Everything I know about Raw feeding I learned from my mother. She is writing a book on the subject, so I’ll link that here when it is done. This post is not an in depth guide into raw, just a quickstart for what we feed our Boston Terrier at the request of some members of the rescue agency I volunteer at.
What is his diet?
For the meat, I buy drumsticks and several kinds pork at Costcos. Ozzy does not like beef. When I am really lucky, my mom hooks me up with alpaca meat, which is excellent for dogs and he loves it, but it is quite expensive to buy normally. I try to introduce other kinds of protein when I find them at butcher shops, but most of the time it is chicken and pork because that’s what Costcos has.
I buy the organs at a local Thai market. They have spleen, kidneys, and liver.
I buy for a few months at a time, and all of this goes into a giant meat freezer in the basement.
What does it cost?
You need to feed 2–5% of your dog’s healthy adult weight per day, depending on their exercise level. Our dog goes to daycare for 40 hours a week and is very active. He was eating a pound a day at 1yo believe it or not, but now he is almost 2yo and is down to 14.5oz.
The pork at Costcos is about 2.29/pound, and the drumsticks are about .89/pound. He gets roughly 70% pork and 30% chicken, so that averages to .3*.89 + .7*2.29 = 1.87/pound. The organs are trivial in cost; they are under 2$/pound and the dog only eats 10% of organs per day.
So, at 14.5oz/day, he eats meat for 1.87*(14.5/16) = $1.68/day.
Now, I also give him probiotic powder and fish oil with every meal. The probitic powder is very cheap; a 20$ jar of powder has lasted me over a year, so I’m not even going to count that. An 18$ bottle of fish oil on Amazon lasts about a month, so that is roughly 60c per day. Ouch.
So, all in, he eats for about 2.30$/day. If I could find a cheaper supplier of fish oil, I could probably get that down.
10% bone by weight is two drumsticks per day for our little guy. The bone weighs much less than the drumstick, so if you cut all the meat off and measure, you’ll see the actual bone is about 1.8oz give or take.
So, I prepare his food for 15 days at a time, because the Costcos chicken packages come with 30 bones, and he eats two drumsticks a day.
I prepare the bones by cutting most of the meat off, since I feed his bone first at night and then the meat (see below). I put them in a baggy. Then I add the pork/remaining chicken after cubing it into pieces he can eat. One of the benefits of raw feeding is teeth cleaning, so the pieces are big enough that he still has to chew it. You can feed it in one large piece if you want, but he would be there forever if I did that.
I dehydrate the organs at LOW temperature: 105degrees for about 36 hours. He won’t touch them raw, but LOVES them dehydrated. I cut them into 5% pieces (like .7oz each) before dehydrating, so that at feeding time I can just give one of each (one liver, one kidney/spleen).
I do not add the livers to the baggies at this time, or else they will become hydrated again. I leave them in jars and give them at feeding time.
He gets 7oz of meat roughly in the morning, no bone, with a few squirts of fish oil. I heat it up for 20 seconds in the microwave; just enough to make it not freezing cold. Sometimes I grind up a few grain free treats onto the top for extra flavor.
Night time is more complicated. First, he gets just the bone. I have to do this because eating the bone takes work and he will get lazy (Bostons are smart..) if I don’t make him eat it first. I will hammer it a little to break it up a bit if they are large bones, or else he will be there all day. I’ll add a few squirts of fish oil to the top. Microwave for 20s.
After he finishes that, he gets the rest of the days meat. This is when I add one dehydrated liver and one dehrdrated kidney/spleen piece, and the probiotic powder. Again 20s in microwave.
Lots of raw blogs will talk about Green Tripe and all this other stuff, I haven’t gotten that fancy yet. Ozzy is a very healthy boy, confirmed by numerous vets, so whatever I’m doing is working.
Here, Ozzy is picking some remnants off a much large animal at my mother’s house, who has much, much larger dogs..