This morning I whiled away an idle Sunday morning grinding and chopping vegetables and fruits for my dogs.
I pre baked sweet potatoes and squash. I diced Dandelion greens and Colt’s Foot (most of which I gathered from my ill tended yard and gardens, I’m ashamed to admit, but at least it’s a cheap and chemical free source of food). I chopped melon, ground it, and drained it in a colander. I put twenty pounds of carrots through my long suffering food grinder. I cored and cubed apples. I mashed bananas. I crushed garlic cloves. I seeded and chopped summer squash and zucchini and cucumber.
Then I mixed it all up, added fresh, organic cider vinegar, and packed it into my freezer.
Next week, I’ll pick up my fresh order of turkey necks, hearts and livers, and 40 pounds of lean ground, grass fed beef. I’ll stop and pick up two dozen free range eggs, two cartons of organic, pro-biotic yogurt, a carton of unsulphured molasses, some nutritional yeast, and six cans of water packed jack mackerel (to go along with the three whole salmons I have in the freezer, that will get poached tomorrow night).
Then I’ll spend another whole day chopping, grinding, mixing, weighing, batching and freezing. No one ever said feeding dogs raw was easy…
Oh, and what did I eat this morning? Two cups of coffee and a caramel rice cake.
Yup, it’s true – my dogs eat better than I do. Maybe I should just eat their food – after all, it’s not like this is commercial dog food, with its long list of scary and nauseating ingredients. I know where every ingredient I feed my dogs came from, and with the exception of the canned fish, all of it is as organic and chemical free as I can possibly buy. There’s no mystery animal parts, no chemical preservatives, no greasy fats sprayed on top of it it.
Of course, if you ask the AVMA, or the pet food industry, I’m a bad dog owner. I don’t care about my dog’s health, since I’m willing to risk their very existence by feeding them this home made swill of mine. I’m not a professional, you see – not like the folks over at Menu Foods, for example, or the American Veterinary Association.
According to all of them, people like me are conducting poorly planned science experiments on our dogs, feeding them this, feeding them that, and none of it ‘complete and balanced’, those buzzwords of the commercial dog food manufacturers.
In spite of this, I’ve managed to muddle through almost twelve years of raw feeding, with some experimentation here and there and some changed recipes. I’ve gone from using pre made mixes, to feeding whole raw parts (that didn’t work so well on most of my dogs – too much food bolting and choking), and now to my home made raw stew.
The basics are pretty simple, really –
50% or so turkey necks and fish with bones (salmon, sardines and mackerel, primarily)
5% liver, kidney, giblets (organ meats)
25% muscle meat (beef, sometimes mutton or pork)
10% ground vegetables, fruit and greens
the rest is a mix of eggs, dairy, nutritional yeast, molasses, yogurt and cider vinegar
We also feed leftovers from our meals – scrambled eggs, roast meat and chicken, pastas, salad, etc.
Somehow, in spite of the fact that we’re breaking all the ‘rules’ given to us by the big pet food companies on how we’re supposed to be feeding our dogs, myself and the rest of the raw feeding world are managing to raise healthy, disease free dogs and cats, with no melting bones or salmonella poisoning or other horrific complications.
Bear that in mind, the next time you read some scare tactic inducing piece of big brother comissioned reporting on the ‘risks’ of raw food for your pets.