Updated: Sep 30, 2022
Every raw feeder knows the pain of defrosting meat and having a massive pile of red liquid. But, what is this thawing juice? While at first glance, you may think, ''blood'', it's myoglobin! Whether you're thawing or cutting raw meat, an encounter with myoglobin is a dime a dozen.
Myoglobin is a heme-containing dark red protein essential for oxygenating tissues and an enzymatic function necessary for regulating nitric oxide. Its role in the body is to trap oxygen in the muscles, which gives muscles the energy to contract. Essential for life and a rich source of bioavailable iron, feeding the myoglobin provides nutrients. Plus, it's a tasty treat for the animal.
Red vs. White Meat
The myoglobin level dictates whether a cut of meat is white or red. The muscles classified as red meat are used more rigorously for standing, walking, and more activity-based movement. The animal's age can also impact myoglobin levels. Older animals have more myoglobin and darker meat.
White meat is made up of fast-twitch muscle fibers and composed of muscles used for quick bursts of activity. Energy is from glycogen and contains little myoglobin. Some animals, such as poultry, have white and dark meat, with darker meat found mainly in the leg muscles.
Pigs are often referred to as the “other white meat” since they are technically red meat, but it is not as concentrated as other animals such as beef, lamb, and goat. Fish are considered white meat since they can float in the water without much muscle effort and have little to no myoglobin.
Myoglobin is easy to collect! Place your meat in a pan or bucket and let it defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours. After collection, the liquid from your meat can either pour it directly over the food or make cute molds to add later! Make sure to feed slowly if it is a new addition and/or the dog is not transitioned.
Myoglobin is an easy (and free) source of nutrients and moisture. Next time you thaw meat, make sure to save it and feed. I hope you learn something new today & Always Keep Exploring!