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Why your dog should eat meat – Research paper shows red meats massive nutrition.

Dog eating meat

Dog eating meat This article helps dismantle the notion that meat is an incomplete food (for dogs). For humans (omnivores) yes we need other food sources, but as this article based on an independent Australian University study shows, Meat is a highly dense nutrient food.

It’s easy to forget the value of meat in a human diet, let alone the carnivore domestic dog. For a long time there was a movement against meat, however lately humans have been told to have more balance in their diet. While humans have a choice on food types, they should never deny feeding their dog a majority meat diet, as this article will show.


An excellent source of high biological value protein, vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin B6, iron, zinc and phosphorus

A source of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, selenium and possibly also vitamin D

Mostly low in fat and sodium

Sources of a range of endogenous antioxidants and other bioactive substances including taurine, carnitine, carnosine, ubiquinone, glutathione, and creatine.

Before we get into specifics you should understand the Australian Definition of MEAT:

The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Food Standard Code defines meat as “the whole or part of the carcass of any buffalo, camel, cattle, deer, goat, hare, pig, poultry,rabbit or sheep, slaughtered other than in a wild state, but does not include eggs, or foetuses”

‘Meat’ is usually referred to as the meat flesh (skeletal muscle plus any attached connective tissue or fat), but the FSANZ definition also includes offal (ie, meat other than meat flesh, including brain, heart, kidney, liver, pancreas, spleen, thymus, tongue and tripe) but excludes bone and bone marrow.

This article will concentrate on the nutrients in MEAT and will leave the discussion of offal to a later article.

You should also be aware of the labelling requirements of Processed meat. This is the term for a product containing no less than 30% meat, that has undergone a method of preservation other than freezing. It includes meats such as dried meat flesh (eg, sausages, salami, canned meats).

Note that this is the definition for meat made for human consumption.

Amazingly most of the rules for dog meat have been adopted directly from the lax American standards model whose board seems to be overwhelmingly influenced by large dog food manufacturers.

It always amazes me to see ‘dog meat’ in supermarkets. Supermarkets in Australia used to be the cheapest option for buying food, but now they are the dearest.

Did you know that you can buy 100% red meat such as roasting beef at a discount meat chain MUCH CHEAPER than you can buy recomposed dog meat at the supermarket? So why would you buy pellets or pretend dog meat form a supermarket when you can buy 100% real meat from a butcher CHEAPER?

Nutrient composition of red meat

Above I have already included a good summary of the basics of red meat. However it is amazing to think that essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are found in red meat.

This is the oil I squeeze from capsules into my dogs mouth every morning. It has massively reduced his skin allergies and his ear infections.

Are you also aware that Omega 3 is damaged by exposure to oxygen and light? So while it basically retains its healthy properties in red meat (and inside capsules) much of its value is diminished in pellets as soon as they are exposed to the air (packet is first opened). The small surface area and dryness of the produce ensures that degradation occurs.

Nutrient composition of beef, veal, lamb and mutton

“The table below presents the typical nutrient composition of samples of fat-trimmed Australian red meat, based on recent analyses of national retail samples [4-6] and compares this to the new Australian recommended dietary intakes. While there are some differences between the four meats, in general lean red meat is a particularly good source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus, zinc and iron, with 100g providing more than 25% RDI of these nutrients. It also provides more than 10% RDI of riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and selenium. Of the four meats, mutton is particularly nutrient dense, and the richest source of thiamin, vitamins B6 and B12, phosphorus, iron and copper.”

Table =  Nutrient composition (per 100g) of lean red meat

Red meat nutrition table


Note similar detailed tables can be provided for Proteins and amino acids, fats, fatty acids, choline (precursor of a number of compounds including neurotransmitters and membrane phospholipids.) and Vitamins.

The major thing to consider here is that natural vitamins and minerals in meat are in the correct amounts, and are naturally occurring minerals and vitamins. Any that you get from dog pellets or dog food cans are likely to be artificial and mixed into approximate proportions that humans think are good for dogs, as opposed to what nature thinks is good for dogs.

MEAT Protein and amino acids

This is probably one of the most contentious articles about feeding or not feeding dogs meat.  Pellet manufactures swear that cheap grains are just as good as meat proteins in providing dogs nutrition.

Raw red muscle meat contains around 20-25g protein/100g, while cooked (or dried red meat treats)  contains 28-36g/100g protein.

MEAT protein is highly digestible, around 94% compared to the digestibility of 78% in beans and 86% in whole wheat. NOTE THIS IS THE DIGESTABILITY OF HUMANS (who are omnivores and are meant to eat some vegetable protein).

Protein from meat provides all essential amino acids (lysine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine, valine) and has no limiting amino acids. The term limiting amino acids means essential amino acids in a food protein which fall short of meeting the amino acids required by humans (let alone dogs).

‘Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score’ is a method of evaluating the protein quality, with a maximum possible score of 1.0. Animal meats such as beef have a score of approximately 0.9, compared to values of 0.5-0.7 for most plant foods.

This is perhaps one of the main arguments for dogs needing meat (besides being bred down from wolves). Dogs have high acid concentrations in their stomach and very short intestines to enable them to eat rancid meat. These two things help them remain healthy in the wild. If you feed a dog vegetable matter (and cheap grains, wholegrain or not), their system is not built to digest it. If you are starting with a protein that takes a long time to digest, then you have a dogs system that expels food waste fast, then much of any of the value they could potentially unlock from plant proteins is wasted.

Regarding AMINO ACIDS, the amino acid glutamic acid/glutamine is present in meat in the highest amounts (16.5%), followed by arginine, alanine, and aspartic acid.

Meat based bioactive compounds

There is a whole separate section written about this in the reference paper. these include

  • Taurine  –  Meat is rich in taurine (110mg/100g in lamb and 77mg/100g in beef)
  • Carnitine –  L-carnitine (beta-hydroxy-gamma-trimethyl amino butyric acid) transports long chain fatty acids across the inner mitochondrial membranes to produce energy during exercise.
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – CLA has antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties and may also play a role in the control of obesity.
  • Endogenous antioxidants – Several endogenous compounds (including ubiquinone, glutathione, lipoic acid, spermine, carnosine, anserine) have been studied in skeletal muscle
  • Creatine – and its phosphorylated derivative creatine phosphate play an important role in muscle energy metabolism and under some circumstances creatine supplements can enhance muscle performance.


this was an independent article based on defining the nutritional value of red meat in Australia. It was created for humans, but of course applies directly to dogs, whose main diet should be meat.

But the fact remains that to keep a dog healthy they should eat as they would in the wild, which means they would get to eat most of the animal the pack has brought down. That is why this article is only about ONE THIRD of the components that should comprise 90-95% of a dogs diet.

The other two components are offal (organ meat) and bones. While meat (all types of animals) should comprise up to 80% of a raw meat diet, these two other components are also very important nutritionally speaking.  Information on Offal is available here, as well as to be discussed in the next article that continues on from the data provided in the reference material for this article.

I also understand that if you are like the 99% of dog owners in Australia, you are most likely not going to change you habit of buying pellets or canned food for your dogs. But considering that most of these have 10-15% meat in them, perhaps buying meat based dog treats as a VALUABLE DIET SUPPLEMENT will both please you and make your dog healthier and happier, which after all is the aim of this site.


Article by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please refer to the article as a reference and provide a link to our WEBSITE.

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Nutritional composition of red meat. BY P. G. Williams, University of Wollongong, 2007

Dog Nutrition
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