Today I wanna talk to you about how to feed raw kidneys for dogs & puppies!
Here’s why: Balance.
More specifically, nutritional balance.
That’s really important if you’re looking to make your own raw dog food. After all, DIY raw food is a good way of staying on budget now that living costs are spiraling everywhere.
But like I pointed out, we have to make sure that our pups are getting all the nutrition they need.
That said, here’s what you’ll learn in this blog post:
- What’s in raw kidneys?
- Why are raw kidneys good for dogs?
- Where do kidneys fit into the 70/10/10/10 raw feeding formula?
- How much raw kidney should I feed my dog?
- 3 feeding examples for adult dogs
- 3 feeding examples for puppies
- Where to buy raw kidneys for dogs
Feeding Raw Kidneys for Dogs & Puppies
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What’s in Raw Kidneys?
Similar to other secreting organs, raw kidneys are highly nutritious and known as a natural multivitamin.
Here’s what’s in raw (beef) kidney:
- Vitamin A (specifically Retinol)
- B Vitamins (Thiamin aka B1, Riboflavin aka B2, Niacin aka B3, Pantothenic Acid aka B5, B6, Folate aka B9, B12)
- Vitamin C (very little)
- Vitamin D (very little)
- Magnesium (very little)
- Manganese (very little)
That said, kidneys are richest in Retinol (Vitamin A), Vitamins B1, B2 and B12, Selenium, Copper and Iron.
Which brings me to the next question:
Why Are Raw Kidneys Good for Dogs?
Kidneys are richest in the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A (Retinol): Supports cell growth & divisions for healthy eyes, skin, coat, nervous system, muscles, reproduction and the immune system
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): Helps digest carbs & supports brain function
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Supports the metabolism of fats & carbs into energy and supports the production of red blood cells
- Vitamin B12: Supports the blood flow and the nervous system as well as the brain and digestive functions
- Selenium: Supports a healthy thyroid and is important for reproduction
- Copper: Helps make red blood cells, skin cells, connective tissue and absorbs iron
- Iron: Supports normal formation of red blood cells
Where Do Kidneys Fall Into the 70/10/10/10 Raw Feeding Formula?
Kidneys fall into one of the 10s!
More specifically, into the secreting organs 10s.
As a quick recap for anyone new to raw feeding, here’s what the 70/10/10/10 formula stands for:
- Muscle Meat (70%)
- Raw Meaty Bones (10%)
- Secreting Organs (10%)
- Plant Matter (10%)
Secreting organs are split up into 5% liver and 5% other secreting organs.
And so yep, you guessed it, kidney is part of the 5% other secreting organs.
That said, dogs require very little secreting organs in their daily meals, but you also can’t skip them. At least not on a regular basis.
Let me put it like this: It’s perfectly fine to achieve balance in raw feeding over the course of several days to a week.
So if you forget to add secreting organs to your pup’s meals on 2 or 3 days out of the week, don’t stress out over it. Just don’t make it a habit!
It’s a myth propagated by the pet food industry that dogs (and cats) need specific nutrients on a DAILY basis.
After all, no single animal in the wild eats 100% balanced food on a daily basis.
Neither do we, right?
So yes, I like to follow a common sense approach as far as raw feeding is concerned. I don’t appreciate nor fall for the scare tactics of the dog food industry and traditional veterinarians.
I mean, their education includes very limited nutritional knowledge because they’re sponsored by big name kibble dog food brands.
OK, rant over! Moving on to the next question:
How Much Raw Kidney Should I Feed My Dog?
Next, let’s talk about how much kidney to feed your dog. This is going to depend on your respective dog, and mostly on their age and activity level.
I’ll give you 3 examples for adult dogs, and 3 examples for puppies.
As we just covered, kidneys are fed alongside liver.
Each secreting organ (kidney and liver) make up 5% of your adult dog’s daily raw dog food allowance.
Puppies need 7% of each secreting organ, but more on that in the puppy feeding example section.
How Much Raw Kidney to Feed Adult Dogs: 3 Feeding Examples
Here’s how you do the math:
Divide your dog’s target/ideal body weight by 100, then multiply with your dog’s maintenance percentage.
That’s 2.5% on average. The result is your adult dog’s daily raw dog food allowance.
Note: Canine athletes and pregnant dogs will need considerably more raw dog food, up to 4% of their target body weight.
That makes sense when you think about it because their energy requirements are a lot higher than those of “regular” pets.
Example 1: 28lb Adult Dog
28/100 = 0.28 x 2.5 = 0.7lb = 11.2oz
11.2oz is your dog’s daily raw dog food allowance. Here’s how it’s split up into the different raw dog food components:
- 7.84oz muscle meat
- 1.2oz raw meaty bone
- 0.6oz liver
- 0.6oz kidney
- 1.2oz plant matter
Example 2: 45lb Adult Dog
45/100 = 0.45 x 2.5 = 1.125lb = 18oz
18oz is your dog’s daily raw dog food allowance. Here’s how it’s split up into the different raw dog food components:
- 12.6oz muscle meat
- 1.8oz raw meaty bone
- 0.9oz liver
- 0.9oz kidney
- 1.8oz plant matter
Example 3: 74lb Adult Dog
74/100 = 0.74 x 2.5 = 1.85lb = 29.6oz
29.6oz is your dog’s daily raw dog food allowance. Here’s how it’s split up into the different raw dog food components:
- 20.72oz muscle meat
- 2.96oz raw meaty bone
- 1.48oz liver
- 1.48oz kidney
- 2.96oz plant matter
How Much Raw Kidney to Feed Puppies: 3 Feeding Examples
Puppies require more food than average adult dogs because they’re still growing, specifically:
- 58% muscle meat
- 17% raw meaty bones
- 14% secreting organs
- 11% plant matter
If you’re feeding your puppy following the prey model approach, scratch the 11% plant matter and feed 69% muscle meat instead.
You can either feed them a certain percentage of their current body weight, or feed them 2.5% of their target adult body weight.
I find the second approach more difficult to gage though, so I prefer calculating their allowance off of their current body weight.
Obviously, you’ll need to weigh your puppy regularly, at least every month, but I’d do it even more frequently than that, say every 2 weeks.
Here are 3 options to weigh your puppy:
- Ask your vet if you can come in to weigh your puppy every other week.
- Once your pup’s had all their puppy shots, you can also take them to a pet retail store and weigh them there. Most stores that offer grooming services also have a pet scale.
- Of course you can also weigh your puppy at home with your own body weight scale or a specific digital pet scale.
Example 1: 4 Month Old Boxer Puppy Weighs 30lbs. Feed 8% of Their Current Body Weight
Remember, puppies need different amounts of raw dog food cuts than the average adult dog:
- 58% muscle meat
- 17% raw meaty bones
- 14% secreting organs
- 11% plant matter
Here’s how to do the math: Divide your puppy’s current body weight by 100, then multiply with 8. The result is your puppy’s daily raw dog food allowance.
30/100 = 0.3 x 8 = 2.4lb = 38.4oz
38.4oz is your puppy’s daily raw dog food allowance. Here’s how it’s split up into the different raw dog food components:
- 22.272oz muscle meat (round up to 22.3oz)
- 6.528oz raw meaty bones (round down to 6.5oz)
- 2.688oz liver (round up to 2.7oz)
- 2.688oz kidney (round up to 2.7oz)
- 4.224oz plant matter (round down to 4.2)
Example 2: 6 Month Old Standard Poodle Puppy Weighs 50lbs. Feed 6% of Their Current Body Weight
50/100 = 0.5 x 6 = 3lb = 48oz
48oz is your puppy’s daily raw dog food allowance. Here’s how it’s split up into the different raw dog food components:
- 27.84oz muscle meat (round up to 27.9oz)
- 8.16oz raw meaty bones (round up to 8.2oz)
- 3.36oz liver (round up to 3.4oz)
- 3.36oz kidney (round up to 3.4oz)
- 5.28oz plant matter (round up to 5.3oz)
Example 3: 8 Month Old German Shepherd Puppy Weighs 65lbs. Feed 4% of Their Current Body Weight
65/100 = 0.65 x 4 = 2.6lbs = 41.6oz
41.6 oz is your puppy’s daily raw dog food allowance. Here’s how it’s split up into the different raw dog food components:
- 24.128oz muscle meat (round up to 24.2oz)
- 7.072oz raw meaty bones (round up to 7.1oz)
- 2.912oz liver (round up to 3oz)
- 2.912oz kidney (round up to 3oz)
- 4.576oz plant matter (round up to 3.6oz)
Where to Buy Raw Kidneys for Dogs
Unlike chicken, beef and even calf liver that you can buy in almost every grocery store, it’s a lot harder to find kidneys.
You’ll have to either revert to butchers or farmers, specialty stores such as asian grocery stores, wildlife processors during hunting season, or raw dog food retailers:
- Butchers or farmers
- Asian grocery stores
- Wildlife processors
- Raw Paws Pet Food
- Raw Feeding Miami
- My Pet Carnivore
- BJs Raw Pet Food
Of course it’s a different story if you hunt yourself or know someone who hunts. Just keep the (secreting) organs such as liver or kidneys for your dog, or ask if you can have them.
You can learn more about deer hunting for raw dog food meal prep here.
Pictured below is raw deer kidney from a freshly shot buck (thanks bf!).
Always try to feed kidneys from a large variety of animals. For example, beef kidney, rabbit kidney, goat kidney, lamb kidney, etc.
Also know that while kidney is a secreting organ and falls into the 5% other secreting organ category to be fed alongside liver, it’s important to rotate the other secreting organs.
If you want, you can create meals that consist of 5% liver, 2.5% kidney and 2.5% pancreas.
Or, 5% liver, 2.5% brains and 2.5% spleen.
Another option is to rotate the other secreting organs on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.
Essentially, whenever you make a batch of raw meals, add a different secreting organ. That’s easier in my personal opinion.
Or, you can also switch it up between the two options.
Honestly, do whatever works for YOU as long as you provide variety!
Feeding Raw Kidneys for Dogs: Bottom Line
So, as you just saw, knowing how much of what to feed is essential in raw feeding. That also applies to kidneys!
Keep in mind that dogs don’t need a lot of kidney in their daily raw dog food allowance.
Also, the exact amount differs between dogs and their respective nutritional needs.
Growing puppies, pregnant dogs and canine athletes are going to need more kidney than adult pet dogs.
Don’t forget to offer your dog(s) a variety of secreting organ meats and to have FUN when sourcing ingredients and preparing their raw meals!
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