Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Or, How I Spent a Saturday Afternoon Making My First Batch of Raw Dog Food...

Lucky Po, our little hoover vac and resident Roomba, eats like quite the wolf king.
Yes, we're a couple of those guys, committed (or should be, possibly) to not only feeding raw, but attempting to make and mix it ourselves. We've got a great place to buy the premixed, frozen stuff - that would be the awesome Menagerie on Parliament - and already have a little stash of the Pets4Life Chicken, Beef and Green Tripe (looks tasty, I tells ya) tubs hanging out in our freezer. We, however are happily ambitious and always up for a challenge, so when the chance came up to make our own, jump we did!
(I should say, as a qualifying aside, that we both also happen to cook for a living. So sourcing out organ meats and bones and processing loads of fruits and veggies isn't too far of a stretch from the daily, harhar, grind...still, making our first batch of doggy food was definitely an interesting process!)
We used Carol's formula, which she feeds her guys, and broke it down for ourselves like this:

50% turkey or chicken necks/thighs

10% organ meats
liver (chicken, veal)kidneygiblets
25% muscle meat (turkey, rabbit, lamb, beef, venison…)
10% ground vegetables (squash, cooked sweet potato, pumpkin)fruit (blueberry, apple, bananas)greens (kale, spinach, parsley)...and a clove of garlic too.
5% mix of egg
dairy (goat milk)nutritional yeastmolassesyogurtapple cider vinegar
Sounds good, doesn't it? (Would it be weird to say that I'm actually inspired to shop a bit better for my own food now? In fact, as I type this, I'm finishing off a bowl of yogurt topped with blueberries and bananas...it's working already!)
At first we thought it might be a hassle to shop for and grind up all the different meats/bones, but as it turns out, we had a fabulous resource in a neighbourhood butcher shop. The fine folks at St. Andrew Poultry (they deal mostly in chickens, but have a variety of other meat too) in Kensington Market were kind enough to offer their services, and giant industrial grinder, for our project. It turns out that quite a few folks in our area feed raw too! (The nice man that helped me out told me about the lady who requested her own rabbit/liver mix to add to her cat's salmon diet. Gotta love that.)
So, from the butcher:

raw and freshly ground, mixed
Ground chicken legs, necks, backs, giblets and livers. The rest is ground turkey and rabbit meat.

It feels so nice to see and know exactly what goes into our little man's food. And at a price of $38.55 for just over 20 lbs of mix, it's definitely an economical way to do it.

With that taken care of, now it's time to assemble the rest of the goodies:

just some of the goods
Apples, carrots, blueberries, parsley, egg, yogurt and a touch of flax oil...and then we added a bit of banana, zucchini, celery and a garlic clove.

powdered kelp too

We also added a sprinkling of kelp powder to round things out. It's a great source of trace minerals and amino acids. Then bit by bit, we mulched the whole lot through the grinder. And ended up with this....

all ground up
A dog's breakfast, yes!

With the sleeves rolled up and a super giant bowl handy, we then got right in there and mixed the whole shebang together. Schloop, schloop, schloop. Mmmm, meaty goodness. The end result...kinda like sausage mix.

all mixed up
Doggy mix, ready for portioning and freezing.

doggy food tubs
Thanks to our recent Ikea trip, we had these handy dandy containers that fit about 1 1/2 cups of food. For now, we're feeding three times a day, and going through just shy of one container each day.

doggy food tubs
When we ran out of containers, we started bagging the rest, using the tubs as a guide.

ready for the freezer
Ready for the freezer.

All in all, we ended up with 32 containers of food. With the cost of meat, fruits, veggies and extras, it works out that Po's wholesome little meals cost under $2 a day. Not bad!

I'm pretty sure Po likes it too. (We're taking his massive-inhalation-of-it-ALL-in-under-two-seconds moves as a complement to the chefs.)


  1. Did you do your grinding/mixing on site at the butcher's - or did you bring home the ground goodies from the butcher? Just trying to figure out how best to tackle this when we move away from a prepared raw diet :o)

  2. Hi Ellen,

    We gave our recipe to the butcher, and they were kind enough to grind all the meat products up, and mix them up, for us. We ended up picking up a 20lb box of what looked like hamburger mix! The rest of the grinding (veggies/fruit/egg...) we did at home, and then combined the meat and veg mixes in the largest bowl we could find!
    (We ended up with quite a bit of food, so unless you've got alot of freezer space I think you could easily start with just doing 10lbs of meat at a time...) Hope that helps! :)