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When we first start thinking about home-feeding our dogs, sometimes the task seems almost insurmountable, particularly for those of us unused to spending much time in the kitchen. Since getting started can seem so difficult, I thought it might help to see some examples of how people who home-feed their dogs go about it, what they feed, how they prepare the meals, and how much time it takes.
Notes on freezing: Frozen foods will retain most of their nutrients if kept at a constant temperature of 0F or less, with the exception of Vitamins E and B6, which are destroyed by freezing. The diets listed below were all contributed by members of the K9-Cuisine and K9Nutrition email lists. Preparation of the bones includes removal of most of the skin and meat, which I load into plastic tubs and freeze (you can see why my dreams for my new house include a chest freezer in the basement!). Well, this time I made so much glop that I had to use a dish pan (big plastic rectangular thing) to do the final mix-up of ground meat stuff and pulverized veggie stuff. As other have already said A­ figuring out WHAT to feed takes a bitA  of research on your part.A  There are great websites, books and email lists that can help.
I'm feeding 4 German Shepherds, a Cocker and a Corgi mix.A  I can get them all pottied and fed, and get the ducks fed and watered, the baby ducks transferred to their outside pen (from their inside one), fed and watered, and let out and fed the chickens A­ all within (on average) 30 minutes every morning. Here's the basics I go through.A  Once a month I do a run to the processing plant where I get my supplies.
Now I USED to weigh each package to make sure I had the right amount, but that added a lot of time to the process.
Sometimes they get canned mackerel.A  Opening 6 or 7 cans only takes a few extra minutes in the mornings.
I have three dogs (and one ferret) on BARF; I prepare their meals every day in less than 15 minutes. The one boxer boy is a rescue and our vet feels this is probably the first time in his 7 years that his feet and ears haven't itched and hurt from allergies (when he was on kibble). Since I grind the chicken wings, I finally realized that I can just throw in the vegetables and grind them with the wings in the electronic meat grinder. I'm still saving for a Vita-Mix , as someone told me that you can just throw the chicken wings in it with the vegies, and it will grind it right up, and is much easier to clean than the meat grinder. I pretty much make mine fresh every day, though now that I'm down to two dogs, I grind veggies every two or three days, refrigerating the unused part (I use a junior-sized food processor and one load makes the amount I now use for two or three meals).
In the evening, they get chicken necks or backs (including most of the skin) or six to eight ounces each of Grandad's ground chicken necks, backs and frames, or once a week they split a can of Jack Mackerel or Pink Salmon (which has been on sale lately). For meat, I buy 3 cases of chicken backs at a time and divide into one and two gallon bags.
My prep time averages out to 10 minutes a week BUT I'm not a measuring person, am fairly relaxed.
The owner of Sealth who is a new BARFer reported today that after buying a food processor BARF is a snap! My husband doesn't mind doing the veggies, I leave a note on the counter when we are getting low to remind him and he takes whatever I have gotten on sale that week and grinds it in the food mill for me. In the morning, after feeding, I take out a bag of gizzards (if they are due for this the next day) and a 5 lb container of chicken to thaw during the day.
It's a pretty rare day where I have to have Jerry grind veggies, make yogurt, make grain and thaw gizzards all in the same day.

You can contact me if you have any comments, but I regret to say that I can no longer respond to questions about individual dogs. These descriptions belong to the dogs in the header and other tooltips, but are displayed here because you have javascript turned off. Pashoshe Fisher, a Chihuahua, was a wonderful, joyful companion to his owner for 19 & a half years. As a non-cook myself, I often wondered whether I'd be able to face preparing my dogs' food on a daily basis. I unthaw one container at a time, keep it in the fridge and serve the glop first, in the evening.A  As soon as Java finishes her glop, she gets a serving of raw bones, which are also frozen (in individual plastic shopping bags). The not-as-meaty bones get loaded into individual bags, usually with say, the bones from a leg quarter, two backs and a couple of necks being one days worth. As I stood in my kitchen packaging glop into tubs, mixing in the glucosamine-chondroitin powder (one scoop per 8oz, which is her daily serving size) oh, 'round about midnight, I began to wonder how other, possibly more sane folks manage the daily requirements of feeding Bones and Raw Foods.
You can skip buying in bulk but with 2 large breed dogs A­ you'll save A LOT of money if you do!
I usually pick up about 120 lbs of chicken leg quarters, 40 lbs of chicken necks, 60 lbs of beef heart and 20 lbs of beef liver. For example, on the days my guys get lamb neck bones A­ they need to eat outside and be supervised.A  So we do that on the weekends. While the coffee is brewing in the morning I rough-chop two or three different kinds of veggies and toss them into the food processor along with ACV, oil, and the Condiment Of The Day (raw eggs, canned fish, cottage cheese, boneless meat, yogurt, leftover people food -- whatever's available). I make a huge batch of veggies with some yogurt and egg (to process smoothly) generally at least 8 quarts. She gets chicken wings and gives 3-4 a day, and has made veggie patties that include all the supplements. Surprisingly, many of us who home-feed our dogs are like this, and we all agree that feeding dogs is much more rewarding than feeding humans. I did this yesterday, and it's occurred to me that maybe I'm getting carried away with the size of the production. It take me about 10 minutes to gather up 6 bowls, weigh each dog's amount (weighing is not necessary but I don't estimate well and end up with a fat Cocker if I don't!), squirt on some Salmon oil, stuff Tessa's supps into the ground chicken, put the bowls on the floor and get out of their way. Sometimes it's ground turkey (I buy this already ground and in one lb tubes from the local store) or some other boneless meat I picked up on sale somewhere. Two of my dogs eat on plastic place mats in the kitchen and one dines in her crate on a towel, so cleanup consists of tossing the towel in the laundry basket and rinsing the mats with hot water. Process until pureed, adding a little warm water if needed to achieve the desired consistency. Nattie has decided that she will only eat her veggies if they're steamed, so I cook up something different for her each day -- broccoli, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, summer squash, chayote squash, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, cauliflower, celery, bok choy, jerusalem artichokes, the only thing she won't eat is leafy greens *sigh*. They also get more pills dipped in cream cheese (Ester-C with bioflavonoids and salmon oil gelcaps). I use the same mixing bowl every day and plop everything in the sink as I'm done with it, then wash them all, including the dog dishes, with soap and I'm done. But after a while (like forgetting to bring out necks for the next day!) it gets to be a routine and you don't even think much about it except to see the dogs salivating when you approach with a food bowl and know that you are feeding them the best way you can!

Dogs never seem to complain about their meals, and they show so much appreciation and end up doing so well on our home diets that I think we all end up enjoying the whole process. Vitamin C is extremely sensitive to light, air and moisture, and begins to degrade immediately when exposed. While they are eating I wash out the containers (if they are empty) and the utensils I used.
I freeze several gallon bags of food, defrosting as necessary.A In the morning, I put a yam in the microwave before I get in the shower. Winter fruit is bananas, apples or oranges, we are just getting ready to start serving some variety now.
I know this is what happened to me (and I still don't cook for myself, though I am working on a healthier diet). Fish oil and flax seed oil are similar -- they are fine to freeze in their original bottles, but have more chance of being damaged if added to food and then frozen.
Actually, this has now changed, and I do a batch of veggie glop and freeze it in muffin tins, I use one veggie muffin per day. After I feed in the morning, if I see that we are getting down a bit and probably don't have enough ready for the next morning, I will throw the big old pot on the stove and make something.
Then there's the storage issue A­ trying to mark the containers for whacked and unwhacked, so it's just easier to whack it all. They will be ready to use by the next morning.A  Put any leftover stuff back in the fridge and I'm done.
The only thing I have to do in large batches is bag up the chicken necks and backs into meal-sized portions when I buy a case every couple of months. I buy 10 lbs of blueberries each year and freeze those, too, just dump them in a container or bag and freeze.
In general, you would be better off adding most supplements right before serving rather than freezing with meals. I give each dog a raw egg two or three times a week, and liver or kidney on the other days. Occasionally I add canned pumpkin or veggie baby food or use them instead of the pureed veggies (Nattie likes them better, generally). I mix it all with three or four ounces each of ground meat -- I have used Halshan's meat and veggie mix, ground turkey, hamburger, beef heart, ground pork, ground lamb, ground ostrich, ricotta cheese and cottage cheese.
I am actually currently experimenting with feeding veggies only every other day; on the days they don't get veggies, I feed around four ounces of muscle meat and two ounces of liver or kidney per dog. I then add the individual supplements, mostly salmon oil, but also Yucca Intensive for Piglet if her arthritis is bothering her, and Probiotics for six months for any dog that has been on antibiotics.
After they eat, I hand out pills dipped in cream cheese (vitamins B, Ester-C with bioflavonoids, and E, and selenium every other day).

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