Organs (also referred to as offal) get a bad rap for being gross and messy. But including them in your dog’s diet will deliver diverse benefits.
In the wild, wolves would naturally consume the entire animal, including its organs. It's how your dog evolved, and here at Huntaway we believe that organs should continue to have a place in their bowl.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of some common organs you often find in dog food and why they are so crucial for your pup’s longevity:
Heart: The heart is rich in vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and coenzyme Q (otherwise known as CoQ10). These nutrients are responsible for many functions in the body, like the production of red blood cells, oxygen transport, immune function, and antioxidant status. CoQ10 specifically is a major antioxidant, which helps prevent chronic inflammation.
Liver: You’ll find a hefty dose of vitamin A, B vitamins (B12, B6, and folate), copper, and zinc in liver. Vitamin A is a key player in vision support, so if your dog suffers from cataracts, you can incorporate liver into their diet to support their eye health. Use caution with vitamin A though. Fat-soluble vitamins run the risk of toxicity if the levels are too high, so be sure to consult your vet first if you are supplementing or using liver as a treat. Zinc and copper go hand in hand, both assisting immune function and antioxidant support.
Kidney: Loaded with iron, zinc, copper, and B vitamins. These B vitamins (like B12, B6, and folate) support your pup’s nervous system, healthy cell life cycles, and energy regulation.
Spleen: You’ll find a host of micronutrients in spleen, like iron, vitamin B12, copper, and zinc. Copper and zinc are linked in their function, meaning that too much of one can cause a deficiency in the other. Optimizing this sensitive ratio is key for your dog to thrive. Spleen is also a rich source of vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant.
Lung: A powerhouse of protein, lung also contains vitamin B12 and collagen. These are important nutrients for your dog, especially if they suffer from joint disease or hip dysplasia.
Trachea: While this is not a secreting organ, trachea provides a lot of chondroitin and glucosamine, which are beneficial for joint health. Trachea also contains collagen, which supports connective tissue health.
Tripe: Last, but certainly not least, is tripe. This is the stomach lining of an animal, which provides a myriad of benefits for the microbiome. Additionally, it’s another great source of protein, B12, zinc, and selenium. Selenium protects against cell damage and supports thyroid health. Raw tripe has the most beneficial components, but air-dried tripe treats are a convenient treat option that complements raw feeding.
Just like humans, dogs have very specific macro and micronutrient needs. By feeding our dogs a wide array of organ meats, we can ensure that they consistently have their nutritional needs met with every meal.
Whether you want to switch your dog to raw entirely or use it as a topper, any fresh food with organs you can include in your dog’s diet will help them live a longer and healthier life.