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Red Meat for Dogs

As we've mentioned elsewhere, good quality meat is the best source of protein for your dog. Most of the red meat eaten by dogs today comes in the form of beef and lamb - but pork is now becoming more widely available; especially now that it is recognised to have benefits deriving from its comparative rarity.


As we’ve discussed before, animal protein is great for your dogs – and beef is a very popular choice. It is a highly palatable and digestible source of protein and is found in many brands of dog food – in dried, dehydrated or ‘meal’ form. Ideally, of course, it is best eaten as fresh as possible. This is one of the reasons we’re so keen on cold pressed foods which keep the nutrients of beef locked in.

One thing to be aware of however is that red meats – particularly beef – have high levels of cholesterol. Although your dog’s stomach can handle this much better then humans, it’s best to keep red meat to a minimum if they’ve ever suffered any health problems.

Beef is also high in minerals such as purines – particularly if mixed with bone. This can be a problem for dogs with urinary troubles, so again: just take a little care. As ever, we recommend consulting with a vet if you’re unsure.


Like beef, lamb is prepared in a variety of ways for use in dog foods: from cold-pressing to freshly prepared raw meat. It is an excellent source of protein and highly favoured by dog food manufacturers and owners alike. Like lamb eaten by humans, most of the lamb in dog foods comes from New Zealand or Wales.

As with all red meats, watch out for lamb mixed with bone meal if your dog has urinary problems, and be aware of the high cholesterol content.


Pork is still rarely found in dog foods – although its popularity is growing. At one time it was thought to be harmful to dogs’ digestive systems and bad for their health. In fact, research has shown that it is actually highly nutritious and perfect for a dogs diet, meaning it is sure to be found in more dog foods in the future.


Rabbit is a very natural food for dogs as it is the kind of animal dogs prey on in the wild. It is a great source of protein and highly digestible. Rabbit is available in a variety of preparations – from dry meat meal, cold-pressed or in its freshest form as frozen raw.

If you’re very adventurous, you can of course send your dog out into the fields to catch rabbit at its freshest, but this is frowned upon by much of society.

Despite being abundant and perfect for dogs, rabbit is still reasonably uncommon as a dog food ingredient. That makes it perfect for dogs prone to allergies (it is impossible for dogs to be allergic to a food they’ve never eaten before).

If your dog seems to be suffering from dietary problems, it might be worth giving rabbit a go.

Because it is rarely found in dog food, pork is actually a great meat if your dog suffers from allergies. It is not possible for dogs to be allergic to foods they haven’t been exposed to before. If your dog is having trouble with other red meats, it might be worth trying a food with a high pork content to get the nutrients and protein without the unpleasant side effects.

One thing to note is that raw pork is host to more parasites than other meats, so we recommend only giving your dog well-cooked pork meat. Naturally, the food we sell has all been treated and is safe for your dog’s tummy.

As with beef and lamb, watch out for pork mixed with bone meal if your dog has urinary troubles, and keep an eye out if your dog has a history of problems with cholesterol.


Venison is the meat from deer. Despite a booming wild population in the UK, most venison in dog food is sourced from farmed animals in New Zealand and is among the most expensive ingredients. It is processed in the same way as other meats: dry, cold-pressed and processed.

Although it can vary in quality, venison is generally one of the most digestible and palatable sources of meat for dogs. It is also rich in Vitamin B – which aids digestion. It is also a good source of purines. Purines aid with urinary conditions and so are a great thing for dogs to have in their diets.

Like some other rich meats, it can be high in cholesterol and and fat and so for dogs with certain health conditions it might be best avoided. Always worth chatting with a vet if you’re worried.

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