A few people have written to me asking for my ‘recipe’ for raw dog food, so I decided this deserved a post of its own.
To be honest, there really isn’t a ‘recipe’ per se. What there is is a ratio break down, which as I’ve mentioned before is:
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
Bear in mind, this is MY ratio, based on what I have access to most often, and at the most reasonable prices. You, on the other hand, can muck about with this to suit your own preferences, and your own locally available ingredients.
Some people might have an easier time getting chicken necks and backs than turkey necks. Others might have a line on venison or elk in season, which they can substitute for beef. The same applies to veggies and fruits — if I’ve gotten a good deal on bananas or carrots, there’s going to be a lot of bananas and carrots in their food. Right now, my dandelion ‘garden’ is a reliable source for greens, so we’re using that (and getting some weeding done at the same time).
I don’t weigh out anything, either — I estimate by volume, using my trusty pots and pans and bowls.
I grind and chop all my veggies, and I pre bake sweet potatoes and squash. Technically speaking both of these orange vegetables are carb sources, so I keep them to a 20% ratio in my veggie mix. You can adjust as you like. For people who want a grain or carb source, try adding quick cooking oats or quinoa (although technically speaking, you don’t really need a carb source other than the veggies).
If you are confident that your dog can get through necks and backs, then by all means, skip grinding them. I, on the other hand, am confident that I’d spend a good deal of time pulling stringy bits of turkey out of the throats of my choking dogs, so I do grind. To each their own, and don’t let the hard line party advocates on either side of the issue bully you out of doing what’s best for you dogs.
Since I grind, I give my dogs recreational beef bones to chew on once a week or so.
Remember, this is all about finding what works for you. Preparing your own raw food is messy, time consuming and back breaking. Honestly, if I was only feeding one or two dogs, I’d have no hesitation about feeding them a pre made raw diet (we like the Nature’s Variety patties).
Don’t get caught in the “Unless you do it ‘this way’, you’re a dog killing heathen” trap. Too many raw feeding advocates get a sort of scary, cult like thing going on when they start preaching about their way of feeding. Personally, I don’t think any diet is perfect, unless you can make it work for you.