Bullmarket French Bulldog Breeders

A Photo Guide to Making Raw Dog Food

I wrote the other day about accumulating and prepping all of my ingredients for making a batch of raw dog food. Sean and I decided that if we were going to make a batch, we might as well make a big batch — and that’s what we ended up doing. Here’s a photo series of the steps involved in making a batch of raw dog food.

If anyone wants more detailed instructions, visit this page. Bear in mind, though, that what works for my dog might now work for yours.

The first step I usually do is to grind all my vegetables. I buy vegetables here and there, as they’re on sale or available, and then I grind them and freeze them into plastic containers — one for greens, one for carrots, another for fruit (my guys love bananas, melon, apples and pear). Then I partially nuke sweet potatoes and squash, and rice them using a ricer before freezing them into batches. The day before I’m going to make my dog food, I get them out and thaw them.

I’ve been getting a really good deal on whole, frozen salmon lately, so I bough ten of them and tucked them into the freezer. I poach them, mix them up with canned Jack mackeral, and put the whole lot through the grinder, bones and all.

The veggies and fish get mixed up with my yogurt, eggs, nutritional yeast, molasses, apple cider vinegar, pressed garlic cloves, hemp hearts and flax seed (I got a good deal on some at the co op, and decided to add some to this batch of food). I mix it all up in a giant corn pot (or lobster pot, or stock pot) that I got at a yard sale. I buy these giant pots any time I see them at a garage sale or second hand store – they’re perfect for mixing up dog food.

Sean grinds the turkey necks, hearts and livers for me — another reason why a tall guy is always useful to have around the house. We use a basic grinder from Northern Tools, and it’s lasted me a year and change so far, with two blade changes. I don’t expect it to last forever, with the amount of work we ask it to do, but I’m OK with that. If it wears out, I’ll probably buy the next model up. We buy our beef already ground, so it just gets mixed into with the turkey.

Did I mention we decided to make a big batch of food? So big, that I had a panic attack about where we were going to mix it all. Usually, we have a three quarter pot of meats, and a quarter pot of mixed gunk (that’s our ‘technical term’ for it). I then mix it all together in a third big pot, but this time, there was no way that would work — we had two full pots of turkey and ground meat, and a full pot of mixed gunk.

So, we improvised, and used this big wheeled bin. Here it is, about half way full, with Tessa watching the proceedings with interest.

Hey, are you wondering ‘how on earth do you mix up this much dog food?’. Easy – you stick your arms in. Up to the elbows. Pretend you’re one of those big food processor dough hooks, and blend, blend, blend. Then, look down, see that you’re covered in bits of raw meat gore all the way up to your armpits, shriek, and jump into the shower fully clothed.

Here’s the finished product, with flecks of heart, liver, bone and greens. Mmm! Getting hungry yet?

We measure out the food into large sized, zip lock freezer bags – to be more exact, slide lock bags, which are easier to close. We buy them at the dollar store, because the same bags otherwise would be $5 per box.

We put five cups into each bag, and by the time we were done, we’d covered the island twice, for a total of sixty bags. That is a lot of dog food.

We used to just stack the bagged food in the freezer, but found that the occasional leaking bag could make quite a mess. Now, we put the bags into plastic storage bins, which we then stack in the freezer. It’s easier to lift them out, and I can still stack things on top of them (in whatever room is leftover for people food, which sure isn’t much). We ended up with five of these totes.

Finished! And a long day’s work it was, too. For those curious about these things, we ended up with sixty bags of five cups each raw, or 300 cups of food. Ignoring our time and work, the total cost was just under $95. Not bad, really.

Here’s Tula, enjoying a bowl of the finished product. I, on the other hand, enjoyed a well earned nap.

Addendum: Oh, and can I just say how stupid I feel for having defended the right of Bernann McKinney to love her cloned Pit Bull, only to learn she’s actually an on the lam, sexual predator whack job? Nice one, universe. Thanks for the metaphysical slap upside o’ the head.

23 replies
  1. Fuzzy Logic
    Fuzzy Logic says:

    We have two refridgerators, a stand up freezer and a chest freezer.. guess how much of that stores HUMAN food?

    We buy Oma’s pride food and split it up into plastic food storage containers that stack nicely in the freezer. We take food out for the day after next and let it thaw in the fridge and rotate so there is always one meal thawed and one thawing in the fridge.

    We also have color coded lids so we know whose food is whose.

    I

    Fuzzy Logic’s last blog post..Because I need a laugh today

  2. The Cletus Residence
    The Cletus Residence says:

    Oh, that’s too bad about McKinney. Those little cloned pit bull pups deserved a better start in life than that. The whole story reads like a bad novel, and somehow, somebody is going to figure out how to blame it all on the pit bulls. Darn…

    The Cletus Residence’s last blog post..Houseguest?

  3. Fred
    Fred says:

    Stella and Rocky, my Great Dane and Doberman get pretty much the same food as your guys but I get the butcher to grind everything up. If I did it myself, that would be my full time job with the amount my two dogs eat – and they don’t pay very well.

    Luv that picture of Tessa looking up at the crate-o-meat. Perhaps she wants to take a bath in it?

    Fred’s last blog post..Lifestyle

  4. frogdogz
    frogdogz says:

    My people food is mainly in my fridge freezer, what little there is of it.. I cook less for myself than I do for the dogs.

    Cletus, tell your mom I feel the same way — why does she have to be a whack job? It’ll give more fuel to the PETA-esque ‘only crackpots and thugs own Pit Bulls’ arguments.

    The photo with Tessa gives you a pretty good idea of how big the bin is. Is it wrong to admit that she licked up the bits that hit the floor, or stuck to the outside?

  5. frogdogz
    frogdogz says:

    Approximately 1.5 cups, depending on their metabolism. Journey only needs 1 cup, Bunny needs two.

    The preggie girls eat twice a day right now — towards the end, I’ll feed them three times per day. They eat about two cups, split into two meals. Last week or so, I’ll up that to 2.5

    When they’re nursing, I give them pretty much whatever they want, the more the better.

  6. Judy Woods
    Judy Woods says:

    I have just started my Frenchies on the raw diet and have been reading everything that I can find. I like the way you prepare ahead of time since I work and this would save me alot of time. One question I have though is don’t they need bones to chew on. Right now I am giving my dogs the bones with the meat on them and they are loving it. All other articles that I have read say that the bones are good for them, and safe. Do you always grind everything up, or do you also give them bones?

  7. frogdogz
    frogdogz says:

    Hi Judy —

    I grind all of my chicken and turkey bones. I don’t find that my Frenchies are able to consistently chew through them in a safe manner.

    I do, however, give them recreational beef ones once a week. They get them in their crates only — otherwise battles would break out!

  8. Lori
    Lori says:

    I’m very much interested in doing this. My dog Kasey is a 55lb mutt (lab and border collie is our best guess) and he seems to have a beef allergy. He’s also not a big eater (at least of his “quality” kibble, he’s up for everything else), about 2 1/2 cups a day is all he will eat (not counting a few treats). I supplement with a probiotic vitamin every day, which has done wonders for his um…poo texture… But it worries me that he’s just turning a year and eats that little. I’m wondering if going your route might be better.

    About how much time a month do you devote to the process? How do you even get the organ meat?

    P.S. Our vet says he’s the perfect weight for his size with a nice tuck in after the ribs. Maybe I just worry too much.

  9. Amanda Maloney
    Amanda Maloney says:

    I’m a Dog Behaviour Expert and although my colleagues disagree with me- I know raw is best and I feed my pack that way! It can be overwhelming- especially when you are second guessing yourself all the time and with all the sites, info and opinions out there it gets confusing! But the ‘best’ bit of info I’ve found is your guide and I’ve been feeding some variation of it for months with great results! Thanks for explaining it and adding the pics cause they helped big time~ I have a couple more questions I hope you’ll have time to answer πŸ™‚

    1- Poach the fish right? Why not raw?

    2- Why molasses?

    and 3- Without a ‘ricer’ what should I do with the veggies in the meantime? Grate or put them through the meat grinder maybe?
    The search for a ricer continues!

    Thanks in advance for the help πŸ™‚

    • frogdogz
      frogdogz says:

      Normally, I don’t poach my fish, but I DO freeze it for at least 30 days. In salmon, in particular, there is a parasite that can make dogs (and humans) seriously ill. Freezing or poaching kills it. The fish I purchased was fresh, and I didn’t have time to freeze it for the required amount of days before using it.

      I use molasses for a source of iron – it’s very rich in iron and other essential vitamins. I don’t always use it, however – mainly when I’m making a batch for puppies and/or pregnant/lactating girls.

      I put my veggies through the grinder, if they fit (celery and carrots are good). Other wise, you can grate or use a blender, I suppose!

  10. camille
    camille says:

    hi carol,

    i am getting ready to make my first batch of raw. my question is i bought the turkey necks but wonder if that is enough bone. i am only adding turkey and beef as i think my little one is allergic to chicken. should i buy something else bone-in? i give her raw bones to chew on but wonder if the necks are enough bone for her diet.

    thanks so much

  11. Pat
    Pat says:

    Hi Carol,

    I have been mixing raw for about 3 mnths now and my pack loves it.
    Although I have not used the turkey necks yet , I am in the process of finding a meat grinder so that I can add them next batch. However I am using everything else but my ratio of organ meat is lower because my english bulldogs are very sensitive to the richness of it. My pugs and frenchie are all ok although I did have to tweek it a bit . I can’t believe the change in them all I am very happy with the difference. I had been struggling for sometime to find a good food that would suit all of them to no avail. Thank you very much for all your information. And my
    flatface pack all thanks you.

    • frogdogz
      frogdogz says:

      Glad to hear it, Pat! Some of mine are more sensitive to organs, too – I added too much lamb liver once, and it wasn’t pretty.. lol!

      But, don’t forget that our dogs NEED calcium! If you’re not using necks, what are you using currently to provide the calcium they need?

      As for grinders, check Craigs List and Ebay — always loads of good deals on used grinders. There’s a model from Cabela’s that is apparently great at getting through almost anything. I paid $99 for mine from Northern Tool, and it’s still going strong four years later (altho with lots of blade changes).

  12. Pat
    Pat says:

    Thanks for the reply Carol,

    I have been putting yogurt into the food also for now I take the
    shells from the eggs let them dry out and crush them with a coffee
    grinder. It turns into a powder and then I mix that in… Also the
    bones from the salmon . My only problem now besides finding a grinder is that I am trying to make enough to last longer than a
    10 days . Its alot of work to make once a week. But I guess it is
    all about trial and error.

    I am making this food for 7 dogs 2 english bulldogs 3 pugs 1 chug
    (pug mix) and 1 french bulldog !!! So as you can see they are all
    different with skin sensativities and digestion issues raw is the only safe was to go for them.

    Thanks again for all your information

    Pat

  13. camille
    camille says:

    hi carol,

    well NOW i am going to use the 60:40 ratio πŸ™‚
    damn, that means more math πŸ™
    can you tell me if the ratio you use is 50% turkey and fish with bones, what ratio do you use within that? how much turkey to fish?
    i notice your mention hemp hearts and flax above. do you always add them? are they needed?
    i use the cuisinart grinder from canadian tire. surprisingly it is pretty good. the beef lung was pretty gross and a little difficult and the turkey necks give it a workout but all in all after today i will have ground up enough food for 3 months for my little girl. yaaaaay

    thanks

  14. Amanda Maloney
    Amanda Maloney says:

    Thanks for the fish info Carol, glad I poached them afterall!

    In this part of Canada I’m having trouble finding nutritional yeast, and was told to use Bewers…any thoughts?

    Also, I was wondering what food items your dog have reacted badly to- your personal ‘never again’ list?

    Thanks again for your time and knowledge, your experiences here- and your generosity at sharing them with us- is appreciated by all πŸ™‚

    • camille
      camille says:

      Amanda,

      I found the nutritional yeast at the health food store where i paid a fortune. Then when i was getting flax at the bulk barn i found that they had it there for waaaaay less. not sure where in canada you are but if they have a bulk barn try there. i found it by the flax and hemp hearts.

      Carol,
      Yes, mixing 3 months of food up is very ewwy. i was covered in meat, fish etc. and my dezii just sat there just WAITING for food to fall πŸ™‚
      soooo glad it’s over and she is all set until jan. thanks for all of your help. without your recipe i would never have been brave enough to try making my own raw.

  15. Dana
    Dana says:

    I heard you should only feed raw diet only if you have access to fresh-kill? The grocery store meat has too much bateria?

    • frogdogz
      frogdogz says:

      Dana, you do NOT have to become a hunter to feed your dog raw. That’s just silly, and whoever told you this needs some sense slapped into them.

      Just buy fresh, good quality meat, handle it with care during preparaton, and you’ll be fine.i

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