Bear Necessities | Raw Dog

Nutrient Dense Raw Dogfood Recipe

Sheena Monster
8 min readSep 10, 2022
The author’s doggos | 11½ year old, white senior pitbull/mastiff mix with his baby brother; a 5 months old black street-dog puppy
Meet Ace [11½ y] and Baloo [5 m]

Let’s Be Honest

We wish we knew what was in our dogs’ food. Ingredients listed, vet-recommended brands running upwards of seventy-five dollars for a thirty-pound bag, which as large breed pet parents know can mean a pretty hefty monthly cost to feed just one big baby — and we all know we can’t have just the one…

Over the years, I have tried everything. From the cheapest kibble to the limited ingredient speciality brands, and every year on their birthday they get their very own juicy steak! Nothing ever seemed to really satisfy them — not like that steak, anyway. It makes sense, no? They are carnivores; but who can afford to feed their sixty-five-pound bully steak every day, nevermind their hundred-pound mastiff mix? Kudos to you if you can, the vast majority of us, though, can only dream of the day. Factor in the cost of vitamins [these are still my old man’s favourite] and treats, and you may as well consider a side hustle just to accommodate their needs. Especially as they get older.

Ace’s older brother Hendrix, not long before he crossed the rainbow bridge.
Hendrix Houdini (2009–2020)

Lessons Learned on the Road

Back in 2017, I spent some time boondocking my way through the trees in South Carolina across the south back to sunny San Diego. While I was roaming, I met a few people doing something similar — to be honest, some of them were incredibly shady and my memories of them are still unsettling. But I digress. Amongst those strangers in the trees, I was gifted the spoils of a boar hunt that went exceptionally well. Considering I am a strict Pescatarian, I could only think of one thing to do with such a generous gift — feed it to my boys!

I was given enough to last a few days and for those few days, my boys were fat and happy — full of energy. Sure, I connected the dots; that’s when I started doing some research.

Old RV on the beach
Gulf of Mexico from Mustang Island, Texas; circa 2017

Fast-forward to the present day, kibble is a distant memory and my boys are loving every minute of it.

Full Disclosure

If you scrolled to the Ingredients List already, you know by now that this recipe calls for Beef Parts. Admittedly, that’s a bit vague but with purpose! Your pup should be consuming one to six percent of its body weight per day when eating raw, and this will vary by age, size, and other health needs. A four-year-old Boston Terrier will not have the same needs as my eleven-and-a-half-year-old Mastiff mix. However, that doesn’t mean this recipe can’t meet their needs. Nope! On the contrary, this recipe is nutrient dense and customizable for your pupper’s specific needs and palate.

While I have done my fair share of digging through studies and such, I am not in any way an expert on canine nutrition. I have observed positive changes in the appearance and well-being of my own critters, including their behaviour, mobility, and skin and coat. You should absolutely not take my word for it, and I highly recommend asking your vet before making any drastic changes to your pet’s normal routine. I am only here to share what has worked for us. [Especially while we were on the road!]

Baloo nuzzles a snoozing Ace

Make Things Easy on Yourself

It may not be the most eco-friendly thing I could do, but I highly recommend getting yourself some nitrile gloves for the preparation process of this recipe. I tend to have these on hand; originally for manic episode hair colour changes, now I can’t tell you how many times these have saved my hands around the house.

If you don’t have a kitchen scale, I highly recommend getting one. You can certainly eyeball proportions if you want to, but that kinda defeats the purpose of following a recipe [in my opinion]. Also, if you’re on a tighter budget, a kitchen scale can help reduce food waste and maximize your dime. I use this one. It’s affordable, durable, and has dual units. [And, of course, rechargeable batteries!]

— Remember to wash your hands, meats, and produce! —

Ingredients list, Extras and Tips; photo includes Baloo hardly containing his excitement for his dinner, also in the frame.
Baloo is learning patience so he doesn’t plough me over to get to dinner, you can see the pain in his eyes [poor thing].


32oz Beef Parts​

2 cups Cooked Rice​

⅔ cup Frozen Spinach​

⅔ cup Frozen Peas & Carrots​

5oz Chopped Sweet Potato [yam]​

2.5oz Grated Zucchini​

Turmeric, Black Pepper, and Cumin for an added boost!

Support Local

This is where I tell you to seek out local farmers and butcher shops near you and ask for their spare Parts and seasonal produce per pound. Depending on where you’re located, this may be easier said than done. The more affluent neighbourhoods surrounding almost every major city have a [bi-]weekly farmers’ market. [If yours doesn’t, find out what it would take to start one!] Many chain stores with a well-stocked meat department will also have what you need in the back; you will have to ask, but you might be surprised how excited they are that their scraps are going to good use. Prices will vary from shop to shop, so if you have multiple options take your pick. Some may even run your Parts through the grinder for you!

A bowl of raw beef parts, on a kitchen scale
As you can see, I do not run mine through a grinder…

30 minutes prep | 2 servings

Let’s kick it off with the Beef Parts!

Organ meats are a nutrient-dense, cost-effective, and eco-friendly option for your fur-baby’s diet.

After weighing everything out and getting my rice started, it’s time to begin trimming and cleaving! It may not be the healthiest practice, but my boys love pieces of frozen fat trimmings as treats. I keep a zip-lock baggie stocked in the freezer, and they’re great for training or a cool summer snack.

I toss some out for the local crows, too! [You know, for a bit of luck!]

Be sure to keep a firm grip on your pieces. Barehanded or gloved, blood is slippery — knives are sharp. [At least they should be…] It’s not like you’re going to hurt the cow at this point; now, you’re honouring its life and sacrifice by not letting it go to waste. Grip it up tight so you don’t cut yourself.

Also, keep in mind the size of your pup’s mouth and tummy. A teacup Chihuahua or eight-week-old puppy will need much smaller pieces than anything larger — which is pretty much everything.

Beef Kidney | 18oz

The kidneys are my favourite to work with. Mostly out of convenience but also to satisfy my morbid fascination. If you’ve never seen one up close, they’re made up of little lobes. My neurospicy self likes to cut each individual lobe away from the fat remnants in the middle. Sometimes they’re all relatively the same size, sometimes not so much. Either way, most of the lobes will need halved or quartered into bitesize bits appropriate for your pup.

I then cut the fatty center into treat-size pieces and add them to the stash bag I keep in the freezer.

Beef Heart | 12oz

Like the kidneys, this one usually offers trimmings for treats!

This one is my personal favourite organ, across the board. Since childhood, I have had an inexplicable fascination with the heart. Both a muscle and an organ, valves and heartstrings — everything so intricately designed to be the world’s more profound pump. We blame it for stupid relationships and can feel it break with every loss. In elementary school, I did a whole exhibit for the science fair about its vital biological structure. Today, though, I mostly feed them to my dogs.

The heart is easy to work with

Key nutrients to consider: vitamins A, B, D, E and K, zinc, iron, phosphorous and essential fatty acids.

Beef Liver | 2oz

The liver is a surprisingly delicate organ and not the easiest to work with. I have read other recipes that recommend cooking it up a bit to make it easier to handle, I prefer to slice it into gooey ribbons. If you are at all squeamish, you may want to forego this option altogether.

When included, this should account for roughly two to five ounces of the total weight of the Beef Parts suggested. Rich in healthy fats and vital nutrients, liver should be introduced slowly; even then, your dog’s stomach may reject it.

Key nutrients to consider: vitamin A, essential B vitamins and minerals like iron, copper, and choline.

Baloo looking adorable in front of the couch, where Ace is napping
I told Baloo he has to wait for dinner…

Veggie Mix

If your furry friend has veggie favourites, please feel free to substitute at will. The selection of veggies chosen for this recipe is commonly available nationwide, earning their inclusion. Of course, seasonal varieties will be more cost-effective, as well as festive!

I leave the skin on my sweet potato yams. With my misters being bigger eaters, I like to pack as many calories in their meals as I can [healthily, of course].


Turmeric + Black Pepper

Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cancer-fighting combo! Since adding this combination [in moderation], I have seen noticeable improvements in the condition of my senior dog’s skin. His range of motion has also improved, especially on his achiest days.​

*Remember, Black Pepper is only included to amplify the effects of the Turmeric. It holds little value and can be a bit harsh on your pup’s tummy. No more than a dash or two should ever be used.

Ground Cumin

Anti-fungal, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties said to help maintain healthy cholesterol, and boost your best friend’s immune system!​

Rice, veggie mix, and extras combined in a pan — and bright yellow.
Yes, it’s really that yellow [if you add the Turmeric] — Don’t come for my old and faithful skillet [it carries stories]

Combine cooked rice, veggies, and desired extras in a bowl or skillet and mix well. I do this over low heat to soften the yams ever so slightly, and to encourage all the flavours and nutrients to mingle.

At this point, Baloo is under my feet. His spot of choice is against the back of my legs, with his butt between my heels and his head on the back of my knees. Maybe it’s his constant state of growth, maybe this recipe is the shit — let me know how it works for you!

Once satisfied with your mixture, use a measuring up to scoop one to one and a half cups. Add your scoop(s) of veggie rice to sixteen ounces of Beef Parts. Mix well and serve!

If you and your pet love this recipe as much as we do, let us know! Add #BearNecessities to photos of your Raw Dog!

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— All contributions and constructive feedback are greatly appreciated! —

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