Why Feeding Mince Only Is Not Enough for Dogs & Cats

Why Feeding Mince Only Is Not Enough for Dogs & Cats

Feeding pets a diet based solely on minced meat is a common but in many ways insufficient to meet not only nutritional needs but also mental and physical stimulation. Dogs and cats require a balanced diet that mimics their natural feeding habits to ensure optimal health. An optimum diet is a prey model diet, which includes whole prey items and parts such as fur, raw meaty bones, tendons, green tripe, and even hooves, is an effective approach to meet their nutritional needs comprehensively. A diet of whole foods and variety provides evidence-based support for its benefits over a minced meat-only diet. We recommend grass fed or wild ranged because factory farmed meat lack many important nutrients.

A Whole Raw Food Diet Overview

A whole raw food diet aims to replicate the natural diet of wild canines and felines, focusing on whole prey or parts of prey animals. This diet typically includes:

  • Muscle Meat: Provides protein and essential amino acids.
  • Fur and Feathers: Offer fiber and aid in digestive health.
  • Raw Meaty Bones: Supply calcium, phosphorus, and support dental health.
  • Tendons and Ligaments: Rich in collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin for joint health.
  • Green Tripe: Unprocessed stomach lining and contents rich in digestive enzymes, probiotics, and beneficial bacteria.
  • Organs: Such as liver, kidneys, and heart, providing vital vitamins and minerals.
  • Hooves: Chew items that contribute to dental health and mental stimulation.

Nutritional Deficiencies of a Minced Meat-Only Diet

  1. Lack of Essential Vitamins and Minerals:If the mince is meat only, especially muscle meat, it is deficient in several vital nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E, and the B-complex group. For example, a deficiency in vitamin A can lead to vision problems and weakened immune responses, while insufficient vitamin D can cause bone deformities and calcium imbalance .

  2. Imbalanced Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio: Muscle meat is high in phosphorus but low in calcium. Dogs and cats need a balanced ratio of these minerals for bone health. An imbalance can lead to nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism, a condition where the body leaches calcium from bones to balance high phosphorus levels, resulting in brittle bones and skeletal issues .

  3. Inadequate Fiber: Minced meat lacks dietary fiber, crucial for gastrointestinal health. Fiber aids in regulating bowel movements, controlling blood sugar levels, and maintaining a healthy weight by promoting satiety. Pets fed only minced meat may experience digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea .

  4. Ratios - With mixed minced product it can be difficult to determine what is the actual composition of the mix, the source and quality of the produce and the ratios for actual meat, organs and other fillers.  Note most commercial minced pet food include preservatives. 

Benefits of Prey Model Diet Components

  1. Fur and Feathers: Incorporating fur and feathers provides fiber, which helps cleanse the digestive tract and eliminate parasites. This natural fiber acts as a digestive brush, promoting gastrointestinal health .

  2. Raw Meaty Bones: Bones are an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus. Chewing on bones helps maintain dental health by reducing plaque and tartar buildup. A study in the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry found that raw bones significantly reduce dental diseases in dogs and cats .

  3. Tendons and Ligaments: These are rich in collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin, which support joint health and flexibility. Including tendons in a pet's diet can prevent arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases .

  4. Green Tripe: Green tripe is packed with digestive enzymes, probiotics, and beneficial bacteria. These elements enhance nutrient absorption, support a healthy gut microbiome, and boost the immune system. Research indicates that probiotics and digestive enzymes are vital for maintaining digestive health .

  5. Hooves: Chewing on hooves provides mental stimulation and helps keep teeth clean. Hooves also contain keratin, benefiting skin and coat health. A study in the Journal of Animal Science demonstrated that natural chews contribute to dental health and reduce stress in pets .

Protein Variety for Balanced Health

For optimal health, dogs should be fed a variety of protein sources. This ensures a broad spectrum of amino acids and other nutrients essential for overall health. Ideally, a dog's diet should include proteins from different animal sources such as beef, chicken, lamb, fish, and game meats. Rotating these proteins can prevent food sensitivities and ensure a well-rounded nutrient intake. Studies recommend that protein should make up about 30-40% of a dog's diet, depending on their life stage and activity level .


A minced meat-only diet is insufficient to meet the complex nutritional needs of dogs and cats. A whole raw diet, which includes a variety of whole food such as organs, fur, ligaments and other components our pets ancestal relatives would consume in the wild provides a balanced and natural approach to pet nutrition. By incorporating elements such as fur, raw meaty bones, tendons, green tripe, and even hooves, pet owners can ensure their pets receive comprehensive meals that supports overall health, dental hygiene, digestive health, joint functionality and mental health and stimulation. Consulting with a natural based veterinary or  nutritionist can help tailor a natural raw diet to meet your pet inividual needs effectively.


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