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Does Your Dog Hate Cold Raw?
When I first transitioned my dogs to raw food, they weren't used to eating cold food straight from the fridge. We started doing a few things to warm up the food, including cooking it (no bones) just to get them to eat, which was destroying the nutrients that make raw feeding so beneficial for dogs.
Eventually, my dogs became used to the temperature and over the years, I've found several ways to “warm up” their raw meals safely without applying heat.
Warming Up Raw Meals Safely
If you want to feed your dog warm or lukewarm food – you have several options:
1 – Feed a home cooked diet instead of raw. If you chose this option, don't forget to add back in the nutrients lost during cooking with a nutrient blend like Petobolics by Natura Petz.
2 – Microwave your dog's meal for a short time. This will take the chill off, however, it also kills the nutrients in the meal. Also, if the meal has bone, even ground bone, adding heat hardens the bone, causing it to be a risk unless it's finely ground. And even then, some people advise not to take the chance.
3 – Allow food to sit out and reach room temperature (or close). This will also take the chill off while allowing bacteria to grow which is uncomfortable for many people.
4 – Warm up the dog dishes in warm water. I always liked the warm towels you receive at fancy restaurants and one day I wondered if I could apply this to my dogs' meals. I feed my dogs from stainless steel dog dishes and in the morning, I would soak them in very warm water. My theory was that this would help take the chill off the food in the morning. I don't really know how well this worked.
Warm Up Food to Add to Raw Dog Food
The other morning, I came up with another idea. I was making breakfast for the dogs when I realized that the green beans still had some frost and ice. I add green beans (frozen) to Sydney and Zoey's meals to help with weight loss; replacing a portion fo their meals with green beans cuts calories while leaving them feeling full.
On this morning, I needed to thaw the green beans and I knew running warm water on them wouldn't be enough. I put them in the microwave for 45 seconds and mixed the warm beans into the raw meals. The raw thawed the beans while the beans created warming patches in the raw.
This isn't a novel idea because I realized that I've been doing this all along with DIY cooked meal toppers, melted coconut oil, and bone broth in the past. Heating a food slightly and pouring it over a raw meal.
Adding warmth to my dogs' raw meals takes away the worry about losing nutrients, the risk of hardened bone fragments, or concern about increased bacteria. After being fed a raw diet for four years (Rodrigo and Sydney) and all their lives (Scout and Zoey), my dogs are now used to the cold temperatures, but I'm not a fan of feeding them anything frozen (personal choice). They enjoy the warm addition.
Easy Recipe for a Cooked Meal for Dogs
This recipe was inspired by one I received from Dr. Judy Morgan, and I make for four dogs that weigh between 60-75 pounds. You'll have to adjust it for your pack or freeze the extra.
- 9 pounds of extra lean ground beef
- 2 containers of chicken livers
- 1 package of frozen carrots (optional)
- 1 package of frozen kale or spinach
- 1 package of shiitake mushrooms
- 1 package of crimini mushrooms
- 4 eggs
- 1 can of sliced pears (in their own juice, not in syrup)
- 2 cans of sardines
- 1 can of minced clams
- 1 small package of sliced almonds
- 1 tsp of dried mint
Cook the beef and chicken in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes. Add other ingredients and cook for another 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool, then serve.
I made a batch of this food, using some as a food topper while freezing the rest. The dogs would love it.