Offal is a nutritional powerhouse. Owners who feed their pets a raw diet may be already aware of this nutritious meat, but just in case, offal is considered to be a vital part of a dog’s and cat’s nutritional requirements.
To receive the full spectrum of nutrition, pets need to consume more than just raw muscle meat and bones.
A lot of people may consider offal to be waste organs, unsafe or these ingredients are a taboo in some western cultures. In reality though, organ meats are super foods, jam packed with vitamins and minerals essential for pet health. Offal is very popular in many Middle Eastern, Asian and North African countries. With the appropriate knowledge and handling they are a great addition to both pet and human diets. Fresh offal from naturally raised, grass-fed animals is some of the most nutrient-rich foods you can eat. It far exceeds the nutrition found in that of a processed pet food that is often sprayed on synthetic vitamins and minerals.
So, what is Offal?
Offal, also commonly referred to as ‘organ meats’ literal definition of offal is to “fall off”—that is, whatever falls off the skeleton during the butchering process.
This includes the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, pancreas and all other abdominal organs, as well as the tails, feet, brain, tongue, tripe and yes, even the testicles.
The origin of meat varies from ruminate animals like chicken, turkey, duck, fowl, cow, pig, lamb, etc.
What are the benefits of Offal?
There are a wide spectrum from a great source of nutrients like B-complex vitamins, vitamins E, D and K2, amino acids, iron, and trace minerals like copper, chromium, and zinc.
There is a reason dogs and cats ate offal as part of their Ancestral Diet to keep them healthy in the wild. Let’s take a look at some of offal used in Furchild’s Meals and Supplemental Foods and their health benefits.
- Liver is packed with protein at 20 g per serving and a great source of copper, folic acid, and iron. The Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in liver has a cardiovascular benefit. It improves endurance and strength as well as a “fatigue-fighting” effect.
- Kidneys are high in protein and low in fat. They are also high in B12, riboflavin, and iron, and also contain B6, folate, and niacin.
- Hearts contains amino acids and a high amount of protein, thiamine, folate, selenium, phosphorus and zinc—a combination proven to build muscle and stamina, improve metabolism, and provide an anti-aging effect (sign us up!).
- Green Tripe is low in fat and high in essential fatty acids. It’s a great source of potassium, vitamins, magnesium and an ideal calcium-phosphorus ratio. It contains lactobacillus, acidophilus that aid in digestion.
It’s clear that offal is jam packed with nutrients and is considered ‘rich’ so certain precautions must be taken into consideration before feeding your pet.
- If you are preparing a homemade diet, ensure that you are using good quality meat; grass-fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free. The diets, veterinary drugs and living conditions of such animals are not likely to result in healthy organs, so be sure to find out where the organs came from.
- As a general rule, is that if you are preparing a homemade raw diet the percentage of offal in the diet should not exceed 10% and of that offal no more than 50% should be liver. Although hearts are offal, they are not included in the 10% mentioned above. When formulating, they are grouped in the muscle meat category.
- If fed in excessive amounts the undesired outcomes can range from diarrhea in sensitive animals or worse, toxic levels of some nutrients e.g. excessive amounts of liver can cause Vitamin A toxicity, particularly in cats, if fed excessively.
Furchild Meals have made it easy by taking all the necessary precautions to ensure your pet consumes the right quality, variety and quantities of organ meats.
Are you looking for new ways to incorporate organ meats into your diet?
Finding a tasty offal recipe can be tricky, as they are more of a niche specialty today—but they are out there. Here are a few we stumbled upon that look like they are worth a try.
Too lazy or squeamish to cook it yourself? Here are a couple of restaurants in the UAE that feature organ meats on their main menus. Please note, the lists below are not necessarily recommended by us. If you know of any, or have positive reviews, let us know!
- Beef heart - “Anticuchos” at Coya, a stylish Peruvian Restaurant Village, Four Seasons Resort Jumeirah Beach.
- Lamb Organs: tongue, grain, kidney, heart, liver and even lamb “fries” (testicles). Boulevard Kitchen has a ‘nose-to-tail concept – where nothing is wasted. Manzil Downtown Dubai.
- Beef Tongue - Butcher Shop & Grill, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai.
- Chicken Liver - Reform Social and Grill, The Lakes, Dubai.
- Haggis Balls, a famous Scottish dish. Cooper Dog, Double Tree by Hilton, JBR.
Quality organ meats and offal are not only healthy for humans, but essential for dogs and cats. Help spread the word about their benefits by sharing this article.