It’s important to include healthy fats in raw dog food! At the same time, the diet can’t be too high in fat because that would cause a vitamin- and mineral deficiency.
Great animal food items that contain healthy fats are eggs from pastured hens, oily fish like thread herring, mackerel, sardines, and lake trout, fish oils like Bonnie & Clyde’s Omega-3 Fish Oil, grass-fed butter, green tripe, eyes and brains.
Where to buy whole fish, eyes, and brains
Where to buy green tripe & fish oil
Amazon carries Bonnie & Clyde’s Omega-3 fish oil.
Plant food items that contain healthy fats are certain nuts and seeds, like walnuts, hemp seeds and chia seeds.
You can find them in most grocery stores, or also on Amazon.
That said, the goal in raw feeding is to feed around 10% fat, especially when you’re only feeding domestic, farmed animals.
Why Dogs Need Healthy Fats In Raw Dog Food
Fats help with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, supply energy, and build cell membranes. That’s why they’re so important for dogs!
Along with protein and carbs (as fruits and veggies), fats are so-called macronutrients. Those 3 components are the main building blocks of raw dog food, which also makes them the main source of energy and calories.
Other components of raw dog food are vitamins and minerals, as well as trace minerals, the so-called micronutrients.
Fat Content Of Farmed Animals vs Wild Prey Animals
It’s important to understand that the fat content is always higher in farmed, domestic animals than it is in wild prey animals.
Wild prey also contains a different balance of fats (Omega-6 fatty acids vs Omega-3 fatty acids) than domestic animals.
For example, a wild pheasant has a fat content of about 9.3 grams fat, whereas a domestic (=farmed) chicken has a fat content of about 15.1 grams. That said, the wild pheasant is leaner than the farmed chicken.
Wild ducks have about 15.2 fat, while domestic ducks have 39.3 grams fat. Boars who live in the wild have 3.3 grams fat, domestic pork has 21 grams fat. Wild salmon has 6 grams fat, farmed salmon has 8 grams fat. Etc.
You get the idea.
That’s because wild prey eat mainly grasses, berries, nuts, etc, while farmed animals are mainly fed corn, soy, and grains.
Corn and soy are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which increase inflammation within the body.
Additionally, grains increase the amount of fat in the meat and upset the balance of omega-6 and 3 fatty acids.
Likewise, eggs from pasture-fed hens contain up to 10 times more omega-3s than those from factory hens.
That’s why it’s much more beneficial to feed organic eggs from hens that aren’t just fed grains.
5 Essential Fatty Acids for Dogs
Let’s talk a little more about essential fatty acids for dogs. 2 of them are Omega-6 fatty acids, and 3 of them are Omega-3 fatty acids. All are polyunsaturated acids (PUFAS).
That said, it’s important to balance those fats because they’re not all the same! That’s actually easy to do when you’re feeding a variety of animals and including wild prey.
For example, poultry, beef, rabbit and venison, and fish. However, if you fed only poultry instead, your dog would be eating a diet that’s too rich in fats.
Here are 2 examples of how you can balance fats: 1/3 chicken necks with skin and fat and 2/3 wild rabbit meat. Or 1/3 chicken thighs with skin and 2/3 wild duck meat or wild venison.
On the contrary, an example of unbalanced fats would be 1/3 chicken necks with skin and fat and 2/3 70% lean ground beef. This would be too much fat!
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Are:
Linoleic Acid (LA)
LA is found in poultry.
Arachidonic Acid (AA)
AA is also found in poultry, lean meats, egg yolks, and fish oil.
Omega-6 fats increase inflammation within the body.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Are:
Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA)
ALA is found in flaxseed oil, fish oil, and eggs.
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
EPA is found in cold-water fish oil and phytoplankton.
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
DHA is also found in cold-water fish oil and phytoplankton, as well as in eggs, brains and eyes.
Omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation within the body.
Green tripe has the perfect balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
So to sum up, whole, conventionally raised animals are too rich in fat and have unbalanced fats (they’re higher in Omega-6 fatty acids than in Omega-3s).
Whole fish is great to balance the fats in poultry and ruminants (beef, lamb, goat). Use about 1 oz of fish per pound of meat.
You can also use 2 teaspoons of ground hemp seeds together with 1 oz of fish per pound of meat to balance the fats in ruminants.
Likewise, use 3 teaspoons of ground chia or flax seeds together with 1 oz of fish per pound of meat to balance the fats in poultry.