogs. So it's your responsibility to provide them with what they need as supplementary nutrition while maintaining the limited ingredient formula that's the basis of this idea.
With its natural flavor and animal protein, it can be an outstanding natural balance as pet food, but don't just toss things in willy-nilly. Do enough homework and planning to be confident you're giving your dog exactly what it needs. Ensure you're adding the right calorie content and supplementing with the essential nutrients you know they need.
Since some dogs have allergies, food sensitivities, and even sensitive stomachs, this alternative diet can be incredibly beneficial for dogs that need a helping hand. Many of today's best dog foods for active sporting dogs are based on chicken, beef, turkey, duck, lamb, and salmon, but more and more are popping up with venison as the main protein.
Venison is an excellent addition to regular kibble, which can help encourage healthy skin and bones and avoids artificial flavors that can upset their digestive system. Venison dog food comes without any byproducts that plague other forms of dog food. This feature provides the family pet with a limited-ingredient diet that is high in quality and devoid of artificial ingredients.
Trust us. If you haven't tried a high protein, all-natural, self-sustain method of feeding your canine, then venison dog food should be on your to-do list.
This article was originally published on December 21, 2021.
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