Minus the beginning of this routine, meaning the preparing of the vegetables, our routine is the same every evening. In the morning things are a bit more simple because there are no meds or supplements to hand out nor is there any dishwashing.
I started today at 6:30 P.M
1. Preparing the vegetables
Our vegetable mix usually consists of broccoli, cucumber, lettuce and zucchini.
Broccoli is very rich in about everything. It has lots of vitamins and minerals and would be best used raw, but I have noticed it may cause gas to some dogs. That's why I tend to boil the broccoli. It does cause some of the nutrients to vanish, but as vegetables should always be considered as a possible plus in nutrients, but mostly a source of fiber, it's not a big thing.
Lettuce is mostly good for fiber, as it does have some vitamins and minerals but not nearly as much as broccoli, for example. I find lettuce a good add on to the mix mainly because dogs like it's taste a lot. I am not sure what exactly charms them as much, but they like to munch it in pieces as well as eat it blended. The same goes with cucumber.
Zucchini is said to be beneficial for digestion and helps to clean up the system. Whether or not this is true with dogs is to be debated, but once again, dogs like it's taste and it's also very good source for fiber. I tend to use one zucchini and two cucumbers when I prepare this exact mix, but sometimes during the summers when mother provides me with home grown zucchini and cucumber the ratio might change depending on how much cucumber and zucchini I have.
At this point, when everything is chopped and broccoli is boiled I will invite my trusty Elsi The Electrolux Blender to the party. Life has been better after Elsi joined our family. I am bad at eating (poor teeth. Not good breeding material :P ), and Elsi has helped me a lot by turning everything into a gorgeous liquid of nutrients.
True, sometimes the product looks exactly like dog vomit, but at least usually it does taste good.
Last but not least, I pour all blended vegetables into a huge bowl and add some dried seaweed. Seaweed has many health benefits and nutrients and for raw feeders one of the most essential of them is the iodine. Dogs needs very small amounts of iodine, but they DO need it. Seaweed is the best and the easiest source, so I highly suggest using it. It's usually easy to find from almost everywhere.
2. Distributing of the meat
Ah, the best part. Vegetables are beneficial for dogs, but as some dogs are more carnivore by their digestive system than others, and we can't really tell who is what by just looking at them, vegetables are always to be seen as a possible plus. You can't really consider them as a main source for anything (except in some cases, like with iodine and seaweed, because seaweed is so packed with iodine even if just a few percents are absorbed, it is enough).
Meats are what dogs are supposed to eat. After I have washed the bowls it's time to take out our meats from the fridge.
Here are the meats for the day!
On the upper row a crowd favorite; boneless turkey. A classic, loved by everyone. If I would have to choose one meat and only one, boneless turkey would probably be the pick.
On the bottom left we have minced beef meat and heart. I always try to go for as much meat as I can when I buy minced meats. This product is meant for puppies and hence it doesn't have cartilage or anything like that, only meat and some heart minced together. It's super quality and even smells just like the beef meat I eat myself.
On the bottom left another crowd favorite; MUSH Vaisto Sininen (MUSH Vaisto Blue). MUSH is a Finnish pet raw food provider and it has many products I use daily. One of my all time favorites and something dogs love too is their complete raw food formula Vaisto. Vaisto products have many meats minced together with liver, finely grounded bone and other intestines to provide a good, balanced mix to use as it is or as part of the feeding. I tend to use it as a part of our feeding, mainly as a source of calcium and vitamin A (because of the liver). Vaisto Sininen (Blue) has beef, turkey and salmon in it, along with some vegetables and sunflower oil. My dogs like this formula the best, but they do love other Vaisto products, too, for example their Wild formula and Vaisto Vihreä (Green). Vaisto Vihreä is also a very easy way to start raw feeding, as it consists of products that are easy to digest and it has less bone in it.
I like to prepare the meals myself to make sure everyone has their individual needs met, but I have always recommended Vaisto for those who just simply want to feed raw without all the fuss.
At this point I usually give meals for the ferrets first. They tend to roam free while I am preparing food, so I go and give them their food and leave them to eat it in peace. Sometimes I may feed them with a spoon, because 1. they are cute 2. they are spoiled 3. Private is picky, but everything fed with a spoon turns into a culinary delicacy in his mind.
Trooper needs his insulinoma medicine every day and because it should be given about the same time every evening, giving the food for ferrets first is a good way for me to make sure he eats his quarter of a pill before I continue with anything else. Today's supper consisted of minced boneless turkey meat and an egg yolk. Ferrets can eat the whites, too, but just every now and then.
Almost done! When ferrets have eaten their portions (or are eating them currently. I only stay to make sure Trooper has his medicine eaten for sure) I get back to prepare the meal for the dogs. Supper also has all the supplements added, so depending on what the dogs are eating today I add all the needed extra.
When there is not that much fish in the dish, I add vitamin D to make sure dogs have their needs met. I don't supplement vitamin D every day. If I give lots of salmon, white fish or herring that day, supplemented vitamin D is not needed. What I DO give every day is zinc for everyone (this product is actually only used by the hounds. General doesn't do good with it, so I use Avital Biotin for him) and WorkingDogHyaluron 365 for Jester and General. It is like liquid GOLD.
That's it! Supper is served at 7:45.Vegetables took about 30 minutes, so usually distributing meals takes me about 45 minutes in the evening. During the mornings it's about 15 minutes less.
My feeding style does require some time but as I find it relaxing to mix and match, it doesn't matter. In the beginning I was intimidated by preparing the meals myself, but the more I learned and read, the less I stressed. You can't really go THAT wrong if you keep it versatile and use quality products. As I said earlier, there are also complete formulas for those who like their feeding simple and fast.