Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Raw Diet Essential Equipment

Ho hum, another boring post about all the boring un-eatable stuff about feeding raw. Momma is so meta. Sorry for being so delayed, I was partying after my Special Judge's Award at Mango Minster. (thanks, Bolo!) Then Momma was saying something about business and work and all that. Excuses, excuses. But here's Momma's list of all the stuff you should have on hand to make a raw diet (especially one for a Biggie like me) easier and cleaner.

Momma, I'll tell you easy. Just give me the whole chicken or a whole salmon and I'll just eat it. I don't need a bowl; I'll just take it to the flokati, ok?


Again, crates are really important to keep the dinner from running away. They don't do much for keeping the dinner in the bowl, however:

A crate with a plastic or metal floor helps contain the mess. Biggie has his own pace of eating - sometimes he eats his salad around his meat, but other times he pulls the pieces of meat out of the bowl, drops them on the floor, eats the veggies and yogurt out of his bowl, and then eats the meat. Usually after that he licks the floor clean. Still, cleanup is a LOT easier if you have a surface in a contained area that can just be wiped down with antibacterial wipes.

An added benefit: teaches pups to like their crates, making crate or kennel training infinitely easier.

To make the veggie mix. Like humans, dogs can't break down the cellulose in plant cell walls, and thus can't get the benefit of all the good vitamins and nutrients unless those cells are broken open. Humans do it by chewing with our molars.* Dogs don't have flat-surfaced molars like we do, so even though they do chew vegetables somewhat, it really helps to grind the vegetables for them.

*And even humans, with our omnivores' teeth, don't always do a great job breaking down vegetables. Just think about how we eat corn and what comes out the other end...

Unless your dog is 200lbs or more and you're feeding him whole chickens, or you have a butcher who will custom-cut your order, you will need good strong kitchen shears or a boning knife to break the meat into meal-sized pieces. While your butcher will have to cut the beef and the lamb for you, poultry and fish can be done at home - some small dogs may only eat a chicken neck or half a wing in one meal.

These are good for storing my veggie mix and smaller sized meat, like my fish pieces or my liver. You could spend money on nice Rubbermaid or Tupperware containers that you can stack in your freezer. Or you could do like my Momma does and order cheap Chinese food delivery EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and save those plastic containers to store the veggie mix. Hey, at least it's recycling.

Momma likes to use, reuse, reuse and reuse those Ziploc-style freezer bags. When they are new she packs my meat in them. Usually 4-5 chicken leg quarters (about 4 pounds) will fit in a gallon bag, and the bags are pretty stackable in the freezer. Once a freezer bag is used for my food, it is only ever re-used for my food. A quick rinse with some soapy water (zip it closed and shake the bag) is all it takes for the next batch of meat. When they bags are near the end of their useful life, they finish their lives as storage bags for my meals when I go to camp. Momma packs one meal per bag and puts them in the freezer and the Nice Camp Lady gives them to me (thawed out, of course). Once my bags go to camp, they don't come back.

This is just useful for storing all the foodables in the fridge. Especially if the freezer bags are getting somewhat old and leaky. Then you don't have meat juices leaking in the fridge. It's also easy to put all the dinner ingredients in the bin so when it's time for dinner, voila! pull out the container and all the ingredients are right there. Sort of like how on those cooking shows everything is all out and ready for the chef.

Momma uses these to wipe down the counter, my crate and any other surfaces that might contact the Salmon Ella. Actually Momma doesn't wipe down my crate as often as she used to, because I lick my crate very thoroughly after I lick my bowl clean. So far, so good, it's been 18 months and I haven't seen Salmon Ella AT ALL.

Well, duh.


jan said...

This is the best explanation I've seen on managing a raw diet. This may be a silly question, but does the meal have to be thoroughly defrosted?

Amber-Mae said...

Thank you for sharing this information Biggie's Mom. I'm sure this will benefit well to those who are BARF eaters out there...

Butt sniffs,
Solid Gold Dancer

with love, Madison said...

We can't imagine doing this in a tiny condo. It seems like the chicken should be dragged into the backyard for happy and savage devouring. We know we are wrong, but the visual is good, huh? Lots of "condo dwellers" we know buy the raw diet pre-made frozen patties, which makes it very easy in a small urban living space.

Mango said...

It appears your crate already has foodables in it. Human pup! Yummers!


Lindsay said...

Same question as Jan, is the meat totally unfrozen when you give it to Biggie? Do you just take it from the freezer and set it in the fridge for a day or two?

Biggie-Z said...

Hi Jan and Lindsay, thanks for stopping by. The meat is usually fully thawed, but there are a few times when I forgot to take it out in time for it to defrost completely. Then I usually set it in some tepid water for a few minutes and if it's still a little chewy when it's time to eat, it's fine.

That being said, if it's truly super hard and soaking it in water won't cut it, I have just had Biggie eat later or miss a meal, he is fine.

Biggie-Z said...


We live in a NY apartment and we manage - so long as there is a crate! When we travel we end up feeding Biggie in the bathroom. He actually prefers eating in his crate. Since Biggie's never really had a chance to experience alfresco raw chicken feasting, he doesn't really miss it.

A friend of ours who uses the raw patties in his NY apartment said that if his dog doesn't eat the patty, though, it goes bad pretty quickly, so you can't even really save it for the next meal. (yuck)

Suzuki said...

Hello there!
It's furry nice to meet you. I came across your blog through Paw It Forward. Stop by my blog sometime, I like to make new friends.
Big licks to you

Dannan and The Girl said...

The peoples always seem to have excuses why they aren't working on our bloggies, don't they?

Congrats on the Special Judge's Award! Biggie, you are PAWSOME!

I sure wish The Girl would feed me raw. Sigh. I know I would be even more handsome if she did!