At the risk of being a nube posting redundant questions that have been answered (I did do a search and didn’t find specifically what I needed), I am trying to find out if there is something — vitamins, minerals, protein — in liver that my dog needs that cannot be gotten from other sources because …. I do not want to feed my dog liver if I don’t “have to.”
I’ve done my research and will be making my own dog food with cooked ground turkey and canned unsalted Alaskan salmon as the main meats, with the occasional eggs and packed in water unsalted sardines, some added fish oil, a bit of calcium, yam/carrot/garbonzo beans, the occasional cooked/processed veggies, nutritional yeast, etc. Lucky dog.
I will be using the Urban Wolf mix and it recommends adding the liver powder to that, along with the meat but I haven’t been able to find out why I need the liver and/or if there is something else I use or can use that will provide what the liver does.
Thanks – Mike
Here’s what I’ve found so far, which leads me to believe I don’t need it though it is high in several nutrients …
Just curious, why don’t you want to feed your dog liver? I feed my dog raw and she gets chicken livers a couple times a week. Is it because of the “ick” factor? Lol! Because liver IS pretty cheap.
Probably partly the ick factor but mostly because I like cows — yes, there is chicken liver — and don’t like to eat them. Of course, I like turkeys too, which I am feeding him. 🙂 It is a cruel world.
Just that I’d rather avoid using it ….
Liver is a species-appropriate means of supplying several trace minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, iodine and zinc and it’s also a good source of vitamin a and vitamin d. A properly balanced homemade diet should be comprised of about 5% – 7.5% liver – as long as this amount isn’t exceeded the dog isn’t at risk of consuming too much vitamin a. Because the liver (this also applies when feeding kidney or spleen) is a filtering organ, myself (and many others here) prefer to use liver from naturally raised animals. It’s certainly possible to supplement separately for the nutrients liver supplies and exclude it from the diet but, with the exception of someone who can’t get liver or can’t get liver from a clean source, I’m not sure why someone wouldn’t want to include liver in the diet. As for exactly how much of which nutrients the liver is contributing to the Urban Wolf recipe, you’d have to contact the company directly for that data.
Just a few other suggestions.
I would not recommend feeding only turkey or mostly turkey – it’s very important to feed a variety of protein sources and especially important to ensure an equal balance of red meat and poultry is being fed (unless you want to go through a lot of additional work to balance the fats). Poultry is very high in polyunsaturated fats (especially linoleic acid – a short-chain omega 6) while red meats are high in saturated fats and low in polyunsaturated fats, therefore rotating between red meat-based and poultry-based recipes is ideal.
You don’t want to add calcium to a pre-mix. Pre-mixes (such as Urban Wolf) are designed to supply a proper ratio of calcium and phosphorus with the addition of boneless meat. As long as you follow the instructions on the package there is no need to supply additional calcium.
Personally, I wouldn’t add additional starches such as yams and garbanzo beans. Urban Wolf already contains potatoes and several vegetables so your dog will be getting more than enough plant matter, you’ll just be diluting the protein further and cancelling out one of the main benefits a home-prepared diet has over kibble – more meat and less plant matter.
Also – just in case you missed it on the ingredient panel – Urban Wolf already contains nutritional yeast so if that’s something you want included in your dog’s diet there’s no reason to add extra outside of the pre-mix.
& Mike, you were lucky enough to have the most knowledgeable person on here answer your question for you. 🙂
I wouldn’t go that far Cindi! Thanks though lol
Yes, I can tell Cyndi. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to provide that level of detail Hound Dog Mom!
For the record, our dog Wally is 15 years old and is smallish, weighing in at about 17.5 pounds, needing to lose probably 2 of those.
Yes, I have read about most of what you suggested HDM, though it is still not clear to me that my dog will “need” liver, given everything else he will get. I did send an email to Urban Wolf – will see if they respond though they do suggest the liver supplement. They just responded, asking if I could give him liver treats but that’s all they offered.
I will have to reconsider adding the sweet potato and rest of the non-meat stuff since much of that is in the Urban Wolf (which I will start using on Friday) but if I do, it will be in “treat” amounts and I will use Wally’s poop status to help monitor. I do understand he needs adequate protein and I’m confident he’ll be getting more than he did with his Wellness canned food, who seemingly just began adding more liquid to their formula.
The nutritional yeast he just likes, if I did add any, it would be occasionally and just a small sprinkle.
Was thinking I should add just a sprinkle of calcium now and again because my plan was to feed Wally more Salmon — which has the phosphorous — than would be in the Urban Wolf recipe. Of course, the diet then becomes a bit less controlled or precise.
I’ve read the fat balancing discussions and it seems a little too much like rocket science to me but I will keep researching that and won’t stick my head in the sand on it. I’d rather not feed him beef but will if I need to.
Any further recommendations or discussion are welcomed ….. thanks again
If I’m not mistaken (it’s been awhile since I’ve used Urban Wolf) I think the recipe on the package calls for the addition of fish oil or canned fish so I’m sure that’s factored in. You can also use the canned salmon that includes bones. Either way, you usually have the leeway to add up to 20% unbalanced extras without throwing off the balance of an already balanced meal. Another option to consider for omega 3’s that a lot of us here use are tinned sardines packed in water. I personally rotate between canned salmon and tinned sardines for my dogs.
Thanks – yes, I have started feeding the water packed unsalted sardines also, here and there. Yes, the UW recipe does call for fish but I anticipate using more than they call for but, still not sure about that. I appreciate your mentioning the calcium though.
Wanted to use the canned salmon with the bones and skin but there was too much salt in it.
Not sure if you can get this kind but this is what I use when I use salmon:
It’s wild-caught, no salt added pink salmon with bones and the cans are BPA free. As an added bonus it (surprisingly) isn’t too expensive. I believe it’s only like $1 more than Bumblebee at my store.
Will check the pricing on that, thanks … familiar with it from when I was picking a canned salmon for myself. I’m buying from Trader Joe’s now – won’t be able to beat that price but maybe I can come close. Too bad the TJ’s cans with the bone/skin are so salted …..
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