Have you heard about the benefits of feeding organ meat to dogs? Are you wondering if kidneys are a good choice for adding meat to your dog’s diet? If so, you’ll be glad you stopped by. Today, you are going to learn all there is to know about feeding kidneys to dogs.
So, can dogs eat kidneys? Dogs can eat kidneys (in moderation) and can do so typically in their raw state (beef, lamb, and chicken. Pigs’ kidneys can be eaten too, but it is generally safer to cook them first. Nonetheless, kidneys are packed with vitamins and nutrients that are great for a dog’s health.
To find out more about the benefits of feeding kidneys to dogs, along with how and when to feed them, be sure to keep reading!
Should Dogs Eat Kidneys?
Kidneys are a great option for supplementing a dog’s diet. Kidneys are a popular ingredient for owners who make their own dog foods from locally butchered meat. For dogs who eat store-bought kibbles or canned food, kidneys can be added as a bonus nutrition supplement or healthy treat.
Dogs benefit most from a diet that contains nutrients from a variety of sources.
That’s why kidneys make a great part of a dog’s diet but should never be their only source of nutrition.
Kidneys can be served regularly or as a snack.
If using Kidney as a snack, make sure not to suddenly feed a large amount to your dog, as any major diet changes could cause your dog stomach trouble.
How Many Kidneys Should Dogs Eat?
Dogs are not strict carnivores which means that meat products should only make up part of their weekly diet. If you have a target calorie range that your dog eats each day, kidneys should count as no more than 10% of that amount.
Another way to look at kidney servings is based on the weight of your dog.
Organ meat can safely make up to 5-10% of a dog’s diet, which includes kidneys.
- For a smaller dog, you will want to serve a smaller serving, such as 5-10 grams for a 5 kg dog.
- Larger dogs weighing 25 kg could have up to 25-50 grams of organ meat a day.
Large dogs can easily eat Kidneys in rough-cut chunks.
To help provide lesser amounts to small dogs, ground kidney is easy to measure and serve.
If Kidney is not a regular part of your dog’s diet, you can give a few chopped bits as treats or a meal topper from time to time without causing your dog any harm.
A boost in vitamins, minerals, and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids can come from kidneys and serve as a treat!
Preparing Kidney For Your Dog
Preparing Cows, Sheep, And Chickens Kidneys
Kidneys from cows, sheep, and chickens can safely be served raw to dogs. To serve kidneys raw, you should first give the Kidney a thorough rinsing.
From there, the Kidney can be cut into small chunks for serving or ground up. If you are uncomfortable cutting or grinding a kidney on your own, a local butcher should be able to assist you.
Preparing Pigs Kidneys
Pig kidneys are also able to be served to dogs.
There is some debate on the safety of feeding raw pig kidneys (or raw pork of any type) to dogs due to parasites carried by pigs that can infect other animals when eaten raw.
This parasite is generally not found in pig kidneys, but cooking is a safe way to ensure your dog does not become ill.
To cook kidneys that will be fed to your dog, start by cutting the Kidney into small pieces. Then place these pieces in a bowl of cold water for around 15-20 minutes.
Fill a pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Add the Kidney, reduce the heat slightly, and let boil for around 10 minutes.
Afterward, drain and rinse the Kidney to cool it. It’s now cooked and ready for your dog to eat!
How To Feed Your Dog Kidney
Once you have prepared raw or cooked Kidneys, you need to determine how you will feed them to your dog.
There are several options for how to feed Kidney to your dog, determined mostly by how frequently you plan to feed kidneys.
Kidney Placed Over A Meal
An easy way to serve Kidney to a dog is to place it ground up or in chunks over the top of a dog’s regular meal.
Topping a meal with Kidney lets the Kidney serve as a supplement to your dog’s existing diet.
It is also a great way to slowly introduce Kidney to a dog who has not had it before.
Placing organs like Kidney on top of a dog’s food often works to lure in picky-eating dogs or older dogs who are beginning to lose interest in their everyday food options.
Kidney Mixed In With Other Foods
If you feed your dog a fully raw food diet, canned food, or even store-bought kibble, you can serve the Kidney by mixing it directly in with your dog’s food.
This has a similar result to placing the Kidney directly on top but allows for some masking of the new food.
If you are nervous, a change in meal offerings will make your dog uneasy.
Simply chop or grind your chosen kidney amount, then stir it into your dog’s food with a spoon or fork. Serve the mix to your dog, and let them enjoy it!
Kidney As A Special Treat
If you have trouble finding Kidney for purchase on a regular basis, it is okay to serve it as an occasional treat for your dog.
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, keep the Kidney amounts small to avoid an upset stomach.
At pet stores, you can often find freeze-dried Kidney shaped into treats for dogs.
While this may not be as nutritious as fresh Kidney, it still makes for a treat that is loaded with vitamins and minerals with the perk of being shelf stable to feed your dog for an occasional reward.
When To Feed Your Dog Kidneys
Kidney is safe to feed dogs any time you would typically give your dog its daily meal or a treat. Kidney is often easiest to serve on top of or mixed into your dog’s regular food. When you first feed Kidney, you will want to only add small amounts to your dog’s diet to avoid stomach upset.
If you plan to feed kidney meat more than once per day, make sure you divide up your daily amount into smaller portions.
Feeding too many kidneys can raise a dog’s cholesterol levels, add too many calories to their diet, and make their stomachs upset.
Even if you don’t plan to make Kidneys a regular part of your dog’s diet, it is a great option for getting a dog who may not be eating well to take a new interest in their food.
The smells from fresh animal meats are distinct and tempting to even the pickiest of dogs.
Once a dog who has stopped eating starts again, it will often get back to normal eating within a couple of meals.
Other Considerations When Feeding Your Dog Kidney
How To Store Kidney
Raw Kidney needs to remain refrigerated to prevent spoiling. It can be stored wrapped in butcher paper for 2-3 days in the fridge.
Wrapped and in a freezer, it can be stored for two months and still be high quality when thawed.
In some deep freezers, a well-wrapped Kidney may last longer.
Feeding Too Much Kidney
While kidneys are packed with nutrition, they can also be high in some fats, and feeding too much may lessen the positive impact of giving your dog kidney meat.
A dog that is eating too much Kidney over a long period of time could see their cholesterol levels rise and be prone to weight gain from added calories.
A dog that has never had kidney meat and then is suddenly given a large amount can easily vomit or have diarrhea from the richness of the food.
Don’t Forget About Dehydrated and Freeze Dried Kidney
If you want to add Kidneys to your dog’s diet but are nervous about working with raw meat and its short shelf life, look into options for feeding your dog dehydrated or freeze-dried Kidneys.
Many specialty pet stores carry natural treat products that may include freeze-dried kidneys.
You will need to read labels carefully to see if Kidney is the only ingredient, but it’s worth it to have a kidney treat on hand that can be stored in your cupboard.
Making Major Diet Changes? Talk With Your Veterinarian
If you plan to make major changes to your dog’s diet, it is always smart to talk with your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian can help you determine exactly the right amount of Kidney to feed your dog and what ways your dog may best prefer it to be served.
They can also monitor your dog’s health as you make the transition to feeding kidney meat.
If you are only using kidney meat as an occasional nutritious treat for your dog, you aren’t likely to need a trip to the veterinarian to serve it to your pup.
If you feed kidney meat and then notice your dog acts ill (very restless, lethargic, vomiting multiple times), take your dog to the vet immediately and let them know what has recently been fed.
Kidney is one of several options for adding the vitamins and minerals found in organ meat to your dog’s diet.
Kidneys from cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens can be served to dogs and are often able to be purchased from local butchers.
Consider adding Kidneys to your dog’s diet if you want to add a food choice that is high in vitamins A and B12, Omega-3 fatty acids, Iron, and protein.
Wondering what offal dogs can eat? Be sure to read my guide below:
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.