Whats in YOUR Dog's Food?
I've been on both ends of the spectrum. I have a been the dreaded "kibble feeder"
I teetered back and forth between freeze dried, pre made and formulated raw. I have even fed only animal carcas ( I know, gross word) Then, I finally figured out what works for us.
A little background.
If you don't know already, I am the woman who has had EVERY job, like every job........ not forgetting my years as a dog trainer. Specializing in severe behavioral correction and rehabilitation. With that job, came a slew of K-9 nutrition education. Just like a child with behavioral problems, you would want to make sure that your dog was getting all the nutrients they needed from a diet designed not only for their specific needs, but also for their specific SPECIES. We tend to anthropomorphize dogs and cats because we have emotional connections with them, but sometimes this can be our downfall as owners.
From the late 1800's straight up to WWII, the industrial revolution and the rise of convenient packaged foods that maintain a long shelf life, birthed the normalization of Dry Dog Kibble. This was not for the science of things, it was for convenience. They also stopped slaughtering hundreds of thousands of horses to keep up with demand of wet dog food and began moisture free kibble.
With all this being said......no matter what your vet says (minimal nutritional education, just like our doctors)
Dogs are carnivores and are designed to eat raw meat. Not Just raw meat, but raw meat, bone and offal (organ meat).
Their nutrition needs have not changed since they have been domesticated. In fact WE changed our idea of what they needed in the 1800's with the common thought that we needed to "remove the taste of blood from their diet in order for them to live with us domestically" Crazy right?
Now that all that good info is out of the way, here is what we came up with to feed our dogs. We had 2 great danes for many years and recently lost our 13 YEAR OLD dane in November of 2017. Yes, you read that right, 13, and we are completely convinced that her raw food diet had a TON to do with it.
Feeding 2 great danes (125lbs each) can be expensive. Believe it or not feeding them the raw diet actually SAVED us a ton of money, if we compared it to buying them "high quality kibble". Not to mention their incredible health, which means less health issues and vet visits. Keeping in mind, this recipe is designed to make 120lbs of patties. That's 2 months (2.5lbs a day) factoring in carcas, bone and offal fed intermittently (about 4 -6 times a month) for our, now one, Great Dane, Quinn.
I have a bunch of pictures and explanations, but here's the gist ;)
I make formulated 1/2lb raw patties. Then we also feed, chicken/turkey carcas, beef liver, and marrow bone intermittently. ( as hard as I try, Quinn just doesn't like Poultry Organ meat)
Here is a great raw feeding refence.
Pound to food ratio is easy to figure out.
Here's what is in the patties ( you can adjust the formula based on the size of your dog)
-90lbs raw beef
-20lbs (cooked and pureed) Spinach and Cabbage
-2 dozen eggs with the shells
- 3 lbs blueberries
-2quarts whole fat yogurt
-1lbs rolled oats
So let's put it all together!
First you need to steam and puree your veggies!
Dogs digestive systems are super acidic and much shorter than ours, so veggies need to be close to liquified in order for them to absorb any of the nutrients. The reason you need to do this first is because the veggies need to cool before they can be added to the raw meat, eggs, etc. You want to avoid as much opportunity for bacterial growth as possible.
Two large bags of spinach and two large bags of shredded cabbage. About 20 lbs, when all said and done.
I steam the veggies in the oven first, then puree them with an emersion blender until its pretty liquid-y .
Then stick that pot in the fridge or freezer to get it chilled as quickly as possible.
Next up is the beef prep!
Beef it's what's for dinner.........
I use 73%-27% ground beef. The fat content is good because there isn't any other "filler" in this food. We buy in bulk from Restaurant Depot, membership is free, and all you need is a business license of any kind. But to put it in perspective, this high quality beef is around $1.79 a lb vs what you would buy in the store, closer to $5+ a lb.
We buy a case of beef which ends up being 90lbs
You need a container big enough to mix it all up, and someone to do quality control of course ;) This is Quinns favorite day BTW.
Mix up your beef before you do everything else, otherwise it's too difficult to get it to be homogeneous.
Next up is Blueberry, Egg, and Supplements
We use about 3 lbs of Organic frozen blueberries, 24 hormone free eggs, and the supplements listed above.
Add the eggs, with the shells, blueberries, and all the supplements together in a container and puree. You should end up with a gorgeous purple slushy. Don't taste it though! lol
Then add our oats, and yogurt. If you are going to pre measure out your patties you will need a food scale and something to separate the patties so they don't freeze together. Our food scale is from the 1800's (lol) but it works great! and I use wax paper sheets to separate the patties. Again, we measure in 1/2 lb patties. Even though she eats 2.5-3lbs a day, measuring larger than 1/2 lb would be difficult to store and to thaw.
Then you measure out all of your patties. Just make sure whatever container you use to store and freeze them, is food safe, and air tight ( as much as possible) and you're done!
I know it seems like a lot of work, but here's the deal.......
You can spend a bunch of money on "high quality" kibble and wet food and have a dog that may or may not have health problems, and be "ok" They won't necessarily thrive, but it may not be noticeable.
OR, you can put in some more work, save some dough, AND have a dog who THRIVES. Who is set up to live to their full potential, AND most likely visit the vet less often, also saving you money. Not to mention the behavioral benefits and benefits of a shiny coat, less poop, clean teeth, etc etc etc......
As a final disclaimer, this is what works for us. After A lot of research, education, trial and error, this recipe and feeding schedule with bone, carcas, and offal works and our dogs thrive from it. Every dog is different and there is a lot to consider. An example would be, that we used to feed carrot as well. Turns our carrot is too high in sugar for our girls and they started to develop a lot of yeast. The red/brown color around the eyes, feet and booty, thats yeast guys. SO we removed the carrot and replaced it with pumpkin. Pumpkin is a great way to get rid of yeast growth. After the yeast was gone, we didn't have the need for the pumpkin anymore.
I hope this get's you interested in the idea of feeding your family pets a raw diet.
Questions are welcome!
Have a wonderful day!