Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sixty-one cents

I just finished cutting up over 75 pounds of meat, and I realized that I haven't done a cost post is AGES!

Yes, I am a bit tired, thanks for asking :)

I've had a few large cuts of beef and pork in the freezer, that I bought on sale a while ago, as well as two turkeys and one whole chicken.  And chicken legs are on sale this week for $1/lb, so I picked up ~20 pounds yesterday.

And I decided to portion everything out today, re-package and re-freeze it, in an attempt to organize the freezer a bit better!

One night in cold water (the meat, not me!), and 3 hours later of cutting and bagging later...

I have almost 11 weeks worth of meals for both dogs.  And I still have 3 huge pork shoulders in the freezer, and will be going back to get more chicken this week.

I didn't realize I had quite that much meat in the freezer :)

And after adding everything up... each meal costs 61 cents.  (Actually, one of the turkeys was free, and I estimated that is would have cost $15 to buy.  If I take that $15 out, then each meal works out to an amazing 51 cents!)

Sixty-one cents.

I can't even get a box of Kraft Dinner (Kraft Mac & Cheese for you Southerners) for 61 cents anymore.

In all honesty, I haven't been keeping track of the cost any more, but I do know all the meat I have bought since starting this has been $2/lb or less, and some of it was free (some venison from a co-worker, so freezer-burned and/or old meat from others, plus the turkey).

I am WELL under my target of $1 per meal :)

I started keeping track of costs, mainly in order to dispel one of the myths of raw feeding, that it is more expensive than kibble.  Obviously, it depends on the kibble, but I think I've shown how cheap raw feeding can be!

Gotta love it!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Recalling 2010

The vast majority of people still don't understand why I choose to feed raw.  Maybe this list will help*

There were recalls in 8 out of 12 months this year.

January :
Merrick, 1 product, 01/14/10, Salmonella, no illnesses reported.  
Nature’s Variety, 6 products, 02/11/10, 4 more added on 06/10/10, Salmonella, no illnesses reported.
Natural Balance, 2 products, 06/18/10, Salmonella, no illnesses reported.  
Iams , 51 Iams and Eukanuba products, 07/30/10, Salmonella, no illnesses reported.  
Merrick, 2 products, 08/16/10, Salmonella, no illnesses reported.
Hartz , 1 product, 09/03/10, Salmonella, no illnesses reported.
Blue Buffalo , 6 products, 10/08/10, Vitamin D toxicity, reports of dogs dying.
Kroger, 4 products, 12/18/10.  Aflatoxin.  While this is ongoing, there have been some reports of animals dying.

A note on the Salmonella recalls:  These recalls are generally due to concern of humans being infected, through improper handling.  Basically, all pet foods should be treated the same way you treat raw meat - wash your hands, and any surfaces, after handling.  Healthy dogs are generally not bothered by Salmonella.
Of great concern, much greater, are the last two recalls, since they are issues that arise from manufacturing oversights.  There is NO excuse for either of them, at all.  

Dogs died, once again, because of their food.

How many years will go by until a list like this becomes obsolete??


Additionally, there were almost 60 "supplement" products recalled, from yeast powder to glucosamine chews to calcium supplements.  Remember, supplements and treats are made by the same companies, with the same lack of oversight, as pet food. 

More links:

Kroger Co. recalls 10 varieties of pet foods sold in 19 states (19 Dec 2010)
Blue Buffalo recalls several dog foods in response to reports of vitamin D toxicity (8 Oct 2010)
Hartz Mountain Corp. recalls Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats due to possible Salmonella contamination (3 Sep 2010)
Proctor & Gamble voluntarily recalls Iams Indoor Weight Control with Hairball Care formula dry cat food (31 Aug 2010)
Proctor & Gamble recalls dry cat food sold in Loveland, Colorado (29 Aug 2010)
Merrick Pet Care Recalls Beef Filet Squares and Texas Hold'ems Treats (Updated: 17 Aug 2010)
Mice Direct recalls frozen reptile feed because of possible health risk (Updated: 10 Aug 2010)
Procter & Gamble Voluntarily Recalls Veterinary and Some Specialized Dry Pet Foods (Updated: 30 Jul 2010)
Feline's Pride recalls Natural Chicken Formula raw food
(Updated: 16 Jul 2010)
United Pet Group voluntarily expands recall of nutritional supplements for dogs to include additional tablet and powdered-form products for dogs and cats because of possible Salmonella health risk (2 Jul 2010)
United Pet Group recalls Pro-Pet Adult Daily Vitamin Supplement Tablets for Dogs (22 Jun 2010)
Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc. voluntarily recalls Sweet Potato & Chicken dry dog food due to possible Salmonella contamination (18 Jun 2010)
Nationwide voluntary recall of some Kent Feeds swine feed products (17 Jun 2010)
Procter & Gamble Company recalls specific lots of Iams canned cat food (9 Jun 2010)
Limited recall of Kent Feeds 20 Lamb DQ45 Medicated Feed (2 Jun 2010)

Response Products of Broken Bow, Nebraska has issued a voluntary recall of two lots of Advanced Cetyl M® Joint Action Formula for Dogs (13 Apr 2010)
Better Business Bureau issues warning about Dynamic Pet Products' Real Ham Bone for Dogs (14 Mar 2010)
Nature's Variety voluntarily recalls Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diet for dogs and cats due to Salmonella (Updated: 09 Mar 2010)
FDA Health Alert for Merrick Beef Filet Squares Dog Treats Packaged and Distributed by Merrick Pet Care (14 Jan 2010)


Pet Carousel Recalls Beef Hoof Products and Pigs Ears Because of Salmonella Risk (09 Dec 2009)
Update to Diamond Pet Foods® Premium Edge® brand recall – eastern U.S. (27 Nov 2009)
FDA issues health alert for pig ear and beef hooves pet treats (05 Nov 2009)
Wysong® recall – dry dog food (13 Oct 2009)
Country Acres® recall of home grown turkey and quail starter feed (13 Oct 2009)
Nutro® products has recalled some of its pet food products (02 Oct 2009)
Diamond Pet Foods® Premium Edge® brand recall – eastern U.S. (02 Oct 2009)
Nutro Products announces recall of dry cat food products (21 May 2009)
Scotts expands its wild bird food suet recall to include an additional seven products (23 Mar 2009)
Bird food recalled due to Salmonella contamination: Dead birds found in N.C. initiates testing of bird food (12 Mar 2009)
Alaska Canine Cookies recalls certain Canine Cookies because of possible Salmonella health risk (10 Mar 2009)
Breadfarm, Inc. recalls Sirius Dog Treats purchased between January 2007 and October of 2008 because of possible health risk (04 Mar 2009)
American Health Kennels, Inc. announces a recall of baked dog treats containing peanut butter (20 Feb 2009)
Ongoing issues regarding Peanut Corporation of America result in Scotts voluntarily recalling five Wild Bird Food Suet products that may contain PCA peanut meal (16 Feb 2009)
American Nutrition, Inc. announces a recall of baked dog treats (10 Feb 2009)
Western Trade Group, Inc. recalls roasted peanuts because of possible Salmonella health risk (10 Feb 2009)
Hialeah Products, Inc. d/b/a New Urban Farms conducts nationwide recall of various snack products because of possible health risk (09 Feb 2009)
Supervalu Inc recalls multi-flavored dog biscuits (02 Feb 2009)
Salix, LLC recalls 6" peanut butter-filled shank bone because of possible Salmonella risk (30 Jan 2009)
Salix recalls dog treat due to possible health risk (28 Jan 2009)
Carolina Prime Pet announces nationwide recall of dog treats (27 Jan 2009)
PetSmart recalls Grreat Choice Dog Biscuits (21 Jan 2009)

Friday, May 21, 2010


Katy is down to 20 pounds!!

Which is ~3 pounds off, which is a whopping THIRTEEN percent of her body weight in 3 months!

Yeah Katy!  Yeah raw diet!

We went to the vet today, to get Kip's annual exam and rabies booster, and a heartworm test for both.  All is well, and the vet loves both dogs!!  The ONLY issue she found with Kip was some tartar build-up on his upper canines.  Other than that, he's a perfect dog :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Nothing much going on...

Things are fine in our little raw world.  Katy's eating beef now, again with absolutely NO issues, which is fantastic.  And let me tell you, she LOVES her food.  She's still eating in her kennel (while Kip eats in the kitchen) and when I tell her to "kennel up", she gets so excited, she literally spins her way into it.  Silly girl!  I have to try to get a video one of these days.

I don't know if she's lost any weight or not, but I'm going to call the vet next week, and see if I can bring her in just to get weighed.  And now that the nice weather is here, we should be more active, which will help move those extra pounds. 

The one thing we do have to work on is her food "aggression".  It happens with toys as well - if she has something in her mouth, she will NOT give it up.

When this issue comes up on many on-line dog fora, I often see advice given along the lines of "it's their food, they deserve to eat it in peace and quite, and it's their right to defend it".

I couldn't disagree more.

I got Kip as a puppy, and one thing I worked on was being able to take anything out of his mouth at any time, for any reason (along with "Drop it", of course). 

It's not some control thing, it's not about being "dominant",  it's not about being mean - it's 100% about being able to safely remove something from your dog's mouth that could possibly harm them if they were allowed to eat it.

And so I will be working on this with Katy.  It will also help with eventually being able to feed them both in the kitchen, un-crated, without her stealing Kip's food, which she will do now, and he just lets her, the wimp :)

So yeah, there's not much going on here right now.  Makes for a boring blog, but a nice calm life!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Oh, Kip!

One of the grocery stores had stewing hens on sale for $1/lb, so I stocked up yesterday.  I cut one up for Katy, the new addition, and gave one whole to Kip, as I've been feeding him larger pieces for the last little while.  He generally gnaws on the meat until he's full, then it gets put away until the next meal.  But no, not last night.   

He ate the entire thing.   

And surprisingly enough, was fine after.  1.75 pounds of chicken, nary a problem.

Except the fit of sulks he's having right now, watching Katy eat while he fasts.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

One year in, and a new addition!

I can't believe it's been one year already.

One year!

And Kip is doing so well - happy, healthy and full of energy.  He's doing so well, in fact, that we've decided to take on a new project:

Pudgy little no-name
This little girl was brought in as a stray - you can read more about her here.

She's a sweet dog, and is doing great.  The one issue - very overweight.  So we will be working on that, using, of course, a raw diet.  She's been here just over a week already, and has taken to raw like a pro.  
First meal
If I didn't know better, I'd say she was fed raw by her previous owners.  She's had no problem with bone-in chicken breasts, and no poop issues at all!  In fact, the night I brought her home, I put down a beef roast for Kip, and she attacked it with vigour!  She's currently being fed in her kennel, for two reasons - to make it her "good" place, and to deal with any food-guarding issues she or Kip may have.  Eventually, I'll try to feed them both in the kitchen.   

She is much shorter than Kip, and her ideal body weight is probably somewhere around 15 pounds, compared to Kip's 20-22 pounds.  She currently weight a whopping 23 pounds, but that will be decreasing with proper food and lots of exercise - play time with Kip included!
One thing this will change is my organization methods.  I have taken to giving Kip large hunks of meat, for multiple days, and letting him set the pace at which he eats.  For example, a 3 pound roast should take him 6 days to eat.  If he eats in it 5 days, then he fasts for the 6.  If he takes 7 days to eat it, so be it.  It save a lot of work in portioning the meat ahead of time, as well as giving him a good "chew" workout.  I want to continue to do this with Kip, but may not be able to with the new GirlDog, depending on what feeding issues she has  - I have noticed she is ALWAYS hungry, so a "gorge" model may or may not be right for her.  Then again, if she is allowed to eat as much as she wants, it might make her issues better.  We'll try a few things, once she has settled in more, and see. 

So that's what new around here.  And hopefully I'll be posting here a bit more, with up-dates on how she is doing with her new diet and new life :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

An answer too long for the comment section...

This was recently asked in the comment section of a previous post, and I started to answer, then realized what I was writing was a post, not a comment. So...

I have a 7 week old and a 5 month old I would like to switch to Raw feeding - what have you found to be your best source of information - I have read quite a few books - have spent months researching online - but everything seems to contradict each other - no dairy vs make your own yogurt, bones vs. no bones, add rice and barley vs. no need for grains. As someone who is doing it - what resources have you found the most helpful?

First off, thanks for visiting, and commenting!

I completely understand the confusion around trying to figure out what's best for your dogs. The last thing we want to do is to cause harm, but there is so much information out there, and most of it is conflicting. Then you get opinions and comments from friends, family, and dog "professionals", all of which, again, can be conflicting. Now let me state something that may sound odd: I don't think it matters which model you choose to follow. Any model you choose is better than processed kibble. Cooking meat, grains and veggies? Great! Raw ground meat and bones, supplemented with veggie "slop"? Fantastic! Throwing down a 3 pound raw beef roast for a 20 pound dog? Woohoo!

A year ago, I was in the exact same spot you were. And I wish I could tell you I had a blinding moment of enlightenment, where a voice from above proclaimed "Prey Model!!". But yeah, not so much. In reality it was more a process of elimination, with a dash of science thrown in.

Why did I decide on prey model? Well, it's based on the opinion that there is no difference between a wolf and a dog. That what a wolf survives on, a dog can survive on. But wait. I just said "opinion", and it is just that. Sure, it's based on some things like dentition and intestine length, but I'm honest enough to realize that there is a difference between "survive" and "thrive", and that dogs have thrived on diets other than prey model.

I like the simplicity of prey model, since I think anything too complicated is too hard to stick with. I also like the "teeth cleaning" aspect to prey model, which you won't get with any model that forces you to cut up or blend the food. That 3 pound roast? Yep, that's what Kip has been gnawing on for the last few days. I put it down whole, let him have at it for a while, then chuck it back in the fridge. Repeat until it's gone. Easy as pie!

I don't think dogs (or humans) need the "probiotics" that you hear about in supplements and some yogurts, since I firmly believe these would get killed off by the stomach acids. If you're feeding bone, you don't need dairy for calcium. From what I've read, grains, fruits and veggies are for fiber and some nutrients, but again, if you are feeding a variety of meats, I don't think you need any additional supplements, and dogs aren't like us, with a long intestinal track that requires fiber. When's the last time you heard of any predator species getting colon cancer? And I firmly believe dogs do NOT need grains - these are fillers, and not a part of any predator diet.

What is my best resource? At least starting out, it was the Yahoo Group listed over there --->.

A word to the wise though - while helpful, it's not a place to debate different models - it's a place to learn about prey model. If you do join, I suggest lurking for a while, and reading the posts. And be warned that there is a lot of "alternative" advice there, about vaccinations, homeopathy, etc. This blog isn't a place to debate that; suffice it to say I suggest you do some research on those topics as well, and not take any advice given (including mine!) blindly.

The vast majority of food Kip eats is raw meat, with a bit of bone (probably too much, since chicken is cheap), a bit or organ (too little, since it's still a bother to get him to eat it), with veggies, fruit and dairy as treats. Some prey model feeders in that group would be appalled over those last three, but I think as long as they are kept as treats, it’s are fine. Fine as in "may not be beneficial, but won't harm". Kip also gets processed treats and some kibble for training - again, something that would appall some people, but it works for us.

The hardest thing? Taking that first step, and realizing you won't totally screw up your dogs. Realizing that it doesn't take a large company with a bevy of scientists to create a "balanced" food. Realizing that, no matter which model you choose, you have the ability to modify it, change it, or completely switch to another if it's not working for you.

The worst things you can do? Make it too hard. Think too much about it (yeah, I know, it's HARD not to think too much about it!). Be too strict. And wait too long.

So here is my "double dog" dare to you: just do it. Go buy some bone-in chicken breast, and give it to your dogs. Stay away from enhanced/seasoned meats (meat with salt solutions added), and be ready for some loose stools, until they adjust. You can read some past posts about correct amounts, but it really does depend on the individual dog. Start with 2% of their ideal adult body weight. If they start getting to thin, feed more. Too fat, feed less. Add whatever you want to that meat - fruit, veggies, dairy, whatever works for you.

Really, just do it. A year from now, you'll be happy you did!

And Happy New Year to all the doggie people out there - may 2010 be great for both you and your furry companions!
Please note I'm assuming your dogs are fundamentally healthy. If they have any issues, your best bet is to join one of the forums and ask there. And if they have any allergies, then sticking to one food type (like chicken) until you know they can tolerate it before adding anything else is also a good idea.