Seriously, you’re not going to throw that out, are you? I’m almost positive that’s what runs through my dog’s head as she watches me butcher a deer. Wild game animals contain parts we humans find unpalatable, but those same unwanted bits can easily be transformed into flavourful snacks for Fido—helping to make the most of your harvest.
With so many commercial dog snacks available, why bother making treats from the leftover scraps? First, it’s economical—big-game organs alone yield a bounty of extras that can reward your dog for months after the hunt. Then there’s the nutritional aspect, as offal is rich in protein and packed with minerals to supplement your dog’s healthy diet. Finally, your dog will love every morsel, and you’ll feel good about making use of the entire animal.
Some hunters love wild-game liver, but if you don’t, save it for your dog. There are plenty of recipes online for making dog cookies from this massive meaty organ, or you can simply slice it up and bake the strips at 350°F for about 30 minutes. My dog doesn’t get the heart—that’s for me—but she does get the connective tissue trimmed from it. Bloodshot meat is another doggie favourite, as are the other bits typically destined for the gut pile, such as testicles, kidneys and lungs.
It’s important to know what healthy innards look like so that you don’t risk feeding your dog diseased organs. Wild game can also contain parasites transmissible to your dog, so be sure to thoroughly cook the meaty morsels to kill any nasties. And don’t over-indulge your dog—treats should only be used as high-value training rewards in conjunction with a balanced diet of commercial dog food.
To learn about common wildlife diseases and parasites, go to www.outdoorcanada.ca/the-yuck-factor.