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Why You Need To Feed Your Puppy Spleen

You need to feed your puppy spleen if they eat a cooked or raw diet. If not then you need to add in iron supplements.

Why Feed Spleen?

Spleen has the highest amount of iron.

Comparing different organ meats (mg/100g)

Raw beef spleen: 44.6 g

Cooked beef spleen 39.36g

Cooked lamb kidney 12.4g

Cooked beef kidney 5.8g

Grass-fed beef liver 5.5g

Pork kidney 5.29g

Cooked beef liver: 4.9g

Eggs (2.7g) have about half the amount of iron as cooked beef liver.

I’ve looked at cooked organ meat since I’m currently feeding my 12-week-year-old puppy a cooked diet.

Essentially, feeding beef spleen is:

  • 3.7 times more iron than if you fed lamb kidney
  • 7.7 times more iron than if you fed grass fed liver or even beef kidney
  • 8.4 times more iron than if you fed pork kidney
  • and 16.5 times more iron than if you fed egg yolks.

Note: Some links in this article are affiliate links (Amazon Associates or other programs I participate in). At no charge to you, as an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  

Why Does My Puppy Need Iron?

Puppies need iron to perform important functions like carrying oxygen in the hemoglobin of red blood cells throughout the body so their cells can produce energy. 

Iron is also necessary for certain enzymes in the body to function normally. It is responsible for:

  • oxygen activation (oxidases and oxygenase)
  • electron transport (cytochrome)
  • oxygen transport (hemoglobin, myoglobin)

Puppies need 80mg/kg of iron compared to adult dogs 40mg/kg. AAFCO requirements


For every 1,000 calories of food, puppies need 22mg of iron compared to an adult at 7.5mg which is almost three times the amount an adult dog needs. NRC requirements

If you are feeding your puppy a commercial diet formulated for puppies you can rest assured that there is sufficient iron in that kibble. It’s even shown in studies that sometimes the iron in kibble is up to fifteen times more than what is needed. That’s why AAFCO set a maximum level to not exceed 3,000mg of iron/kg of food.

But if you are feeding a cooked or raw diet, you need to make sure that your puppy is getting enough iron in their food.

Spleen has the highest concentration of iron but it is also difficult to source.

I’ve not been able to find it at my local butchers so I’ve ordered some dehydrated spleen from Farmhounds, as well as using an iron supplement to meet my puppy’s daily nutritional needs.

The amount of iron absorbed from food is determined by three factors:

  • iron status of the body
  • availability of dietary iron
  • amounts of heme and nonheme iron in foods

Iron that your puppy or dog consumes is stored in their liver, bone marrow, and spleen.

If your puppy or dog doesn’t get enough iron they will experience:

  • Poor growth
  • Anemia

This Is Why It’s Important That You Feed Your Puppy Food Formulated For Puppies

This is another reason why you need to make sure you feed your puppy food that is labeled that it’s formulated for puppies.

Some adult, all life stages food will also say that it’s ok to feed puppies and that is because they have increased certain nutrients like iron to ensure that the food is safe for a growing puppy to eat.

If you need a recipe formulated for your puppy – be sure to visit my page on all the different ways I can help you raise a healthier dog.

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  1. Lynn

    Puppies need 80mg/kg of iron compared to adjust dogs 40mg/kg.

    Is that a typo? Adjust dogs?

    1. Hannah Zulueta

      oh dear – that’s meant to say “adult” I changed it. Thank you for pointing that out. You were 100% correct in noticing it was a typo. Thank you so much.

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