Benefits of Whole Prey
Updated: May 14
Whole prey tends to be less popular in the raw feeding world as it is usually harder to source and is definitely not for the faint of heart. But whole prey is a great addition to a fresh food diet as it adds variety, fiber, enrichment, and more.
What's Whole Prey?
Whole prey is the whole prey or the whole intact animal. Intact means what the animal would look like if it were freshly killed (see image above). The animal fed includes the fur/feathers, head, feet, intestines, etc.
Whole prey does not mean feeding a live animal to your pet. It is feeding an already deceased animal. Live feeding is NOT whole prey feeding. Animals that are used as whole prey should be humanely killed before feeding.
Whole prey includes the skin, fur, blood, organs, and more in one neatly wrapped animal bento body box. This means those small prey animals such as rabbits and quail count as a whole balanced meal! Smaller whole prey animals pretty much meet all the NRC guidelines except iodine (kelp) and vitamin E (depends on the quality). The nutrients not found in whole prey can be balanced over time.
Feeding whole prey also gives your animal excess to ALL the organs in the body, not just 2 at a time like the ratio DIY diet. This means brain, eyes, liver, kidneys, pancreas, ovaries or testicles, spleen, and thymus. This does not mean that feeding only 2 organs is bad but highlights the variety that whole prey gives.
Additionally, whole prey is a great source of fiber due to the fur and feathers! Since the fur and feathers are intact, they are allowed to travel through the dog's GI tract and act as a pipe cleaner cleaning out the intestinal tract, which aids in overall gut health and bulking the stool.
It is often said that fur & feathers are a reliable bioavailable source of manganese. But there seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence regarding whether or not fur & feathers actually can supply this essential nutrient. It's not so much a question of the presence of manganese but the bioavailability of the mineral. Fur and feathers are very high in