Homemade BARF meal guide
Making our own food for Yianni was a bit of a nerve-racking experience the first time we did it! Have we got the balance right? What measurements do we need? Are we doing it right?
But as soon as we got our process down we were off! We found that people were offering recipes but not so much a step by step guide which would have been helpful in the beginning stages! So we wanted to share our guide to help you on your way.
When we began we did invest in a meat grinder to replicate the food we were buying, but now like most kitchen gadgets, it is sitting on our kitchen side not being used! Now we just cut the ingredients to size and weight to the appropriate meal sizes as doing it this way provides Yianni different textures in his meals.
The first step was knowing where to buy the ingredients?
For bone and offal you can go to a butcher or farm shop but as for the meat, vegetables and fruit that is up to you! People we have spoken to, buy their bones, meat and offal from the local butcher and their fruit and vegetables from the supermarket if they do not have access to a farm shop to buy all the produce. In our experience, if you speak to the provider of your produce and let them know you are feeding raw to your dog, they will keep bones etc. that you need for your recipes as they sometimes throw them away due to not having the demand for them.
Now for how you can build your meals:
There are various options and thoughts when it comes to complete raw feeding for dogs, some people like to stick to an 80/10/10 ratio of 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% offal and others like to add vegetables to their meals, bone and offal should still be present and should make about 10-15% of the diet and the meat 60-75%.
Offal: is very rich (especially liver) and therefore should make only 5-10% of the diet.
Fruit & vegetables: As carnivores in the wild tend to eat the stomach contents of their prey and other food they can scrape, fruit and veg can be added per meal as 15-20% of the meal weight appropriate for your dog.
As an example we use fruit and vegetables as its own category, meaning we use the following: 75% meat, 15% Bone, 10% offal, plus 15% of the total weight of the meat/bone/offal added as fruit and vegetables.
Something to also be aware of is that every meal does not have to have the exact ratio's. The above recommendations are a guide to follow but don't panic if you don't have a bone in every meal or more meat in one meal. Balance can occur over time, as long as your dog’s nutritional needs are met over the course of a few days or weeks. Just like us, we don't measure to the exact gram of our daily nutritional requirements the key is offering your dog a balanced variety of ingredients.
Below is a table of the measurements, please adjust the weight for your chosen percentages of ingredient:
|Body weight kg/lbs||Meat||Bones||Organs||Fruit & Vegetables||Total (2%)|
|2.5kg / 5.5lbs||30 - 37.5g||5 - 7.5g||2.5 - 5g||7.5 - 12.5g||50g|
|5kg / 11lbs||60 - 75g||10 -15g||5 - 10g||15 - 25g||100g|
|10kg / 22lbs||120 - 150g||20 -30g||10 - 20g||30 - 50g||200g|
|15kg / 33lbs||180 - 225g||30 - 45g||15 - 30g||45 - 75g||300g|
|20kg / 44lbs||240 - 300g||40 - 60 g||20 - 40g||60 - 100g||400g|
|25kg / 55.1lbs||300 - 375g||50 - 75g||25 - 50g||75 - 125g||500g|
|30kg / 66.1lbs||360 - 450g||30 - 60g||60 - 90g||90 – 150g||600g|
|35kg / 77.1lbs||420 - 525g||70 - 105g||35 - 70g||105 - 175g||700g|
|40kg / 88.2lbs||480 - 600g||80 - 120g||40 - 80g||120 - 200g||800g|
A big question we had when we started was can we use or should we use supplements?
Most breeds have a known health problem that they can suffer with throughout life or in their later life, so adding supplements to help prevent these issues is the best way to use them in your dog's recipes. What's great about most supplements is that you can purchase them in dried form, so you can keep and store them for later meals you make.
We use the following supplements in Yianni's food - Sea Kelp (so many positives to the use of this) and nettle (to help with skin irritations and allergies). Raw egg yolk can also be added to their meals once or twice a week for a boost of vitamins and as a treat, Oily fish for missing nutrients in 80/10/10 such as zinc, manganese, magnesium etc, nuts and seeds such as chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
Okay so you make the homemade meals where can they be kept and what in?
Raw meals unless brought and made daily are prepared and kept in your freezer.
As we make large batches, we separate each of the meals into vacuum bags and seal with a vacuum sealer machine. This is the best way for us as we are able to pack away in single meals, meaning we do not have to weigh them each time removed from the freezer and food is thawed fresh instead of being kept in the fridge for a few days. Also great for saving space in the freezer.
Another option is to not separate into meals and place the prepared ingredients into a freezer suitable food container. With this method, you will need to weigh the ingredients once you have thawed them. Remember that once it has thawed, it can not be returned to the freezer, so make sure to not put in more than 2 days worth of food when you are preparing the containers.
So let’s start making the meals! We will be releasing several recipes but today we are going to start with a Chicken and beef recipe. We make our meals in batches - normally around 2-3 weeks of meals.
Ingredients and the vitamins/minerals they contain
Chicken Wings - Bone, Calcium, Protein, Vitamin K, Niacin.
Beef - Iron, Niacin, Riboflavin, Selenium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Zinc.
Beef Liver - Thiamin/Vitamin B1, Pantothenic Acid, Choline, Copper.
Fruit and Vegetables
Blueberries - Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Manganese, fibre.
Spinach - Choline, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Iron.
Broccoli - Vitamin K, Pantothenic Acid, Folic Acid.
Carrot - Vitamin A, Biotin, Potassium, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6
Squash - Phosphorus, Protein, Vitamin A, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Manganese, Potassium, Folate, Vitamin K.
Beetroot (fresh) - Sodium, Manganese, Potassium, Iron, Vitamin B6.
Parsley - Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Zinc, Phosphorus.
Chopping board for meat and offal
Chopping board for fruit and vegetables (if you are not using a food processor)
Food processor (if you have one)
Vacuum bags or food container (suitable for the freezer)
Vacuum sealer - if using vacuum bags
Instructions1. Cut your fruit and vegetables (Keep all other ingredients in the fridge) - We use a food processor for chopping our ingredients as it can produce smaller cuts. If you do not have a food processor you can cut the fruit and vegetables into small portions.
4. With your measuring scales, weigh your ingredients to the appropriate weight – Firstly we weigh the chicken wing and then add beef until it reaches the correct weight for meat and bone. Remember that the chicken wing (if uncut) will contain a small amount of meat. Then add the percentage of offal and fruit and vegetables to reach the correct weight of food.
5. Place the meal into your bag/container, seal/close and put into the freezer.
6. Repeat the process.
7. Feed them your creation!
We do like to add to any raw diet blog if your dog is dealing with any complex chronic disease e.g. end-stage cancers, animals on antacids or high levels of immune-suppressive drug therapy, then we would recommend you get expert help prior to beginning the transition to a raw diet.
We hope this has been helpful! Let us know how you get on!
Love from the Aurora Pets family x