Feeding raw is certainly more time consuming and involved than feeding kibble. It involves measuring out specific amounts of ingredients, cutting up interesting things like liver and kidney, and assessing the overall nutritional value of the meal. It can become quite the process, but as you feed your dog more and more you start to come up with little tips, tricks, and hacks that make the process much smoother.
We have tried many different ways to prep our dog’s meals. We’ve done pre-made patties made once per week, prepped individual ingredients and put them in bags, and just used what we need each meal. Meal prepping raw dog food is very similar to meal prepping for humans in that there are advantages and disadvantages to each and what works for you will certainly depend on your lifestyle, schedule, and how much time you are willing to spend time preparing your dog’s food. An outline of each strategy is listed below.
Making pre-made patties requires the most amount of time upfront, but it makes feeding your pup a breeze throughout the week. With this strategy, you take out all your ingredients and cut them into appropriate sizes. You combine all the ingredients, measure out the correct serving size, roll them into balls, and flatten them into patties. Finally, you toss them into a storage container with a piece of parchment paper between each and BAM, you’re done.
Advantages: Once you put in about 15 to 20 minutes of work, you are done for the week. Feeding you canine becomes a breeze as all you have to do is toss a patty in the bowl. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could prep all of your meals for the week in 15 to 20 minutes?
Disadvantages: Any liquid ingredients cannot be included in the prep as it will not store well. This can easily be resolved by separately prepping the liquid ingredients into a smoothie-like mixture that you can pour next to or on top of the pattie (depending on what your pup prefers). The other disadvantage of this strategy is that you have to store containers in the refrigerator. If you are anything like us, finding fridge space is not always easy, especially when you use whole, natural foods.
Prepping Individual Ingredients:
Prepping individual ingredients and storing them in bags saves you time throughout the week. Instead of having to take out the knife and cutting board two times a day, you use them once per week. All you need to do for this strategy is cut up all your meats, place them in separate bags, then carefully store all ingredients. When it is time to feed your canine, simply take the bags out and create your master piece! This has become our favorite method of meal prepping due to the balance of ease and flexibility.
Prepping individual ingredients saves you a lot of time and gives you a lot of flexibility. Pre-made patties don’t allow you to have a whole lot of choice or variation throughout the week. What’s made is made and that is it. By prepping individual ingredients, you get to pick and choose what you are feeding your dog at each meal. This can be useful when you are feeding certain things like raw bones or coconut oil which can effect your dog’s bowel movements substantially on a meal by meal basis. By prepping individual ingredients you can monitor how your canine responds and adjust accordingly.
This method is slightly more time consuming than the patty method in that you have to create the meal each time you want to feed, although it is much less time consuming than the use as you go method. Having the ingredients in separate bags requires you to open and close multiple bags with your dirtied hands so if you are a germaphobe, this might not be for you.
Use as You Go:
This method is comparable to buying all the ingredients for your dinner for the week then making dinner each night. It requires taking many ingredients out each night, properly repacking and storing them, and performing many of the same tasks (such as cutting, doing dishes) daily. In order to use this strategy, you take out what ever ingredients you will be using for the meal, cutting up the correct portions, and putting them together in your dog’s bowl.
Similarly to the prepping individual ingredients method, this method gives you the flexibility to create different meals each time. You can monitor how your dog responds to meals and adjust them accordingly. If you properly store your ingredients, you can ensure that your pup is getting the freshest meals and isn’t getting soggy from being packed together with another ingredient. If you are someone who loves being in the kitchen, this gives you the opportunity to take 5 to 10 minutes twice a day to zone out and concoct a nice meal for your dog. It can certainly be a rewarding experience.
Most obviously, this method requires the most amount of time. If you are not someone who enjoys spending time in the kitchen then this method is certainly not for you. It requires that you properly repack and store each ingredient which can become tedious. You also have to weigh the meals out at each feeding, which does not take very long but is just another thing you have to do.
Choosing the right meal prep strategy is an individual choice. It depends on your lifestyle, preferences, time, schedule, and a variety of other factors. The most important factor is that your dog gets healthy, balanced, and nutritious meals in order to live his healthiest life. Consider the points above and apply them to your individual situation. If you can’t decide what to go with, try any of them and see if it works. Better yet, try them all for a week at a time and see which you preferred!
What meal prep strategies do you use? We want to know! Leave a comment below!