If you're a label reader and a dog owner, you've noticed venison is a meat source in canned dog food and kibble these days. It isn't just a gourmet novelty or an elite fad. Provided you have venison, it's as easy to incorporate it into homemade food for your dog as any other meat. It has health benefits, and it can be economical.
The decision to home-make your dog's food usually has to do with health issues to some degree. When you make your dog's food with venison, you'll be using a wholesome source of protein that's low in fat and cholesterol, so it's healthy for his heart. Compared with ground venison, a 3½ ounce portion of ground beef has 225 percent more fat, 125 percent more cholesterol and has 40 percent more calories. If you think poultry is leaner than all red meats, think again. Chicken and turkey have more cholesterol than venison. If you like organic, consider how venison is raised: free-range, eating a variety of natural foods and never being subjected to steroids, growth hormones, or artificial dietary supplements.
Venison in commercial dog food is a logical circumstance. Dog food manufacturers began using alternative sources of protein when veterinarians realized dogs were developing allergies to foods rich in common meats like beef and chicken. So if one of the reasons you've chosen to home-make your dogs meals is food allergy issues, add one more argument for using venison to provide protein.
If you don't know anyone who is a hunter, don't count out the option of feeding venison to your dog yet. Check with local butchers and grocery stores first. Just because you didn't notice venison in the meat case before doesn't mean they don't carry it. Try gourmet shops and specialty stores, too. When you find a local store that sells venison, ask about the source. Farm-raised venison is much like farm-raised beef and probably won't be any healthier. If nothing is available to you locally, try searching the Internet. Butchers across the country specialize in wild game. If one's not close enough for you to pick up your purchase, they'll pack your order of venison in dry ice and ship it overnight to you to assure freshness.
A contingent of dog advocates believe raw food diets are healthiest for dogs, while others are concerned about their dogs contracting food-borne illnesses or being able to properly digest raw meat. You'll never go wrong by thoroughly cooking any meat you feed your dog. If it's cooked enough for you, it's safe to feed to your pooch. Cook up a batch of dog food by boiling 1 pound of crumbled ground venison in 6 cups of water along with 2 cups of brown rice or quinoa and a teaspoon of dried rosemary. After 20 minutes add 1/2 cup of mixed frozen veggies such as cauliflower, carrots and broccoli. Cook for another five minutes. Be sure to cool the food before serving it to Fido. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
- VetInfo: Sensitivde Skin Dog Food
- VetInfo: What You Should Know About Venison Dog Food
- PetPlace.com: What Are Prescription Diets for Dogs?
- "The Naturally Healthy Dog: Real Dogs Don't Eat Kibble!"; Sandra Bailey
- "Ultimate Venison Cookbook"; Jim and Ann Casada
- Venison Headquarters: Where Can I Buy Venison?
- AllRecipes.com: Homemade Dog Food
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images