How to Gut a Deer for Raw Dog Food: Illustrated Guide

Joy and her husband are avid hunters, home-butchering enthusiasts, sausage lovers, and cooks. Their German Shepherd dog is raw fed.

Mmm! Lunch!

Information and Pictures About Gutting a Deer

This is the second article of four that demonstrates how to prepare deer for dog food. The first necessary step is to remove the skin and head of a deer.

Previous comments on this article indicated that many people found the pictures showing the removal of the deer's head to be disturbing. None of these pictures are intended to gross anybody out, but they are realistic and graphic.

Content Warning

If the sight of blood or guts bothers you, you should not continue to read this article.

Preparing the Skinned Deer for Gutting

Our next step after removing the head and hide is to position the deer belly up. We use 4X4 wooden blocks, four feet long, to stabilize the deer in this position.

A word on knives and cleanliness. For most of the gutting process, the knife MUST be used with the sharp edge facing upward to prevent cutting into the intestines and causing a mess. The deer shown in these photos had an internal temperature of around 65 degrees F., and was not fit for human consumption. It was slightly bloated, and it was therefore critical that we not puncture the intestines.

This deer, while a poaching victim and not a road kill specimen, was similar to what you might receive if you are able to get road kill deer from your local D.N.R. or D.O.W. These deer are not suitable for human consumption.

A Warning About E. Coli

During the gutting process, it is important to realize that splitting guts will likely result in E. coli-laced meat. This is true in any grain-fed animal, and this deer grazed in corn fields. While E. coli is normally not an issue with dogs as their digestive tracts are quite short, it is important to properly wash hands and cutting utensils when finished handling your deer.

Now we will get on with removing the guts.

Step One: Splitting the Meat and Membranes Down the Belly

Step Two: Cutting Through the Breast Bone

Step Three: Cleaning Out the Body Cavity

Step Four: Disposing of the Guts

An Explanation of the Whole Carcass Model

Raw Dog Food Feeding Practices

Questions & Answers

Question: Can you go over how to prepare the deer stomach (green tripe)? Should we empty deer stomach out, wash it, freeze it for a while to kill anything bad like worms?

Answer: No need to prepare the green tripe any special way. You can wash it if you like, but dogs usually don't care. They prefer to eat it just as a wolf might--raw and totally unprocessed.

© 2009 Joilene Rasmussen

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on January 23, 2019:

A round of applause to Team Hubpages! Thank you for your prompt replies, careful attention to detail, and very professional consideration while bringing these articles to fruition! Articles #3 and #4 are up and running, and I am very grateful to you all!

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on December 30, 2018:

Donkey Dogs, Stefanie, and anyone else concerned about Parts 3 & 4:

I made attempts over the last two days to publish the remaining two parts. Within hours, they were unpublished due to "mature" content. I was advised to read the HP guidelines, and "make substantial changes" to these articles in order to try republishing. I have carefully read the guidelines, and have contacted the HP team for further instructions. Hopefully they will send me specific suggestions on how to revise these topics for public viewing.

I am doing my best, and don't see any difference between cutting up a chicken vs. cutting up a deer...but I am only one person, with one opinion. You might consider contacting HP and let them know how you feel about this topic. Include a link to my profile, and let's try together to make sure this topic doesn't die on the operating table! Thanks!

A_vt_beagle_life on November 09, 2018:

I just discovered this article as I posted about my willingness to pick up any organs successful hunters in my area might not want to keep for themselves (hunting season starts tomorrow). I shared your link under my post. So much good info! Looking forward to parts 3 & 4.

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on October 27, 2018:

DonkeyDogs, thanks a million for your thoughtful comment. I have every intention of finishing the next two parts! I have been digging out from under my workload as fast as possible, so I can spend more time writing! You can be sure that these articles are high on my priority list. BTW, I would love to see snapshots of your dogs and deer lease, if you felt like sharing. I love Great Danes!

Where are you located?

DonkeyDogs on October 27, 2018:

Ohhhh I was so into reading (and learning) everything you spoke of and then..... eeekkkk where’s the next two parts! Good timing on my behalf (and commenter Stefanie’s) cuz now I see there aren’t any other ‘parts’... YET (hopefully!).

We have two Great Danes (160lbs 3 yrs, 190 5yrs) and the youngest is (was) just sooo unhealthy (skin and yeast) on kibble so we just switched over to raw for both - and they’re in hog-heaven and only after just a few days already ‘Steiners’ allergies are visibly clearing up. Luckily, deer season just opened up and my son (8 yrs) with his father just shot his first kill of the season on our managed deer lease. My husband is an avid hunter and chef (by trade) so he knows how to clean and dress meats... but IMO things are different when feeding off the hoof in some ways to what he’s ‘used to’. So being the mom (of humans and four legged) I am, I’m looking into it all and making sure we get off to the right start! I’d love to read any other info you have as we have ample access to venison - the land lease is biologically maintained and counts are too high - and we can store the meats indefinitely. THANK YOU for what you’ve done so far but for this girls sake, plllease continue the rest - it’s so well written and easy to follow - and throughly detailed - and even my all knowing hunter/chef husband is ‘listening’ by way of screen shots I’m sending him of your article AS he’s loading the kill in the bed of the truck!!! THANK YOU AGAIN FOR TAKING THE TIME THUS FAR TO WRITE THIS ARTICLE!!!

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on October 18, 2018:

Yea, a nice comment on this subject! (It's a bit tricky.) Unfortunately, I haven't gotten parts 3 and 4 done. About the time I finished parts 1 and 2, I got into a situation without internet for a few years. When I got back to civilization, I had so much catch-up to do that I am still working on articles started in 2009 or before. These are near the top of my list!

Stefanie on October 16, 2018:

Hi, love your posts! Did you happen to post the 2nd two parts that you referred to? I can’t find them.

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on March 29, 2018:

We let our dog eat the whole stomach, unwashed and unprocessed. Dogs often enjoy it, even the contents. :-) This is how they'd do it in the wild, after all. Their digestive tracts are different than ours, and they don't seem bothered by very much.

Ash on March 28, 2018:

As someone who is getting into hunting for myself and my dogs this is very helpful!! It would be awesome to see how you harvest the tripe, do you have to cut away a certain part or just feed the whole stomach? How do you wash the acid and stuff out?

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on April 02, 2015:

Shaddie, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Shaddie from Washington state on March 20, 2015:

Good job :)

Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on December 23, 2009:

Thanks, Ivorwen, I couldn't agree more. I know it's a little nasty, but hey - it's what happens. It's the necessary part before the burger or steak hits the table (or dog dish).

Ivorwen from Hither and Yonder on December 23, 2009:

This is good information for those of us who butcher at home.

What Do We Do When a Veterinarian Doesn't Support Raw?

I've been lucky because even veterinarians that didn't support raw were open to how I feed my dogs because they saw that I was doing my homework to learn how to meet my dogs' nutritional needs. Personally, I need to be 100% transparent with our veterinarian because they need all the information to treat my dogs. So, in the past when I took a dog in to see a veterinarian that didn't support raw, I made a point of sharing the following:

1 – I understand the risks and I share what I do to reduce those risks. For instance, I don't leave raw meat sitting out all day. I monitor my dogs when they have bones. I grind bones to make them easier/safer to eat.

2 – I feed a nutritious diet. I share information about the software I use to formulate my dogs' diet. I share where I source my food. And that I have my dogs nutrient tested every other year (it's expensive).

3 – I'm constantly learning. Although I've been feeding raw for more than seven years, this is still a learning process and I am constantly seeking to educate myself and improve my dogs' diet.

In my experience, this satisfies the veterinarian's concerns and they've taken it a step further and offered helpful suggestions.

How to Gut a Deer for Raw Dog Food: Illustrated Guide - pets

All Pets Go Raw products start with government-inspected, human-quality, muscle meat as a foundation. Our recipes then build on this foundation with the addition of beneficial ingredients such as organ meats, vegetables, fruits, farm-fresh eggs, kelp, herbs, & spices.

Our pet food is finely ground for easy digestibility and full absorption of nutrients. No by-products, grains, meal, or fillers are used—just good, wholesome fresh food.

At pets go raw we believe in a diverse diet of biologically appropriate raw food that should include a variety of muscle meats, organ meats, vegetables, fruits, and bones. Pets Go Raw recipes that are sure to offer your furry family members the premium nutrition they require to live long, healthy, and happy lives. Our meal lines that contain %75 muscle meat and %25 other whole-food ingredients. For the raw food chef that would rather create their own recipes, we have foundation ingredients available. For more detailed information on each product line including ingredients, nutritional information, and package sizes available please see below.

For additional information about our food and the raw food movement, in general, please follow the link to our Learning Centre.

How much to feed your dog

Generally, mature dogs should be fed about 2% of their ideal body weight and puppies about 5%. You can look at the graphs below, or go straight to our Food Calculator that will help you figure out exactly how much muscle meat you need to feed your cat or dog every day.

Mature dog


(Feed your puppy until it is full grown 1 yr for a small or medium dog or 2 yrs for a larger breed)

Tips to keep in mind:

Keep an eye on weight gain or loss and adjust food intake accordingly.
Active dogs and dogs with a higher metabolism may need more food, while seniors often need less.
Use the rib test often. You should be able to readily feel your dog’s ribs, but they should have some flesh on them, and not be too pronounced.

Puppies and young dogs should be fed about 5% of their body weight. Like all young creatures, puppies grow in “fits and starts” that requires constant adjustments, feeding more when in a growth spurt and less when not.
Watch your pets’ weight and condition and adjust amounts accordingly.

Watch the video: How to Feed Raw To Your Pets Starters Guide To Raw Feeding (July 2021).