But, first things first – I’m no expert i this as I’m still learning every day, just like you.
This post is not here to convince you nor educate you on the suitability of introducing raw-diet for your pets. Of course, different dogs have significantly different preferences and requirements for their meals. Also, there are plenty of much better articles out there to address the concerns of raw-feeding.
Majority of the dogs I’ve come across fall in love raw diet from the very first introduction – but not all of them do.
This post is pretty much just MY point of view and how I prepare raw ingredients for my two boys. Please, consult your vet or relevant canine dietary experts if you have any doubts!
Background: How I Started Raw-Feeding
Yandao the Spitz and Lengzai the Husky used to be on kibbles and freeze-dried diet. My personal choice of kibbles was the Merrick Grain Free Real Duck + Sweet Potato which costs about S$160 for the biggest 25lb bag. This would last them approximately 3 weeks.
This means that just kibbles itself will cost around S$213 – excluding add-on like freeze-dried meat cubes, supplements, etc. Ironically, after we started raw-feeding, we found kibbles to be more expensive than us getting actual raw meats for the boys. 😂
The boys’ raw-diet journey all began one fine evening with K feeling generous and buying them minced Australian Waygu beef – simply because the supermarket downstairs had them on sale. That was coincidentally the night where I had just opened up a new bag of kibbles (which ended up being repacked and donated… 🤷🏻♀️)
From that night onwards, the boys’ staple food was now essentially raw meats…
The general rule of thumb on how much to feed your furry friend goes from 2.5% to 3% of your dog’s weight. It also depends if you wanna maintain, increase or decrease your dog’s weight based on its health level.
From that weight, I generally divide it into 80% meat, 10% bones, 5% liver and 5% other offals.
One size does not fit all, though. You have to try and tweak the formula for your dog since no two dogs are 100% alike.
I started off my journey from following the formulas strictly down to the exact grams, giving them different kind of meat (brisket, heart, lung, etc), organs, liver and bones. However, as time passed, I realised that they absorb the nutrients better when I give them a single core of ingredients in the individual category.
This means 1 kind of meat (either Chicken/Beef/Duck), 1 kind of bone, liver and offal, respectively.
Oh, and ever since I started the boys on their raw diet, I became way more obsessed with their poo!
According to the poo’s consistency and colour, you can roughly know if you’re feeding the correct proportions and tweak your own formula accordingly. 💩
Preparation & Packing Raw Feed
Grinding Hormone-free Chicken ThighsI actually order whole Hormone-free Chicken Thighs from the meat suppliers. But then I proceed to DIY grind them myself because firstly, I want to make sure that the meat is actually thigh meat, and secondly, the boys tend to absorb ground meat better.
And then there’s the problem of freezer space.. 😅
My kitchen SMEG fridge is simply too small – thus I had to get a mini-bar freezer just for the boys’ raw diet. The maximum that I can pack with my mini-bar freezer is about 22 packs of raw feed. This means that every 11 days, I will need to order and prepare the boys’ raw diet.
Manicuring Chicken & Duck Feet
Here’s also where it gets fun and.. messy.
Did you know that chicken feet is actually a fantastic source of collagen and bones for your furry friend?
However, it is crucial that you trim away the nails of the chicken feet to make sure there are absolutely no sharp edges that might cause any unfortunate accidents.
In place of chicken feet, you can also feed beef tails, duck necks, etc – but from my experience, those were a nightmare to handle. It’s extremely difficult to chop, given how thick the bones are. Every chop for those parts seems to drain all my energy.
I do buy them still nowadays, but I feed it more as a treat or an add-on, rather than a staple. 😫
My favourite choice of bones is actually chicken and duck feet as they’re the easiest to handle and not so messy to prepare.☝🏻
Usually, I will thaw the frozen meats slightly by putting all the ingredients in the chiller overnight so that it will be much easier to pack. I keep it a point not to defrost the meats totally so as to lower the risk of bacteria growth and potential contamination.
Some people have actually asked me why I “minced the meat and chopped the bones” as by doing so, I could miss out on one of the benefits of raw-feeding – chewing to clean the dogs’ teeth, so, here’s why:
Firstly, as what I’ve mentioned above, I find that my two boys react better towards ground meat and that I’m able to squeeze more packs into my already small bar freezer. Secondly, the furry boys still do need to chew because it’s after all still bones (duh!), and I do give them other dental treats from time to time.
Packing Everything Together into Meals
We (Asian) humans mostly have rice as our staple. But for our furry friends, the staple is of course meats!
I usually layer the meat at the bottom of the pack first. This constitutes about 80% of the total diet.
Usually, I will put a little more than required to offset the moisture and air, so that when I defrost it, the serving will be just the right serving size.
You might wonder why I used (cheap) plastic bags as per the above photo?
I’ve actually also tried
- Boxes – ..but found that I could only fit 5 boxes max in my tiny freezer 🙅🏻♀️
- Vacuum-sealed Packs – I used to do this too, but I could only fit 18 packs which last only 9 days due to the irregular shape of the packaging after the air is sucked out. 🙅🏻♀️
Anyway, whichever method you choose to pack, do make sure it’s freezer-safe (some containers will crack when they’re frozen – be warned)!
This is then followed by the more bloody stuff – liver and offals!
The reason why I placed these on the top of the ground meat is so that in the event the liver and offal are defrosted and “leaking” juices, it will be “absorbed” by the meat first. 🙊
Never, ever, place the bones at the bottom of the pack if you’re using a plastic bag! 10 out of 10 times frozen bones will never fail to pierce through the bags causing a leakage.
Oh, and here’s another tip:
Most weighing scales actually have a reset function. You can use that function to reset the weight for each type of raw feed you pack into the meal!
Here’s how a mini-bar freezer with 22 packs (11 days) of raw-feed packed to the brim looks like!
Usually, I will double pack each pack with an extra clean plastic bag individually before I store it in the freezer for hygiene purposes.
I know it’s probably not the most environmentally friendly way, but it’s currently the best method that works for me…. until there’s an even better way – or when we have space for a bigger freezer. 💰💰
Supplements wise, I usually get it from iHerb as they provide the most competitive prices by far, and their shipping is insanely fast, too.
Mainly, I give the boys’ probiotics to help with their digestion, and a little bit of fish oil and coconut oil for better fur texture and to add a little bit of shine.
You can use my (or rather, K’s) promo code, “KEL8585” for a 5% further discount and free shipping! 💁🏻♀️
Vegetables are a Must, too!🥦🥕
Not too long ago, Yandao used to trick Lengzai by throwing a few pieces of his unwanted veggies on the floor. He then waited for Lengzai to go for the tossed veggies, during which he will go for Lengzai’s meat serving! 😒
I usually lightly steam about 1-week’s share of a blend of a few kinds of vegetables: Carrots, Broccoli and Celery
I then puree them using a blender for better absorption. On lazier days – or days when I feel a little richer, I will just order premixed veggies online such as food supplements from Momojojo or Rawsome Pawsome Green Slush from Wholesome Paws to save me all the trouble! 🐾
You can read here on how do I prepare and make bone broth and veggie purée for them [How-to] Making Bone Broth & Vegetable Purée for your Furkid in Singapore.
Frequently Asked Questions…
Is Raw-feeding Expensive?
Erm, nope. Because I prepare the ingredients myself. You could go with prepacked solutions, but there’s in hefty markup in that.
On the average, I spend about S$160 – S$200 monthly on basics (meat, liver, offals and bones) excluding add-ons.
How is the Transition from Kibbles-to-Raw-feeding Like?
Some say you should introduce raw little by a little, while others say do raw meats first, followed by liver and offals. I guess different people have their own opinions on how you should transit your dogs(s) to raw.
For our boys, we just switched them completely all-at-once. Do note that lao sai (diarrhoea) is actually common when your dogs’ first try raw meats out. Yandao had no transiting issues (except maybe for some soft stools), while Lengzai went on a traditional diarrhoea spree for almost a week… 😭
Will Your Dog Crave for Blood or Bite Humans Since They’re Eating Raw Meats?
Well, you’ve eating meat such as beef tartare, salmon sashimi, etc..
Do you go around biting other people? 🙄
Is it Difficult to Prepare Raw-feed Yourself?
Nope – it’s not difficult, it’s just really time-consuming.
It’s freaking troublesome and damn sai kang but the savings I get from it is really significate.
If you have the budget or simply feel a little rich, go for the ready-packed ones. There are a few good providers who will send pre-packed raw-feed to your doorstep weekly!
Isn’t it Better to Feed Fresh Meats Instead of Frozen?
Nope. I initially thought the same way as you too, and I learnt my lesson the hard way.
We started off with fresh chicken and beef from the supermarket initially till the vet told us that fresh meats in Singapore isn’t exactly fresh due to our production cold-chain processes.
Farm -> Slaughterhouse -> Factory -> Supplier -> Market -> You
Lots of bacteria are actually accumulated along the way – even when the meat is left cold but not frozen. This is because fresh meats have never gone through a deep-freeze process at point of slaughter to eliminate almost all bacteria.
That’s why frozen meat is a better choice as there is significantly less chance for contamination. This is the same logic as our salmon sashimi which we all love eating in Singapore – not every salmon is sashimi-grade! The sashimi-grade ones are usually deep-frozen at point of capture!
Where Do I Order Frozen Meats?
Yeap. Those are the exact same places as where you would order ingredients for your barbeque. I mean feeding your furkids the best also means feeding them with human-grade ingredients, no?
If it’s not safe for humans, why would you want to give it to your furkid?
That said – welcome to the journey of raw-feeding your furkid!
You’ll notice loads of positive changes really quickly, and you’ll have a lot of fun along the way experimenting, too.
Oh, and as always, feel free to hit me up if you’ve any questions at the comment box below. 🙂