Can Dogs Eat Deer Meat?

We want to give our dogs what’s best for them, so it’s only right that we look for the most nutritious food to provide them with. You might think it’s it’s suiting to give your dog foods more closely aligned to its ancestry rather than some modern-day feeds such as chicken. 

Wolves, the closest living relative to dogs, live off deer meat, so why can’t your dog?

Can Dogs Eat Deer Meat

Dogs can eat venison, and I feed it to my dogs regularly. Not only can dogs eat deer meat, but it’s considered a nutrient-dense food for them.

Venison provides high amounts of vitamin B, zinc, phosphorus, and iron to support organ function and a healthy immune system in dogs. Many owners provide venison to their dogs as a leaner and healthier alternative to beef.

Raw Venison For Dogs

Can Dogs Eat Deer Meat?

We have established that your dog can eat venison and also that it is good for them. So, let’s look at the methods of feeding venison to your dog.

Can dogs eat raw venison? You will be happy to know that dogs can eat, process, and digest raw venison without any complications. 

The best way to feed your dog venison is to give it to them raw. Raw deer meat is much more nutritional than cooked deer meat.

Dogs have a much better ability to eat raw meat than humans. Dogs have natural digestive enzymes, and bile and highly acidic stomachs process bacteria that would make humans sick.

What I discovered when I swapped my dogs to a raw diet

  • Shinier coats
  • Healthier skin
  • Cleaner teeth
  • Higher energy levels
  • Smaller stools

When feeding raw venison to your dogs, you must be careful as to the source of the venison. 

As a hunter, I harvest my own venison to feed my dogs, and with a wild harvest, I carefully check to see if the quarry is not harboring any bacteria or diseases.

Many dog owners feed their dogs’ raw venison.

I know personally that my dogs are big fans of raw venison; they really like the flavor.

Cooked Venison For Dogs

Another method of feeding deer meat to your dog is by cooking it.

This method is very common among sled dog owners in Alaska and Northern Canada.

The venison is boiled for a long period of time until it becomes a broth. It is usually boiled with rice which is then fed to the dogs. In the winter months, it is normally fed to the dogs when it is still warm to provide them with energy to face the cold.

The drawback of cooking venison for your dog is that it removes some of the nutrients.

Benefits of Deer Meat For Dogs

Can Dogs Eat Deer Meat?

Venison provides many benefits over other types of meat for dogs.


Because deer are wild and live a very different lifestyle from cows, venison is much leaner than beef. A 3-ounce portion of venison has only 135 calories and 3 grams of fat, whereas a similar 3-ounce portion of beef has 160 calories and 6 grams of fat. 


Venison is an excellent source of food for dogs that have allergies to common foods like chicken or beef. 

These allergies usually leave your dog with gastrointestinal issues or itchy skin. 

The great news is that venison cuts out their issues, and most dogs never have any adverse effects from eating venison.


Deer are natural wild animals. By feeding venison to your dogs, you take away all the negative things associated with farmed animals.

There are no additives given to the deer through its diet, no antibiotics, and no chemicals.

By feeding a dog deer meat, you are more closely aligning what your dog would eat if it were wild.

Raw Venison Facts

Can Dogs Eat Deer Meat?

Will deer meat make my dog sick?

It is unlikely deer meat will make your dog sick. I have fed and continue to feed venison to all my dogs and never had any dog react badly to it.

However, some precautions should be taken when feeding venison to your dogs.

If you are aware that the deer was ill, do not feed it to your dogs and alert the proper authorities.

It is not recommended to feed your dog deer meat that came from a deer with EHD or CWD.

Check for foreign objects in the deer meat I am feeding my dogs. It is not unusual to find old broadheads or lead where a poor shot was made on the deer previously that it survived and the wound healed around the foreign object.

As with all raw meat, you should take proper precautions when handling venison.

  • Work on a clean surface
  • Discard any tainted meat
  • Wear proper gloves

How much venison should I feed my dog?

When first introducing venison to your dog, feed it to them in small quantities with their regular food. Any new food can overwhelm your dogs’ digestive tract and leave them with an upset tummy.

As your dog gets used to the deer meat, you can start introducing more and more until it becomes their main portion of their diet. This should take 3 – 4 weeks.

To determine how much venison to feed your dog, you need to work out their weight and activity level.

So, for example, a 100lb dog with moderate activity would consume 29 ounces daily. 

If you are feeding your dog a BARF diet, 70 percent of the 29 ounces would be of venison meat, 10 percent bones, 10 percent organs, and 10 percent made up of fruits and vegetables.


Dogs have been eating raw deer meat for centuries now. Venison is a healthier alternative to most commercial foods for dogs.

In my own experience, I find that my two hunting dogs love raw venison. I rarely give them any cooked food unless it’s leftover from dinner.

My dogs are working dogs and have plenty of energy to hunt on their venison diet. 

When feeding your dog any new food, it’s important to monitor their behavior. Once you find that your dog has gotten used to its new venison diet, you can feed that as its main feed. Hopefully, you will see the same results as I have with my dogs.

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