this post does contain affiliate links but as always all thoughts & suggestions are from my experience
Prep day at my house was hard, really hard. Once again refer to the title of this blog. The process of creating a recipe I like, buying all the supplies I need, & then grocery shopping for ingredients almost broke me before I even got to prep day. I made it through & it was a disaster. I spent hours chopping, blending, measuring supplements, & doing the math to try to keep all my portions correct.
- 15 extremely oversized meals = fat dogs
- 1 broken blender = horrible smell
- 1 destroyed kitchen = clean up from hell
- 1 tired frustrated me = buzzkill extraordinaire
I am happy to report that is all behind me know. Below is my mind-blowing easy process along with a snazzy video featuring my lovely assistant The Rock n’ Roll Dog Dad aka my hubby.
Before I Start Even Trying to Make My Dog’s Food
Here are things I didn’t do when I first started DIY raw. Not having these things taken care of extended my prep time by hours & hours….& hours.
Space Required for Making My Dog’s Meals
I completely underestimated the amount of counter space I need to make things easy. Luckily I keep my house fairly or good enough organized that one good decluttering was I needed to be able to create a chopping section along with a container space to be able to streamline. As you saw in the video above I lay out a row of containers with the premix all ready to go then simply add the meats.
I pshawed the idea of buying a freezer due to my house being city-sized not suburb-sized, but quickly changed my mind after my first few shopping trips. Being able to buy in bulk so I don’t have to shop every week is a huge time saver. Originally, I just resigned to putting on the back porch, something goes against my personal core values, but then my lovely assistant pointed out that we had an office nook that hasn’t been used in the last 5 years. So that was it. By evaluating what areas in the house are not being utilized on a regular basis I was able to find room for my very own dog food only freezer.
Tools I Need to DIY Raw Dog Food
Meal containers that will hold a meal or two per container. I opted for standardizing my containers so everyone in the house will not steal them for personal purposes. Since I already know how much my dogs eat I just ordered containers in that size.
I was sure I could just use the old school scale that I actually bought as a decoration and eyeball the rest. Nope, didn’t work. All my amounts were inaccurate and my meals were definitely not balanced. Buying a digital scale made things 10x easier.
Math, yes good ol’ math. After I decided on a recipe I had to figure out how much of each kind of meat I needed to shop for. I started with my calculator for ordering food. Then I took that amount and applied to my recipe ratios.
Ingredients I Need to Succeed
Okay, here is my big change to making DIY raw actionable in my life. The discovery of premixes. Now I had known about premixes for years but really wanted to make their meals with all whole foods that hadn’t been processed. This is still something I want. The only thing is that making my own premix that includes everything I want takes forever & creates a massive mess. The day I used a pre-made mix was the day homemade raw dog food really seemed like a possibility. Again note the name of this blog.
I am lucky enough to live in a diverse city. That means loads of ethnic & discount markets. I am able to find my muscle meats for $2/lb at one store & then my organs at another. The bone-in meats are available at both so I just find the best deal.
The TLRF Method of Preparing Dog Meals
- Layout as many prep containers I can on the counter space.
- Add premix & hydrate.
- Calibrate digital scale with your combo bowl.
- Chop all meats as needed & organize in separate bowls.
- Assemble meals, store, & clean up.
- Rejoice in the rest of your afternoon that is now free for the frolicking.
By implementing the things above I cut my prep time down to 45 minutes. That’s right under an hour to prep 20 meals. Okay, that was a personal best & do have a lovely assistant these days but even without him & on my slowest days I still am shopped/sourced, prepped, & cleaned up in only a few hours. I hope you are able to enjoy the same results in your home.