[WRITTEN BY OREO’S MAMA]
Recently, we have received more queries about what kinds of meat to feed our furry babies, where to get them, how to prepare them and sharing of concerns, so we thought the time is right to present this:
SIMPLIFIED BASICS TO RAW FEEDING IN SINGAPORE
Ok… The title is not much to croon about, but let’s dive into the details, alright?:)
1. What kind of meat can I feed my furry kids and where can I get them?
Well, whether or not you eat a healthy and balanced diet, I’m sure you expect and wish to feed your babies one (whether they like it or not)! The balanced diet for dogs and cats look vastly different from a human’s and it will be unfair to feed them the same way.
But, that’s not our topic for now. Let’s zoom in on the MEAT!
In Singapore, the types of meat that we can get readily from our friendly neighbourhood markets and supermarkets are these:
chicken, duck, pork, beef, mutton (and lamb) and even frog legs.
Sure, you can feed any of the meats readily available and you feel happiest feeding or your furry kids seem to enjoy the most. However, do bear in mind, when first starting out, it’s best to give the kiddos’ digestive system time to get used to the first type of meat (i.e. a few weeks) before introducing the 2nd, 3rd… (go ahead and break the kibble rule – feed as wide a variety as you like, your kids will thank you!)
Another thing to note is this, we have had vets who are supportive of raw feeding tell us that they DO NOT recommend that raw feeders feed their furry kids raw fish. Some raw fish, especially the big yummy kinds like salmon contain a type of deadly parasite that cannot be killed by mere freezing in our home freezer. You’ll need industrial strength freezers to kill the parasites. Also, fish do not denature much when steamed. So they suggest to feed fish cooked – no sashimi for Fido and Fluffy.
On top of that, fish in general, are high in histamines (you know, the allergy-causing, itch-inducing stuff). While feeding some fatty fish gives our babies the EFAs they need, most fish these days are farmed and don’t possess good quality EFAs anyway that we are better off giving our kiddos a fresh salmon-oil supplement. You can read more about fish-related health problems here!
So what does Ms Oreo, my highly allergenic but obviously half wild carnivore eat?
Well, check this out:
A really tortured Ms O (because it’s hard to show self control next to the heavenly food) and her stash of dinners for the next fortnight – although given the chance, she’ll love to EAT THEM ALL in one seating!
I usually rotate my protein source once a month, but I went on a meat shopping frenzy recently and came home with these.
I recommend Sakura Chicken (especially the kampong chickens) because they tend to be leaner.
For our non-local readers, ‘Kampong’ refers to village, and specifically a Malay village!
Here’s what the company says:
Sakura Kampong Chicken is slightly different from Sakura Chicken …
1. It’s a different breed of chicken which is more skinny (hence lower fat)
2. It’s reared in Singapore farm (By Chew’s farm)
I’m not too sure if they do this for the regular chickens, but it seems they are leaving the offal in the kampong chickens (our last few chickens had the heart, liver, kidneys and sometimes a few other innards left intact). This makes the chicken a HIGHLY well-balanced diet for, in Oreo’s case, a week just on its own and the only supplements I need to add are probiotics (for her weak digestive system) and the mushroom extract prescribed by her brilliant vet.
The main dish for the month of September. We have muscle, loin, tail, prime ribs. I decided that 1 kg of pork (on top of another kg of chicken and other stuff) is enough for one shopping trip, so I have KIV-ed the front hock or German pork knuckle(more on that later), heart, intestines and offals (liver and maybe kidney and brain – if I can find it) for another trip.
In general, we don’t feed weight-bearing meaty bones (i.e. legs, spine and any other bony parts that helps a large animal move and stand) because the bones are much much harder, but pork trotters are recommended as a source for good teeth-cleaning and still provide good meat for the animals. So I usually still feed them, but with more care, and pick up the (fairly) clean bones after Ms O is done gnawing.
CAUTION (AGAIN) : PLEASE ENSURE THAT THE BONE THAT YOU CHOOSE IS NOT A CHOPPED WEIGHT-BEARING BONE. A BUTCHERED BONE MAY HAVE SHARDS THAT WILL CUT YOUR DOG. And unless you bought the entire pig leg/cow leg, the bone has been chopped! Definitely! You may want to click here to read more about raw meaty bones.
Okay, gotta add this: Please do not go to the butcher and ask him to recommend a bone for your pup to chew on…most likely he will give you a chopped bone/any big bone/just any bone! A reader’s poor pup has cut gums because of this. Yikes!
For those new to raw feeding, please begin with boneless meats. Monitor your pet, and when it shows that it can chew food properly (don’t assume–some pets just inhale) before swallowing, you can upgrade to a soft bone. Don’t throw your pet a meaty weight-bearing bone/trotter right from the start!
The beef tail is one of the only beef parts that Ms O gets, because she gets rashes and diarrhoea when she takes too much beef. She gets a lingering milky smell on her breath for a few days even after I brush her teeth after a beefy meal too, and I don’t like the milky smell. She still gets them about once a month because they are really sinewy and gives her a good teeth-cleaning and brain-teasing session.
However, there are many other cuts that you can get in Singapore, like beef cubes, shin and steaks (do cut the bony parts out, because there’s too much meat that it will be bad if furry kiddo swallow the bones without crunching – bones that go down the wrong way can cut) and even tripe!
During this last spree, I got quail for Ms Oreo too. On hind sight, after the excitement has died down, I thought it was a really expensive whim, but yeah, you can get them at some cold storage outlets.
On the topic of where to get these meats? Well, I shop pretty exclusively at NTUC, but you can go to the wet market, Cold Storage, Sheng Siong or any other supermarket that you find most convenient!
Do feel free to buy the discounted meats or the cheapest cuts, your furry kids will love you all the same and unless there is something really wrong with their immune system, they should not show any signs of detriments.
But if you feel like splurging on your furkid, you can also head over here to see a list made by our friends Romeo & Juliet of local boutique butchers who offer meats, if you like!
2. I’ve bought the meat! Now what?
Congratulations! Now packaged the meat and put it in the freezer. Two ways to prepare the meat for freezing.
First, pack into portions right for each kid’s single serving, e.g. Chop the chicken up into carefully measured portions – or not, after a while you will be able to eyeball really well, just agar-agar (estimate!) as Gordon Ramsay learnt in Malaysia.
Second, just remove the parts you don’t want. Put the whole bird/animal part in a bag.
This is what I personally do for Ms O. Then she gets to eat the same carcass for a few minutes every day, before I pick the food up and repackage. (DO NOT choose this option if you are not sure)
Here’s a video of Ms. O and her delicious whole chicken:
Pack up the remaining bits, and then freeze.
3. What, freeze?! I thought fresh is best?
Yes, fresh is best, but we humans eat our food cooked. Cooking kills all bacteria and parasites. Our furry kids don’t eat the food cooked. While it’s all good and well to feed fresh raw meats without freezing, if there are any parasites, the kids will get the parasites in their tummies, even nerves in some cases!
Generally, I freeze Ms O.’s food for anything between 1-2 days (for chicken to a week and more for other types of meats.
4. Erm… did you say you feed Ms O, then rebag the food for another day? Aren’t we always told not to refreeze raw meat?
Yes, if the meat is for humans, please don’t refreeze, because freezing (and thawing) changes the texture of the meat. Also, when thawing, bacteria is introduced to the meat. As such, the bacteria load on the meat goes up. What’s more, after a meat is thawed, the meat starts to break down (hence you may find more bloody water in a packet after you thaw it for quite a while despite not doing anything).
But for our furry ones, they don’t have concerns about the texture. (If you have a spoilt kiddo who refuses such “leftovers”, please feel free to nag about how some poor doggies and kitties in the world have no food to eat, don’t even have a mummy and/or daddy to love… and insist that he finishes his food, leftover or not! =P )
With regard to the bacteria, if you are truly concerned about bacteria landing on your beloved’s food, you can make a spray of apple cider vinegar and water and spray it all over the food before keeping. ACV is great at keeping away the bacteria and aids in digestion (more about it coming up!). You can put it in a spray bottle like this:
What about the meat breaking down? You can worry about that even less. You may just find that the more it breaks down (and becomes riper and smellier), the more your furry kid will eat with gusto! Do check out our articles on pets’ tummies and pathogens here!
5. So how do I feed my dog/cat? How much should I give?
Well, there are 2 ways you can feed:
1. remove the meat you want to feed from the freezer and defrost it in the chiller compartment of your refrigerator overnight.
2. remove the meat from the freezer and feed as is. (Ms O will tell you it’s not a nice way to eat meat, because it makes your insides go cold – she ate too much frozen chicken once and shivered for half an hour after that once)
Then you can either use a ground sheet/towel to catch all the raw stuff, so you can easily wrap it up and have it cleaned, or you can feed in the toilet or somewhere else where it’s easy to wash.
The amount to feed is dependent on the ideal weight of your kiddo. 2-3% of the ideal weight is the way to go (if in doubt, just go for the dead centre – 2.5%). Eg: Ms O’s ideal weight is 5.8kg. Because she does agility once a week and walks 5km a day, I feed her about 2.5% of her weight every day. That comes up to about 150g of meat – about 1 chicken thigh, or 1.5 chicken wings.
Here’s a video of Ms. O waiting for her dinner!
There you go!
A basic guide to feeding your beloved meat and some of the more commonly asked questions. Is this all there is to feeding a raw diet? Of course not, but this is a good place to start. (Look out for part 2!)
Do try it out and share your experiences, questions and further concerns with us and we will be happy to try to answer them for you!
Till then, here are doggy kisses from Ms. O! 🙂
Categories: The Raw Explorer