Have you ever run into the problem of your dog (or cat for that matter) turning down a specific cut of raw meat?
Rest assured that if you have, you’re not alone. I’ve heard and read of many raw fed pets who refuse to eat different kinds of meat.
Just recently, a YouTube follower commented on one of my unboxing videos that she ran into the problem of one of her dogs not being interested in liver:
My dog hates the taste of liver. Even if I mix it in with the tripe, she knows how to separate it and get it out. She absolutely will not eat raw liver.
The thing with liver is it contains minerals and vitamins essential to a balanced raw food diet that aren’t found in other cuts of meat. It’s a non-negotiable item that absolutely has to be fed.
Easier said than done with picky dogs who can’t seem to warm up to the consistency of liver. It is pretty slimy and mushy, so I kind of get where they might be coming from.
I personally have been fairly lucky with my dogs’ eating patterns and taste buds, but Buzz won’t touch pork uterus.
When your dog won’t eat certain cuts of raw meat
So what’s my approach to overcoming the lack of interest in a certain raw food item?
Try a different consistency!
The easiest alternative is to not let the cut of meat thaw entirely. Offer it to your pup still slightly frozen. This will mask the smell of the meat to a certain extent.
If that doesn’t work, try offering it as a dehydrated treat.
One option is to dehydrate it yourself using a dehydrator or the lowest setting on your oven. Since this approach takes about 10-12 hours, you’ll definitely need enough time.
Also keep in mind that some cuts of meat such as liver have a distinctive smell to them, so lighting candles and/or opening windows during the dehydrating process is something you might want to try.
You can, of course, also skip the DIY idea and buy dehydrated or air dried cuts of meat instead.
I get the pups a monthly subscription box of air-dried treats from a small company in San Diego called Real Pet Food. They’re raw feeders themselves and they air dry muscle meat, organs and bones. One box of assorted cuts of air-dried meat costs $35, but they also offer other options starting at $19.
We just got our November box and it came with air-dried pork kidney, salmon skin, turkey gizzards, chicken feet, beef backstrap and lamb trachea.
Yet another option is to try grinding whichever cut of meat your pup declines to eat whole and see if he’ll eat it that way.
Since secreting organs like liver are super soft, you can just throw them into a food processor.
Other cuts of meat have a harder consistency and might require an actual meat grinder.
You should be able to find a powerful one on Amazon. I’ve seen pictures/videos of raw feeders on Instagram using this meat grinder, which retails for around $160.
If your pup picks at the organs you give him and you’re not feeling like grinding them yourself, I can warmly recommend Raw Feeding Miami’s pre-ground organ blend, Monstermash.
1 pound costs $3.75 and consists of beef green tripe, liver, kidney, and two other organs the company alternates between.
The grinding idea worked like a charm for my YouTube follower, by the way:
Thanks. I started grinding all of their food and they eat it like champs now.
He sniffed it a few times, picked it up with his mouth and then spat it back out. I tried offering it to him half frozen as opposed to raw, but still didn’t have any luck.
I wasn’t overly concerned with him not liking it since it’s not an essential part of the raw diet like liver is. So I didn’t even try to grind it. It’s just one of many, many cuts that are fed as muscle meat, and thankfully he’ll eat his gizzards, hearts, lungs, backstrap and others like a champ.
I just accepted the fact that pork uterus is to Buzz what brussels sprouts are to me (***YUCK, I can’t stand the taste of brussels sprouts***) and won’t put it into his bowl again.
Just in case you were wondering if his sister, Missy, will eat pork uterus – she LOVES it!
Funny how siblings can be so different! I have yet to find a type of food that my greedy little puppy girl won’t gladly eat.
Are there any cuts of meat that your dog(s) won’t touch?
Let us know in the comments! Also let us know if you have any questions or suggestions about feeding raw dog food or what to do if your dog won’t eat certain cuts of raw meat.
Barbara Rivers writes regularly for That Mutt about feeding her two boxer mixes a raw dog food diet. She is a blogger and dog walker and maintains the blog K9s Over Coffee.
As I explained in my last post, raw meaty bones are an essential part of feeding your dog a balanced, raw food diet because they contain everything that’s needed to maintain your pup’s skeletal and dental health.
While that’s good to know, you might wonder where to buy chicken leg quarters, duck heads and the like at affordable prices?
Well, today I’m going to tell you just that.
My four favorite sources are the following:
Raw Feeding Miami, an online raw dog food supplier.
Food Lion, my local grocery store.
Ethnic grocery stores.
My number one tip in your search for affordable raw meaty bones is to compare prices between online raw dog food retailers and brick and mortar stores.
One thing you’ll have to keep in mind is that online retailers will charge you a shipping fee, so you’ll have to add that into the final price.
That fee will typically depend on how far away you live from their warehouse. If you’re lucky enough to live in their greater metropolitan area, you can save on shipping costs all together by picking your order up in person.
Raw Feeding Miami
My favorite online retailer for raw meaty bones from more “exotic” protein sources is Raw Feeding Miami.
Their protein selection goes far beyond what I can find locally. Items of interest for me are mainly duck feet, necks, heads and frames, but I also purchase the occasional rabbit head and stuffed quail.
Duck head from Raw Feeding Miami
Raw Feeding Miami’s warehouse address is 18350 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33179. Pick ups from them are by appointment only. They ship on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so it’s important to place orders in advance if you don’t want to run out of dog food … been there, done that.
Whenever that happens and I’m waiting for the order I placed to arrive, I’m opting for pre-made raw dog food.
Shipping fees from Raw Feeding Miami orders depend on the distance the package has to travel – mine are usually around $26 to get from Miami to Spring Lake, N.C., via FedEx Home Delivery.
Duck frames from Raw Feeding Miami
I know of another online retailer that charges a $25 flat rate shipping fee, but their raw meaty bones are considerably more expensive than those from Raw Feeding Miami. So given the topic of affordable raw meaty bones, I won’t mention them here.
Raw Feeding Miami has a customer rewards program where you collect points with every order placed that can be turned into discounts towards future orders (e.g.1000 points will get you $10 off).
Local grocery store
My favorite brick and mortar store is my local grocery store “Food Lion”
While Raw Feeding Miami also carries the more standard in-bone meats like turkey necks and chicken leg quarters, I can get those from Food Lion at a very decent, even slightly better, price.
Some examples – affordable raw meaty bones:
Raw Feeding Miami
Rabbit Leg Quarters
Quails Stuffed w/ green tripe
Chicken Leg Quarters
The only downside of buying chicken leg quarters locally is that I have to remove their skin because it’s way too fat to feed my dogs. The raw dog food supplier takes care of that for you, but I’ll gladly remove the skin myself if doing so will save me a few dollars!
Another way of saving on raw meaty bones at the grocery store is to be on the lookout for sales. I just came across a 1.5 lb package of turkey wings that were marked down to $1.88.
Turkey wings from grocery store
I can also get 2 bags of chicken leg quarters for the price of one when they’re on sale, which happens about once a month. As mentioned above, one 10 lb bag costs $7.90 which is already a pretty good deal, but obviously getting two bags for the price of one makes that deal even sweeter.
Affordable raw meaty bones – Chicken leg quarters
Ethnic grocery stores and farmer’s markets
It’s also worth looking into your local ethnic grocery stores. Asian grocery stores are more likely to carry what us Westerners would consider odd cuts of meat. I’m thinking chicken or duck feet and fish heads.
I just recently discovered two frozen salmon heads at a Korean-owned fish market/grocery store in Fayetteville, N.C. They each weighed almost 2 lb, cost around $5.00, and were a huge hit with my dogs.
Also check out your local farmers markets. They might just sell odd cuts of meat as well, even when they’re not on display. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
I found out about a local organic farm this summer that sells chicken feet. The farmer explained that most people buy them to make bone broth, which is certainly also a great way of using them.
Rest assured that Missy & Buzz ate them as an in-between snack to fuel their joint health (they’re chock full of glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, and trace minerals). They were $5 per lb which is a bit more expensive than Raw Feeding Miami, but they were organic and sourced locally, so I was ok paying that price.
I’ve also heard that some Walmart stores carry chicken feet, although the one closest to me doesn’t. I have yet to try my luck at a few other ones, but it’s on my to-do list. I’ll report back once I will have found them at Walmart.
Bottom Line – Finding affordable raw meaty bones
Buying raw meaty bones to prepare your dog’s raw meals doesn’t have to break the bank as long as you’re willing to compare prices and be on the lookout for sales.
If you know of fellow raw feeders in your area, consider placing a larger order together with them. You’ll be able to at least save on shipping. One of my dog walking clients just transitioned their German Shepherd to a raw diet and placed their first order with Raw Feeding Miami to try them out. I’ll definitely be suggesting placing orders together every now and then.
If you don’t know of any raw feeders in your area, you could join a raw feeding Facebook group to find out if any of their members live close by and whether they’d be interested in placing a group order. They might also be willing to share local sources for affordable cuts of raw meat.
It takes out what might be the most complicated component of preparing your own dogs’ raw meals, and that is getting the math right between the different cuts of meat that make up a nutritious meal (muscle meat, bones and organs).
I personally fed my two boxer mixes pre-made raw dog food from a company called Darwin’s Natural Pet for the first 6 months after ditching kibble. Since it was beginning to be a bit on the expensive side to feed this type of food exclusively, I started looking into making my own meals and was able to cut the cost in half.
Now, in order to create your own dog’s meals, you’ll want to know how to calculate percentages, but even if you don’t, there are some fabulous raw food calculators that are accurate and extremely helpful in double checking your own math.
I like the one that Raw Feeding Miami links to on their website because it offers two separate calculators that differentiate between Prey Model feeding (without veggies) and the BARF model (with veggies):
Raw bones as an integral part of a balanced raw diet
Dogs need the right amount of calcium and phosphorus in order to thrive and to maintain good skeletal health. When feeding a raw diet, raw meaty bones provide exactly that. So even though bones only make up 10% of a nutritious raw diet, they are an integral part of it and can’t be overlooked. By “raw meaty bones” I simply mean bones that have meat attached. Read on to learn more.
Raw meaty bones (RMBs) also function as a natural toothbrush and keep a dog’s pearlies nice and clean. Missy and Buzz have been “brushing” their teeth several times per week for the past 2 years. Take a look at Buzz’s teeth:
But aren’t bones dangerous and can potentially harm my dog?
The answer to this question is “yes, bones are dangerous when they’re cooked.” While you can wing feeding raw to a certain degree, there is one really important rule that you absolutely have to follow, and that is never ever feed your dog cooked bones.
Unlike raw bones which are soft and pliable, cooked bones become brittle, can splinter very easily, and become sharp little weapons, meaning they can cause a lot of harm once they’re inside a dog’s body.
What kind of raw meaty bones can I feed my dog?
Out of the 2.5 years that my dogs Missy & Buzz have been on a raw diet, they’ve been eating raw meaty bones for 2 years without ever having had a problem eating or digesting them.
As mentioned previously, it took me about 6 months to feel comfortable enough putting their meals together myself and to offer them whole RMBs. (The pre-made raw meals from Darwin’s contained ground bones.)
I started them out on chicken leg quarters and slowly added other RMBs to their meals over the course of the next 24 months ranging from duck necks/heads/frames to turkey necks, chicken feet, rabbit heads, and just recently salmon heads.
As a rule of thumb, the RMB you offer your dog should never be a lot smaller than their mouth. That way, he’ll be a lot less likely to just swallow the bone whole instead of chewing it. So don’t offer your 80-lb Lab a chicken wing, but start with a chicken leg quarter instead. Likewise, your Yorkie might be overwhelmed with a turkey neck but do great with a chicken wing.
How to safely feed your dog raw bones
Another piece of advice I can offer is know your dog’s chewing habits. If your dog tends to gulp, hold the RMB you’re offering while they eat it. That way, they’re forced to take bites out of it and actually chew.
One of my dog walking clients is currently switching their German Shepherd from kibble to raw and followed my advice of holding the chicken leg quarter when offering it to Stanley. Otherwise, he has a tendency of swallowing food whole. Holding it worked great to “force” Stanley to chew.
Someone who follows me on Instagram did the same when offering their Husky-Lab-Rottweiler mix Baloo a chicken leg quarter for the first time. It worked just as great as it did for Stanley.
Also be aware of your dog’s dental health before offering RMBs. In general, a dog’s teeth will be able to handle RMBS no problem, but (older) dogs with weaker teeth might be better off with ground bone in their meals.
Another lesson I learned over the years is to feed my dogs raw bones on a surface that can easily be wiped down. When it’s nice outside, I give them their RMBs on the grass in the back yard – obviously there’s no clean up necessary there at all.
When I feed RMBs inside, I put down a large towel on the hardwood in the kitchen/dining room area that gets tossed into the wash right after. This is great to practice the command “stay” or “place” to keep your dog confined to one area.
Every now and then I also feed Missy and Buzz larger RMBs such as duck frames in their crates. This option is great to keep them busy for a while when company comes over! I’ll remove their bedding beforehand so all I have to do is wipe down the pans after they’re done eating.
How do I know how much actual bone content is in a raw meaty bone?
One thing to keep in mind is that RMBs don’t only consist of bone, but they also come with meat attached. The actual bone content varies between the different RMBs. Chicken leg quarters typically contain around 20% bone, necks are around 45% bone, chicken feet are 60-80% bone, duck heads and duck frames are around 75% bone.
Perfectly Raw offer a great overview of the different bone percentages on their website:
If you’re not entirely sure if your dog gets too much or too little bone in his meals, take a look at his poop. If it’s too runny, he’s not getting enough. Or, if it’s too dry, he’s getting too much bone.
*Note from Lindsay: I find it easier to calculate how much bone my dog would need over a full week vs. each meal. Then I just make sure he gets that amount over the week.
To sum it all up:
Never feed cooked bones, only RMBs.
Raw bones make up 10% of a nutritious, balanced raw food diet.
They are important for your dog’s skeletal and oral health.
Choose RMBs that are a good fit for your dog’s mouth in size.
Know your dog’s chewing habits and hold on to the RMB if your dog is a gulper.
Feed your dog raw bones on surfaces that can easily be cleaned – avoid carpet and wood.
Take a look at your dog’s poop if you’re unsure that he’s getting the right amount of bone.
In my next post, I’ll share where we get our paws on affordable raw meaty bones!
Do your dogs get RMBs in their diet? Do they have a favorite kind?
Let us know in the comments! Also, leave any questions you have about how to feed your dog raw bones.
Barbara Rivers writes regularly for That Mutt about feeding her two boxer mixes a raw dog food diet. She is a blogger and dog walker and maintains the blog K9s Over Coffee.
Please welcome Barbara Rivers to That Mutt! She will be posting regularly here on the blog about feeding her two boxer mixes a raw dog food diet. She is a blogger and dog walker and maintains the blog k9s Over Coffee.
I’ve been feeding my two Boxer mixes Missy & Buzz a raw diet for about 2.5 years now. About 70% of the time I prepare their meals myself because it’s cost effective and I’ve come to enjoy the process.
That being said, I’ll admit that every now and then I do appreciate the convenience of pre-made raw food. For example, when I’m short on time for meal prep, when I’m running low on muscle meat/raw meaty bones/organs or when I know someone else will be feeding the pups while I’m out of town. This person may not be into dishing out duck heads, beef liver and the like!
A few months ago, I started shopping at an independently owned pet supply store not too far away from where we live here in rural North Carolina.
I LOVE their decently sized freezer section that is always chock-full of pre-made raw meals from top notch brands such as Stella & Chewy’s, Bravo! and Nature’s Variety, to name just a few. I’ve had the pups taste-test several of them over the last few months, and they approved of all my choices.
Primal Patties pre-made raw dog food review
Our most recent discovery is pre-made raw patties by a company called PRIMAL Pet Foods based out of Northern California.
All their food is guaranteed to be made with fresh, steroid- and antibiotic-free muscle meat/bone/organ and certified organic produce made right here in the USA. All of their proteins come from sustainable farms in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
What the Primal Patties are made of / what’s in them
The Primal Patties are a pre-made, raw dog food that falls into the BARF category of raw feeding. BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones And Raw Food and also includes a small amount of vegetables and fruit besides the main component of meat.
Just FYI: A similar approach to raw feeding is known as the Prey Model. The main difference is the lack of vegetables and fruit in Prey Model feeding.
The Primal Patties themselves consist of 87% muscle meat, bones and organs, and 13% produce and supplements. They’re available in several different proteins – beef, chicken, duck, lamb, pheasant, rabbit, venison and turkey/sardine.
I decided to try their turkey/sardine patties because they were the least expensive option and because Missy & Buzz enjoy and do well with both turkey and sardine. I buy them turkey necks and canned sardines in water at our local grocery store on a regular basis. Those particular patties consist of the following:
The 6 lb bags that I bought featured a resealable opening and each contained twelve 8 ounce patties that were separated with parchment paper.
I’ve purchased pre-made raw meals before that were individually wrapped featuring EZ-peel openings, and both were equally convenient to serve. I’d say the way Primal packages its patties is a little more environmentally friendly because they use less packaging material.
How to serve Primal Patties pre-made raw dog food
Serving the Primal Patties is pretty straight forward once they’ve been thawed. Since Buzz eats two 8 ounce meals per day (he weighs 71 lbs), he can have a full size patty for each meal. Missy gets 6 ounces per meal (she weighs 54 lbs), so I just take off one quarter from a patty that I end up refrigerating and feed it at another meal.
I did go ahead and add organic chicken eggs and plain Greek yogurt in two out of seven meals simply because the pups are used to getting some of each a few times per week. The plain Greek yogurt is great for their digestive systems, and the eggs are a nutritional powerhouse and good for joint health (the lining between the shell and the egg is rich in glucosamine and chondroitin).
The cost & where to buy
I paid $36 for one 6 lb bag which is a somewhat acceptable price for pre-made raw dog food.
It’s important to remember that this kind of food has a huge convenience factor that plays into the price tag. The company essentially eliminates any worries a doggie parent might have about getting raw feeding right. They are the ones who ensure the raw food is a complete & balanced meal that can be fed without needing to add any other vitamins or minerals. That, of course, comes at a price.
What I like about Primal is that they reward their customers’ loyalty. The store I’ve purchased 4 bags from so far will give me the 12th bag of Primal patties for free once I’ve purchased 11. That’s a pretty good deal!
Speaking of stores – the Primal Patties can’t be bought online since they’re frozen, but they’re available at many pet retail stores. You can check if there’s one close to you by using Primal’s store locator.
Which dogs Primal Patties are great for
I always recommend pre-made raw meals for toothless dogs, smaller dogs and dogs whose hoomans are just making the switch from kibble to a raw diet and want to ensure their dogs eat balanced, nutritious meals.
It’s what I fed my pups when I first made the switch from kibble to raw. I will say that it provided great peace of mind knowing that my dogs’ nutritional needs were met in their new diet.
It took me about 6 months before I felt comfortable enough putting the pups’ raw meals together myself, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say our raw feeding journey has been one huge learning curve. A fun one though!
I remember my first “aha!” moment when I realized that hearts are actually supposed to be fed as muscle meat and not as organs. Only secreting organs count towards organs in the raw feeding world … who knew!
I love the convenience factor of Primal’s patties. I will make it a habit of having a bag or two in my freezer for those times when I might be waiting on a shipment of individual cuts of raw meat or needing someone else to feed the pups.
Primal’s customer loyalty program helps make their patties more affordable. Although, I have no problem admitting I couldn’t afford feeding them to my guys on a daily basis. Buzz eats 1 lb of meat every day, and Missy gobbles up 12 ounces.
While their ingredients all seem to be top notch, I will always give my pups whole raw meaty bones in addition to any pre-made raw meals. Raw bones act as a natural toothbrush and keep their pearlies nice and clean without me having to brush them manually.
Overall I do recommend this particular line of pre-made raw meals, particularly to owners of smaller dogs who are looking into feeding a more species-appropriate diet.
Do any of you feed a pre-made raw diet?
Let us know in the comments!
Barbara Rivers is a regular contributor to That Mutt. She is a blogger at K9s Over Coffee and feeds her two boxer mixes a raw diet.
Lindsay Stordahl Lindsay Stordahl (with her mutt Ace) is the blogger behind That Mutt.
Julia Thomson Julia Thomson (with her mutt Baxter) writes regularly for That Mutt.
Barbara Rivers Barbara Rivers writes for That Mutt about raw dog food.
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