How to Skin a Deer for Raw Dog Food

K-10's Menu for the Week

Our German Shepherd, K-10, loves butchering time.
Our German Shepherd, K-10, loves butchering time.

About the Deer in These Photographs

In this article, my husband and I will show you how to skin a deer for dog food. The particular deer featured here was found dead and, with the game warden's blessing, was given to us for our German Shepherd stud dog, K-10. He is raw fed. This deer was not suitable for human consumption, and, had he not been used for dog food, would have been wasted. He was somewhat bloated, as he had been shot several hours earlier, and was not discovered right away. (He was poached, and was shot in the wee hours of the morning.)

We will show the nitty gritty of how to prepare the deer for gutting. Our method of skinning dog food deer is less thorough than the skinning method used for deer which wind up on our table, and is designed only for getting at the guts easily.

The photos below are graphic. If dead animals turn your stomach, please go read something else.

About the No-Hang Method Shown Here

This method of processing a deer is not recommended when the animal is for human consumption. Dogs are equipped with germ-killing saliva, and can handle more crud than you probably can.

This deer carcass was brought home on a flatbed trailer, and as there was no need to be clean and tidy, we did not hang the carcass up. K-10, the dog, wanted to help anyway, and it would have spoiled his fun to hang the deer from a tree, etc., as is typically done. We did not gut this deer, as the dog preferred to do that himself, over time. So we processed it directly on the trailer.

If you plan on gutting the deer and not allowing your dog to consume the entrails (if your dog is usually welcome indoors, this may change after he eats these delicacies), or are sharing a deer between your family and dog, by all means, use the cleanest, best method you can. Don't take unnecessary chances with bacteria.

Never feed an obviously diseased animal to yourself or your pets. There are some diseases that dogs cannot catch from other species, but if you are not sure, don't risk it. Dispose of such animals in the cleanest way possible, submitting them to the proper authorities as warranted (such as with Chronic Wasting Disease in deer).

Step One - Splitting the Hide Down the Belly

Carefully separate the hide near the intestines, without opening the body cavity. Cut around the testes to save them as a treat for your dog!
Carefully separate the hide near the intestines, without opening the body cavity. Cut around the testes to save them as a treat for your dog!
Continue up the center of the belly, separating the hide from the body cavity. DO NOT cut too deep, or you risk splitting a gut (smelly). Continue removing the hide toward the back bone.
Continue up the center of the belly, separating the hide from the body cavity. DO NOT cut too deep, or you risk splitting a gut (smelly). Continue removing the hide toward the backbone.

Step Two - Removing Hide from Legs

Pull the hide down from the rib cage. Then, using a sharp knife or utility knife, cut around the knee area (leave the hide on the lower legs). Split the hide up the inside of the legs. Continue cutting up to the rib cage cut, pulling the hide back.
Pull the hide down from the rib cage. Then, using a sharp knife or utility knife, cut around the knee area (leave the hide on the lower legs). Split the hide up the inside of the legs. Continue cutting up to the rib cage cut, pulling the hide back.

Step Three - Removing the Head

After removing the hide around the front shoulders, cut the head off with a saw (a meat saw or chain saw is preferred).
After removing the hide around the front shoulders, cut the head off with a saw (a meat saw or chain saw is preferred).
Cut wherever you want. There is no "magic" place that is best.
Cut wherever you want. There is no "magic" place that is best.
If you have a hard core raw fed dog, you can feed the neck to your dog.
If you have a hard core raw fed dog, you can feed the neck to your dog.
K-10 eats everything, including the teeth.
K-10 eats everything, including the teeth.

That's It! Except the "Cuddle" Factor.

Now the hide is removed enough to allow you to gut the deer for your dog. You don't have to gut the deer, if you feed outside - but you won't want your dog coming into the house for quite some while. He will enjoy smelling "wild", but you won't enjoy him sharing his experiences with you. Organ meats and guts, particularly, tend to produce a lot of flatulence. Not to mention the fact that dogs, when left to their own devices, enjoy tunneling into ribcages, and wearing their dinner until the scraps wear off or are scrubbed off.

If you wish to skin the deer entirely, just roll it over and continue on the other side, until you can strip it clear off.

In upcoming articles, we will explain how to gut a deer for dog food, and cut the meat into usable portions.

Raw Fed Dogs Eating Deer Meat - Demonstration

More by this Author


Comments 18 comments

Paul Edmondson profile image

Paul Edmondson 6 years ago from Burlingame, CA

Wow. This is an amazing hub. We have a german shepherd at home that we use to feed raw meat paddies, but we never prepared the raw meat. I actually wasn't aware that people did this for their animals. Love the pictures and the details.


Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

Looks like a nice hide. Are you doing something with it? Or do you dispose of it?


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Paul, [from the wife] thanks for taking a look-see. A few years ago, I would have thought that going to this much work for dog food was insane. But after seeing firsthand the benefits of raw feeding, I am a believer!


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Ivorwen, I kept this hide. It was really rather nice. In fact, I just posted about fleshing it, on my blog:

http://joilene.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/another-de...

The one from the deer which Hubby later shot wound up not being near so nice, so I was glad to have this one. The second one got scrapped.


Paul Edmondson profile image

Paul Edmondson 6 years ago from Burlingame, CA

What are the benefits of raw food for your dog?


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Paul, this can be an extremely complicated and controversial subject. Here is a forum designed around the topic:

http://www.dogster.com/forums/Raw_Food_Diet

Also, here is a page explaining some of the truths about raw fed dog diets:

http://www.rawfed.com/myths/

These two links are good starting places.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia

Great pictures.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia

Paul, I have a few hubs on BARF diet. It's actually quite beneficial.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Whitney, thanks so much for your support. It looks like you have one happy pooch. :-)


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West Virginia

It isa better for the dogs to eat what a dog would eat naturally. Read the first three ingredients of commercial dog food. Then go to the most expensive in the grocery store and you wil find that you are paying for more corn then the cheaper brands. It is pathetic. Just give your dog a raw steak and he will be very happy.


LiftedUp profile image

LiftedUp 6 years ago from Plains of Colorado

Very clear pictures. Thanks.

I can testify somewhat to the good effects of feeding a dog a raw diet. There is one which is often a guest in my porch, and I find that he does not produce the same allergic reaction that most animals produce. The owner mentioned to me that it might be the lack of corn in the diet, and I think he must be right.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

LiftedUp, you are welcome.

I am glad to hear that you have had such good experiences with raw feeding. It takes much dedication, and a different mindset to feed raw than to feed kibble, but I, too, can testify to the lack of allergy in raw fed dogs. Our previous dog was not raw fed, and if he so much as licked my hand, I got an allergic reaction within seconds. K-10 at first had a "wet dog" smell all the time, and horrible ear infections. These disappeared - as well as the smell - within weeks of switching him to a whole foods diet. The diet at that time was not entirely raw, but it was based on whole foods - meats, vegetables, fruits, very little grains. He almost never appears to feel poorly now that he is on a cleaner diet.


Maria Cecilia profile image

Maria Cecilia 6 years ago from Philippines

wow this is something new, I know of people who raw feed their dogs but this is different... what love for pets can do to their owners...anyway I am not a raw feeder but I am not a dog food patronizer too...I fed my dog boiled meet with no spices...


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Maria,

We fed K-10 cooked meat and other things (pumpkin, yogurt, etc.) initially, during the switchover period from dog food to raw, and this seemed to make the transition easier for his system. Now he eats almost exclusively meat and some goat dairy products...doesn't care for the vegetables much anymore, though he continues to like certain grain products - pancakes and whole grain cookies. Mostly, he likes anything we tell him is "people food".

I'm glad to hear your dog is fed well. :-)


Linda Bliss profile image

Linda Bliss 4 years ago from San Francisco

This is a really interesting article about raw food! We feed our doggie a raw diet - but living in London I somehow don't think we'd have enough space to store a whole deer :o) Voted up and shared.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 4 years ago from United States Author

Linda,

Thanks for the encouragement, and hurray for your raw-fed dog!

Meat storage can be something of a problem. We have two chest freezers, and usually have more animal food in them than people food. We get a lot of "downed" animals from local feed lots, as well as wild game, such as the deer shown in this article. We generally do not feed our dog animals which died of an illness, but keep on the lookout for those which broke a leg, got hit by a car, or were otherwise healthy but injured. Forming a good relationship with your local game warden is a good step, if you ever become a do-it-yourself raw feeder and butcherer. Many hunters are also willing to give you heads, damaged meat (such as that found around a bullet wound), and other tidbits not considered fit for the table.


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 20 months ago from Washington state

Amazing hub!


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 20 months ago from United States Author

Thanks, Shaddie.

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