Venison: Pet Food Ingredients A to Z

We continue our Pet Food Ingredients A to Z series with the letter “V”. Today's ingredient is Venison.

What is Venison?

Venison L

Venison is the meat of the game animal deer.  Deer is a member of the Cervidae family.

Common names for Venison

The most common name variation is deer.  Other species within the Cervidae family include elk, moose, red deer and reindeer (caribou).

Why is Venison included in pet food?

Venison is used in dog food to provide an alternative (novel) and lower fat protein source for the pet. Novel proteins like venison are useful when your pet has a known allergic reaction to more commonly used proteins.  It is also a smart idea to rotate common and novel protein based foods before your pet develops allergy symptoms.  This form of rotational feeding can reduce the risk of allergy symptoms and also provide your pet a more complete and balanced diet over the long run.

Common benefits of Venison

Venison is a relatively lean meat and lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol than most cuts of beef or pork.  For example, ground venison (mixed cuts) has about 50 calories, 7 grams of protein and only 2 grams of fat per ounce.   Compare to a lean (85% lean, 15% fat) hamburger which has about 70 calories and 4 grams of fat per ounce.

Venison is a good source of B vitamins, especially Niacin and B-12 (which is not readily available in most foods) as well as the minerals zinc, phosphorous, and iron.

Miscellaneous facts about Venison

  • According to Wikipedia, Venison originally described meat of any game animal killed by hunting and was applied to any animal from the families Cervidae (deer), Leporidae (hares), and Suidae (wild pigs), and certain species of the genus Capra (goats and ibex). In the northern hemisphere the word's usage is now almost entirely restricted to the flesh of various species of deer.
  • Deer organ meat is called “humble”. This is the supposed origin of the term “humble pie”, which quite literally means dear pie.

Sources and further reading


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