When we first brought Rufus home at 8 weeks old we put him on Hill's Science Plan kibble as the puppy pack we received from the vet contained a small bag and we were enticed by the money off vouchers contained within! We found it an expensive food but I was determined that my puppy would be brought up on what I thought at the time was the very best! I spent quite a lot of time searching the internet for the best prices and was always first in the line on 'offer' days. I will admit that I had not done much research prior to Rufus coming home and my perception of raw feeding was that it was probably a bit 'hippy' and completely out of our price range.

Rufus had never been a brilliant eater and there were many occasions when I was having to hand feed him - such is the paranoia of a first time puppy owner! When Rufus was about 18 months old I began reading on dog forums about raw feeding. I borrowed a few books and bought a few others and it wasn't long before I was absolutely convinced that raw food was the very best and most natural diet for my dogs.

Having convinced myself and my husband that it really was the direction to follow I set about finding a raw food supplier. The first supplier I looked at was Natural Instinct  www.naturalinstinct.com This is probably the company that offers the most convenient ready meal - defrost and spoon into bowl - simple! Everything is calculated offering the optimum percentages of meat, bone, vegetables, fruit and nutrients. The food arrives frozen in clean white tubs packed into polystyrene boxes. The presentation and packaging is impressive.......but at a cost. With three dogs to feed (I also own a retired Greyhound) I really needed to find a cheaper alternative.

A friend introduced me to a supplier based in Staffordshire. www.landywoods.co.uk
Landywoods are one of the cheapest suppliers of raw food that I have found in the country. They sell a good variety of minced meats, bones and carcasses. It really is a no frills company but if that helps to keep the price down then I'm happy.

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The meat arrives frozen in cardboard trays of 20 x 1lb (454g) bags. My order this month consisted of chicken with veg, lamb with veg and meat & tripe.
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The individual bags are usually an indication of what is contained in them but not always! The cardboard trays are marked using marker pen: CV is chicken with veg.
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The contents of each cardboard tray fit comfortably into a standard sized freezer drawer.
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This freezer drawer is from a large fridge freezer which we have in our 'store' at home and is dedicated for dog food - although becomes a very handy overflow fridge at times!
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Each of my drawers has a different 'flavour' food in it. Rufus was helping me put the meat away this morning!
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The cardboard trays can be a little messy but I have two willing helpers who are only too pleased to help clean them up before I put them in the recycling bin!
The bones and chicken wings and carcasses that arrive from Landywoods are packed in clear plastic sacks. I have found these impossible to get into the drawers in my freezer but would probably be fine in a chest freezer. The marrow bones and meaty lamb bones are relatively easy to separate using a hammer and chisel, but in my experience I have found the chicken carcasses and wings frozen together so solidly that I have not been able to separate them without them splintering. As a result I just get my chicken wings from my local supermarket and I am looking for a local butcher to supply me with chicken carcasses.
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Chicken wings from supermarkets are reasonably priced and are generally supplied fresh in cartons of approx 1kg
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I bag up the chicken wings into daily portions and then freeze them. My dogs have approx 100g of chicken wings each for their breakfast.
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Each evening I take out enough food for a day to defrost in the dog fridge. I always have two day's worth in the fridge. I defrost the meat in ice cream containers as the bags are just folded over at the ends and there is often an amount of raw meaty juice once thawed!
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This is the meat & tripe mix. The meat has a great consistency and is not as 'paste like' as some I have come across.
Basil is an averagely sized Cockapoo at 10.5kg. I feed him approx 320g of food which is 3% of his bodyweight. He has 100g of chicken wings for breakfast and half a pack (227g) of Landywood meat with veg for tea. It costs me 45p a day to feed him or £3.15 per week. Obviously there are treats and bones a couple of times a week on top but I have found the raw diet to be incredibly economical whilst at the same time being the healthiest, most natural diet I could ever offer. A win win situation! My dogs adore their food. They dance up and down the kitchen whilst I lay out their bowls and spend at least half an hour following their meal (which takes seconds to demolish) licking out each other's bowls and cleaning each other's muzzles!

More often than not I make up a vegetable gloop to add to my dogs' meat at meal times. There is an amount of veg in the meat selections I order from Landywoods but I like to give them a little extra..........the subject of another blog entry.