How to Gut a Deer For Raw Dog Food

Updated on April 21, 2016
Joy At Home profile image

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

Mmm! mm! Lunch!

k-10 the German Shepherd loves deer season.
k-10 the German Shepherd loves deer season.

Content Warning

This is Part Two of a four-part series on preparing a deer for dog food. In Part One, we showed how to remove the skin and head of a deer.

Some comments we have received on a forum where my husband posted the first article indicated that many people found the pictures showing removal of the deer's head, disturbing. None of these pictures are intended to gross anybody out, but they are realistic and graphic. If the sight of blood or guts bothers you, you should click away now, and find something to read which is more attuned to your sensibilities.

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, 4 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 Word on 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

Start the incision at the back of the breast bone as shown, using the point of the knife to barely cut through the skin.
Start the incision at the back of the breast bone as shown, using the point of the knife to barely cut through the skin.
This is what the incision should look like.
This is what the incision should look like.
Carefully insert your hand and spread your fingers, allowing room for your knife to cut the meat and not the intestines. You can normally slide both hands at the same rate of speed and complete the cut to the bottom of the body cavity in a few second
Carefully insert your hand and spread your fingers, allowing room for your knife to cut the meat and not the intestines. You can normally slide both hands at the same rate of speed and complete the cut to the bottom of the body cavity in a few second
When you get near the bottom of the cavity, with the animal belly up, normally there is enough room for the knife to safely slide without the aid of your other hand.
When you get near the bottom of the cavity, with the animal belly up, normally there is enough room for the knife to safely slide without the aid of your other hand.
Continue the cut to the pelvic bone.
Continue the cut to the pelvic bone.
Reverse the direction of the knife and cut the meat down to the pelvic bone.
Reverse the direction of the knife and cut the meat down to the pelvic bone.
Note the extra room for the knife to safely cut meat and reproductive organs in this area without splitting the intestines.
Note the extra room for the knife to safely cut meat and reproductive organs in this area without splitting the intestines.

Step Two - Cutting Through the Breast Bone

Using a meat saw, hacksaw, saws-all, or chain saw with no oil in the bar oiler, begin cutting down the center of the breast bone.
Using a meat saw, hacksaw, saws-all, or chain saw with no oil in the bar oiler, begin cutting down the center of the breast bone.
Keep the saw at about this angle to prevent cutting into organs, etc.
Keep the saw at about this angle to prevent cutting into organs, etc.
The chest cavity will naturally open up do to gravity.
The chest cavity will naturally open up do to gravity.
Continue cutting until the chest cavity opens up.
Continue cutting until the chest cavity opens up.
Here you have the holy grail of organs exposed for a raw fed dog!
Here you have the holy grail of organs exposed for a raw fed dog!

Step Three - Cleaning Out the Body Cavity

Using a meat saw or other saw, cut the pelvic bone just until through it, no further. Cut around the anus with a knife, to free this area of intestines.
Using a meat saw or other saw, cut the pelvic bone just until through it, no further. Cut around the anus with a knife, to free this area of intestines.
Simply cut any tissue holding the organs and intestines, and remove these either by rolling the carcass over, or pulling them out by hand.
Simply cut any tissue holding the organs and intestines, and remove these either by rolling the carcass over, or pulling them out by hand.

Step Four - Disposing of the Guts

Here are shown the lungs (pink, spongy), heart (in the midst of the lungs), liver, and anus with attached membranes. These are all good dog food. Other organs are also salvaged.
Here are shown the lungs (pink, spongy), heart (in the midst of the lungs), liver, and anus with attached membranes. These are all good dog food. Other organs are also salvaged.
You can even salvage the green tripe if you wish! I pulled a little hard and ruptured the stomach, but that happens sometimes. That's what green tripe is anyway, and dogs love it!
You can even salvage the green tripe if you wish! I pulled a little hard and ruptured the stomach, but that happens sometimes. That's what green tripe is anyway, and dogs love it!

Explanation of the Whole Carcass Model

Raw Dog Food Feeding Practices

Do You Already Feed Your Dog a Natural, Raw Diet?

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Questions & Answers

    © 2009 Joilene Rasmussen

    Comments

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      • Joy At Home profile imageAUTHOR

        Joilene Rasmussen 

        4 days ago from United States

        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!

      • profile image

        Stefanie 

        5 days ago

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

      • Joy At Home profile imageAUTHOR

        Joilene Rasmussen 

        6 months ago from United States

        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.

      • profile image

        Ash 

        6 months ago

        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?

      • Joy At Home profile imageAUTHOR

        Joilene Rasmussen 

        3 years ago from United States

        Shaddie, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      • Shaddie profile image

        Shaddie 

        3 years ago from Washington state

        Good job :)

      • Joy At Home profile imageAUTHOR

        Joilene Rasmussen 

        8 years ago from United States

        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 profile image

        Ivorwen 

        8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

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

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