You may have gathered from previous blog posts on our website, that we value healthy living. Besides caring for our own health, we also provide our dog with a healthy diet.
When Mojo was a puppy, we used to buy balanced and premade raw food for her. Over time however, we noticed that her body did not react well to it. Feeding premade raw food often resulted in poor stools.
The premade raw food that we can buy in the Netherlands has a different balance than the food we currently feed. As we studied dog nutrition more carefully a few months after bringing Mojo into our lives, we became aware that this percentage is way too high.
This left us with just one option. We started preparing our own raw dog food. We have been doing this for almost two years with amazing results! Although it does take some time and practice, it is often much more affordable to do so.
Are you interested in finding out more about the prey model raw diet that we choose to feed Mojo? You can read the outlines here.
If you don’t feel confident that you can provide your dog with balanced homemade meals just yet, leave a comment below to ask any questions you may have. Feel free to reach out on our contact page as well!
Balancing over time
Our meal prep method does not provide Mojo with a fully balanced meal every single day. Rather, her diet is balanced over time. Although every meal includes a variety of ingredients, they differ in nutrients from day to day.
This is however not a problem at all. Dog food has to be balanced, but not per se on a daily basis. The dog’s body is adapted to eating irregularly. Therefore it is sufficient for dogs to balance their meals over longer periods of time.
Attention: For growing pups, this is not the case. Puppies require a diet that is balanced daily, because their bodies are still developing.
Prepping for prep day
Before ordering the ingredients, it’s important to make sure you’ve got everything you need to prepare your dog’s meals. There is nothing worse than being ready to start on a task and realizing there’s one important part missing, right?!
These are the items you will need during meal prep:
- Cleaver or other sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Metal or glass bowls
- Reusable containers
- Cleaning products
- Optional: latex gloves, meat scissors
Aside from the reusable containers, you will most likely have all of these items in your kitchen.
During meal prep, we prefer to use a cutting board that we solely use for this occasion; but this is probably mostly due to the fact we do not eat meat ourselves, meat is meat nonetheless.
We use a sharp large knife to cut up any pieces of meat that are too big for Mojo’s meals. A cleaver works best!
Mojo’s meals are frozen in reusable plastic containers. For 500 gram meals we use 600 ml containers. The size of container you need will depend on your dog’s daily requirements.
Meat, bone, organ
The prey model raw diet consists of meat, bone, and organ. On the morning of prep day, we thaw out the exact amount of meat, bone, and organ that we need for a specific number of days.
We prepare 35 days worth of food in one go. After that, our freezer is filled to the max. Mojo eats 500 grams a day, which equals to 35*500=17 500 grams of food in total.
By thawing out a balanced amount of ingredients, we ensure a balanced diet over the total meal prep. And you don’t even need scales on prep day if you do this!
We prefer to thaw out the ingredients on the floor of our shower cubicle. This might sound strange, but it is the easiest surface to clean!
Just make sure you don’t leave the meat unattended and to close the bathroom door if your dog has free roam of the house. We forgot to close the door of our bathroom one time and Mojo took full advantage of it…
Attention: If you own multiple dogs, thaw the exact amount you need for both dogs, and keep the ingredients for their meals separate. If you don’t separate the ingredients, you cannot ensure a balanced meal for both dogs without using scales!
Cut up whatever needs cutting
If there are any items that need cutting, it’s best to do so before they are fully thawed. Semi-frozen meat is namely much easier to cut! This is especially convenient when cutting up organ meat such as kidney, lung, and pancreas, as these are often quite tough.
Divide it all over the containers
When all ingredients are thawed, you can start prepping!
Place all containers on a surface that’s easy to clean. This can be your kitchen counter, your dining room table, the floor in your yard… Pick a place that works best for you!
All you have to do is fill a bowl with one of the ingredients and aim to distribute these as best as possible over all containers. You can then proceed to do the same for all other ingredients.
We usually start with all bone-in meat, and make sure each container has one larger duck wing or two smaller ones. We then divide all organ meat, adding a bit to each container. Some containers will only have one type of organ meat, whilst others might have two.
We then add one type of meat at a time, to fill up the containers. This way, her meals stay varied. Mojo might eat venison as the main protein type on one day, and rabbit the next. She still eats meat, bone, and organ daily, her diet is varied throughout the month, and it is completely balanced.
The slideshow below shows one example of a meal prep we did a few months ago. We started with bone in meat, then added all other meats, before finishing with organ meat.
Freeze and clean up!
When you’re finished prepping, and all bowls have a relatively equal amount of food, it’s time to close the lids and freeze these meals.
The final and most important thing to do is clean your working surfaces. We start by cleaning all utensils. We then clean all surfaces and mop the floors, and disinfect the bathroom!
We end with a shower because let’s be honest, after carrying meat around for an hour we don’t feel squeaky clean!