Further to my post about reducing my garbage production, I thought I’d share how we eliminated a big part, which for us has to do with raw feeding our dog. I also thought this might be a good opportunity to share a bit about how we raw feed our dog, Oscar.
We used to individually package each of our dog’s meals in baggies to save on mess and deal with sometimes frozen stuck meat. We bought containers that are big enough to hold no more than a week’s worth of food. Too long and some of it would really be off by the time we fed him, not that he’d mind but gosh, the smell! We’ve always kept a container of meals in the fridge to thaw but now we do it without any trash. We put wax paper under the top meal in case it’s still frozen when we take it out to feed. This is easily reused since it’s only for dog food and it keeps the first meal from being frozen solid to the rest.
We feed Oscar a “Raw Meaty Bones” diet or as some call it, a “Franken-Prey” diet. We feed as close as we can all the parts of the animal a raw eating carnivore would, but over the course of a week or month.
Because of his weight of 50-60lbs, we feed him about a pound of food every night. Sometimes the meals are bigger and sometimes we’ll fast him for a night. The meals contain about 80% meat and 20% bone and a few times a week we’ll add organ meat. Meatier meals = looser poops and meals high in bone = drier crumbly poops. This is a good way to see what the ratio of his diet is of meat and bone.
Don’t take my mentioning this as a sign that feeding this way is sophisticated or at all complicated. Raw feeding can be incredibly easy, although sometimes to save money we buy big pieces of meat that we butcher ourselves. (Okay, Cam butchers it.)
Once a year, grocery stores sell pork leg for .99 cents/lb which is a very good deal. The other day, I bought three for Cam to butcher.
He cut it first in half beside the bone with a knife but needed the saw for cutting through the bone. Oscar will eat most, if not all of this bone. Unlike some cow leg or knuckle bones, this isn’t too hard for him to eat and it won’t crack his teeth. When bone is cooked it’s dangerous since it will then splinter. Raw bone is not only safe but an important part of this diet.
Oscar offered to help in any way he could. Isn’t he sweet? (That’s paint on the garbage can rim- not blood. We would never waste such a coveted commodity!)
Finished container with added organ meat. This will feed Oscar for a week.
Ready to go in the freezer. These are filled a bit more than we would normally but we had so much meat and not enough containers. Something I’ll remedy soon!
I try and find people who hunt or who actually butcher animals (not just a regular butcher because they don’t often have the extra bits that humans don’t typically eat). Getting bits like the tripe (green, not bleached), organs, feet… could be very cheap or free because they have to get rid of it somehow. Asian markets are also a good place to look. I’ve thought about raising rabbits to feed my dog- chickens are cheap too but a bit more work to raise. Freecycle is a great resource for freezer burnt meat. When we buy meat (this pertains mainly to supermarket meat) we try to keep to $1-2/lb.
Some benefits to feeding raw:
- Helps with dog’s behaviour (mellow them out while still having tons energy at the appropriate times thanks to missing the useless high/ lows from carbs in kibble)
- Cleaner teeth
- Nicer coats
- Excellent exercise to eat these meals
- Drink less water
- Easier to maintain appropriate body mass
- Smaller and easier to decompose poops (not to mention less disgusting)
- A more natural existence for dogs who are, in fact, carnivores
- Less trips to the vet because healthier….
This isn’t by any means a comprehensive explanation. For example, I didn’t touch on starting to raw feed and the need to stay away from too much variety for the first couple weeks… Here are a few more online resources:
Part one of Oscar eating. He’s acting a bit shy with me staring at him with the camera: