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The Cost of Raw Dog Food

A to Z Challenge – C – Sponsored by Natural Pet Pantry

One of the appeals to feeding raw dog food was the cost.  I kept hearing that feeding raw is so much cheaper than feeding kibble.  I met people who either spent $200 a month feeding 3 or more dogs.  Or people would tell me that the investment I make today in their nutrition means that I won’t have a hefty vet bill tomorrow.

I get it.  But it kind of sucks for those of us who can’t afford to feed raw today OR pay the vet bill tomorrow.  So, let’s just cut to the chase.

Feeding raw CAN BE VERY EXPENSIVE.

It doesn’t have to be, but it is for most people who are new to raw and that’s because we haven’t found ways to save money yet.

Well, I’ve found a way to save money and although I hate discussing the details of making money, I’m going to make an exception here, because it’s important.

Our kibble budget = $350 / month (3 dogs)

  • High end kibble
  • Toppings to keep the dogs interested in the kibble
  • For 4 dogs, the budget would increase to $467/month

Our premade raw food budget = $860 / month (4 dogs)

  • This is a BARF (bones and raw food) diet that includes meat, bones, offal (organ meat), fruits and veggies – delivered 2x a month
  • Proteins include beef, chicken, turkey and duck (although we get little chicken)
  • $87.50 of the above budget is shipping

Our current raw food budget = $500 / month (4 dogs)

  • Raw Food Co-Op – we’re able to get traditional (beef, chicken, turkey, duck) and non-traditional  (rabbit, venison, buffalo, etc) proteins at cost instead of paying retail prices
  • J found a butcher who can get us beef at cost – they won’t grind it up for us and it won’t contain ground bone, but we can add bone meal
  • We switched to a new raw food company who is able to deliver us duck and turkey (variety is key) with no shipping; the savings can be redirected to more food
  • Researching each of these options, we believe that over time, the monthly cost will decrease to $350, because we can stock up quarterly and simply supplement with Natural Pet Pantry (the local raw food company)

Other costs to feeding raw (these aren’t monthly costs)

  • Freezer – we purchased one from an appliance recycling outlet store.  It was a store model that they fixed up and we got a 1 year warranty on it.
  • Meat Grinder – I’d love a Hobart meat grinder, but we purchased one for $150 off of eBay and it works great for what we’re doing.
  • Stainless steel mixing bowls – we purchased 4 huge ones and they are great for mixing up all the food.
  • Rubbermaid – don’t go cheap here; we got a ton of
  • Stainless steel feeding dishes* – easier to clean and keep clean and we purchased a set of slow feeder ones for the puppies
  • Mixing spoons
  • Meat cleaver – a good one can cut through bone and costs about $180; we picked one up at Costco for $45 (a guy had a display); I wouldn’t have spent that much before I knew how much they really cost.  You can pick one up for $15 at Target – it’ll break in about a month or so.
  • Salmon oil, coconut oil and Megga Dog camelina oil
  • Ground parsley, kelp, turmeric, bone (not the gardening stuff), and green lipped mussels

*I know about a dog that gets startled by his reflection in a stainless steel dish – if you can relate to this, try ceramic, but take care on where it’s made and what’s in the glazing.  I’m not certain if that will someone rub off into the food.

Tomorrow is D for Detox

Yesterday was B for Books and Blogs

Update!

Since writing this post, we’ve switched from getting most of our food through our raw food co-op and our monthly bill is about $400-450/month and this includes supplements, eggs, and raw goats milk.  Some months are higher, because I’ve started trying to stock up our freezer, which saves us even more money down the line.


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