Can Dogs Eat Raw Deer Meat?

There has been a lot of tense discussions going on about raw food for dogs. However, in recent years, the popularity of the raw diet, which emphasizes raw meat, fruits, vegetables, and bones, is rising.

Wild deer

Sled dogs and racing greyhounds have been on raw food for a long time. This trend is getting popular among family pets since an Australian veterinarian proposed this idea in 1993. 

He used the acronym “BARF diet” for Bones and Raw Food. Raw deer meat, in particular, also known as deer venison, is a rich source of fats and proteins for your dog.

There are several benefits and disadvantages of both raw food and deer meat, which will be discussed below.


Let’s Look at Raw vs. Dry Food Diets

Raw Food Diets

The raw food diet has gained popularity among pet owners due to its various benefits. Raw food is composed of proteins and fats. 

It is a simple way of food, just like buying ground meat and putting it in your dog’s bowl. There must be a balance of nutrients in your diet. 

The main portion of the diet will be meat, but you must also add around 10 to 20% of fats to it. Fats like fish oil can be added to it. 

But exceeding this level of fats can also be critical as it contains a lot of calories.

Potential benefits of raw diet:

raw ground beef for dogs
  • It makes the skin healthier and shiner. 
  • It improves oral hygiene.
  • It boosts the energy level of your pet. 

Potential risks of raw diet:

  • The fat/protein ratio is difficult to maintain.
  • Presence of bacteria in raw meat. 
  • Bones are not always best for older dogs.

Dry diet for dogs

Dry food for dogs primarily consists of bagged kibbles. They contain around 3-11% water and make up most of the pet’s food. 

These dry foods are readily available in stores at a very reasonable price. It is convenient and saves the dog parent from the hassle of cooking food in the oven. 

The statistics show that around $8 billion worth of dry food was being sold in 2010. 

There are several pros and cons of dry food listed here.

Pros of dry food

  • Provides balanced nutrition.
  • Great for dental health.
  • Saves time for cooking meals.

Cons of dry food:

  • Quality is not always premium.
  • Possibility of toxicity or contamination. 
  • Dogs may develop allergies to it.

Feeding Deer Meat to Dogs

The Benefits

Dogs are natural meat-eaters, and they enjoy at least one portion of their meal as being proteins. The lean venison of deer is a healthy food choice for your pooch. 

Whether you hunt it or buy it from a butcher, deer meat is packed with healthy nutrients. These nutrients are essential for the well-being and good health of your dog. 

It has a high amount of vitamin B6 and B12. Deer venison also provides the perfect amount of iron and zinc to boost up the immune system. 

Furthermore, deer meat is much leaner than beef and contains 75% less saturated fats than beef. You can use 1 pound of ground venison, serve it separately, or with other food. 

This delicious and nutrient-filled deer meat improves your dog’s digestion and provides the energy to stay active throughout the day. 

This is also suitable for obese dogs. If your dog is overweight, consuming deer meat may be the perfect solution as it contains less fat and cholesterol than other protein sources.

The Risk

With all the great benefits of lean meat, there are some disadvantages as well. No matter how carefully it has been harvested, the raw deer meat carries the risk of bacteria and hidden illness. 

Careful handling while butchering or feeding can minimize the risk; however, it does not entirely prevent it as cooking does. 

In addition to bacterial contamination, the deer meat may be contaminated with a chronic wasting disease. 

Furthermore, ammunition fragments can become entrapped in the deer carcass. If the meat is not properly processed, it can end up in your dog’s meal. 

The meat can also get contaminated by dirt, hair, or any other foreign objects if the meat is not adequately cleaned. This kind of contamination can lead to a serious health issue for your dog.

Finding Deer Meat To Feed Your Dog

Local Auctions

Local auctions are one of the sources to get deer meat for your dog. The price of lean meat at local auctions varies greatly from one seller to the others. 

Several local auctions are going on in the form where you can get deer venison. However, it is not an extremely popular way of buying deer meat now. 

Those who like hunting may hunt deer. If they do not want to consume the meat, they prefer to sell it at a local auction. The buyer who offers better rates gets the meat. 

Moreover, you must wait for someone to make an offer. Because of this, it becomes tiresome to keep waiting for local auctions. 

You can join some community groups to stay updated regarding the deer meat offers so that you can easily buy it when available. However, the price will not be guaranteed in that case.

Online Meat Stores

Advanced technology has moved almost everything to social media. Now you can easily purchase whatever you want through online stores. 

There are several online meat stores, and you can easily purchase deer meat from there. 

Some stores provide free delivery, while others charge a fee based on how far away you live from the store.

If you want to try out other sources of healthy food for your dog, click here.

Deer Processing Businesses

Deer processing businesses are less in number than other meat like beef and pork processing shops. 

Beef Processing Facility

Though venison is extremely popular during hunting seasons, the numbers still do not add up enough for every meat store to keep it on shelves. 

In addition to that, there is also limited demand for deer meat. It is not consumed in the way pork and beef are consumed every day. 

Because of this, a lesser number of food chains supply it. One of the options is Highbourne Deer farms located in Dallastown. This store supplies deer meat all year round. 

Aside from ground dear meat, this chain also provides venison products like steaks, bologna, cubes, and ground deer burger. 


There are different ways to feed your dog. It can be confusing for a dog owner to choose what is the best approach. Furthermore, the benefits and drawbacks of deer meat are discussed.

The research states that even though raw meat comes with the chance of contamination, it is still better than dry food. 

The deer meat has leaner protein that prevents your dog from getting fat. Consequently, raw deer meat is an unbelievably delicious and nutritious meal for your doggo.

Written by Brian Rucker

Brian Rucker has been a dog lover since childhood. He has had his Lab Mix with Hound for over 10+ years now! They enjoy playing outdoors together. Brian loves sharing his knowledge about all things dog on this website. Read more of Brian's articles.