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5 Benefits of Venison in Dog Food: Canine Diet & Health

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 23, 2024 by Dogster Team

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5 Benefits of Venison in Dog Food: Canine Diet & Health

A vast selection of commercial dog foods is available, including ones with different meats and meat-based ingredients. Dogs are omnivores, which means they need meat-based and plant-based proteins, and like all animals, they benefit most from a species-appropriate diet.

While dogs would eat small animals in the wild, none but the largest would be likely to eat deer. However, this novel protein can be found in an increasing number of commercial dog food recipes. So, does it offer any benefits to canines, or is it a gimmick that should be kept away from your pup’s dinner bowl? Are there better alternatives, or is venison a good meat-based protein for a canine diet? Let’s take a closer look!

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The 5 Benefits of Venison in Dog Food

Here are five benefits of venison in dog food.

1. It’s Naturally Lean Meat

Venison is a leaner meat than beef and other red meats. This means that it has less fat and less cholesterol than the equivalent amount.

Lean meat is healthier for your dog because it will prevent them from putting on weight and becoming overweight or obese. If your dog is already carrying too much weight, lean meat can help shed the pounds. Red meat is considered a beneficial ingredient, but it does tend to be high fat, which is why venison is a great alternative.

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Image by: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

2. It Contains Multiple Vitamins and Minerals

Venison is loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Iron — Essential for the proper functioning of red blood cells, low iron levels can lead to anemia. Anemic dogs are more prone to injury and illness, and they are more lethargic and listless.
  • Niacin — Vitamin B3 is known to help circulation, and in turn, it can reduce levels of inflammation. So, it is especially important for dogs with arthritis and other inflammatory illnesses. All B vitamins are water soluble, which means that they are not stored by the body and are used immediately. As a result, your dog needs high levels in their diet.
  • Riboflavin — Vitamin B2 combines with other vitamins and minerals to fight diseases by creating antibodies within the immune system. Vitamin B2 is also necessary to help the body absorb B6 and iron.
  • Vitamin B — Vitamin B6 is another B vitamin, and like the others, it is water soluble, so your dog’s body must consume what it requires at the time. It is used to create glucose, and it supports a healthy immune system while supporting DNA.
  • Omega-3 — Venison contains higher concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids than other red meats, and this is important in cognition and brain health, as well as eye, coat, and skin health. Omega-3 fatty acids can also treat arthritis and kidney disease.

3. It’s a Novel Protein

Venison is referred to as a novel protein, which means it is a protein that your dog would not normally consume. Typical meat proteins would be chicken, beef, lamb, and rabbit.

dog drinking in the water bowl
Image by: SamaraHeisz5, Shutterstock

The benefit of a novel protein is that your dog has not been overexposed to it, and if your pup is showing signs of allergic reaction or food sensitivity, feeding them a diet consisting of a novel protein like venison can enable you to determine the exact cause of the sensitivity.

There aren’t too many foods that use novel proteins, but venison is one of the healthier options.


4. Dogs Enjoy the Flavor

No matter the health benefits of an ingredient, they are of no use if your dog does not enjoy the taste; otherwise, they will not eat it.

Although every dog is different, most love the taste of venison and will eagerly eat a bowl full of good-quality venison-based commercial dog food.


5. It’s a Good Source of Energy

Venison contains an ideal mixture of ingredients, vitamins, and minerals that provide the energy that your dog requires. This is due to the low levels of fat and cholesterol in the meat. It can be fed in larger quantities because of the reduced risk of obesity and ill health, and it gives your dog the energy that they need.

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Dog Food Ingredients to Avoid

Dry dog food kibble in a slow feed Bowl (or slow feeder). Specially designed bowl for the dogs, that eat too fast.
Image Credit: Longfin Media,Shutterstock

Besides ensuring that commercial dog food contains high-quality ingredients like venison, you should avoid foods that contain toxic or poor-quality ingredients. Unfortunately, certain commercial foods are known to contain some of the following ingredients:

  • Melamine — Melamine is plastic and it contains nitrogen. It is toxic to dogs and can cause instant problems. Avoid any food that has been reported to contain this ingredient.
  • Propylene Glycol — Propylene glycol is an additive that is used to maintain the shape and consistency of dry kibble. While propylene glycol is not toxic, unlike ethylene glycol, it is still an artificial ingredient and should be avoided in preference for a food that has natural ingredients.
  • Carrageenan — Carrageenan is another ingredient that is used to help maintain food consistency rather than for flavor. It is derived from seaweed, typically used in wet food, and degraded carrageenan can cause inflammation and potentially cancer.
  • Unnamed Meat or Meat Meal — Feeding unnamed or unrecognized meat to your dog is not good. If one of the ingredients is listed as “meat” or “meat meal,” you should avoid this food because it can be the leftover scraps of diseased and sick animals.
  • Artificial Colors — There is absolutely no need to put colors in food. Dogs use their sense of smell and taste to determine whether they enjoy something; they do not judge according to the color of food. Natural colors are acceptable, though mostly pointless, but artificial colors are unnecessary and may do more harm than good.
  • Monosodium Glutamate — MSG is used to improve the flavor of food. Most experts agree that it is not good for dogs, and it is most often used in low-quality and low-cost food. If you see it as an ingredient, this is a reasonable indication that the food is low quality.
  • Xylitol — Sugar is bad for dogs, but worse still are sweeteners like xylitol. It causes a significant spike in blood sugar levels and can cause hyperglycemia that leads to seizures, liver failure, and may even cause death. Avoid this ingredient.

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Final Thoughts

Venison is a novel protein that can be used for dogs with sensitivities, and it also has several benefits over other red meats and dog food ingredients. It is lean meat and offers your dog the energy levels that they require, and venison also contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that can help maintain a dog’s good health.

See also:


Featured Image: DronG, Shutterstock

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