Shooting season is upon us which sees the availability of game. Game meats can be a wonderful seasonal addition to a raw or whole food diet. The idea of feeding wild meats can be appealing, as wild prey have enjoyed the quality of life many farm animal do not get to experience. Game meats include Pheasant, Partridge, Venison, Pigeon and Rabbit. If you are lucky enough to have access to wild game meat and are considering feeding it raw to your dog read the information below to ensue it is appropriate and safe.
Wild meats are interesting in terms of macronutrient content. Most other meats we feed are farmed and fed up to gain weight quickly, consequently the fat content is much higher in farmed meats the wild meats. This can be useful to know if trying to control weight or your dog has a health condition that requires a lower fat diet. Being wild, the meat is of high nutritional quality as the prey has itself eaten a species appropriate natural diet rather than commercially prepared synthetic processed feed.
Higher in Protein
By its lean nature wild meat has a higher proportion of protein than free range or farmed meats. This is important to know if your dog needs a low protein diet for medical reasons game may not always be suitable.
The growing occurrence of food allergies in our pets has us searching for new protein sources to avoid allergens that are common in most pet foods. Game meats can be a great source of protein for those dogs needing something different during an exclusion diet. Be sure to check a label thoroughly to ensure you are feeding a pure protein during the exclusion diet. One disadvantage to avoid is over reliance on Game as the only source of protein for your allergic dog, they can be hard to source out of season so always have a backup in the freezer.
May contain Shot
Although the Environmental protection regulations restrict the use of lead shot, there is still a chance you will find small pieces of shot in wild game. Most dogs will leave these in the bowl others will ingest them usually pass through without any problem.
When to take care
Depending on how you are sourcing your game meat it may not have been through DEFRA inspection. This leaves you more vulnerable to parasites and disease. Removing the digestive tract will help reduce the risk of parasites. There is an ongoing investigation at the Royal school of veterinary studies into a potential connection between an outbreak of Tuberculosis in cats that were all fed wild venison. The conclusion is yet to be reached but in the meantime ensure your venison has been DEFRA approved as fit for human consumption.
Freezing wild caught meat to -18 c for 3 weeks will reduce the amount of bacteria, potentially kill some parasites that may be present in the meat. Thorough cooking will have the same effect but also kill Tuberculosis.
At Greens we use Wild venison in our Forest and Farm recipe which is Vet and DEFRA approved.
Cooked venison recipe
Pop this in the slow cooker before your winter Sunday afternoon walk and you will have the happiest hounds at tea time. The spirulina is a wonderful source of trace elements and for sale at Greens shop or online here https://www.greensforhealthypets.co.uk/product/organic-spirulina/
This Complete recipe provides 1100 kcal, enough for an active 20 kilogram dog per day.
400 grams venison meat
50 grams liver
30 grams Brussel sprouts
30 grams Cauliflower
40 grams Butternut squash
8 grams Spirulina
Teaspoon of wheat germ oil
Pinch of salt
4 grams Kelp
4 grams egg shells powdered
Doig C, Seagar AL, Watt B, Forbes KJ. The efficacy of the heat killing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J Clin Pathol. 2002;55(10):778–779. doi:10.1136/jcp.55.10.778