organ meat for dogs

Why Should Dogs Eat Organ Meat?

Raw feeders are well-known for including organ meats in their dog’s diet. Organs are incredibly nutrient-dense and, if you look at how canine ancestors ate, organs were approximately 10% of the dog’s diet.

You can give your dog liver, kidney, and/or heart. There are other organs available for consumption, but these are the most beneficial.

In the past, organs were easy to find. Not only did our dogs eat organ meat, but organs were once prevalent in the human diet. Now, quality organs and glands can be hard to find … and that’s where glandular supplements come in. Glandulars are supplements made from whole organ meats or glands and can provide similar benefits to the actual organ meat.

Don’t buy just any supplement, though. It’s important to find a high-quality glandular supplement for maximum efficacy. Plus, why would you want to spend money on something that isn’t going to work?

Glandular Supplements in History

In 1899, the Merck Manual (one of the first medical manuals) only cost one dollar. It contained a “recipe” for a supplement made of dried cow ovaries, cannabis, and papaya enzymes. The Merck Manual also included pig pancreas for pancreatin.

Over half of the prescription medications available now originated as a natural substance. It wasn’t until 1906 that drugs began being patented. Back then, the act responsible for maintaining pharmaceuticals was known as the Pure Food and Drug Act.

In 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act ushered in the use of pharmaceutic medicine. It consisted of patented, synthetic medications … like today

Now, holistic healers like myself, are showing people the way to a healthier, more natural lifestyle for their dogs. After all, cancer is up to one out of two dogs receiving a diagnosis. And, the sugar in kibble feeds the cancer. Years ago, I wasn’t aware of how extremely damaging dog food could be alone much less the other dog “goodies” like rawhide. But, that’s a topic for another discussion.

Organ Benefits

Glands and organs are known to be nature’s multivitamin. They’re by far the most nutrient-dense parts of an animal containing vitamins (A,C,D,E,K,B, and folate), minerals (phosphorus, zinc, iron, iodine, etc.), and amino acids.

Glandulars also help improve body function through signaling molecules in the organs. The signaling molecules are the cell’s method of communication. The signaling molecules allow the organs and tissues to contact one another. Once the cells in the organ receive a signal, the body responds by making the appropriate changes.

So, when you give glandulars to a dog with a diseased organ they will help renew the function of that organ at a cellular level.  

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) utilize organ meats. Personally, the area of TVCM is where I am focusing currently to learn the most recent developments to better help the dogs I work with. But, as a conventional canine nutritionist, I do often recommend organ meats for their nutrient-dense characteristics and even picky dogs tend to love organ meats.  

Glandulars also assist with balancing hormones. They are able to increase the function and activity of the glands.

Sourcing The Best Glandulars For Your Dog

Finding high quality glandulars can be a difficult task. When you look for organ meats or glandular supplements, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. For example, glands and organs that come from animals living in a healthy environment contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. And, they are higher in linoleic acid which is helpful in preventing cancer in our dogs.

Glandulars made from young tissues are most nutrient-dense and more beneficial overall. Organs from older animals cause a number of concerns including: 

  • More toxins in the bodies of older animals.
  • Higher risk of parasites.
  • Increased pesticide exposure.
  • Lower enzyme count.

Organ Meat Benefits

Although every organ is beneficial, each organ carries it’s own set of benefits. 


Feeding your dog brain from other animals can result in good brain health. The brain contains both DHA and EPA (docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid).

In addition to omega-3’s, the brain also contains selenium and copper to support healthy brain cell growth. This is particularly beneficial for senior dogs who are beginning to lose cognitive function.


Feeding heart to your dog provides B vitamins, taurine, and magnesium. And heart has natural C0Q10 which is well-known for its cardiac health benefits. The heart can boost collagen and therefore support skin, coat, and joints.


Effective kidneys are vital to your dog’s health. The kidneys remove waste products from the blood via excretion in the urine. Feeding kidney improves kidney health and could slow the onset of kidney disease.

Feeding kidneys supports kidney health …  and could help prevent or slow the onset of kidney disease in your dog. 


The liver is full of nutrients like iron, choline, selenium, Vitamins A &B, and CoQ10. The liver is responsible for assisting with digestion, brain function, heart health and energy levels.


The lungs are not often discussed as an edible organ, but the lungs are rich in iron and calcium. And, eating lung can help support vascular health. In holistic medicine, it’s recommended for dogs suffering from kennel cough.


The trachea is a chewy organ that is recommended for dogs who need extra mental stimulation. In the holistic world, it’s recommended for dogs with a collapsing trachea or those with joint problems. Adequan, the pharmaceutical medication, is actually made from trachea.

Gland Feeding

Similar to the organs discussed above, each gland serves its own purpose and has its own benefits.


The adrenal glands produce more than 100 different hormones including epinephrine, norepinephrine, aldosterone, and cortisol. These are the hormones responsible for supporting healthy blood pressure, heart rate, managing inflammation, and metabolism.

Adrenal glands can help dogs with adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s) or overactive adrenals (Cushings).


The hypothalamus produces five different hormones. One monitors the kidneys and the others activate the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus maintains homeostasis (balance) in the body by controlling body temperature, blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and sleep.


The ovaries release estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. If your female spayed dog has problems with incontinence, consuming ovaries can help provide the hormones she needs to improve.


The pancreas produces insulin and glucagon. Insulin directs glucose to its destination and assists with fat storage. Glucagon elevates blood sugar levels to for energy production. Both conventional and holistic healers recommend feeding pancreas to dogs with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.


The pituitary gland produces six different hormones, including a growth hormone. Other hormones work synergistically with the thyroid, adrenals, ovaries, and testicles. It could help regulate adrenals in dogs with Cushing’s.


The spleen supports immune and hormone function. Consumption of the spleen can help support a dog who’s had a splenectomy.


The thyroid produces three hormones. Two of these regulate cellular metabolism. The third monitors calcium levels in the blood and bones.

Consuming the thyroid can support thyroid activity in hypothyroid dogs.

The Bottom Line

If you can find the raw organs and glands listed in this article, you can feed them accordingly. If you can’t find them or would rather have a supplement, that is also understandable. Supplements are simple, fast, and less messy. Of course, feel free to discuss this further with your veterinarian.

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