Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians. Although we have full support from our doctor, please be sure to consult with your own veterinarian prior to making any dietary changes for your dogs.
I originally planned to share a paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe on the blog today, but I made a last minute change of plans. I mean, DIY raw dog food is equally delicious, right? Don’t worry, the cookie recipe is still on the blog lineup 😉 Below are all of the details about how to make dog food!
If your dog struggles with allergies, then this post is for you! Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on your dog food bag? The list is really long. Even the “high end” dry kibble brands are filled with highly modified ingredients, which can result in major allergic reactions. Switching your dog to a raw food diet might sound overwhelming (or a bit gross), but the health benefits are incredible. Under the supervision of our vet, we switched our pups to a raw food diet last year. Needless to say, we never looked back. Interested in how to make dog food? Then keep on reading for the DIY raw dog food recipe!
French bulldogs are high maintenance. Like, really high maintenance. Before we decided to get Henry and Marvin, I knew that frenchies were known for their health problems. I wasn’t overly concerned, but I should have been. We made a lot of mistakes during those first few years with frenchies. We quickly became familiar with dog skin infections and were prescribed far too many antibiotics. Ben and I spent hundreds of dollars on allergy testing, but despite removing allergenic foods, we continued to have infections. We switched food brands, tried different proteins, and gave prescription food a shot. The result was always the same – skin infections, allergy medicine, steroids, and antibiotics. Our vet knew our dogs’ health history better than my own doctor knew mine. We thought that we were doing everything we could to make our frenchies healthy, but we were missing a huge piece of the puzzle.
DIY raw dog food – the cost benefit
After Henry was diagnosed with MRSP (the animal form of MRSA), we decided to switch to a raw food diet. We love Northwest Naturals for the convenience, but it’s really expensive. (we get the raw nuggets, but the freeze dried option is here.) To put it in perspective – our frenchies weigh about 32 pounds each, and we spent about $54 per week to purchase pre-prepared raw dog food. That’s over $200 per month! (Side note – before switching to raw dog food, we spent way more than $200 per month on vet bills, so it’s still worth it.)
Life has been crazy these past few months. Between having a baby and starting a homestead, we’ve been taking the easy route and buying raw dog food. Now that we’re getting back into a normal routine, Ben and I started looking at our budget a bit closer. One easy way to save over $200 per month is by making the DIY raw dog food recipe again!
I’m not going to lie – switching to a raw food diet has not solved all of our frenchie health problems. With that being said, our pups are in a much better place. Their appearance (no more tear stains!) and physical build changed dramatically. Henry still has MRSP flares, but we’re definitely in more of a maintenance mode (no more antibiotics here!) I wish we would have researched how to make dog food earlier.
The basics: proportions
Have you ever wondered about how to make dog food? The below DIY raw dog food recipe is way easier than you might think. I always worried that our frenchies would be deficient in key minerals, but our holistic vet calmed my nerves right away. According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, below are the general proportions for a DIY raw dog food recipe.
- Raw Meaty Bones: ideally 33.3% (at least 12-15% – source of calcium and minerals)
- Organ Meat: 10-30% (if only 1 organ, then no more than 5-10%; if multiple organs, then up to 30% – source of vitamins)
- Muscle Meat: 33.3% – 50% (depending on the percentage of organ meat above)
- Fruits/Veggies/Other: as wanted/needed
Henry currently has a a few MRSP skin spots, so we’re keeping it extra simple for the next week or so. Ben made a batch of food last weekend that consisted of raw meaty bones, muscle meat, and organ meat. When it comes to meaty bones, please remember that bones MUST be raw! Once you cook the bones (especially poultry bones), they become very dangerous for dogs to consume due to splintering.
It’s ideal to rotate proteins, but Henry is allergic to literally every protein other than turkey. In our case, we prefer buying an entire turkey (with bones and organs) to make food prep easier. Depending on your protein, it may be difficult to buy the whole animal. In that case, you’ll need to buy the organs and/or raw meaty bones separately. There are a few places to purchase these items from online, but we haven’t tried any yet.
We’re planning to incorporate veggies in our next batch of the DIY raw dog food recipe. Seeing as both of our pups struggle with a yeast overgrowth, we’re careful with what types of veggies we use. We’ll probably use a mixture of leafy greens, but we won’t actually measure it. A few handfuls will work perfectly.
When choosing a protein, be mindful of the fat content. Fat content should ideally be 10% and should not exceed 20%.
I think it goes without saying that I take zero part in the physical act of making the DIY raw dog food recipe. Grinding meat is far too graphic for my liking, so I took the below details straight from Ben.
You have two options for grinding the meat – a meat grinder or a high speed blender. There’s no way that I would use my Vitamix to grind raw turkey one night and make a smoothie the next, so I strongly advise against using a blender. We use a meat grinder and it works great.
Below details the tools you will need for the DIY raw dog food
- meat grinder (this one is comparable to what we have) or high speed blender
- butchering knife
- cutting board
- quart size plastic bags or alternate storage option
- cleaning supplies
Directions: DIY raw dog food recipe & how to make dog food
Now that we covered all the basics, it’s time to get into the details about how to make dog food!
First step with any protein is to remove the skin. The fat content is too high so this should be discarded. Once this is done you will need to break everything down into small enough sizes to fit either your grinder or blender. Everything should go in – meat, bones, organs, veggies and all. Once it looks the consistency of hamburger meat, then you are good to go.
Next, be sure to mix the entire batch thoroughly. You want each serving to have equal parts- meat, bones and organs. Once everything is mixed well, then it’s time to measure out your servings for storage. We use single serving bags to put into the freezer. Of course, be sure to adjust the serving size based on the weight of your pup.
Seeing as you’re working with raw meat, remember to appropriately clean and sanitize prep areas and dog food bowls after use.
Based on Henry and Marvin’s weight, we feed our pups 1 cup of raw dog food two times per day. We store 1 cup of food in single serving quart size plastic bags in the freezer. We’re hoping to find an alternate storage option (perhaps a silicone mold) to reduce waste. I’ll let you all know when I find a more eco-friendly option!
Have you ever wondered about how to make dog food or considered switching your pup to a raw diet? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!