Homemade raw dog food including a furry rabbit paw in a stainless steel dog bowl

How To Add Fur To Raw Dog Food

Did you know that you can and should add fur to raw dog food?

That’s because fur, wool, and feathers are a great source of manganese. They’re also a great source of fiber and help naturally express anal glands.

Manganese is a mineral that falls into the category of micro minerals, also known as trace minerals.

“Trace” means that only very little is needed. However, they’re still essential for a properly functioning body!

Why It’s Important To Add Manganese To Raw Dog Food

Manganese helps dogs digest and absorb protein and carbs, as well as fatty acids.

It also slows down the aging process and is needed for bone growth and thyroid hormone production.

Manganese deficiency in dogs

Dogs who are deficient in manganese can have skeletal defects that result in CCL problems.

That’s short for cranial cruciate ligament. It’s a disease that causes knee problems and hind leg lameness.

They can also have reproductive issues, nerve deficits, and suffer from skin and hair problems.

How much manganese does a dog need?

The daily requirement of manganese is 2.3 mg per lb of dog food.

There are tiny amounts of manganese in bone, liver, and pancreas. Bone has 1.5-2 ppm of manganese, liver has 1.5-2.5, and pancreas has 1.2-1.6 ppm.

PPM stands for parts per million. It’s a unit that’s used in chemistry to describe a tiny amount of something, and apparently it’s what manganese is measured in.

How Much Manganese Is In Hair And Feathers?

There are other foods that are much higher in manganese than bone, liver, and pancreas.

For example, cow hair has 12 ppm of manganese, and pullet feathers have 18.7 ppm of manganese.

Why To Add Fur To Raw Dog Food: Recreate A Prey Animal

My favorite way of looking at the how’s and why’s in raw feeding is to picture the prey animals that dogs and wolves would eat in the wild.

They consist of EVERYTHING. Including heads with brains and eyes, hearts, livers, kidneys, legs, fur and fins in fish, etc. You get the idea.

That’s why it’s SO IMPORTANT to not only feed a large variety of different protein sources, but to also feed different cuts of the animal within those protein sources.

Without this variety between protein sources and cuts within each protein source, raw dog food is not balanced and will have nutritional holes.

That’s why it’s important to add fur to raw dog food!

K9sOverCoffee.com | How to add fur to raw dog food

Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated in 2023. It contains affiliate links I may earn compensation through at no additional cost to you. 

Fur Sources For Raw Dog Food

You can use the following sources to add fur to your raw dog food.

All-Natural Cow Rawhide Rolls With Hair

Raw Feeding Miami carries cow rawhide rolls with hair on them!

As their name suggests, the company is located in Miami, FL, and ships nationwide within the US.

The rolls are available as 8 inch, 10 inch, and 12 inch rolls, made by hand, and sold per piece.

Unlike regular rawhide, these particular ones are NOT bleached or treated with chemicals, which makes them fully digestible.

RFM also carries dehydrated beef ears with fur.

They’ve made it into Wally’s Christmas Stocking, along with the furry rabbit ears mentioned next!

Tip: You can save 10% off your first Raw Feeding Miami order with my referral discount link.

Missy Anticipating Her Beef Ear With Hair From K9RawFeeding
Missy with a furry beef ear

Furry Rabbit Ears

These are an absolute favorite of Wally’s, and they’re a great alternative to the cow ears for dogs who have a food sensitivity towards beef.

I used to buy them freeze-dried from Vital Essentials on Amazon.

Update 2023: Unfortunately, these days Vital Essentials seems to constantly be out of them.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Freeze-dried rabbit ears from Vital Essentials are great to add fur to raw dog food
Vital Essential’s freeze-dried rabbit ears for dogs

Hare Today carries dehydrated rabbit ears.

Raw Feeding Miami also carries dehydrated rabbit ears and feet.

Tip: Remember to save 10% on your first Raw Feeding Miami order with my referral discount link.

On my list of best single-ingredient dog treats: Freeze-Dried Rabbit Ears & Rabbit Bites from Vital Essentials Are Great Single Ingredient Dog Treats
Wally with Vital Essentials’ freeze-dried rabbit ears and rabbit bites.

Furry Rabbit Feet

Hare Today also carries furry dehydrated rabbit feet.

Furry Lamb Ears

Real Dog has air-dried lamb ears as part of their single-ingredient treats in their monthly subscription boxes.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Raw dog food with ground duck, furry lamb ear, a chicken egg, and fish oil
Air-dried lamb ear with ground duck from Darwin’s Pet, a chicken egg, and fish oil from Bonnie & Clyde’s

Whole Prey Rabbit With Fur

Of course you can also feed rabbit in its entirety, fur included. This option is either available ground or whole.

Hare Today

Hare Today also carries whole prey rabbits with their fur.

They’re located in Pennsylvania, in close proximity to the Ohio border, and ship nationwide within the US.

Whole Prey Quail With Feathers

Hare Today also carries whole prey day old quails with feathers.

Add Fur To Raw Dog Food: Bottom Line

Fur is part of what dogs and wolves would eat in the wild, so it makes sense to add it to their raw dog food.

Although it might seem difficult to source at first sight, there are good options for buying furry food items, and they’re not overly expensive.

Even if you don’t feed raw dog food quite yet, you can certainly treat your pup with the dried cow, rabbit, and lamb ears!

Please leave your comments or questions in the comment section below this blog post!

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.






3 responses to “How To Add Fur To Raw Dog Food”

  1. Stacey Avatar

    Great information! Thank you.
    Here’s a question- My 2 Austrialian Shepherds play grab the neck, nibble the legs, basically get fur in their mouths every day. They do get furry poop sometimes. Does that count as fur in their diet? 🙂

    1. Barbara Rivers Avatar

      Hey Stacey, now that is an interesting question – I’ve never thought of that particular scenario, but I would guess that it counts! I’ll run it by Dr. Lonsdale and see what he says.

      1. Barbara Rivers Avatar

        I asked Dr. Lonsdale for advice, and he said that fur in general is a fundamental aspect of the diet, and that includes dog fur. So if your dogs ingest some of their fur, no need to go out of your way and add other furry sources like furry rabbit ears or paws, or furry cow ears.

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