The holidays are just around the corner, and if your family is like mine, you’re already starting to think about all the yummy holiday food. But what about your best fur friend? They shouldn’t get left out of all that holiday awesomeness! Below are a few “recipes” for your raw-fed pooch that will help them enjoy those holiday feasts right along with you!
To balance, or not to balance…that’s not (really) the question
The recipes I share here don’t represent “balanced” meals in and of themselves. And I’ll let you in on a little secret, friend: they aren’t meant to. Now, before you dismiss the recipes as dangerous or impractical, think about this: your dog doesn’t need every meal to be “balanced.” His or her body will balance everything out over time. Lots of bone in one meal? Feed less bone the next. Heavy on the organs and the white meat for a few days? Feed less organs and give some red meat for a few days. As long as it’s real, species-appropriate food, your dog’s body will know what to do with it. Balance is overrated, friend, which means you don’t have to stress about it anymore.
Using the recipes
These recipes are just suggestions, my fellow raw feeder. Which means that, depending on what you have access to, your dog’s tastes, and what your dog needs, you can adjust these recipes to fit your needs. You can switch out proteins and/or organs, or you can use these recipes as is. Watch your dog’s stool, body condition, energy level, and overall vitality as you feed them different raw meals, and adjust what you’re doing as necessary. For example, do you notice they’re slightly constipated? Decrease the amount of bone you’re feeding. Are they having diarrhea? Increase the bone and/or decrease the organs a bit until they’ve adjusted. And so on…
Note: Since I don’t know what size your dog is, I’m not including specific “amounts” in each recipe. Instead, I’ll list types of things in the recipe, and you can adjust using your dog’s weight. Remember, over the course of a week, you should aim to feed approximately 75-80% muscle meat, 10-15% bone, 5% liver, and 5% non-liver organs. Don’t worry about trying to figure out how much meat is attached to a “bone” category item—just count the whole thing as bone. In other words, if you’re feeding a duck wing that weighs 6 ounces, count the entire 6 ounces as bone. Don’t worry about stripping the meat off to find out the bone itself actually weighs 4.2 ounces.
Holiday recipe example 1: Duck, duck…turkey?
This recipe gives you a good mix of boneless meat (ground turkey, gizzards, and turkey hearts), as well as bone (duck wings and feet) and organs (liver). Remember hearts and gizzards are fed as muscle meat, even though technically they’re organs.
- Ground boneless turkey (falls under “muscle meat” category)
- Duck wings (feathers on or off) (falls under “bone” category)
- Turkey hearts (falls under “muscle meat” category)
- Duck feet (falls under “bone” category)
- Turkey liver (falls under “liver” category)
- Turkey gizzards (falls under “muscle meat” category)
Put all the ingredients in your dog’s bowl and serve. If you want to add in some healthy fats (like grass-fed butter or coconut oil), feel free.
Holiday recipe example 2: Got calcium?
This recipe is mostly focused on calcium: In other words, upping the percentage of bone your dog gets in a given week. You can use it, or some variation of it, if your dog needs more calcium (which you’ll see in their stool).
- Turkey necks (falls under “bone” category)
- Chicken or duck frames (falls under “bone” category)
- Green tripe (falls under “muscle meat” category)
- Beef heart (falls under “muscle meat” category)
- Beef liver (falls under “organ” category)
Directions: Put all the desired ingredients in your dog’s bowl and serve it. Then sit back and watch your dog enjoy the feast!
Holiday recipe example 3: Rabbit and green tripe
Let’s be honest–it’s fun to eat foods during the holidays we might not otherwise eat. And the same holds true for our dogs. That’s why it can be fun to feed them an “exotic” protein (rabbit, pheasant, cornish hen, elk, and so on). This recipe uses rabbit as the exotic protein, but you can substitute the rabbit with a different protein. Just for fun, try to pick a protein your dog doesn’t eat very often. The bonus is that’ll give them access to a new nutrient profile.
- Rabbit quarters (falls under “muscle meat” category)
- Rabbit heart (falls under “muscle meat” category)
- Rabbit liver (falls under “organ” category)
- Rabbit kidneys (falls under “non-liver organ” category)
- Green tripe (ground) (falls under “muscle meat” category)
Add everything to your dog’s bowl, and then pat yourself on the back. You, my friend, are an awesome pet parent, and your dog is a lucky pup!
-By Kristin Clark