Offal Isn't Awful: The Benefits of Organ Meats for Your Dogs and Cats
May 14 , 2023
As pet owners, we always want the best for our furry companions. We strive to provide them with the most balanced diet possible, ensuring they receive all the nutrients they need for a healthy life. When it comes to pet nutrition, one element often overlooked is organ meats. Yes, you heard right, organ meats - liver, kidneys, heart, tripe, and even brain. These might not sound appetizing to you, but for dogs and cats, these nutrient-packed superfoods can offer an array of health benefits (1).
1. Nutritional Balance: Did you know that organ meats are packed with essential nutrients? Liver, for instance, is an excellent source of vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, and copper (2). Including organ meats in your pet's diet can significantly enhance their nutritional profile, providing a wholesome balance that regular muscle meats might lack.
2. Gastrointestinal Health: Organ meats, especially green tripe, the stomach lining of ruminant animals, have been shown to promote gastrointestinal health. They naturally contain probiotics and digestive enzymes, contributing to a healthier gut microbiome and improved digestion in dogs (3). A healthier gut means improved nutrient absorption and better overall health for your pet.
3. Immunity Boost: A robust immune system is critical for your pet's health. Organ meats are rich in essential micronutrients like zinc and selenium, which play a significant role in bolstering a healthy immune system in dogs (4). Adding organ meats to your pet's diet can support their immune defenses, helping them fight off diseases more effectively.
4. Cognitive Function: Here's a surprising fact – brain meat is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and phosphatidylserine, both critical for brain health (5). Including this organ meat in your pet's diet could contribute to enhanced cognitive function and overall neurological health, promoting mental sharpness in your four-legged friend.
So, the next time you plan your pet's meals, consider adding some organ meats to the mix. Not only will you be offering a meal they'll likely love, but you'll also be boosting their health in ways you may not have imagined. Your pets rely on you for their nutritional needs, and introducing organ meats into their diet is an excellent step towards fulfilling those needs.
1. Gupta, R.C., Srivastava, A., & Lall, R. (Eds.). (2010). Nutraceuticals in Veterinary Medicine. Springer.
2. Sandri, M., Dal Monego, S., Conte, G., Sgorlon, S., & Stefanon, B. (2017). Raw meat-based diet influences faecal microbiome and end products of fermentation in healthy dogs. BMC Veterinary Research, 13(1), 65.
3. Rink, L., & Haase, H. (2007). Zinc homeostasis and immunity. Trends in Immunology, 28(1), 1-4.
4. Wu, A., Ying, Z., & Gomez-Pinilla, F. (2008). Docosahexaenoic acid dietary supplementation enhances the effects of exercise on synaptic plasticity and cognition. Neuroscience, 155(3), 751-759.