Cooking Organ Meats for Dogs

by Betty Lewis
    "Actually, I'd prefer some beef heart."

    "Actually, I'd prefer some beef heart."

    BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

    Kidneys, liver and gizzards may not sound very appealing to you. But Barney and most of his canine pals find organs to be a culinary delight. Adding organ meat to your pup's meals can be a healthy treat, and preparation is usually as simple as boiling water.

    Loaded With Goodies

    Proponents of raw diets for dogs have been on the organ meat bandwagon for some time. They believe that while meat and bones are great protein sources for Barney, they still lack important nutrients organs provide. Organ meats are loaded with B vitamins, vitamins A, D, E and K, and minerals, such as phosphorus, copper and iodine.

    More Than Liver

    Barney can have whatever organ you're willing to give him. Liver is a popular choice, but don't forget about the kidneys, lung, pancreas, even brain. No matter what animal the organs come from, you'll have to be careful about how much you give him. Too much can upset his belly and give him loose stools.

    Raw or Cooked

    Many people serve their dogs raw organ meat as part of a raw diet. However it's perfectly fine to cook Barney's selections. The simplest way to prepare organ meats is to boil them. Though you can saute' them lightly in oil, he won't care; he's interested in the organs and certainly doesn't care about the presentation.

    Cooking Time

    Chicken organs are popular choices for dog diet supplements. Chicken liver can simmer for 10 to 15 minutes after being added to boiling water. Chicken hearts can boil in lightly salted water for an hour. It will take about 90 minutes to cook beef hearts in lightly salted water; the water needs to be changed every 30 minutes during cooking. If he prefers beef liver, soak it in water for 20 to 30 minutes and boil it for 40 minutes. Beef lungs require about 25 minutes of simmering to be cooked. If you serve pork liver, soak it in cold water for about three hours, changing the water every hour. Boil it for about 50 minutes.

    Servings

    The best way to give Barney his organ meat is to give him small amounts in each meal. Liver should be limited to about five percent of his dietary intake, or about one ounce of liver per pound of other animal products. Hearts are particularly rich in taurine and can comprise another five percent of his diet.

    Photo Credits

    • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Betty Lewis is a writer and editor specializing in pet care, animals, careers and emergency management. She previously ran an animal shelter, where she also served as a kennel attendant and dog trainer. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism, an M.B.A. and a master's degree in professional studies.

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