Meatloaf is a tasty treat for your dog, made even tastier — and more budget-friendly — by supplementing it with less (human) desirable cuts of meat. Organ meats are inexpensive and can be an important component of your dog’s diet.
If you feed a homemade diet, up to ten percent of your dog’s meal should include organ meats: liver, kidney, gizzards, and tripe. These may not be at the top of the list for human shoppers, but they’re very popular with dogs — and they’re an important nutritional source.
- Liver: This is a great source of vitamins A and B, as well as iron. Although it’s a wonderful food (and a real favorite of most dogs), limit liver to just five percent of your dog’s total diet so that he doesn’t get too much vitamin A.
- Heart: It is actually considered a muscle meat, not an organ, so you can add more heart to your dog’s meal without worry — which is a great thing, because it’s one of the most reasonably priced meats and one of the most nutritious. Beef heart contains thiamin, folate, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, coenzyme Q10, vitamin B, amino acids, and more.
- Tripe: Stomach lining from cows, sheep, pigs, goats, or even deer is sold in commercial grocery stores, but it has been washed and bleached and isn’t very nutritious. You’ll see that the tripe in the grocery store is sparkling white; it’s used to make menudo. Green tripe, rich with nutrients from the cow’s diet, is made from the lining of the cow’s fourth stomach, the abomasum. It isn’t sold by butchers, so many pet owners feeding a raw diet purchase frozen or dehydrated green tripe from commercial vendors.
Quick and easy to prepare, this recipe can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, so you’ll have several days of breakfasts and dinners for your dog. It also freezes well and is gluten-free.
Yield: 16 cups
4 pounds (1.8 kilos) lean ground turkey
1/2 pound (227 gms) organic beef or chicken liver, rinsed and diced
2 cups (473 ml) steamed carrots, pureed
2 cups (473 ml) steamed potatoes, pureed
2 cups (473 ml) steamed green beans, pureed
- Preheat oven to 350° F (177° C).
- Combine all ingredients and divide into four 8 by 4 by 2 1/2 inch (20 by 10 by 6 cm) loaf pans. Each should be about three quarters full.
- Bake for one hour. Drain off any grease.
- Cool and refrigerate a week’s worth of food. Double-wrap remaining meatloaf in foil or place in a zip-top plastic bag and freeze for up to six months.
More Meatloaf Options
Ground chicken, ground lamb, or ground beef can be substituted for the turkey in this recipe. Substitutions for the vegetables include broccoli (with stems), asparagus, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, peas, squash, and zucchini.
Paris Permenter and John Bigley are a husband-and-wife team of professional writers. Lifelong dog-lovers, they’ve published 30 books — The Healthy Hound Cookbook is the most recent — and they run DogTipper.com