What’s the most difficult part of feeding raw? Ask 100 raw feeders and you’ll likely get 100 different answers, but for me the answer is, “Fitting that much meat in my freezer and still being able to find the kind I need, when I need it!”
Through trial and error, I’ve worked out a system for keeping my dog’s raw meals organized and reachable. Here are my top freezer organization tips.
Label, Label, Label!
It’s so tempting to portion out meals and leave it at that. After all, it seems like there’s no way you’d forget that the long, pointy fish is a Pike Mackerel, or that the deep mauve, smooth organ meat is pork liver, right?
Murphy’s Law of Raw Food Labeling states, “If you fail to label it, you will forget what it is, thaw it, and start to dish it into your dog’s bowl before you realize it’s the wrong meat.” I’ve thawed beef heart thinking it’s liver, elk thinking it’s venison, and even mistaken a boneless pork chop for a boneless chicken thigh after forgetting to label.
To avoid mistakes and inconvenience, store raw meals either in re-usable plastic cartons and label them with sticky address labels, or use freezer bags and write on the bag with permanent marker. No matter what storage method you choose, be sure to put the type of meat, the date it was purchased (so you can make sure to freeze the items that need it for 2-3 weeks), and how much the portion weighs.
Storage in the Freezer
After trying several methods of organizing my freezer, I think I’ve finally hit on one that works.
First, you’ll need to measure the inside dimensions of the freezer in which your dog’s meals are stored. Next, purchase a number of large plastic food-storage bins that use as much of the height and depth of the freezer as possible. Ideally, you’ll get several and have a fairly tight fit, with just a little room left over for things that aren’t in one bin or another.
Next, label the bins. You’ll need at least three: Organs, Muscle Meat, and Raw Meaty Bones. This will help you keep the proper ratio of 80% meat to 10% organs and 10% bone. Remember, if your dog seems to need more or less bone, adjust the ratio to suit his or her needs. 80-10-10 is just a guideline. If you have more bins, you can break it down further. My current categories are:
- Game Meat/Miscellaneous Other Meat
The Last Step
The final freezer-organization step, for truly hopeless raw addicts whose meat just keeps spilling over?
Get another freezer!