How safe is raw duck meat for your dog?
(Quick answer): Feeding raw duck to your dog is safe ONLY if it’s well prepared.
It’s NOT safe to cut a big chunk of Duck and feed it to your dog as is because there is a thick layer of fat that MUST be removed. That’s probably as important as E. coli. And, Be aware of not feeding those tiny bones. Raw big bones are safer but not harmless, unlike many people claim, but those small sharp ones are hazardous. (That’s the short answer)
Duck contains a lot of fat between the skin and meat, so it’s dangerous to dogs. You need to remove it by hand with a knife and water (It’s a lot of work, so you may avoid feeding duck if your patience has its limit). The red meat of the Duck is fatter compared to the yellow/beige part; it’s good to consider as well if your dog suffers from pancreatitis or liver disease.
As a quick tip, I keep raw meat for no more than four days in the fridge, and I only buy frozen and organic meat if possible (At least frozen). I would rather boil it if the meat is sitting on the grocery shelf in the open fridge. (You know that white, pink or yellow styrofoam packaging with cellophane wrapping)? Those carry a lot of bacteria to stay away from!!
Today, the goal of this article is to share my experience with you to prevent yourself from making the same mistake as I did with my Maltese dog, Mooshie. She is so beautiful, don’t you think so?
Feeding raw meat for dogs as a pet parents
For people who already know us, we prefer raw food instead of kibbles for an obvious reason. When I mean raw, I mean the wild way with meat, organs and all the stuff that wild animals need typically out there to stay strong and healthy. (By the way, I am vegan for 12 years, and it’s a big deal to buy all these meats, but when I see my dogs how healthy they are, it gives me some hope and encouragement to continue).
I cook and serve a fresh meal twice a day, EVERY-SINGLE-DAY for over FOURTEEN YEARS, and yes, it takes a massive time of my own. I have three dogs, and they eat a lot even if they are small breeds, but hey, it is worth it!!
I could see significant improvement six months after they moved from kibbles to raw food. Oh, and yes, they haven’t been on raw food since the beginning of our journey. They started to eat raw food in their 15 months old or so, if I remember well.
But, I would like to give a big warning on this life style though. Feeding raw food doesn’t mean going to the grocery and grab some pieces of meat, and voila. Hell no!
You have to take it seriously, or you may injure your dog’s health forever. It’s very serious!
To reach the point where we are currently, I had to join seminars, read tons of books, listen advices from holistic veterinarians, and I still learn every day. I have to say, it requires a lot of patience, but with some weekly planning, it becomes a lot easier, don’t worry.
There is a fine line between becoming obsessed with making them healthy and eventually losing all your free time and keeping a healthy lifestyle while making your dogs happy and yourself at the same time.
Planning is the only way to make your life balanced. You will still be able to have free time for yourself and cook for your dog(s) at the same time if you plan everything well.
Many people ask me if it’s more expensive than buying dry food. Well, it depends if you buy organic or not. In our case, my dogs got mostly non-organic meat because prices doubled on organic food, but recently, I tried to buy more natural when it’s possible.
How my dog got sick with duck meat
It was Monday morning, and it was time to make my grocery for the dogs.
If you are curious, here what I usually buy twice a week:
1. One bag of carrots
2. Small bag of black rice
3. Wild salmon
4. Shitake Mushroom
5. Chicken or turkey
7. small piece of ginger
8. small part of curcumin
9. Raw goat milk
11. green beans
12. Wild Sardine
This is the usual grocery, and it goes up to twice a week like this, depending on the season because, in winter, we don’t go out every day while we do in summer. (It’s Canada here, and in winter, when it’s reaching -35 degrees outside, it’s better to stay inside to prevent burn on paws). We even got minus 60 degrees 3 years ago, crazy!!
So last Monday, I went to the grocery and decided to make a switch, which you should do as well to prevent allergies. If you feed the same every week, over and over, your dog “may” start an allergy to that specific food. (Allergy or intolerance).
I decided to buy a whole duck, which I sometimes do, as I explained above.
Feeding raw meat is so quick and straightforward to serve because all I have to do is to keep it in the freezer, and no, I never serve it at room temperature for preventing over bacterias. They even prefer the taste of half-frozen meat, so it’s just perfect.
This time, I decided to do it a little bit more wild. One of my nutritionist friends always tells me to feed meat with the skin because the skin is good for joints, but this time, I made a BIG mistake; I cut the duck in slices as I usually do include the fat between the skin and the meat.
If you ate duck before, you probably noticed the thick layer of fat. You eat it cooked, and you can even see the fat, imagine when it’s raw. The fat can reach up to half inches, which is thick!
Let me show you how the duck fat looks like when it’s raw:
What happened after nine days feeding the whole raw duck
At the end of the week, my dog didn’t digest the duck and vomited once.
Two days later, when I woke up, she didn’t wake up.
Typically, we have a routine. I wake up, and “Mooshie” jumps down of the bed (Yes, we sleep in the same bed), and she follows me to the shower and waits until, and I am ready to start the day.
However, that morning, she stayed in bed.
I was surprised, and I told myself she is just tired.
A few hours later, it was almost lunchtime, she was still in bed, and I start worrying.
I took her out of bed, and she almost fell on the floor.
She couldn’t walk, and she had difficulty to breathe.
I was so worried. In 13 years, I never saw Mooshie doing this.
Understand me, my dogs walk outside almost every day, and we are very active, so that was not normal.
She stayed the whole day in bed.
The only time she was waking up was to go to the potty pad to have diarrhea, poor her.
Even on the potty pad, she had so much difficulty to walk.
I decided to wait the whole day to see if she will be fine.
Then, yesterday, she woke up and she seemed a little bit better, but still, she had the same bad mood and still had trouble to walk with deep, noisy breathing.
I called my vet in carignan, the one i trust the most recently, and I got an appointment rush.
My new vet is very professional and compassionate. That is something I rarely see recently since the covid-19. I see recently that many vets have decided not to allow pet parents to accompany their baby pet inside the room, which is non-sense because we all wear a mask.
It’s just a guess, but I feel that’s only an excuse because I remember even before the covid-19, some vet explained they preferred to make the consultation without the parents because dogs became nervous sometimes when we are there.
I think it’s entirely the opposite, and that’s the reason why I change the vet this year. I am not sure about you, but I would NEVER allow myself to leave my dog in consultation without me unless there is no other choice.
Luckily, some compassionate veterinary still thinks pet parents must be there during the consultation, and I give a BIG THANKS for that!
Today, visit the vet
Today, we just came back from the vet.
Finally, I got the verdict.
It’s impossible to know why she is sick, but the vet and I discovered the duck is the cause.
She got pancreatitis due to the duck fatty part.
Her liver couldn’t handle it anymore.
It’s shocking, and it’s my fault, I felt so guilty.
Ok, now, maybe you wonder how wolves can eat duck without being sick. I don’t have the answer, but perhaps when the duck is warm, the fat is more liquid vs. all stuck together when it’s frozen.
The vet gave her med to take for two days and another pill for a week.
She asked me to feed her with medical food from her shop, a low fat gastrointestinal canned food.
She asked me not to cook for her during a few days to get back her to normal.
Here the food and the pills for pancreatitis.
On the left, 14 Metronidazole pills (1 pill every 12 hours for seven days) and the right, the gastrointestinal canned food.
These will stop diarrhea and fever.
Usually, I prefer to go holistic, but this time, I had no choice. I didn’t want to take any risk.
I forgot to mention that she was very dehydrated, I mean really. The “pinch skin” test was showing the skin was not coming back very quickly + if you open the mouth and the gum is dry, it means dehydration, which was the case. Wow, so dangerous !!
The last pill she got is a Metacam pill taken for two days (half of the medicine once a day since my dog is a small dog). The good part is that it doesn’t contain steroids that generally destroys the gut.
Now, I can see an improvement already. Mooshie is feeling better, and she wants to eat again. Because of the pills, she is feeling sleepy, but her breath is back to normal. She will be fine, but it was such a scary situation!
How to safely prepare the duck
Please, read this if you want to prevent trouble.
If you’re going to feed duck to your dog, don’t worry, it’s even better than feeding chicken.
If you are curious to know why see the chart below:
Meat contains omega-3 and omega-6.
The goal is to balance the amount of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids to prevent chronic inflammation.
But with some meat, the omega ratio 3 and 6 is way too different, causing inflammation.
Secondly, chicken eats corn and is rarely outside under the sun causing the chicken to have a lack of vitamin B. And what the chicken is eating goes straight to your dog’s stomach and trust me; you don’t want their lousy diet for your dog.
Here when I purchased the duck.
I think pinkie is about to steal the duck !!
- Unless you buy the duck from a farm, the duck from the grocery is better purchased frozen for bacterial reasons. So, buy it frozen.
- Once the duck is at the room temperature (a few hours later), remove the paper/plastic bag inside the duck, and you can put back the liver inside, but we don’t want to feed the toxic bag.
- With a sharp knife, remove all the fat and the skin, don’t take any risk. We want red meat only to cut on the fat.
- Once you remove all the fat, you can slice everything, including the bones in small pieces up to 1 or 3 inches length and maximum one inches for the thickness. You will end up with small slices that will be easy for your dog’s mouth.
- If you removed the fat properly, put all the slices in a ceramic bowl, please, no plastic, and put it in the freezer.
That’s it; you now have a healthy meal for a full week. (Please, serve it with green veggies and black rice if you want it healthier)
I strongly suggest serving this meal for a week and switch to another meat the next week to prevent allergies/intolerance to duck meat.
Now, you know what will happen if you feed the whole duck to your dog without removing the fat, and you even know how to prepare it as well.
I wish you good luck and bon appetit !!!
Don’t be shy to leave comments if you have any questions. It’s better asking than risking your dog’s life.
Update (1 day after the vet)
One day after the visit to the vet.
Surprisingly, Mooshie is back on her feet with the wagging tail!
I didn’t expect it, but today, she woke up the same way, as usual, hungry asking for some food and she didn’t look tired anymore, wow!
Because of this, I decided to stop the meds. Trust me. There is no reason to overdose your dog with medicine.
I tell you about her symptoms when it happened.
- Difficulty to walk
- Feeling dizzy
- No appetite at all
- Difficulty breathing
- I was supposed to give her Metronidazole for seven days. I gave her only the first day for a total of two pills)
- I gave her half of one capsule of Metacam
- Two gastrointestinal canned for two days
It’s better to never feed your dog with fat, not even a little bit. Dog’s liver is not made to digest fat.
Typical fat food to avoid
- Duck fat
- Beef fat
- Any meat fat
- Milk (Better to go with Raw Goat milk)
- Advocado (Normally not recommended but with my experience, you can but once a while only in a tiny portion. I would give maximum one teaspoon of avocado once a while)
- Ham, the one you buy for your sandwich (Because it contains fat with high sodium)
- Olive oil or any oil except Flaxseed oil in small quantity (One teaspoon maximum twice a week)
- Peanut butter or consider 100% natural and organic peanut butter in tiny quantity
Update (2 days after the vet)
After two days, it turns out that Mooshie was perfectly fine on the first day with the gastrointestinal food and the Metronidazole pill scheduled every 12 hours, but because I fed her with “one” raw meat yesterday for dinner, she got sick again (Sorry!!!!).
I went back to the vet today, and apparently, I was too fast.
She has pancreatitis due to the fat on the duck that I gave her for over seven days (Little more than a week ago).
The vet asked me to do an x-ray to check the liver, heart, and lungs (Not the most accurate but still enough to see if something is wrong inside. (Cost: $300)
Blood check as well. (More accurate for the current issue). (Cost: $200)
Lastly, they suggested an injection of something that will make her more hungry and help with the inflammation. Sorry, I forgot the name of that injection. (Cost: $60)
So, today, no food at all, but I gave her the pill to prevent diarrhea.
The vet suggested me to go to the emergency to inject some fluid in Mooshie’s body that will help her with her condition, and mostly because she was dehydrated, fluid injection help a lot. They recommended me one more scan, but the cost was reaching over $2000, and my feeling was that it’s not that bad her condition. After talking together, she said that it’s ok to wait a day to see if she is ok. This is what I decided since she looked fine yesterday until I feed raw meat.
It makes sense eating raw meat a few days after such trauma is a terrible idea. Same as us humans, when we get sick because of food poisoning or fatty food during the holidays by example, we need at least three days to recover. I remember once when I ate two substantial creamy ice cream. The day after, I got sick for three days without eating anything — the same situation.
Update (5 days after the vet)
Finally, she is doing well today. Restraining your dog for a day; always works for resetting the body. I learned that a long time ago, and it’s still working. Typically, a sick dog can skip meals between one to two days maximum. In her case, One day seems to do the job.
She is now asking for a food which I only feed her with the gastro canned, and she even waging her tail.
One important note is, this is the first night that her breathing came back to normal. Before, her beat rate was fast, which was worrying me a lot.
From now on, because pancreatitis is dangerous and a sign related to fatty-food “in our case” (imagine yourself eating three ice cream, you might be sick as well), she will be on gastrointestinal food for two weeks to reset the whole body.
∴ Please, consider the same if you go through the same situation.
Veterinarians are not always there for the money. I often hear people complaining about the high cost of visiting the vet, and I am 100% agree, their prices are way too high. On the other hand, we have to understand their fees: Scanners, office fees, employees, and so on must be paid one way or another, so they have to charge something at least. Still, it’s costly, and I believe they can charge less, but when there is no choice, we have to pay for the sake of your dog’s life. Unfortunately, some vets know that fact and abuse the system, but not everybody is bad people. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s not fair for poor people without a budget. Does it mean they have to let their dog die just because the price is the price?
I know some veterinarians where cats and dogs have been brought to their office and took care of them without charging anything because the owners didn’t have money. This is not common, but this is where we separate people working for cash vs. people in love with what they do.
Update (9 days after the vet)
Everything is back to normal, and something amazing happened.
Strangely, she has much more energy than she had two years ago.
She even walks much more outside, and she sleeps much better than before.
Here’s the problem with dogs and even us, humans.
The body never reacts fast enough to tell us if something is wrong with what we just ate.
When food is digested, side effects always appear from two weeks to six months.
And this is a big problem because if you feed something that you think is fine for your dog, your dog might be sick later, causing so much confusion.
In our case, one of my dogs is more sensitive to food. So, a proper diet is a must, but we can only know this after an episode, and this is frustrating and risky.
My advice for you is to use my formula of 3. It goes like this:
- Raw food
- Non-fatty food
- Don’t feed too much; don’t feed to little. Feed just enough without overfeeding your dog.
I even recommend to skip breakfast for your dog and only gives fruits and veggies in the morning. No meat in the morning, and don’t provide dinner too late either. The best time for dinner is before the last walk of the day. By doing this, it allows the body to relax from yesterday’s meal. But, only do this for adult dogs since puppies need the morning and evening meals to grow healthy.
If you follow this rule, you are good to go for many years without issues, and trust me; this works perfectly.
Finally, let me share with you a quick and straightforward recipe if your dog suffers from pancreatitis or if your dog has a sensitive stomach. That recipe works very well, but it must be alternated every two weeks with something similar since it’s never good to keep feeding the same meal every week.
- Turkey meat. (Try to buy only the light part. It looks like yellow meat. The brown meat is more fat).
- Organs such as hearts
- Green bean
- Fresh chopped pieces of Curcuma
- Fresh chopped pieces of ginger
- Frozen wild blueberry (It must be wild only)
- Crisp red apple (organic if possible)
All you have to do is to slice the turkey with the organs in small pieces, slice the fruits, and mix everything in a bowl and you are good to go.
This recipe is healthy for your dog and lighter than red meat, duck, or chicken.
Recommended feeding portion to follow:
75% of raw turkey with organs
12.5% of fruits
Some people often ask me which green bean is the best.
I recommend that one (many are confused between green bean and peas):
In case you wonder why I fed my dogs with raw meat without removing the fat and skin. It’s proven the skin is healthy for dogs; it helps joints. The fat, I agree not so much, but still, I never had any issue in the past, and I know tons of people doing the same without trouble. But again, each dog has their level of tolerance.
Every recipe I created for 15 years that includes chicken, duck, and beef, I never removed the fat and skin, and this is the very first time my dog got sick.
My other dogs ate the same meal at the same time without being sick.
While one dog will be perfectly fine with raw animal fat and skin, another might take it much harder.
Wild wolves eat almost everything when hunting, but some domestic dogs are more sensitive to raw food. This is important to note if your dog is not going well with fresh food.
∴ All you have to do is to remove the fatty part with the skin, and your raw meal will be perfectly safe. Don’t go back to kibbles, please. If you do, you will end up with new problems much more complicated 🙂
I have a nutrition certificate for 15 years with many dogs around to prove the recipes are safe and tasty, so feel 100% confident with the given advice, you have my word!
I started as a hobby and end up with a lifestyle in four different countries with class teaching and conference in Canada, the USA, Japan, and China.