Organs! The forgotten superfoods for dogs and cats

Organ meats are often an afterthought in deciding on our pets’ food, but they pack a huge nutritional wallop.

We all know it’s best to serve pet food that incorporates elements of our beloved fur kids’ natural diet involving high meat concentrations. One overlooked aspect most people forget, though, is the additional foraging they might have done, providing them with a nutritional boost that kept them roaming at peak performance. In this activity, our pets would find what we call superfoods. Superfoods are those which are dense in compounds like fiber, vitamins, omegas, antioxidants, and other important nutrients that provide them that extra boost. They provide benefits like better cognitive function, heart health, skin and coat health, joint health, and beyond.

While there are many easy superfoods that come to mind when we think about our own diets, like kale, blueberries, chia seeds, and ginger, there are specific compounds you can find in the wild that don’t make it into most pet recipes in sufficient quantity. One of the most easily left off the traditional superfood lists packs the biggest punch – organ meats.

Our little carnivores have been built to consume prey, which contain four major tissues:

  1. Meat or flesh
  2. Bone
  3. Organs/sinews
  4. Ingesta found throughout the gastrointestinal tract.

When looked at, each of these tissues contains an abundance of nutrients which, when consumed by a predator, provides a complete and balanced diet!

Dogs and cats have a lot in common with wolves and cougars. However, they are not the same and their sharing of physiology is often the subject of great debate. But with that aside, all are carnivores and nature has intended that all consume some organ meat. Offal, also called pluck or organ meat, refers to the internal organs and entrails of an animal. In America, this terminology and meal idea has become particularly foreign, but for the sake of great natural pet nutrition, we need to consider the positive impact that the addition of organ meats can have on a carnivore’s diet!

Understanding the Glandular Theory

We explain the glandular theory in this way. If your pet has an illness with a particular body part and they ingest that body part from an animal protein source, they may get nutrients from that food which feeds the weakened tissue. These nutrients may be vitamins and minerals, but they may also be unidentified substances which cannot be derived from any other food source. Those substances, for example, may mean thyroid hormone from thyroid gland or taurine from heart muscle or mineralocorticoids from adrenals.

Organ Inclusions

Under the glandular theory, excellent recipes will deliver concentrations of liver, heart, lung, stomach, and kidneys. Within these organs, they will provide your pet with probiotics, protein, folate, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, iron, zinc, and so much more.

How to Incorporate Organs in Your Pet’s Diet

While to us, thinking about consuming these kinds of animal products might seem extreme, we know that they’re necessary for our pet’s optimal health, and make for a palatable product they’ll go crazy for. Learn to read pet food ingredient labels and choose products that contain whole foods, organs and glands that work synergistically to provide the balance your pet needs. Organs are superfoods which provide nutrition beyond what science has yet to recognize as required nutrients. Give your pet’s body the nutritional components they need to repair and thrive while enjoying a fabulous quality and longevity of life!

Research from: Dr. Jodie Gruenstern, DVM, CVA.


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