Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dog Day Afternoon

It really shouldn't surprise you to know that I make my own dog food. I am equal parts proud and embarrassed of this, because it feels like something that someone who is unhealthfully attached to their pet might do. But the truth is, I am somewhat unhealthfully attached to my pet. Rather than spoiling him, I feel like I am simply giving him every opportunity to be immortal. It's selfish, really.
For about 6 years, he's been on a variation of the BARF diet, which essentially simulates what dogs would be eating without us humans around to dress them in funny outfits and teach them how to use toilets. As a result, his coat is soft and shiny, his teeth are clean, and, not to go into too much detail, but he's not the dog laying giant smelly turds all over your sidewalks. He's also a versatile eater and will let you feed him apple slices, but above everything he just wants to find and devour fresh cat shit. It's time consuming and expensive, but I do it because I love my dog more than you love yours.

This Sunday was a dog food making day. About 45 meals and 60 pounds worth of dog food making. Which meant that on Wednesday I had to call New Seasons and order a 40 lb case of chicken necks. On Friday I picked up the rest of my meat from Meat, the raw food pet store on E. Burnside. Sunday morning I went to Food 4 Less for the rest of the ingredients, and by 2pm I was not at all figuratively up to my elbows in raw variety meats. This is always torture for old Vic, who always gets to lick the bowl, but until that moment, drools underfoot with pained expression. Stupid dog.

Here's my recipe and method for 45 days of dog food:

4lb "green tripe" (I think this is uncured tripe--it's good for their digestion)
4lb "cow pie" (this is a combination of ground beef, heart, and liver)
5lb assorted chicken livers, hearts, gizzards, etc
12 lb ground duck
4 doz eggs
5 lb potatoes, baked, mashed
1 #10 can pumpkin (about 6 lb)
2lb frozen peas, thawed and processed
2lb frozen carrots, thawed and processed
2lb frozen green beans, thawed and processed
25 lbs of chicken necks

Put on some rubber gloves. I like to listen to Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet or Some Girls while I'm working. Mix all the ingredients but the chicken necks in a big bus tub. You're basically creating a loose, gross meatloaf-like concoction. Try not to smell, inspect, or think about it too much. Breathe through your mouth. Don't make on an empty stomach or a full stomach. Don't eat or drink anything while you're working.

Leave the mix for a moment, and set out as many plastic containers as you can fit on your counter. Place 4-5 chicken necks in each container, this is roughly 1/2 a pound. Using a scoop or your hands, follow up with your meat mix, getting about 12 oz or so in there. You want to end up with your meals weighing in between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 lbs. That's for an active, 50 lb dog. Less or more depending on your own pet.

Place lids on the containers and store in the freezer. This is where having a chest freezer comes in handy. Well, that and the 300 lbs of meat you should be buying every year for personal consumption. Every night before you go to bed, pull out a container. It will be thawed out by morning. It's a good idea to keep some high-quality kibble on hand in case you forget to pull a meal before you go to bed. Which happens more than it should for someone who is trying to make their dog immortal.

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