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In pet food, venison can be used as a fresh meat (fresh venison, deboned venison, freshly prepared venison) or as a pre-prepared, dry meat meal (venison meal, dried venison, dehydrated venison). When the ingredient is listed simply as 'venison' it usually refers to the fresh form.
Venison is the general term for deer meat. Most of the venison that is used in European pet foods comes from New Zealand but due to a global shortage, the price of venison has shot up over the last few years making it one of the most expensive meat options found in dog foods.
Although the quality of venison used in pet foods can vary, it is generally regarded as a highly digestible, highly palatable meat source for dogs and unlike most meats, venison provides a good source of B vitamins.
Red meats like venison do however contain higher levels of trans-fats and cholesterol which should be kept to a minimum if your dog has a history of health problems. Red meats also contain higher levels of purines and other minerals (especially in the 'meal' form due to the higher bone content) which are best avoided in dogs with urinary conditions.