With the rising popularity of cooked and raw diets for dogs, and the emergence of specialty kibble, it's not surprising that buffalo meat is increasingly being used as dog food and treats. As a novel protein, buffalo is a useful ingredient in kibble for dogs with food allergies. It is a low-fat meat, and buffalo are usually grass-fed, with the meat often certified organic. You may be surprised by the number of places selling buffalo meat for dogs.
Since buffalo meat is now sold for human consumption, what is not deemed worthy of putting on the supermarket shelves after butchering is finding its way into dry dog food. Some owners appreciate a hormone-free organic meat as a primary ingredient in kibble. Others find it useful when seeking protein sources that won't trigger allergic reactions in dogs, and meats such as buffalo, emu and even kangaroo are being used in prescription diets. Buffalo meat and tripe is also sold by raw food purveyors for those who feed a raw, or BARF (Bones and Raw Food), diet to their dogs. Buffalo treats and dog chews are also available, from bully sticks and tendon chews to raw or smoked buffalo bones and small chewy treats.
Buffalo (also called bison) meat is higher in protein, omega fatty acids and amino acids than beef, and lower in fat and cholesterol. It tends to be darker, with less marbling and fat than beef. Like beef and other meats, it is USDA certified.
Because buffalo are raised free-range and pasture-fed, they are not given antibiotics or growth hormones in their commercial feed. Being grass-fed, the meat is naturally higher in omega 6 fatty acids, beneficial for dogs' coats, skin and joint health. Additionally, most buffalo meat is raised in the United States, and those trying to avoid harmful pet food ingredients from China can be assured that buffalo meat is a reliable protein source.
Buffalo require more land than cattle, and they grow much more slowly. The meat is therefore roughly twice the cost of beef--whether raw, as a dog food ingredient, or as treats and chews.
The most common use of buffalo meat for dogs is in a raw diet (see Resources). It is sold in three forms: boneless chunks, such as muscle meat, heart or tripe as a component of a raw diet; bone-in chunks provide raw meaty bones for larger dogs; and as a mix in ground form, with the correct ratios of meat, bones and organs to provide complete nutrition.