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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.Table of Contents 📖
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
1. The Cost: Is It Expensive To Feed a Dog a Raw Diet?
The short answer is that it depends.
Commercially available raw dog food typically has a higher price tag than traditional kibble. The average price for an average raw dog food bran is $3.8 per pound. That’s almost 100 percent more than the average price of traditional kibble, which is $1.97 per pound. Similarly, a high-end raw commercial brand in the market has an average price of $6.4 per pound, while a high-end kibble is $3.466 per pound. Again that’s one hundred percent more in terms of price.
In contrast, if you were to make raw dog food at home, that’s a different story. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, beef, chicken, and turkey have an average price per pound of $3.9, $1.5, and $1.28, respectively. That’s a lot less than the price of kibble.
If you were to switch your dog to a raw homemade diet, your food expenses shouldn’t vary much compared to what you spend on kibble. In fact, it might be cheaper depending on where you source your ingredients. Conversely, buying commercial raw-meat food over traditional kibble is a tad more expensive, but we think the health benefits and convenience are worth the price.
2. Multiple Dogs At Home
The more dogs you have, the larger the budget you will need to feed them. Your budget will also fluctuate on several factors, including the breed and size of your dogs, their appetites, and the type of raw dog food you are feeding them. For instance, large breeds tend to eat a lot more, so expect to spend more on their raw diet than feeding smaller dog breeds.
3. Saving For Major Pet Expenses
Even if you think you have the financial resource to pay for your dog’s raw diet, budgeting allows you to save for major pet expenses such as emergency vet visits or allocate your dog’s budget to more fun stuff for him, such as toys and treats. On a personal level, it’s good practice to set aside funds to reach both short- and long-term financial goals to help you improve your financial situation and avoid debt.
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.
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’re looking 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). For a cheaper option, check wholesale or buyer’s club warehouses in your area, such as Costco or Sam’s Club. These places sell ingredients in bulk, so you’ll likely find better deals than what you’d find at the grocery store. Wholesale stores offer big savings.
- Hispanic, Asian & Ethnic markets (least expensive). These are excellent places to find the best deals on muscle meat and organs you’d likely not find at your local supermarket or wholesale. Typically ethnic food stores offer more meat varieties, including rabbit, goat, duck, and other meat-like parts of birds, cows, or pigs such as heats and liver.
- Buying online (average price). You can also purchase ready-to-serve balanced raw dog food online. You’ll often find great pricing, the added convenience of not preparing it yourself, and the hassle of shopping for ingredients. You can also opt for buying from online meat suppliers for people, online meat suppliers for raw feeders, and Raw feeding Co-ops & buying groups (organizations that facilitate bulk purchases of raw pet food for local raw feeders)
4. Chicken & Turkey Are your Friends
While beef is generally inexpensive if you want to go the cheaper route when buying protein, opt for chicken and turkey. These two types of meat have a lower price per pound versus beef and other meats.
5. Buy Fresh Fruits And Produce In Season
Buying produce and fruits in season are 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 for more when produce and fruits are in season, which drives prices even further. If you want to save money on your grocery bill, buying produce and fruits in season is recommended. 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. Finally, most of these services have a subscription option that gives you 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.
7. Use Coupon For Raw Food
You can stay on budget and save money by using coupons. Coupons are great — if they are for items you need and from brands you buy. Avoid using coupons to buy unnecessary items “because it’s a good deal.”
8. Mix Raw & Kibble
Most people who have dogs choose to feed them either all kibble or all 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 provide your dog with 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 as an indicator of quality when shopping at a supermarket. In fact, 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 cosmetic standards grocery stores set for produce to be sold to customers. Some are exactly what you’d think of 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’re at 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 Ocassioanl 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 a high-value treat as a cheaper way to incorporate fresh foods into the diet.
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 (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 be getting a higher quality product than you would from 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 even be able to tell the difference if their meats are lower quality. Many raw food enthusiasts opt for items that are usually discarded or not suitable 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 required by dogs and are rich in vitamins and minerals. Yes, eggs can be fed cooked or raw, whole or in eggshells. If you are feeding your dog raw eggs, ensure to 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 helps you 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 of 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 have to pay for the balance of ingredients, just like if you were buying kibble or canned food. Raw foods must also be packaged and delivered with greater safety precautions to ensure your pets’ health.
Conclusion: Feeding Dog Raw Diet On A Budget
Feeding their furry friends a raw diet can be daunting for many pet owners. 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 thinking of 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 own raw dog food at home, which can be 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 choose to feed your dog, a raw diet will come down to personal preference and budget. However, with a bit of research and planning, it is possible to find an option that works for you and your pup.