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Whole Food Sources Of Choline For Dogs

Excerpt from Small Animal Clinical Nutrition

Choline is a component of phosphatidylcholine found in membranes, neurotransmitters, acetylcholine, methyl group donor.

Deficiency: Fatty liver (puppies) increased blood prothrombin times, thymic atrophy, decreased growth rate, anorexia.

Excess: none

Excess dietary protein and/or high-fat foods increase the choline requirements.

The AAFCO recommended allowances for choline is 1200mg/kg DM for dogs, and RC recommends, 1,700 mg/kg for dogs.

Whole Food Sources For Choline

Choline [mg/100g]

Egg, chicken, pasture-raised, well-fed Omega 3: 270

Duck, egg: 263.4

Beef heart, cooked: 228.8

Pork heart, raw: 179.73

Pork heart, cooked: 179.73

Beef heart, raw: 141.49

Chicken heart, raw: 130.15

Duck heart, raw: 130.15

Turkey gizzard: 89.7

Duck gizzard: 89

Chicken gizzard: 87.7

Turkey gizzard: 82.2

Chicken breast, light meat: 67.1

Ground beef 90/10: 66.1

Turkey dark meat, raw: 63.8

Chicken, 85/15 lean light meat: 60.8

Chicken thigh, dark meat, raw: 53.6

Chicken, raw, dark meat: 48.52

Chicken, dark meat, raw: 47.84

Chicken, 85/15 dark meat slow cooker: 33.96

Kibble, cooked, and raw meals that are formulated to AAFCO’s standards technically do not need additional choline supplemented.   You will often see it on the ingredient list as choline chloride.

Food that is labeled “for supplemental feeding” may or may not have sufficient levels of choline. Look at the label to verify levels or contact the manufacturer for the information.  

If you are feeding DIY cooked, raw, or using unbalanced commercial grinds or mixes you will want to feed food sources that contain choline. Supplements for choline are difficult to use as it causes explosive diarrhea in some dogs.

For a twenty-pound dog, half an egg per meal meets choline requirements or a quarter of a duck egg. Since it’s hard to split a raw egg, cooking it can make it easier to portion out.

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Small Animal Clinical Nutrition 

Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats – National Research Council 

Canine and Feline Nutrition, Linda Case

Animal Diet Formulator

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