As a raw feeder, raw gizzards for dogs are regulars in my kitchen and have been since 2016.
That’s when I started making my own raw dog food.
Besides being fairly easy to source, raw gizzards are an interesting, nutritious cut of meat with a specific job that’s only found in some animals.
Besides pointing out which types of animals have gizzards and how they relate to giblets, I’ll also share the following:
- Which cut of meat are gizzards?
- Benefits of gizzards for dogs
- How to feed your dog gizzards
- How much gizzards can a dog eat?
- Where to buy gizzards for dogs
Gizzards for Dogs: How (Much) to Feed & More
Gizzards are a type of organ in the digestive tract that
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- Which Cut of Meat Are Gizzards? Mostly Specific to Birds Like:
- Benefits of Gizzards for Dogs
- How to Feed Your Dog Gizzards
- How Much Gizzards Can A Dog Eat?
- Where to Buy Raw Gizzards for Dogs
- Dog Diet With Gizzards: Bottom Line
- Related Reading:
- Raw Dog Food Game Changers
Which Cut of Meat Are Gizzards? Mostly Specific to Birds Like:
- Guinea fowl
I say mostly because (some) reptiles have gizzards, too!
But either way, gizzards have a specific job. Since birds only have a beak but no teeth, they also peck up little stones and gravel that helps grind up the food they eat before it makes it into their stomach.
And this process happens – you guessed it – in the gizzard. By the way, birds only have one gizzard.
The outside of gizzards is a bit on the tougher side, and the inside is more juicy.
In the context of gizzards, you may also have heard of giblets for dogs. But are giblets good for dogs, too?
That's because giblets are sort of an umbrella term for the heart, gizzard and liver.
Now, unlike liver which is a secreting organ, in raw feeding, gizzards fall into the muscle meat category.
Benefits of Gizzards for Dogs
So, what's in gizzards that makes them healthy for dogs?
Well, gizzards are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, and specifically of:
- Vitamins B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B9 (Folate) and B12 (Cobalamin). They have a strong cardio protective effect and support tissue growth, cell division, normal blood & immune function.
- Iron. Helps enzymes function normally, creates red blood cells, boosts oxygen supply & promotes a healthy liver.
- Zinc. Supports a strong immune system & a healthy thyroid.
- Magnesium. Helps absorb other minerals and vitamins.
- Selenium. Supports thyroid metabolism, DNA synthesis and reproduction, and also plays an important role as an antioxidant by slowing down cellular aging.
- Phosphorus. Supports healthy kidney function as well as teeth and bones.
Just as an example, I pulled the nutrient profiles of raw chicken and turkey gizzards. As you'll see, turkey gizzards are richer in most nutrients than chicken gizzards.
But chicken gizzards have slightly more Vitamin E (0.33 mg vs 0.22 mg) and Potassium (237.00 mg vs 185.00 mg) than turkey gizzards.
I realize that I may sound like a broken record to my regular readers, but here it goes again - the difference in nutrient profiles is the reason why rotating your cuts of meat and protein sources is SO important!
Raw chicken gizzards, 100grams (3oz):
- Vitamin A, 19.00 mcg
- Thiamin (Vit. B1), 0.028 mg
- Riboflavin (Vit. B2), 0.231 mg
- Niacin (Vit. B3), 3.680 mg
- Pantothenic acid (Vit. B5), 0.631 mg
- Vitamin B6, 0.112 mg
- Cobalamin (Vit. B12), 1.21 mcg
- Folate (Vit. B9), 5.00 mcg
- Vitamin C, 3.7 mg
- Vitamin E, 0.33 mg
- Calcium, 11.00 mg
- Copper, 0.12 mg
- Iron, 2.49 mg
- Magnesium, 15.00 mg
- Manganese, 0.055 mg
- Phosphorus, 148.00 mg
- Potassium, 237.00 mg
- Selenium, 25.50 mcg
- Sodium, 69.00 mg
- Zinc, 2.72 mg
Raw turkey gizzards, 100grams (3oz):
- Vitamin A, 46.00 mcg
- Thiamin (Vit. B1), 0.061 mg
- Riboflavin (Vit. B2), 0.327 mg
- Niacin (Vit. B3), 6.233 mg
- Pantothenic (Vit. B5), 0.914 mg
- Vitamin B6, 0.198 mg
- Cobalamin (Vit. B12), 3.61 mcg
- Folate (Vit. B9), 6.00 mcg
- Vitamin C, 6.2 mg
- Vitamin D, 0.5 mcg
- Vitamin E, 0.22 mg
- Choline, 89.7 mg
- Calcium, 16.00 mg
- Copper, 0.22 mg
- Iron, 2.78 mg
- Magnesium, 19.00 mg
- Manganese, 0.085 mg
- Phosphorus, 164.00 mg
- Potassium, 185.00 mg
- Selenium, 28.80 mcg
- Sodium, 147.00 mg
- Zinc, 3.03 mg
How to Feed Your Dog Gizzards
Now, there are a few different ways you can feed your dog gizzards.
Gizzards for immune support in dogs
As a raw feeder, my preferred way of feeding gizzards is obviously raw.
That said, I include them in my raw dog food meal prep, and they're also used quite a bit in premade raw dog foods.
For example, Raw Paws Pet Food's signature chicken blend features raw chicken gizzards, their signature duck blend features raw duck gizzards, and their signature turkey blend features...you guessed it: raw turkey gizzards!
Tip: Use my affiliate code K9Savings for 15% off any of Raw Paws Pet Food's signature blends (and other goodies).
Cooking Gizzards for Dogs
However, dogs can certainly also eat cooked gizzards if you haven't quite made the transition from a home cooked diet for your dog(s).
Just be aware of the fact that cooking gizzards for dogs destroys a decent amount of nutrients.
Raw-fed dogs who are treated for cancer may also do better with cooked meat, including gizzards, as opposed to raw cuts.
But this depends on the individual dog.
Tip: Searing gizzards may also be a way to get picky eaters to try this particular cut of meat!
Freeze-Dried, Air-Dried or Dehydrated Gizzards for Dogs
Last but not least, you can also treat your pups with freeze-dried, air-dried or dehydrated gizzards.
There's the option of making your own gizzard dog treats or buying them at the store.
I recently made a batch of dehydrated giblets - specifically beef liver, ostrich gizzards & hearts.
If you prefer to go the store-bought route, Raw Feeding Miami sells freeze-dried chicken giblets (liver, heart, gizzards) in 3oz bags!
Farm Hounds sells 4oz bags of dehydrated:
Roam Pet Treats sells 9.91oz bags of dehydrated ostrich gizzards!
How Much Gizzards Can A Dog Eat?
So, can dogs eat (chicken) gizzards everyday?
I'm asked that question on a somewhat regular basis, and here's my official answer:
Adult dogs can have 15-20% of gizzards as part of their daily muscle meat allowance.
If you're new to or looking into making your dog's own raw dog food, here's a quick rundown of what that means.
Moderately active, adult dogs eat 2.5% on average of their target body weight in raw dog food per day.
Of that amount:
- 70% is muscle meat
- 10% is raw meaty bone
- 10% is secreting organs (5% liver, 5% other secreting organs)
- 10% is plant matter
I'll give you one concrete example.
A 45 lb dog who's fed at a 2.5% maintenance percentage eats 1.125 lbs = 18 oz of raw dog food per day. 70% of that is 12.6, and 15-20% of 12.6 is 1.89-2.52 oz.
So your 45 lb dog can have between 1.89 -2.52 oz of gizzards as part of their raw dog food per day.
To learn how to do the exact math, check out my blog post How to measure percentages in raw feeding.
Or pick up my e-book 20 Raw Dog Food Recipes for Dogs.
It provides charts with the amount of raw dog food your healthy adult dog needs per week, calculated with a 2.5% maintenance percentage.
If your dog is less active and puts on weight with this amount of food, you can decrease their weekly allowance and redo their calculations with a 2% maintenance percentage, or even 1.5%.
I teach you exactly how to do that!
But I digress - moving on to the next section where we'll talk about sourcing your gizzards!
Where to Buy Raw Gizzards for Dogs
Most supermarkets and butchers carry chicken gizzards, including your local grocery store around the corner as well as retail giant Walmart.
However, they may not always be sourced from the most humanely raised (and therefore nutritious!) chickens.
So listed below, you'll find a variety of raw dog food retailers who carry high quality gizzards mostly from chickens, ducks and turkeys - and even from guinea fowl!
Raw Paws Pet Food
Their chicken gizzards are sourced locally in Indiana from chickens raised without antibiotics, steroids, or added hormones.
Tip: Save 15% with my affiliate discount code K9Savings!
Raw Feeding Miami
Raw Feeding Miami's chicken is sourced from Joyce Farms, whose chickens are grown on small family farms in North Carolina.
Tip: Save 10% on your first order at RFM with my referral discount link.
My Pet Carnivore
Chickens from My Pet Carnivore are steroid-free & hormone-free, as well as antibiotic & denaturant-free.
- Chicken gizzards (2 lbs)
Hare Today requires all local farmers they work with to check the following boxes regarding the animals whose cuts they sell:
- Humanely raised and handled
- In good health
- Free of antibiotics and hormones
BJ's Raw Pet Food
Like all meats at BJ's Raw Pet Food, their chicken gizzards are from healthy free-range animals from local farms.
Chicken gizzards (2 lbs)
Dog Diet With Gizzards: Bottom Line
Now you know that raw gizzards for dogs are a common, nutritious ingredient in raw dog food - both the premade kind as well as the DIY kind you make in your own kitchen.
Beyond that, you learned that besides heart and liver, gizzards are one of the 3 components of giblets.
Not only CAN dogs eat all three, they SHOULD eat all three on a regular basis.
If you were wondering "can dogs eat cooked gizzards?", you also found an answer to that question: yes, they can, although raw gizzards are more nutritious.
Last but not least, I listed 6 raw dog food retailers that carry quality raw gizzards for dogs (and/or cats!).
Now have fun incorporating this unique cut of meat into your dog's diet!
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Raw Dog Food Game Changers
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BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK RAW DOG FOOD
Save 15% on anything at Raw Paws Pet Food with code K9Savings. They're located in Indiana and ship nationwide within the US.
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Dr. Harvey's Paradigm Base Mix. It's low-carb which is particularly great for dogs on a keto diet and those with health issues like diabetes and cancer.