Raw food diets are becoming increasingly popular with dog owners, and for good reason. While there are some great commercial kibbles on the market, most don't stand a chance against the benefits of whole raw food.
Dry kibble was created to make dog ownership more affordable. It's easier to come by and all the hard work is done for you. But is it really all that healthy for your dog?
Most kibble formulas contain ingredients that just aren't needed. If you're getting the cheapest option on the shelf, some of those ingredients may be doing more harm than good.
Dry kibble contains unnecessary carbohydrates, empty fillers that drive down the cost, and preservatives that have no place in your dog's body. Not only that, but the heating process used to make dry food takes away a lot of the ingredients' nutritional value.
Switching to Raw
For these reasons, dog owners are making the switch to raw food. It provides greater control of your pup's health. However, making the transition to a raw diet isn't always easy. As a result, many dog owners don't want to give it a try.
There are many misconceptions about raw food diets. One of the biggest is cost. Sure, it can be pricey to in the beginning but, raw food diets don't have to be expensive.
All it takes is some careful planning and know-how to make it a viable option for your canine companion.
The Problem with Pre-Packaged Meals
When owners first make the switch, they often go with pre-packaged raw meals. They're marketed as offering a balanced diet for your pooch. All you have to do is separate the mince and your dog is good to go.
There are many advantages to using pre-packaged raw food. It's often sold in pet stores where you buy dry kibble. More importantly, it buys you time while you learn the ropes.
However, the biggest downside is cost. These pre-packaged meals can cost many times more than dry kibble. If you have a large dog, you may be looking at hundreds of dollars each month just to keep your furry friend healthy and happy.
While they may be an option in the first month or two, it's not a financially responsible long-term possibility for most owners.
The Cheapest Way to Feed a Dog a Raw Diet
The best way to keep costs down is to take control and create meals yourself. Raw food diets don't have to as complicated as some people make it out to be.
There are three main categories of ingredients you'll need.
You'll need meat with bones, organs, and cooked vegetables. If you follow the 5:1:1 formula, you'll be making high-quality meals in no time.
With that being said, there are some costs you'll have to incur. Over time, you'll learn how to keep costs low without sacrificing your dog's health.
Budget Tips for Feeding Dogs Raw
If you're on a budget, there are plenty of ways to be frugal when you're planning your dog's diet. Here are some great money-saving tips that can save you a fortune.
Inexpensive Raw Ingredients
One thing you'll want to avoid is using prime cuts of meat. Your dog doesn't need human-grade cuisine. They won't even be able to tell the difference.
Many raw food enthusiasts use animal products that are typically thrown out or otherwise undesired for human consumption.
These ingredients are actually very beneficial for your dog. They still contain all the protein your pup needs. Additionally, these ingredients contain calcium and plenty of minerals.
Some common ingredients include chicken feet, poultry carcasses, pig heads, and much more. When it comes to organs, your options are even more plentiful. Organs are a vital part of any raw food diet. They're chock-full of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
You can get high-value organs for a very cheap price. Things like giblets, livers, lungs, hearts, eyes, and a wide variety of other leftovers can give your dog all the fuel they need to stay healthy.
Related: How Much Raw Food Should You Feed Your Dog Per Day?
Communicate With Your Local Butcher
Local butcher houses are a great source for raw food ingredients. These establishments work with raw animal meat on a daily basis. Because they're serving human customers, a lot of the beneficial ingredients you read about in the previous section are throwaways.
Talk to your local establishment and see what they do with the bits and pieces that aren't up for sale. Some places will sell them to farmers and animal owners who use raw food. If they do, it's probably at very affordable prices.
Alternatively, you can check with the meat department of your favorite grocery store. They may offer similar options. Some grocery stores also sell meat products at discounted prices before a new shipment is brought in.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. You might be able to find a great local supply of raw ingredients.
Buy in Bulk
Sometimes, you can get a great deal on meat products if you buy in bulk. Not every establishment does this, but when you find one that does, you're set.
Typically, discounts are only offered on very large orders. If that's the case, you can team up with other owners. This would be beneficial for every party involved. Not only that, but you'll have plenty of brains to pick if you ever get stuck creating a recipe.
Invest in the Right Places
Once you start saving money on your dog's meals, you can put that money elsewhere to drive costs down even further.
A sizable freezer is a great investment. If you have ample room to store your dog's homemade meals and ingredients, you can start buying in bulk.
While this may seem like a big investment, it doesn't have to be. You don't need a brand-new appliance with all the bells and whistles.
Check out thrift stores, online marketplaces, and used appliance stores to find a spacious freezer that works.
Over to You
With these tips in mind, you can save a lot of money switching your dog to a raw food diet. One of the biggest reasons that people stick with dry kibble is because of its low price tag.
However, you can match the price of kibble by finding the right ingredient sources and spending wisely.
While it may be tough at first, your dog's good health will be well worth it in the end.