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How To Prepare Meat When Feeding Natural Homemade Pet Food

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The next page will explain how to make the food for pets in general (if you have a house with both dogs and cats) and then on the following pages you will find information for making wholesome homemade pet food for just dogs, cats, puppies and kittens.

This page simply provides a quick introduction to preparing the meat that you will feed your dogs and/or cats.

How To Prepare Ground Meat

This section explains how to prepare 1 pound (454 grams) of ground meat. Obviously, if you have a little Chihuahua, then you will want to adjust the amounts accordingly. This is not rocket science, even though I do have a PhD in cosmicnautical advanced space science engineering from the physics department of UDC (University of Dogs and Cats) — actually, I just made that up — but it sounded good!

My point is, however, this not a complicated thing to do. So just relax, go with the flow and have fun!

  • Take 1 pound (454 grams) of ground meat and remove it from the freezer.
  • Place in the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight.
  • Once thawed, pour 1/2 cup of water into a mixing bowl.
  • Now add the ground meat and stir.
  • I find that chicken contains more moisture than other meats and so I lower the water added to about 1/4 cup (maybe a little less) when preparing chicken.
  • Mix the meat in the water as this helps to put moisture back into the food.
  • I find raw meat can last up to 4 or 5 days in the fridge.

Put the water saturated ground meat into a glass container or tupperware container and store in the fridge.

If you are in a rush or forget to soak the meat in the water, then don't worry about it. You can skip this process if you are in a rush or, as mentioned, if you forget to do this.

How To Prepare Meat Chunks

  • Meat chunks usually contain more moisture than ground meat and often the blood and/or moisture will separate from the meat chunks while sitting in the fridge. I find this especially happens with beef.
  • As a result, I don't add water to meat chunks because doing so can further drain the blood from the meat. The blood is a valuable source of nutrition and since meat is already drained of blood when slaughtered, we want to save as much of the blood that remains as possible.
  • Since we can't add water to meat chunks and since once thawed the blood and/or moisture will begin to separate from the meat chunks, I personally only thaw what I need for each day. Essentially, I try to thaw enough meat to last one meal. This means more moisture and/or blood is retained by the meat before feeding.
  • So get the amount of meat chunks you need for one meal (it's better to have slightly too much rather than too little) and let thaw overnight.

What's The Main Difference In Preparation Between Ground Meat and Meat Chunks?

The main difference in preparing meat chunks versus ground meat is as follows:

With ground meat, you can prepare enough meat to last 3 or 4 days whereas with meat chunks, it is best to prepare enough meat to last 1 day.

Why? Well, it all has to do with moisture. With ground meat we can actually add moisture to the meat and we don't need to worry about blood or moisture separating. With ground meat we can also easily stir the moisture and/or blood back into the ground meat.

With meat chunks, you simply cannot stir the blood and/or moisture back into the meat. So if we thaw just enough meat chunks to last a day, then we don't loose as much moisture and/or blood from the meat.

With meat chunks, it's better to thaw slightly more than what your pet or pets will eat. As mentioned in Part 1 on the page about how much to feed dogs and cats, we want to feed our pets as much as they want at each meal until they walk away from the bowl with some food left in it. So this is why we want to have a little more than what our pet or pets will eat in a day. Should there be, after feeding, a significant amount left over, then save it for the next day — it's not the end of the world if some moisture and/or blood separates from the meat. At the same time, if most of the food is eaten but not all, then feed the rest during the day as a small snack and then feed a fresh batch of meat at their next big meal.

What If We Forget To Thaw Meat Overnight?

If you forget to thaw meat overnight and need some raw meat quick, then here are some quick tips:

  • It is not advisable to microwave the meat to get it thawed.
  • If you need the meat to thaw faster, place it in a plastic bag and then soak the plastic bag in some warm water. If you are able to divide the meat into smaller pieces, then the meat can thaw within 15 minutes or so. But if the meat is one big block of meat, then it will take it longer for the meat to thaw to the core.

Ground Meat versus Meat Chunks

Many of the pros and cons of feeding ground meat instead of meat chunks and vice versa was discussed at the beginning of Part 2. But I would like to review this topic again.

My preference is to feed meat chunks instead of ground meat. Meat chunks are how our pets naturally eat in the wild after ripping the meat off their prey. Saying that, there are times when ground meat is the better choice. Here is a list to help you decide which type of meat is best for you.

  • I've noticed that some cats, but not all, eat ground meat too slowly. I've also noticed some cats don't eat as much as they should because each bite of ground meat is smaller than what they can swallow if they were eating meat chunks. This in turn can perpetuate a cat's free feeding habit. With dogs, this is not going to be a problem because dogs will just lick, and in many case, just inhale the food regardless of whether the meat is ground or chunks.
  • If you find your cat is not eating enough, eating too slow or having a difficult time eating ground meat, then definitely feed meat chunks.
  • Ground meat can be a better choice when a pet is sick and you want to make sure they are getting all of their supplements. The benefit here is that you can mix the supplements into the ground meat.
  • When a dog or cat has no teeth or is unable to grab meat chunks, then ground meat is better because the dog or cat can just lick up the food.
  • Since ground meat is ground (processed), some older pets or those with digestive difficulties may find it easier to digest the ground meat. Since the meat is ground, it makes digestion a little bit easier as the ground meat essentially replaces one step of digestion which is to break the meat down.
  • In many situations, ground meat is more expensive than meat chunks. Feeding meat chunks can also save you money.
  • Ground meat is easier to mix vegetables in. For cats, I don't worry about this as much because if the cat doesn't like vegetables, then I usually just feed the cat 100% raw meat. But if your dog will not eat vegetables, then feeding your dog ground meat allows you to mix the vegetables into the food. But ideally, it would be nice if your dog would eat the meat chunks and the finely ground vegetables that have been placed in the bowl or on the plate.
  • If you feed meat chunks to your dog and your dog does not eat its vegetables, then you might want to consider feeding ground meats on some days with vegetables mix in. Then on other days, feed meat chunks with no vegetables. Hopefully you can see the flexibility in how one feeds.

When possible, feed meat chunks as meat chunks are definitely the better choice.

Editor's Paw Note

It's a good idea to soak utensils and the mixing bowl in at least hot water after they have come in contact with raw meat, especially chicken. In addition to soaking the utensils and the bowl in hot water, some like to add grapefruit seed extract to the water as mentioned previously to help kill bacteria. Grapefruit seed extract is available at any health food store.

Woof Woof or Meow Meow?

In the past, I've always lumped the information for making wholesome pet food into one page — that is, one page of information for feeding dogs, cat, puppies and kittens. However, I've now separated all of this information into their own pages. This was done to help make things more clear. I've still got a page for making homemade pet food in general, for those with both dogs and cat in the house. This general homemade pet food page was done to help you feed all of your pets more easily as bunch. So it's up to you — if you have a cat, you really only need to read the page about making homemade food for cats, but if you want to read about dog food then you can read that too. So choose your page of choice or read them all.

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