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.