It’s Not All Raw

Fall officially arrives next week. And the produce offerings at my local farmers’ market are starting to change. Apples, pears and muscadines are replacing the peaches & blueberries. Peppers of every color are everywhere.

Today, I stocked up on heirloom peppers, apples, the last of the okra, the first of the autumn squashes (and a beef liver. More on that tomorrow).

I’ve gotten faster at chopping, freezing & bagging in the past couple of weeks. But what about these squashes?

Pearl & Truman ate raw summer squash, but they were small and tender. Butternut, spaghetti & acorn squash don’t come in the “small & tender” variety. Pumpkins do, but peeling those little suckers? I’m not up for it.

— Save ’em for cute seasonal home decor —

Some vegetables do have to be cooked before you feed them to your dog, making the term “raw diet” a bit of a misnomer.

Potatoes, for example, should be thoroughly baked. Beans & peas shouldn’t be served raw. Uncooked okra is slimy & gross when sliced. Generally, dogs don’t sufficiently breakdown the rigid cell structure of green plants because they don’t chew things up as much as we do. So they have to be cooked-roasted, steamed, baked.

(I can’t figure out how to drop a footnote here. This isn’t Word. It’s WordPress. Anyway: footnote 1- supplement cooked foods with a digestive enzyme to aid in absorption of essential nutrients. I found Prozyme at my local pet supply store.).

In exploring this new way of feeding my dogs, I’ve tried to focus on healthy ways to prepare the cooked items. Roasting works well for most things and is a good way to add a healthy fat like coconut or olive oil.

Roasting and pureeing a beautiful butternut squash is simple, and the dogs LOVE it.

(Psst…take part of the puree and make yourself a soup!)

Recipe alert: Peel & dice the squash, toss in a tablespoon of coconut oil, spread it on a cookie sheet with sides & roast in a 350-degree oven. I cooked a 1-lb squash 30 minutes. Let it cool. Twirl it around in the blender with a splash of chicken broth. Scoop it into a plastic container and you’ve got yourself some homemade baby food/dog dinner/soup starter!


pugs & kisses,

Catfish, (not) the movie…

Raw fish filets are a cheap & easy protein source. Loaded in essential fatty acids. Good for skin & coat. Mine love it.

My book says to only feed it about 4 x / month to breeds not developed near the water, but doesn’t say why.


So feed it to your Portuguese Water Dog as often as you like, but a Pug should only get it once a week? Huh? Whatevs. 

Moderation & balance, y’all. Moderation & balance.

Catfish are plentiful in Alabama, and CHEAP! Salmon, however, is on the other end of the price spectrum….WAY at the other end. But if you’ve bought a filet for yourself, and you’re trimming off the excess, drop it in the dog bowl. Nom.

I buy filets. Although dogs can gnash their way through raw bones, fish bones are so fine, I err on the side of caution. 

Cut into bite size pieces & freeze in a single layer. Then load into single serving freezer bags along with some of your other frozen goodies. Pop it in the fridge a day ahead to thaw before serving. TA-DA!! Easy peasy.

For a 25lb dog:

1/4 -1/2 lb of raw fish, and

half cup of diced veggies.

Side Note: I feed fruit & yogurt for breakfast, and meat with veggies for dinner. But I don’t think it matters. 

Adjust up or down according to the size of your dog.

Moderation, balance & all that noise.

pugs & kisses!


Do the Math

I am not a math student. I hate math. Can’t do it. Totally avoid at all costs. Yay for liberal arts! Thank God for calculators! Can I get an Amen?

So last night, I had to do some math on this raw diet bit. I whipped out my Texas Instruments calculator that I’ve had since 8th grade my iPhone and pulled together my grocery receipts from the past 2 weeks.

Everybody said feeding my dogs fresh, uncooked food would be expensive. Too expensive. I poo-poo’d their comments, silently judging them for… well, a lot of reasons. I’m judge-y.

…They might be right tho. :-/

I almost choked on my pizza crust! Nearly $200 in the past 12 days! Over $8/meal! DAMN!

(Still cheaper than my last vet visit. And certainly cheaper than that surgery was gonna cost. Calm down).

Ok. So I might have gotten just a TAD carried away with the buying. After all, I am determined for this to work.

But what to do? What’s my budget? Where can I save? How can I do this without bailing out and resorting back to the commercial bag food?

I’ve decided, at least for now, my outside budget number will be what I spent on vet bills so far this year — $2200– for first one infection then another. The goal is to stay out of the clinic for infections, allergies, rashes, etc. because they’ll be healthy & won’t need to go. (I love my vet & all, but I think I paid for that new surgical wing).

There are 17 weeks left in this year (16 weeks till Christmas. Start shopping!).

That’s 238 meals each (I think). 476 total for 2 dogs.

Assuming I would spend an additional $1500 at the vet to finish out the year, that works out to be… (drum roll, please…) $3/meal.


$3 x 14 meals/week x 2 dogs x 52 weeks = $4,400 for a year. That still seems like a lot.

I can do it. I’m determined. They’re worth it.

For starters, produce from the farmer’s market is less expensive and tastes better than grocery store produce. While the bounty is still plentiful, I’m front-loading.

Stock piling. Squirreling away. Saving up for winter.

It’s expensive now, but in a few weeks when the market closes and my only choice is the grocery store, I’ll have a freezer full of fresh!

Freezer Fun:

  • Clean and dice your fruits & vegetables & meats and freeze in single layers on wax paper-lined cookie sheets. (If you just dump fresh goodies in a freezer bag without this step, you’ll have a big frozen glob).
  • Do all of one thing at a time so you don’t cross contaminate.
  • If you’ve got a big freezer, stack your cookie sheets.
  • Once frozen, put together some combos in individual meal-size freezer bags.
  • Drop them in the fridge to thaw the day before you need to feed, and you’ll be good to go!

to be continued

pugs & kisses,



Gone Raw

For the past 10 days, when I’ve mentioned to people that I’ve Gone Raw, they ask me if I need a good salve if raw meat makes my dogs sick. My answer is No.

No, no, no. No need for Pepto. My rugs are safe!

What do you think wild dogs eat? When a wild dog or wolf kills its prey, you don’t see it dragging the carcass over to the camp fire to roast it. (I mean, Brian Griffin probably would, but he smokes & drinks martinis, so…)

Now, I know we’re talking domestic dogs, here. But really, convenience foods in cans & bags are products of the modern age. We’re all so busy, we barely have time to prepare our own meals. (Mickey D’s, yo). It’s no wonder people migrate to the cheap & easy for their pets.

But dogs’ stomachs contain high concentrations of hydrochloric acid, among other things, that make raw meat look like the Joker after he fell in the vat. And the intestines play host to a wealth of bacteria that will take care of anything left over after the tummy acid bath.

Granted, Pearl is very food motivated (read: not picky). Plus, I’ve added fresh fruit & yogurt atop the kibble for months. But neither she nor Truman has turned a nose up to a bowl full of raw deliciousness. In fact, once it’s down, step away, or you’ll pull back a nub. For reals.

And we didn’t transition. We just went for it! You may have a persnickety pup, so if you’re unsure, just try a little at a time on top of whatever you’re feeding. See how your dog reacts. 

I’ve been feeding my 25-lb dogs between 1/4 and 1/2 a pound of raw meat once a day for dinner (with veggies, but that’s another story).

If they could suck the bottom out of the stainless steel, they would.

Pugs & kisses,

Pearl is not a fan of the carrot or the zucchini. But she loves her some cod.
Pearl is not a fan of the carrot or the zucchini. But she loves her some cod.