What Is the Difference Between Offal, Viscera and Organ Meats?

Offal, viscera and organs meats are the internal organs and entrails of a slain or butchered animal and mean the same thing, mostly.

Offal is superfood for dogs

Don't confuse the term ' offal ' with the term ' meat by-products ' which has come to have a negative connotation.  The term ' waste by-products ' was created for marketing purposes in order to make you feel safe. It is sometimes used to include both offal and viscera...but this is a mistake.

Here's the correct definition of the term according to the AAFCO.

The non-rendered ( not cooked ) clean parts, ( other than actual muscle meat ), derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, blood, bone, partially defatted low temperature fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines ( freed of their contents ) and does not include hair, horns, teeth and hoofs. It shall be suitable for use in animal food. If it bears a name descriptive of its kind, it must correspond thereto.

Is Offal Safe for Your Dog to Eat?

Heck yes!

The idea that internal organ meats, offal or viscera is bad, is completely untrue. This is good dog nutrition. In fact it wasn't all that long ago, that people were eating these discarded meat parts, too. Think steak and kidney pie, blood pudding, liver and onions, sweetbreads, etc.

Those internal organs in the picture above, better known as meat offal, are the parts of a slaughtered food animal that are considered ' not appropriate ' for human consumption, but they are perfectly nutritious and safe to eat.

For example...

There is a popular misconception by some people, that liver, a very nutritious organ meat, should not be eaten because it is the organ that filters toxins. While it is true that the hard working liver does filter toxins from food, metabolism and the environment, those toxins are not stored in the liver. More accurately, toxins are stored in fat tissue and muscle. Does your dog have fatty lipomas, by any chance?

Here's an important fact. Feeding your dog only muscle meat alone, can cause nutrient deficiencies. Organ meats are superfoods for dogs. They are very nutritious and contain many times more nutrients than muscle meats. So organ meats are not only safe, they are imperative and necessary to provide the best dog nutrition possible.

An alpha male and female dog in the wild, would know better than to eat only the muscle meat of an herbivore kill. They would feast first, on the internal organs, fat and stomach contents ( green tripe ) from a kill. Then share what remained of the prey animal carcass with other lesser members of the pack.

Offal is the Raw Internal Organ Meat of Slaughtered Food Animals

So, viscera and offal are words that are frequently used, when referring to the organs, innards and entrails of a slaughtered food animal. It is important to understand that I am talking about ' raw ' meat by-products.

I am not talking about the rendered, cooked kind found in dry dog food kibble and canned dog food. No, no, no, those have been ruined! Please note that the AAFCO description above says ' non rendered '. Raw, in other words.

Organ meats such as liver from pork, beef and chicken, beef kidney and heart, chicken giblets ( livers/heart/gizzards ) can often be purchased from grocery stores and are quite inexpensive. These offal foods make excellent dog treats too, when served in small pieces either raw or dehydrated.

Nothing Goes to ' Waste ' in Nature

Raw meat ' waste ' products have much nutritional merit in their raw form. They are a nutritional powerhouse for your dog. They are true natural dog nutrition. Wild carnivores such as wolves and coyotes prefer these raw, prey animal organs and eat them first. They are a necessary component for good canine health.

The nutritional benefits of adding so called meat by-products such as chicken viscera ( hearts, livers, gizzards ), beef offal and green tripe, to your dog's diet are huge. They are a superior, nutrient rich natural source of protein, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fatty acids. This type of species appropriate dog nutrition can help your dog recover from many common dog health problems.

Think about what your dog ( your scavenging carnivore ) would be eating in the wild. He would be eating whole raw prey and carrion. It doesn't take long to realize that he would be eating all of this so called ' waste '.

Nothing goes to waste in nature. Everything is consumed by something.

Offal is the ' Waste ' of Human Meat Processing

Human beings create waste. We are the only creatures on the face of this earth that create waste. We create miles and miles of landfill, garbage dumps full of refuse. We should be ashamed!

It is often thought that the use of animal organs in pet food is a bad thing, done only to provide a source of filler, to increase profit margins. I hope you have come to understand that this is not so AND there is a much BIGGER issue here for us, as pet owners.

The environmental and humanitarian aspect to creating unnecessary food waste is having a huge impact on our world today. Read this interesting article from Wysong Learn entitled Are By-Products bad?

Has the light bulb come on for you?

It's time for all of us to wake up!

Offal is awesome food for dogs.

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