Another important matter to remember when rawfeeding, besides making sure your dog gets all vitamins and minerals needed, is the quality of the meat you feed. It's a common practice to use lower quality parts of the carcass in order to make minced meats for dogs. This means less meat and more tendons, throat, lung and muscle membranes.
Dogs can digest ”rubbish” parts of the carcass, as can we people. The problem is, there are little to none important vitamins and minerals in those parts of the body. We are talking about tissues that hold no vital nutrients, take longer to digest and can cause issues with the digesting system. One of the main reasons raw fed dogs develop rock solid stools is feeding too much bone and feeding low quality meats.
If you are not willing to pay loads of extra and only use human consumption quality meats from your nearest grocery store or raise your own meat, you unfortunately need to do a little research trying to find proper quality meats. It all likehood you can't find super meats, but you can find decent and good meats. As long as the meat is clean and you use the best product you can get with as much meat as possible, you are good to go.
How can I tell a good meat from garbage?
First, look at the meat. It's hard to see if a frozen meat is good quality, so if you are about to buy frozen meats, buy one package first, melt that and take a look. If the meat is stringy under the spoon, it has lots of big pieces of cartilage, membrane and throat and in worst case scenario, this all topped with bone, skip it. You can find better. Even without bone meat like this is not really giving anything to your dog. It just takes time to digest and makes stools hard. Many small dogs can't properly digest these kinds of meat, so I would recommend being careful with small dogs and bad meats.
Third factor is, unfortunately, the prize, but let me tell you, it doesn't always tell the ultimate truth! True, if the meat is dead cheap, it is probably not that great. Have a look at the prizes of different brands, ask around, and then pick test packages to defrost. That way you can find a nice quality food. II will list some good picks I use myself down below, but since I live in Finland and most people in the world don't, you might need to sneak around and do some research on your own among your own meat manufacturers.
Risks of membranes and cartilage
Like said, meats with lots of rubbish parts are harder to digest. Small dogs that are fed lots or cartilage, bone, membranes and other stuff like that can even suffer from clogs. This is possible even with larger dogs. Therefore, if you need to use not that great meats at one point, for one reason or another, mix them with finely minced good meats. From my experience I can say it's easier to find good quality minced turkey and chicken than good quality beef, pork and a mix of the two.
Benefits of good meats
Shortest paragraph ever; more vital nutrients, softer stools, easier digestion! As simple as that. Better quality meats means better quality food, and better quality food is what we aim for, isn't it?
Some good products
Bear in mind, these brands are met mainly in Finland (some in Sweden too), so if you happen to be from somewhere else, I am afraid this is of little help.
Grounded salmon (jauhettu lohi): MUSH uses whole salmon, grounds it, and packs it with only one freezing behind each product. Their salmon is thus good quality and it has vitamin D to good extent. It does have lots of bones in it, up to 11%, and the ground is not super fine. Use it as a small part of food rather than main ingredient. If it's your only source of vitamin D, I would sometimes add D with another fish product or cod liver oil, for example.
Boneless minced turkey (luuton kalkkuna): Excellent product of finely minced turkey meat. Also comes with bone.
Boneless minced chicken (luuton kana): Excellent quality finely minced chicken. Also comes with bone.
Pork intestines (sian sisäelinseos): Lots of intestines that are considered just meat for the dog, but also liver. I have liked this product and feed it every now and then as a source of vit A.
Chicken gizzards and hearts (broilerin sydämet / broilerin kivipiirat): Excellent add-on sometimes. Just what it says they are.
Minced white wish (siika kylkiruotoineen): Excellent, very finely minced product that has lots of vitamin D in it. So finely minced I have never met large pieces of bone in it. It's a bit pricey, but worth the money.
Chopped beef (naudan palaliha): OK. I was hoping to have more actual meat, and the product does have muscle menbranes in it, but works sometimes instead of minced meat.
Minced turkey (jauhettu kalkkunan liha, luuton): Excellent product once more. As you can see, it is fairly easy to find nice quality turkey and chicken. Unfortunately they are also pretty expensive.
Salmon (jauhettu merilohi): I liked this one. It seems to have a little less bone in it that the MUSH equivalent. A bit finer minced, maybe.
Minced beef (naudan jauheliha): As far as I know, only beed meat and no other rubbish ingredients. Very expensive, too, but good.
I like the whole brand. Most of the meats have been very good, including salmon and some minced meats like turkey, chicken etc.
This is the name of the company that delivers meats from various sources as well as produces some themselves. They have a truck stopping roughly once per month in certain towns and you can then pick up products you have pre-ordered through their website.
Some of the meats are very good, some not that great. I have tried many, and have grown fond of
Minced turkey (jauhettu kalkkuna): Boneless product. Very nice, fine mince, clean, doesn't smell and keeps the stools good.
Puppy minced beef (pentunauta): Best price/quality ratio beef I have found. Their minced beef has cow meat and minced cow hearts, nothing else. Excellent product used for small dogs and puppies, thus, because it's easy to digest.