What size freezer for raw dog food?
I hear this question a lot, and I’ll give you my honest advice in a bit.
But first, let me explain why you need dedicated freezer space for raw dog food in the first place:
- Feeding raw dog food without a dedicated freezer is a bit problematic if your pup is a certain size and you only have a refrigerator freezer. You simply don’t have enough space to store your dog’s food and will be running to the store every few days to buy more. I learned that lesson myself back when I started feeding raw in 2015.
- You’re missing out on meat deals. One of the “secrets” to keeping raw feeding affordable is to stock up on meat when it’s on sale. Another one is to place bulk raw dog food orders you get a discount on.
So while dedicated freezer space for your pup is an investment up front, you’ll be saving on food costs in the long run.
What Size Freezer For Raw Dog Food?
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OK, now let’s tackle this question!
My advice: Get whichever size freezer you can afford.
A little freezer space is better than no freezer space, and you can always upgrade later.
If that’s a 5 cu ft chest freezer for $250, go for it.
If it’s a commercial 16 cu ft one for $1,000, get that one.
Either way, don’t let a smaller budget discourage you from feeding raw dog food!
You can also browse Craigslist, Facebook Market Place or even Ebay for deals on used freezers, but my advice is to only buy gently used ones.
Older ones typically aren’t energy efficient and who knows how much longer they’ll last at this point.
I will say that it’s more convenient to do raw meal prep for your pup if you have lots of freezer space, but it’s still doable with less space.
Tip: If you can’t afford dedicated freezer space for your raw dog food right away, set aside a certain amount of money for it each month and save up for it.
For example, $50.
Chest Freezer or Upright Freezer?
Well, that one depends a bit on your personal preference, the type of raw dog food you’re feeding and the space you have for the freezer.
Chest Freezers for Raw Dog Food
Chest freezers hold more raw dog food and it’s a lot easier to store bulky meat packages in them.
I’m thinking of raw meaty bones like duck heads, wings and feet and larger items like tracheas.
However, they do take up more horizontal space and they’re more difficult to organize.
That said, it’s not impossible!
I kept smaller items like secreting organs (liver, kidneys, brains etc.) and puréed veggies and fruit in hanging baskets.
Bulky meat packages and pre-made meals took up the rest of the space.
Upright Freezer for Raw Dog Food
Upright freezers have less room for bulky meat packages but they’re very easy to organize.
They also take up considerably less space because they’re tall rather than wide!
For 9 specific raw dog food freezer organizing ideas, check out my blog post How to organize a raw dog food freezer.
Why I Switched from a Chest Freezer to an Upright Freezer
I used to have chest freezers back in the States because I lived in big houses in the countryside that had plenty of space.
The last chest freezer I had held 7 cu ft and was from a brand called Plastic Development Group 7. I bought it new on eBay for $340 after my previous 5 cu ft freezer died.
If you’re more of an Amazon kinda gal or guy, you can find similar 7 cu ft chest freezers there:
7 cu ft chest freezer specs:
- 7 cu ft (= 200 liters) food storage capacity
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 22.1 x 35 x 33.9 inches
- Comes with 1 removable storage basket
- Energy efficient ($29/year in electricity costs)
- Mechanical thermostat
- Manual defrost
- Weight: 68 pounds
- Brand: Plastic Development Group
- Color: White
- 1 door
Now that I’m in suburban Germany and downsized from 2500sf to 1200sf, there’s obviously a lot less space to work with.
That’s why I went with an upright freezer for Wally’s raw dog food. It doesn’t fit into the kitchen, and the only other place it could be is our hallway.
However, my boyfriend vetoed that idea and he’s right, it would have been a bit of an eyesore.
Thankfully we have a large basement, so that’s where Wally’s upright freezer lives these days.
Since we live in a third floor apartment, going to grab something “real quick” from the freezer involves logging a decent amount of miles, but that’s OK.
I’ll admit I wasn’t too crazy about it at first, but 1.5 months in, I got used to it.
Definitely brought me back to the time when I lived in a third floor apartment in D.C. suburbia with my then pups Missy and Buzz.
Except that back then I wasn’t feeding raw dog food yet and didn’t have any freezers!
But I digress.
These days, I try to combine trips to the freezer with Wally’s walks and potty breaks as much as possible.
So whenever we come back inside, we go downstairs first to grab what we need before we go back upstairs into our apartment.
Our hands-free bungee leash set makes this chore A LOT easier on me by the way! That’s because it keeps Wally right next to me while I have my hands full.
Upright Freezer Details: Specs and Cost
My current upright freezer is from a brand called KOENIC and holds 226 liters, which is about 8 cu ft.
I got it on sale at the equivalent of a Best Buy for €530, which includes a 3 year warranty. Currently (July 2023), that’s about $590.
You can find similar 8 cu ft upright freezers on Amazon here:
8 cu ft upright freezer specs:
- 8 cu ft (= 226 liters) food storage capacity
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 600 mm x 640 mm x 1671 mm [23 x 25 x 66 in]
- 6 drawers, 2 of which are BIGBOX drawers
- Energy efficient (uses 228 kWh/year)
- Digital thermostat
- Automatic defrost
- Brand: KOENIC
- Color: White
- 1 door
It has 6 drawers, 2 of which are considerably larger than the others.
That’s why they’re labeled BIGBOX, ha.
I use them to hold raw meaty bones like goat ribs and duck necks as well as Wally’s ground green tripe.
The green tripe comes in packages that are fairly large (but flat), so the BIGBOX drawers are perfect for them.
How Long Can Raw Dog Food Stay in The Freezer?
You can keep meat in the freezer for about a year. Once it’s in the fridge, it holds 4-5 days. And yes, it’s perfectly fine to refreeze meat that’s been thawed. I do that all the time.
To store raw meat in the freezer, you can either use food storage containers or ziplock bags.
Food storage containers come in plastic and glass, so again it’s up to your personal preference and budget as far as which you’ll want to use.
Unless you drop them, of course!
Zip lock bags take up less space, but they can tear and aren’t reusable, so there’s that.
I personally use mostly plastic food storage containers for my raw dog food!
What Size Freezer for Raw Dog Food: Bottom Line
It mostly depends on your personal preference and space when you’re making the decision between a chest freezer or upright freezer for your raw dog food.
Generally speaking, it’s easier to store bulky meat packages in chest freezers, but they require a decent amount of space.
Upright freezers require a lot less space because they’re taller than chest freezers, but they’re not ideal to store bulkier items.
However, organizing them is super easy!
Either way, at the end of the day everyone’s living and financial situation is different, so you’ll have to make a decision within your respective parameters.
In an ideal world, I’d have a 10 cu ft chest freezer for bulky meat items along with a 10 cu ft upright freezer for pre-made meals.
I may get there one day, but in the meantime, I’m making it work with my 8 cu ft upright freezer!
Happy raw feeding, everyone!
What size and type freezer do you have for your pup’s raw meal prep, or are you still in the decision making process?
Let me know in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you!
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