With the poor economy, many people have gone back to their roots and began making their food from scratch. The idea is to save money on their grocery bills, eat healthier and for some this includes making dehydrated raw dog food.
When you are cooking from scratch, you are leaving out the chemical additives and preservatives, so it becomes important to find ways to preserve the food naturally. For a raw dog food diet, this is most commonly done through dehydration.
For many pet parents, making the switch to a dehydrated raw dog food is a matter of improved health for their dogs. When you use a dehydrator to make your dog’s food, it retains the vitamins and minerals that are lost during the manufacturing process of dry dog food. You also avoid feeding a food that is full of unhealthy fillers used to add bulk to a dry dog food.
If you’ve decided to begin making dehydrated raw dog food, you will need to slowly introduce your dog to the new diet. This transition should be done gradually to allow your dog’s stomach time to adjust and tolerate the change to a dehydrated raw dog food. Start by including approximately one third dehydrated food to their regular food and then gradually increase the amount of dehydrated food over a two week period.
Although dehydrated raw dog food is available commercially, many pet owners simply want the control of knowing exactly what they are feeding their dog. Commercial dehydrated raw dog food may offer convenience to a busy household but the dehydration process is fairly simple once you go through the initial steps of finding the right ingredients for your dog and learning to quickly prepare the ingredients for dehydration.
Begin by choosing a dehydrator and then consider the ingredients and you want to include in your dog’s food. Keep in mind that dog’s have food allergies just like humans, so if you know your dog is allergic to a specific ingredient or they have stomach problems when you feed them a particular food, you need to leave those ingredients out. If you are unsure what to look for, it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian for advice on the proper food ingredients necessary to offer your dog a healthy diet.
Dehydrated raw dog food should include the following ingredients to be a complete healthy diet:
-Meat – The meats that are considered to be safe are chicken, turkey, lamb, venison, beef, eggs and organ meats. You should use about 40% meat in the entire mixture.
-Vegetables – Some of the more common vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, corn, celery, beets, sweet potatoes, squash, zucchini and turnips. There are a few to avoid because of allergies, digestion issues and skin conditions. These include potatoes, egg plant, tomato and green peppers. You should use approximately 30% vegetables.
-Carbohydrates and Starch – The top choices for use in a dehydrated raw diet include brown rice, oatmeal, barley and pasta. Carbohydrates and starches should also be used at about 30% of the mixture.
Use a food processor, mixing bowl, spoons and measuring cups to prepare your ingredients.
1.Start with your meat choice first and arrange the meat in single layers in the dehydrator. Meats need to be cooked at the highest temperature setting. Before removing the meat, make sure it is completely dry to the touch.
2.Wash and clean your vegetables and remove any rotten or damaged areas. Keep your vegetables in small sliced pieces for better digestion and dry them according to your dehydrator’s settings.
3.Carbohydrates and starches need to be boiled first and drained of all excess moisture. Place in a single layer and dehydrate according to the instructions.
4.Once all of your ingredients are dried, mix them together in the proportions listed above and store them in plastic bags or airtight containers. Keep them in a dry, dark and cool area for storage that’s at least sixty degrees below freezing.
5.When you are ready to rehydrate the food, simply place it in a bowl and add warm water to cover the dehydrated food. The food should be re-hydrated from thirty minutes to two hours. Place any leftover hydrated food in the refrigerator to keep it from spoiling. Re-hydrated food is safe to keep in the refrigerator for up to two days.
Making dehydrated raw dog food is a relatively simple process that can add years to your dog’s life. Experiment and use your imagination to create new healthy dishes for both your dog and your family.