Chicken gizzards are those little organs covered in silvery membranes that you usually find wrapped in parchment and stuffed in the cavity of a whole raw chicken. Gizzards are used by chickens in lieu of teeth. The gizzard grinds up the food the chicken eats and becomes a tough and lean muscle from the constant use. Slow-cooking the gizzards will soften them up for a tasty and inexpensive addition to your dog’s homemade food.
For such a small organ, a chicken gizzard is high in protein and contains iron, minerals, and vitamins C, E and B. They contain glucosamine, which can help with cartilage and arthritis problems. Limit chicken gizzards to no more than 20 percent of your dog’s diet, because they are also high in cholesterol.
You can put this recipe in your slow cooker and go about your business for a couple of hours. Place 1 pound chopped raw chicken gizzards, 1 pound chopped raw deboned chicken, 3 large chopped carrots, 4 hard-boiled eggs crushed with their shells on and 1 cup water in your slow cooker. Cook for 2 to 3 hours on low. It is done when the chicken falls apart easily. Stir in 2 cups of cooked white rice and 1 more cup of water and cook on low for 30 more minutes. Allow to cool completely before you feed it to your dog.
If you are concerned about grain in your dog’s diet, here is a grain-free alternative. You’ll need a large stockpot for this recipe. Chop up 2 to 3 pounds chicken gizzards and put them in your stockpot along with 2 cups peeled and chopped potatoes, 2 cups chopped carrots, 1 cup organic cold-pressed apple cider vinegar and 8 cups water. Turn the heat on high until the stew is at a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour. Cool the stew thoroughly before you feed it to your dog.
Dr. Lew Olsen, a canine nutritionist and American Kennel Club judge, recommends feeding your dog 2 to 3 percent of his body weight daily, divided into two feedings. A 25-pound dog would eat half to three-quarters of a pound each day; a 50-pound dog would eat a pound to a pound and a half a day; and a 100-pound dog would need two to three pounds of food daily. Split the recommended portion in half and feed twice a day.
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