The More Time / Effort you are Wiling to Put in to Feeding Your dog the Lower Your Cost of Raw Dog Food…
There is no point in comparing the cost of raw dog food with the price of a bag of cereal-based, dry dog food as pound for pound meat is a lot more expensive than grain. That is why dry dog food companies use so little meat and so much grain!
The good news is that dogs can be fed a butcher-grade meat diet cheaper than most cereal-based dry food diets, certainly the ridiculous veterinary “prescribed” ones! An infinitely superior nutritional meal for the same cost as that bag of dry crackers thus is better value for money. And there are many options to lower your cost of raw dog food with the top end dominated by convenient but costly pre-made minces but with prices falling the more labour you are willing to put in yourself!! For example, you could add cheaper ingredients to pre-made products or simply whip up those products yourself, cutting your raw dog food bill in half!
And remember you can add anything you want to their diet any time. No longer are scraps bad for your dog. Now you can pad out any mix with brown rice if you like. Dogs do not need it but dry food is 50-60% filler. You putting in a small bit of your own with a lot of good stuff is more than great for your dog!! Then there’s always the reduced aisles of supermarkets where you can get some great bargains. No need to chop it up just throw it out in the garden. Chicken legs for dinner tonight, oxtail toorrow. And make friends with your local butcher, you never know what he might have in the bin (best before not bad after for your dog!!!).
Step 1: Weigh the dog
To work out your cost of raw dog food for the week you need to work how much your dog needs to eat per week. For this, their weight needs to be known. Adult dogs roughly need 2.5% of their body weight per day of feed. For a more detailed calculation use our Dog Food Calculator.
Step 2. Choose A Meal Plan for Your Dog
The cost of feeding a dog a fresh meat diet varies, depending on how much time and effort one puts in! The more convenient it is, the higher the cost.
Dinner Option 1: Pre-Prepared Raw Dog Food
Prepared meat mixes are a really convenient way of raw feeding your dog, and they needn’t cost an arm or a leg, In fact at just over €3 per kilo including delivery it works out the same or even cheaper than many high dry foods, but the quality and value for money is far superior.
Convenience: Very convenient – all ingredients are pre-mixed in the correct proportions presented in a handy, easy to store.
Cost: Some of the best raw dog food, like Paleo Ridge (see below) costs as little as €3.50 to €4 per kilogram delivered tp your door.
Cost per day: If we consider the average Westie, weighing 7kg, requires 2.5% of their body weight per day in fresh food, then this equates to 175g of fresh food per day. If the ready meals (delivered) cost a maximum of €3.50, then that dog will cost 61 cents per day (or €4.27 per week) to feed them the fillet steak of dog food.
While these mixes have everything a dog needs, there is plenty of other nutritional items that can be added in to slash the total cost of this option.
- Cheap, reduced meat found in the reduced aisle of supermarkets (see below)
- Scraps from dinner
- Veg and carbs such as oats (porridge). Think about it, most dry food is 50-60% cereal filler. You adding in 25% slow-to-digest carbs is OK if you’re strapped, they do fine on this, and now your food bill per kilo might drop from €4 to €3 per kilo, and it’s still top drawer. More on feeding dogs vegetables here.
DOGS FIRST LOVES PALEO RIDGE RAW DOG FOOD
“I’m a canine nutritionist and fully realise my dog needs fresh meat and bone. However, I’m also a campaigner for the better treatment of animals. This is why I use Paleo Ridge raw dog food. It’s the most ethical raw dog food company I can find – all outdoor-reared or wild meat mixes and largely organic. Even their packaging is biodegradable. All delivered to your door for no more than the price of their competitors. Nobody gets close.”
Dr. Conor Brady
Disadvantages: Just because raw dog food products are on the right side of the nutrition debate does not make them angels though invariably they are far superior, nutritionally speaking, for your dog. The thing is, many people are involved in the raw pet food sector for the same reasons they get involved in the dry food sector. That is, they see a profitable market for what are generally waste meat products (such as carcass) and wish to exploit it. Hence we see meat producers and farmers getting involved, folk that are not necessarily up on what’s best for dogs (but certainly know what is the best for their bottom line!). For example, duck carcass and veg can be called “Duck & Veg”. This would be considered quite low quality, OK for occasional feeding but not long term. Some are now adding the required dry vitamin and mineral mix to these poor mixes which enables them to call these mixes “complete” (despite not containing much by way of meat muscle, organ meats etc). The thing is your dog will do well on these mixes, compared to dry. However, as a result of being on both sides of this industry, I cannot stand over any product that has been ground to a fine mush. There are simply too many tricks employed to make you believe your €3-€4/kg is actually buying meat muscle. I always recommend going straight to Irish butchers and making your own, so you know what you’re buying.
DINNER OPTION 2: DIY RAW DOG FOOD
For jumbo or multiple dog owners, or to simply save some money, then for only 20 minutes lots of money can be saved by making up your own mixes once or twice a month. Why pay others to do it? It is so easy. Our handy “How To Make Your Own Dog Food” article shows how! Just remember the 5:1:1 ratio (5 parts meat on the bone OR mince with 10% bone in it, 1 part organ meat, 1 part vegetables).
Convenience: Still quite convenient, just open the box, puncture the bags and mix.
Cost: €1.50 to €2 per kilogram
Delivery: Included, for orders over €40, otherwise…
Where to source: First up are your local butchers, what have they got in the bin? It’s all great raw dog food. Make friends with them. Buy your meat there. Develop the relationship. The reduced aisle of your local supermarket is also gold. What day does their beef come in? Go in the evening before and they slash the cost of their best-before-not-bad-after stuff (remember, it’s ALL good to your dog, he’s perfectly safe eating it a few days past the date on the pack as he’s not wired like you and me). Or try any of the numerous online butchers, they always have a meat box bargain.
Cost per day: You should be able to find meat that’s €2 per kilogram when you dig out a decent local supplier. Organ meat (liver, heart, kidney) costs €3 per kilogram, Vegetables cost €1 per kilogram. All of this works out at roughly €2 per kilogram, and the price can be lowered by using cheaper meat and bulking up with brown rice. So for the Westie owner, their food bill would drop from 61 cents per day to 35 cents per day for equally good food (delivered to their door).
DINNER OPTION 3 PICK UP FROM A FACTORY DEPOT
Convenience: Less convenient, as it is necessary to drive to the factory depot, but the savings more than make up for it!
Cost: Very affordable as meats cost €1 per kilogram when picked up from the factories in large 15kg boxes.
Delivery: Not included. Pick up from depot for this option.
Where to Source: Any meat factory will do you. Anyone growing chicken or pigs or cattle. Any butchers. Any meat processor. These can form the basis for your dog’s diet.
Cost per day: This option is preferred for multi-dog owners. Takes a little work as it involves working with big lumps of meat, but multiple dog owners are no stranger to that. Necessary for this approach is increased freezer space but this should pay for itself in two months. Due to buying large boxes of frozen meat, it is necessary to be prepared for the semi-thawing and re-freezing that goes with this approach.