Debi’s Raw Dog Food Recipe and Guidelines
THE FINE PRINT:
The information here has not been evaluated by a Veterinary Nutritionist. While we use this and similar dog food recipes to feed all of our dogs, we encourage you to speak with a veterinary nutritionist to determine the best diet for your specific dog. RedTeddy feeds all our dogs a wide variety of foods: raw and cooked, homemade and commercial. Dogs may have eaten only wild game in the past when they were less dog and more wolf, but they have also survived for centuries as scavengers on the outskirts of human settlements. We do not demand that families comply with any specific rigid diet. We also do not advise allowing your dog to become overweight by feeding them too many snacks, no matter how nutritious. What we suggest is to feed your RedTeddy puppy the best quality, because pups need good quality to become healthy, happy adult dogs. The quality of their food at this time in their lives is paramount. But you can be creative and find what your dog likes to eat among many sources.
In fact, we recommend you maintain variety in nutrition and monitor your dog's appearance, overall health, and activity level, and alter their diet to get the best outcome (by this we do not mean poop - although your dog should not have loose stools, which can mean an intestinal problem and may require a visit to the vet!).
This recipe is based on information found primarily on preymodelraw.com and barfworld.com (barf stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food!) and is somewhat of a compromise between the two. This recipe is also based on what Mary feeds the rest of the Red Teddy Poodles, the major difference is in the size of the batches. For one dog, I make 10 pounds at a time. For three dogs, I make 20 pounds. I’ll give you a concise outline of what’s in the mixture, and then some tips on how to manage it!
20% vegetables- My veggie mixture consists of:
- Sweet potato
- Pumpkin or winter squash (like butternut, acorn, hubbard, etc.)
- Dark leafy veggie like spinach, kale, or chard
- Berries- I like cranberries and blueberries because they are really high in anti-oxidants and they freeze really easily (you only need a handful for a 10 lb batch)
- Cabbage (or other coles like Brussel sprouts)
- And whatever else I might have in the garden or the refrigerator- favorites are green beans and parsley.
10% organ meat (I know, icky!)
1) liver- chicken and beef are easy to come by, but they should not make up more than half of the organ meat
2) kidneys, gizzards, lungs, brains all count as organ meat (heart does not, it is a muscle meat) Check with a local butcher or farm for these.
3) tripe- I have trouble finding those listed in number 2, so I often use green tripe for the other half of the organ meat. You can find it frozen or canned at better pet stores. I’ve used beef, lamb, and bison tripe. It smells somewhere between bad and horrible, but it not only is perfectly balanced nutritionally, the dogs ABSOLUTELY LOVE it!
70% raw muscle meat- primarily beef, chicken, pork, and turkey (whatever is on sale!) and is most often a mixture of at least two of them. Your pup has had all of these. You can purchase ground meat or cuts. I dice up steaks, chops, and roasts, and put them through the food processor or blender.
Other foods to feed your puppy:
- Raw meaty bone- Raw Meaty Bones clean your dog’s teeth, provide extra calcium, and make your dog REALLY happy! I try to give them rmb’s two or three times a week. I admit its harder to do during cold weather, raw bones outside is easy, inside, I want them in a crate ‘cuz I don’t like raw meat smearing all over floors and furniture. That’s why I add bone meal to their dog food (it has calcium, but does not clean teeth like a real bone does). My favorites for toy dogs are chicken wings, legs, and thighs; and pork ribs. Your RedTeddy pup has had all of these already, and really loves them. Wings- drumettes and wingettes, but not the tips- tips are too sharp. You can buy the frozen ones made for making buffalo wings, just make sure they are the ones WITHOUT any spices added. I prefer drumsticks and thighs (because they are cheaper) but they generally have too much meat on them (6-10 oz.) (I can’t imagine how big those chickens are!) I cut off a large portion of the meat and skin, freeze it for later dog food batch, or throw it in a stir-fry for hubby and me. ALWAYS feed poultry bones RAW! Cooked poultry bones splinter and can cause major health issues like perforating the esophagus!) I feed pork bones both raw and cooked. Be aware that your pup can will devour most of the poultry bone and a good portion of the pork bone. This is good! Bone calcium and nutrients from marrow are awesome for your dog.
3) Eggs- once a week or once in a while I feed my dogs eggs. Raw or cooked is okay. My spoiled little brats prefer them cooked, and, oh yeah, they like a cheese omelette best. That’s okay with me because I love making omelettes, and a couple extra for the dogs is no problem.
4) I know it’s a gross name, but I call them Organ Brownies. I always seem to end up with some extra tripe, liver, and other organs after making dog food, so I put it in a Ziploc bag, squish down so its no more than ½ inch thick. When its almost frozen solid, I cut it up into 1 inch squares. You want your puppy to love you? Give your pup a hug and an organ brownie when you come home from work! Its nutritious, and they ABSOLUTELY LOVE it!
To make sure your puppy is getting a balanced diet a few supplements are a good idea. And if you can just throw it in your dog food mix, it makes life much simpler than trying to feed them separately. The supplements I add are: a probiotic which includes enzymes (Naturvet Digestive Enzymes-got it from Amazon), diatomaceous earth food grade(no more than 2% of total food weight), bone meal (not the kind at the garden center), a multi-vitamin like NuVets, and fish or krill oil. I just stopped adding fish oil and a multi-vitamin because one or two of my three poodles started turning their nose up at the food that contained it ( and they had always wolfed down their raw food!) AND I just read recently that if you freeze the food with the probiotics and enzymes in it they lose up to 90% of their potency….so now I am giving them Naturvet All-in-One soft chew that has the vitamins, fish oil, probiotics, and enzymes in it. I’m dividing the chews into 4 equal parts to get it to the proper dosage for a 6-7 lb adult dog. Its easier if you can combine it with the food, so I would try that first.
How much do I feed my puppy? And when?
The rule of thumb that I go by is that you should feed both a puppy and a dog 2-3% of their expected body weight depending on their activity level. (If you don’t know how big your puppy will get, they say to go by 10% of their present weight). Little Bear, my RedTeddy Toy Poodle mommy, is 6 pounds and the dad, Billy, is 7 lbs. The average of their weights is 6 ½ lbs. or 104 oz. 2% of that is 2.08 oz., 3% of that is 3.12 oz. (excuse my math!) So, from now until forever, your small dog will require between 2 ½ to 3 ½ oz of food per day. My dogs are very active, love to rough and tumble play, go for several hikes a week as well as tamer walks. In nasty winter weather, when our outdoor time is curtailed by freezing cold winds, I cut back on their food by about half an ounce. Other than that, just watch your puppy. Puppies should have round bellies after eating. They are growing incredibly fast. By the time they are 4 – 6 months old that round belly look will start to disappear, and they will be more proportioned like an adult dog. Puppies need to be fed more often than adult dogs. In its first months at Mary's, your pup ate at least 4 times a day. By 4-6 months, you should be able to cut that back to 3 times a day, and by 9-12 months, you can cut it back to twice a day. Take a cue from your pup, if they are yelping for food, feed them. Some pups are more active than others, and will require more frequent feedings. Remember, you are not cutting back the amount they are getting per day, just how many meals you are dividing that amount into. And yes, a kitchen scale can be very handy in getting the portions right. (After a while you won’t need that, you’ll just know.)
Hints and tips
A few little things that might make this whole process a little easier:
- Steam the vegetables the day before you make the dog food. They will be cool and easier to handle the next day.
- Puree the now-cool vegetables with liver. Its liquidity makes it easy to puree without adding water that might make your dog food a little runny.
- It is easier to dice up steaks or roasts when they are semi-frozen. If you have the luxury of time, dice them up and then throw them in the food processor or blender. Add pureed vegetables as you go.
- You will need to make several small batches. A couple of bowls to dump each batch in makes it easier.
- I have used all sorts of containers to freeze this massive 10 lbs of dog food. For one dog (or puppy) I used ice cube trays to start with. After freezing, dump the cubes into a Ziploc bag or plastic storage container. Weigh your cubes. I think I was feeding 3 cubes in the morning, and 2 in the afternoon (thawed, of course). Then I discovered a whole realm of products made for freezing homemade baby food. I found one that had seven 2.5 oz each compartments (Qoobles, found on Amazon), and was rounded to make it easier to pop out ( I was having trouble getting those food cubes out of an ice cube tray). That worked awesomely! A qooble in the morning, a cube or two in the evening. The key is to find a container the right size so that is used up by day three. Raw food should not be in the fridge defrosting for more than than three days.
Okay, I think I covered the basics. Sorry this got a bit long. Oh yeah, in case of emergency, yours, not your pets, darwinspet.com has a great deal on an introductory pack of food that has the same make up that Mary and I use. It is frozen in half lb packages, and comes in really handy if you are traveling, or get really busy, or get sick.