Bulk meal prep makes feeding your raw fed dog so much easier. Our top tip is a big supply of quality food storage pots.
One of the first things we did when Herbert, our miniature wire haired dachshund came to live with us was to change his food and switch him to a raw diet.
There has been a huge surge in raw or BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods) feeding as more and more pet owners have realized that natural is better their much loved pets and are turning away from processed foods and kibble.
I’m baffled at the number of vets who still recommend processed food sold in bags whose labels contain umpteen ingredients that I have no idea what they are. No human medical professional would advocate eating less fresh food in favour of processed would they?
Herbert now consistently loves his food (he hated it before), is fitter, happier, healthier, has thicker fur and smaller and less smelly poops (a huge bonus for a dog owner)!
Getting started with raw feeding your dog – what you need to know
Firstly a warning – you need to know what you are doing and feed a proper balanced diet. Getting it wrong can cause your pet more harm than good. You cannot do too much research.
I’d suggest spending a good few days reading around the subject – following Dogs Naturally, Dr Karen Becker and Rodney Habib on Facebook is a good place to start, and they will point you towards more sources of information.
Basic raw food diet for dogs
80% muscle meat
10% secreting organs of which half needs to be liver
Feed 2-3% of body weigh per day
Feed at least 7 different proteins (species) and a variety of body parts, add supplements, probiotics and some vegetables and fruit as you judge fit.
*I am not a canine nutritionist so you must do your own research. There are a number of raw feeding groups on Facebook (many breed specific) with a wealth of knowledge and most of the raw companies have helplines *
Of course raw feeding is far more nuanced than this, so I’d recommend starting with a good quality complete raw food from one of the many brands, available from most pet shops, or via mail order.
We started with Nutriment because it can come with my Ocado order. If your vet is not supportive (many aren’t) then do as we did and change to a practice that is more open minded or supportive.
Once you get the hang of it you can switch to DIY and feed more interesting chunky food – Herbert’s bowl regularly contains canine delicacies such as chicken or duck feet, beef trachea and lamb lungs. All of which are far more interesting for him, taste and texture wise than a minced mix.
I order a box of frankly Dexter-esque frozen body parts from a raw food supplier every few months, taking a certain amount of delight in adding some more obscure bits!
I then used to spend a few hours hacking them down to manageable bite sized chunks and then refreezing them into bags, before assembling his two meals every day which was both time consuming and faffy.
I now bulk prepare Herbert’s meals packing his 105g of raw food per meal into these handy leak-proof Clip & Close 180ml pots from Addis which can be neatly stashed into the freezer all ready to defrost in the fridge for a day before feeding.
Spare pots double up as a leak proof water bowl when we are out and about, and for treat storage.
Addis have a huge range of shapes and sizes of containers so you are going to find one that holds enough and takes up the least possible space in the freezer; we use the Clip & Close pots with blue seals for Herbert and then the CleanSeal with the green seals for human food.
Despite that everything Herbert eats is human quality I’d prefer to keep them separate given my predilection for ALL the weird body parts.
What takes the time with raw fed dog meal prep?
I find that it’s all the faffing around getting organized. Pulling everything out of the freezer and rummaging though all those bag of food and remembering which body parts and proteins you have not fed for a while, as well as weighing everything.
My secret to raw fed dog meal prep, therefore, is a plentiful supply of identical pots and to make 10 days of food at the same time. (If I had a bigger freezer I’d do a month at a time).
Bulk prep makes it easier to correctly balance Herbert’s diet over the whole period.
I’m not worried about being exact with the 80:10:5:5 ratio on a meal by meal basis – who has got the time, energy or accurate enough scales to weigh out exactly 5.25g of liver of each meal? Certainly not me! It’s far easier to weight out around 105g then put approximately similar sized pieces into each pot, then repeat with the rest of his food.
Using identical pots means that all the lids fit interchangeably, they all weigh the same and they stack well in the freezer. This makes life even easier.
Above we have dinners with a spoon of steamed vegetables (he won’t eat them for breakfast for some reason), and breakfasts with a sprinkling of golden paste made with turmeric. Grab and go – if we are going away for a few days I just grab the pots and pop them into a cool bag with a couple of ice packs.
Some of the food above (not for the squeamish is)
- Lamb’s lung, heart and rib,
- Duck feet and gizzards,
- Chicken liver and feet,
- Ground turkey carcass
- Beef trachea and lips,
- chopped salmon heads, sprats, sardines,
- Pork heart, kidney, testicle, pancreas, and ears.
- Rabbit complete food,
- Veal kidney
- Venison chunk
- completes of chicken, lamb tripe & kangaroo or lamb trip and partridge.
The pots with less food in will be supplemented with either an egg or a frozen Kong toy stuffed with a complete minced food.
All the yum for a happy Herbert who comes running tail wagging at meal times and practically inhales the food within seconds.
And a happy owner who has an ordered freezer full of prepared raw food dog meals, with no need to rummage through umpteen bags of body parts every day. Reassurance he is eating the best diet possible is priceless.
Many thanks from Herbert and to Addis for our new food containers. Clip & Close pots start from just £1.99