Raw duck heads have been a favorite in my pack for the past 4 years. They’re soft and crunchy, and fall into the raw meaty bones category of a balanced raw dog food diet. As such, they’re great at keeping our dogs’ teeth clean and exercising their jaws.
Raw duck heads are Raw Meaty Bones (= RMBs)
Raw duck heads weigh around 4 oz and are a great raw meaty bone for medium to large dogs.
As such, raw duck heads consist of roughly 75% bone and 25% meat, as well as brains and eyes. They’re a great source of calcium, phosphorus, iron, and amino acids which are important for bone and muscle growth/regeneration.
Duck is a cooling protein
Duck falls into the category of cooling proteins. Chinese food energetics differentiate between cooling, warming, hot, and neutral foods. Dogs can show signs of food allergies when being fed a predominantly cool or warm diet, i.e. when their body is out of harmony from a food source perspective.
The best approach to figuring out what food category your dog doesn’t do well with is to eliminate foods your dog eats one by one and observing his body’s reaction. I feed my dog Wally a mix of neutral, cooling, and warm protein sources.
Other cooling proteins are rabbit and certain fish (e.g. whitefish, crab).
Just FYI: Neutral, warming, and heating proteins
Neutral protein sources are beef, bison, pork, goose, quail, and certain fish (mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines).
Warming protein sources are chicken, turkey, pheasant, and certain fish (mussels, anchovies, lobster, shrimp).
Heating protein sources are lamb, venison, and certain fish (trout).
How to feed raw duck heads
Raw duck heads can be fed as part of a raw meal or in between meals as a snack. My current dog Wally is a 40 lb Feist mix and enjoys both options. I either include his duck head in his bowl along with other cuts of raw meat (muscle meat and secreting organs), or I’ll give him the head separately, usually outside on the patio or in the backyard.
Tip: If your dog tends to try and gulp bones whole, hold one end of the duck head while you let your dog chew on the other end. This ensures that your dog is forced to chew on it and won’t be able to swallow the head whole.
Wally's raw meal features a duck head, beef green tripe, beef tongue, chicken breast, green lipped mussel, and organ mix Monstermash
When I give Wally the head separately, I’ll feed him muscle meat and secreting organs for breakfast and the head for dinner, or vice versa. That’s keeping in mind that a balanced raw dog food diet follows the 80/10/10 formula: 80% muscle meat, 10% raw meaty bone, 10% secreting organs (5% liver, 5% other secreting organs).
Dogs need to eat 2-4% of their target body weight on a daily basis. The exact percentage differs from dog to dog and depends on the dog’s activity level, metabolism, and age.
Wally eats 2-2.5% of his target body weight on a daily basis (between 13-16 oz). He eats less (2%) during summertime due to our very hot and humid summers here in central NC, and more (2.5%) during the rest of the year.
How to get your dog to try a duck head if he’s never had one before
Some dogs are thrown off by raw duck heads and aren’t sure what we expect them to do with them! One way to get your dog to try a raw duck head is to offer it frozen as opposed to thawed.
You could also throw it into the yard to see if he’ll be interested in chasing after it and eating it that way (I only recommend doing this if your dog is not a gulper).
Another option is to offer a freeze-dried duck head instead. Vital Essentials carries them, and my girl Missy loved their freeze-dried duck heads as an in-between snack. You can find them at independently owned pet retail stores as part of the Vital Essentials RAW BAR. Find the nearest store by checking the store finder on the Vital Essentials website (almost 5000 stores carry VE, so there’s a good chance you’ll find one nearby).
Raw duck heads can be refrigerated for 2-3 days
Raw duck heads can be refrigerated for 2-3 days. After that, they’ll have to be transferred into and stored in the freezer. I invested into a freezer chest that holds Wally’s raw dog food only.
It was a great investment that I recommend to any raw feeder who’s looking to save some money as it allows you to buy in bulk and stock up on cuts of meat that are on sale. My freezer chest holds 5.1 cubic feet and cost me around $200 on Amazon.
Where I buy my raw duck heads
More posts in the “For The More Adventurous Raw Feeder” Series
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