Feeding Dog Raw Diet On A Budget: 15 Cheapest Ways To Feed Raw

feeding dog raw diet on a budget

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There are many reasons to feed your dog a raw diet, including better health, fewer allergies, and more energy. But if you’re on a budget, that can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are ways to feed your dog a raw diet on a budget. In this article, we’ll discuss the cheapest way to feed raw and some tips and tricks for making raw dog feeding as affordable as possible.

Top Reasons to Budget When Buying Raw Dog Food

Any pet owner will tell you that feeding their animals can be expensive. If you’re considering switching your dog to a raw diet, you’ll need to budget carefully to ensure that you’re able to afford the high-quality ingredients that are essential for a healthy diet in dogs while being cost-effective.

Buying commercial raw food at grocery stores or online can be expensive if you don’t know where to look. Even making raw dog food at home can add up if you don’t know where to find affordable yet high-quality ingredients.

Here are the top 3 reasons to budget when buying raw dog food

What Is The Cheapest Way to Feed My Dog Raw?

The cheapest way to feed a raw dog diet on a budget is to prepare homemade raw dog meals instead of buying prepackaged raw dog food. Local butcher houses, farmers, and ethnic food stores typically sell the cheapest raw ingredients, including free throw-away organs, or sell them at discounted prices. Another option is to buy in bulk.

15 Ways to Feed Dog Raw Diet On A Budget

Follow these tips and tricks to feed your dog a raw diet on a budget.

1. Preparing Raw Dog Food At Home

Preparing raw dog food at home can save you money. Preparing raw dog food yourself is often cheaper than buying commercial brands. By shopping for ingredients in bulk and taking advantage of sales, you can prepare raw dog food at a fraction of the cost of commercial brands.

As a result, preparing raw dog food at home is a great way to save money while ensuring your dog gets the nutrition they need. However, making a balanced raw dog diet is not as simple. Check out our homemade raw dog food guide to get started.

homemade raw dog food recipes vet approved

2. Buy Raw Dog Food In Bulk

Buying raw dog food in bulk can save you money for several reasons. First, you’ll avoid the mark-up that pet stores and brands typically charge for packaged raw dog food. Second, buying in bulk often comes with the advantage of discounts and sales. Finally, buying raw dog food in bulk eliminates the need to make frequent trips to the store, saving you time and gas money. So, if you want to save money on your furry friend’s raw food bill, consider buying raw dog food in bulk. Our favorite place to buy raw food in bulk is We Feed Raw.

3. Sourcing Raw Dog Food Ingredients From Cheap Places

There are four main places you can buy raw ingredients. We’ll list them from most expensive to cheapest.

  • Supermarket (most expensive). The first place you are bound to check is your local supermarket. Here, you will find standard market prices. It’s not hard to find great sales.
  • Wholesale (less expensive). Check your area’s wholesale or buyers’ club warehouses for cheaper options, such as Costco or Sam’s Club. These places sell ingredients in bulk, so you’re likely to find better deals than what you’d find at the grocery store. Wholesale stores offer significant savings.
  • Hispanic, Asian & Ethnic markets (least expensive). These are excellent places to find the best deals on muscle meat and organs that you’d likely not find at your local supermarket or wholesale store. Ethnic food stores typically offer a wider variety of meats, including rabbit, goat, duck, and parts of birds, cows, or pigs, such as hearts and liver.
  • Buying online (average price). You can also purchase ready-to-serve balanced raw dog food online. Often, you’ll find great pricing, the added convenience of not having to prepare it yourself, and the elimination of shopping for ingredients. Additionally, you can buy from online meat suppliers for people, online meat suppliers for raw feeders, and raw feeding co-ops & buying groups. These organizations facilitate bulk purchases of raw pet food for local raw feeders, offering another way to save.

4. Chicken & Turkey Are Your Friends

While beef is generally inexpensive, opt for chicken and turkey if you want to go the cheaper route when buying protein. These two types of meat have a lower price per pound versus beef and other meats.

Meat TypeAverage Price per Pound ($)

5. Buy Fresh Fruits And Produce In Season

Buying produce and fruits in season is cheaper because farmers typically have an overabundance of these items. As a result, they are sold at lower prices. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also get the most wholesome food on the market. Furthermore, farmers compete more when produce and fruits are in season, which drives prices down even further. Buying produce and fruits in season is recommended to save money on your grocery bill. Check out this helpful list of produce by the USDA to be aware of what’s in season when you head to the grocery store.

6. Buy From Affordable Raw Dog Food Delivery

While commercial raw dog food can be expensive, we’ve put together a list of raw dog food delivery services that will bring the food right to your door, eliminating the need for gas or other transportation costs. Dog raw food delivery is a cost-effective way to get pre-made, ready-to-serve raw meals for your dog.

Furthermore, most of these services have a subscription option for additional monthly discounts. Not only do you save time and money, but you avoid buying expensive and processed dog food that may cause harm to your pet in the long run.

Best Raw Dog Food Delivery Subscriptions

7. Use Coupon For Raw Food

You can stay on budget and save money by using coupons. Coupons are great — for items you need and from brands you buy. Avoid using coupons to purchase unnecessary items “because it’s a good deal.” 

8. Mix Raw & Kibble

Most people with dogs choose to feed them all kibble or raw food. Raw dog food is often more expensive than kibble, so feeding your dog a combination of the two can help to moderate costs. In addition, mixing raw and kibble can also be helpful for picky eaters. Some dogs are reluctant to eat all kibble or all raw food but will happily eat a mix of the two. Mixing raw and kibble can give your dog a well-rounded diet that won’t break the bank.

9. Use Raw Leftovers

Save money by feeding raw food leftover from your meals. Create casseroles and dishes with your leftovers to avoid tossing unused raw food. However, it is crucial to be mindful of the types of food that you feed your dog, as some human foods can be harmful to animals. If you do choose to feed your dog raw meat scraps, it is crucial to be sure it’s free of condiments or other ingredients that can cause harm to your pet.

10. Buy Ugly Produce

The appearance of fruits and vegetables is often used to indicate quality when shopping at a supermarket. Grocery stores charge more for “perfect” produce. Shoppers can save money by buying ugly produce. Ugly produce is called “ugly produce” or “imperfect produce” because it does not meet the cosmetic standards grocery stores set for produce to be sold to customers. You’d think of some as ugly: misshapen, deformed fruits and vegetables. Think avocados that are too small and eggplants that are crooked. Ugly produce is just as fresh and nutritious as its prettier counterparts, but it is sold at a discount because it does not meet cosmetic standards. Furthermore, ugly fruits and vegetables are often grown using sustainable dog food practices, so buying them can also be a way to support small farmers and reduce your carbon footprint. So next time you purchase ingredients for your pup’s raw meals, consider ugly produce—it’s the cheapest. You can buy ugly produce through your local farmers or online via Imperfect Foods.

11. Use Raw As A Treat or The Occasional Meal

Raw dog treats are an excellent way for your dog to experience the benefits of raw and become familiar with the BARF. Raw dog food can be fed as a high-value treat as a cheaper way to incorporate fresh foods.

Top canine nutritionist, author and consultant Steve Brown states it is well worth feeding your dog species-appropriate, raw food at least once a week. Feeding your dog the occasional raw meal, even if it is once a week, “can provide your dog with additional high-quality protein, improves the balance of fats, and adds hundreds, perhaps thousands, of nutrients that were part of the canine ancestral diet and that are not usually available in commercial dry foods.”[2]

Feeding raw dog food once a week is affordable. You can also choose to feed raw dog food once a day. Some people find that one raw meal a day can provide the benefits of a BARF diet at half the cost.

12. Buy Straight From Your Local Butcher

Buying meat from a butcher’s (farmers, hunters) house is the best way to save money on meat. When you purchase meat from a grocery store, you typically pay for the overhead costs of running a large operation. But when you buy from a local butcher, you are only paying for the cost of the meat itself. This can lead to significant savings. Local butcher shops often have sales and specials that can further reduce the cost of your purchase. And because the meat is fresh, you’ll get a higher quality product than a grocery store. So next time you need to stock up on meat for your dog’s raw meals, check out your local butcher shop. You may be surprised at how much money you can save. 

You can also ask your local supermarket’s meat department. There may be similar options available. Additionally, some grocery stores offer reduced prices on meat products before new shipments arrive.

13. Buy The “Gross” Stuff

Avoid using prime cuts of meat to save money while feeding raw dog food on a budget. While dogs can eat human-grade food, they won’t be able to tell the difference if their meats are lower quality. Many raw food enthusiasts opt for items usually discarded or unsuitable for human consumption, such as chicken feet, poultry carcasses, pig heads, and much more. There are even more options available when it comes to organs. The organs are an essential part of any raw food diet. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Things like giblets, livers, lungs, hearts, eyes, and other throw-away organs and parts can give your dog all the fuel they need to stay healthy at a very low price.

14. Don’t Forget About The Eggs

Eggs are an excellent protein source for dogs and inexpensive compared to other protein sources like meat. They contain all the essential amino acids dogs require and are rich in vitamins and minerals. Yes, eggs can be fed cooked or raw, whole or in eggshells. If you feed your dog raw eggs, include the egg yolks in moderation. Eggshells are a good source of calcium for dogs and can be ground and added to their food. Feeding eggs to your dog is a healthy and economical way to boost their protein intake on a budget.

15. Make A Meal Plan

Making a meal plan and a list of necessary ingredients is an excellent way to stick to a budget. It helps you consistently inventory what you have, when you will use it and how much. Planning also enables you to know that your dog’s food is balanced.

Why Is Raw Food So Expensive?

The cost of raw diets tends to be higher than that of canned food or kibble. Raw dog foods often require special equipment for storage and preparation. For instance, a refrigerator or freezer is needed to keep meat and dairy products from spoiling. In addition, commercial raw dog food diets are typically made with fresh, organic ingredients that have not been chemically processed or genetically modified. This means the food is higher quality and better for your dog’s health. In addition, raw food is often prepared by hand, using traditional methods that take more time and effort, bringing the cost up.

Additionally, you are paying for the safe sourcing of raw meats and vegetables without worrying about bacteria that could make your dog sick. Additionally, you must settle for the balance of ingredients, just like buying kibble or canned food. Raw foods must also be packaged and delivered with greater safety precautions to ensure your pets’ health.

Feeding Dog Raw Diet On A Budget — Conclusion

Feeding a raw diet can be daunting for many dog owners, especially for beginners. After all, raw meat is not exactly what most of us are used to handling daily. However, some benefits come with feeding your dog a raw diet, such as improved digestion and oral health. If you’re considering switching to raw dog food but are worried about the cost, implement some of the budget tips above to keep within budget.

In our research, taking advantage of online resources and specialty retailers that offer discounts on bulk purchases is your best option to get raw food on a budget. You can also make your raw dog food at home, which is cheaper and more tailored to your dog’s needs. The only downside of this option is the time, but if that’s not an issue, it’s the cheapest option for raw feeding your dogs.

Ultimately, whether or not you feed your dog a raw diet will come down to personal preference and budget. However, with a bit of research and planning, finding an option that works for you and your pup is possible.

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