In addition to muscle meat, offal is another key component of the BARF-diet for dogs and cats. Not only do they provide valuable nutrients such as iron and selenium, but they also serve as the main source of important vitamins not found in any other food component. Offal should therefore be fed at 15 % of the animal components.
Offal provide essential nutrients
In addition to liver, kidney, lung and spleen, heart is one of the common offal fed to dogs and cats as part of the BARF-diet. It is often disputed whether heart should be counted as muscle meat or offal. In itself, the heart is a large, strong muscle that contains a high proportion of proteins, fat and vitamins typical of muscle meat. At the same time, heart has a high proportion of purine and anatomically it is considered to be an offal, which is what it should be fed as.
As different offal also contains different nutrients, it should be fed in a varied diet. Liver is rich in vitamins A, B, C, D, K1 as well as folic acid, biotin, iron and the amino acids DHA and arachidonic acid. Kidneys also contain a relatively large amount of vitamin A, D, folic acid, selenium, potassium and iron. The lungs and spleen are relatively low in protein and fat, but contain a lot of iron, selenium and potassium. Common to all offal is that it contains the amino acid taurine, which is particularly valuable for cats.
Offal should always be fed in a varied diet
For dogs and cats, mixed offal should represent 15 % of the animal content. Usually liver, heart, kidney, lungs and spleen are fed. As the liver is the largest organ of the prey and also contains many nutrients, the proportion in the mix of offal should be correspondingly high. Kidney, lungs and spleen can be fed in equal parts. If you don't want to prepare your own mix of offal, you can also simply use our ready beef offal-mix. It contains 33 % beef liver, 33 % beef heart, 12 % beef kidney, 11 % beef spleen and 11 % beef lung. This is also the general distribution we recommend for a balanced mix of offal.
Feeding offal in the right way
As some animals tend to have diarrhoea if too much offal is consumed, it is advisable to divide the total weekly amount over two to three days. If your dog or cat does not eat the offal, you can briefly scald it with hot water, mash it or mix it cleverly with the other components in the food bowl. As offal contains essential nutrients that are not found in any other food component, it cannot simply be replaced. For this reason, it is important that your darling consumes sufficient quantities of them.
However, if your pet cannot be persuaded to eat certain offal, you can remedy this with some natural supplements. Vitamin A and D in particular are only present in small amounts in the remaining animal components. But you can also supplement them with cod liver oil. As vitamins A and D are not water-soluble, they can be overdosed, so cod liver oil should always be fed with care.
Other nutrients that are contained in larger quantities in offal and which your pet would therefore lack are selenium, copper and iodine. Selenium can also be supplied to your dog through Brazil nuts or shredded coconut, iodine is found in large quantities in seaweed meal, and copper can be supplemented with beer yeast, for example, which also provides many B vitamins.
If your pet does not tolerate nor wants to eat one or all of the offal, then setting up a nutritional plan to meet the animal's needs becomes more complex. For this reason, you should always seek the help of a professional dietician or veterinarian if you are unsure, in order to avoid undersupply.