I’m really curious about how much people spend on their dog’s food. And I wonder if they actually know. One of the most common objections I run into when I talk about natural, raw diets is cost. Everyone thinks feeding raw is expensive. Yet I think it’s actually cheaper.
Now I do make the assumption that you have a freezer. I don’t mean the one that’s part of your refrigerator, I mean the one in your basement, garage, or other area. It doesn’t have to be huge, but has to be big enough to allow you to buy in bulk. Doing so saves money on both dog and human food. (And since all my dog food is human quality, I have no concerns over sharing freezer space with my dogs.)
I have done some preliminary research. Here are the costs per pound of some popular premium dog foods — some of the ones owners, pet store staff, and vets consider “the best”. You can see the prices vary from $2.92 per pound and up.
There certainly are cheaper and more expensive products out there, but I chose these as the minimum quality that seems acceptable. Not that I endorse or recommend the feeding of kibble or products that contain meat meals — but I wanted to compare the cost of human quality meats to something better than say Kibbles ‘n Bits or Beneful. Speaking of those foods, I have found prices for them online starting at $1.14 a pound. Other brands such as Alpo’s Come & Get It are as cheap as $0.57 per pound. I cannot even guess at ingredient quality in a food that costs so little…
So you are probably wondering what it costs to feed a natural raw diet. My meat costs average $1.00 per pound. Yes, $1.00 a pound for human quality food for my dogs. Buying in bulk and taking advantage of sales makes this possible. The other parts of the diet plan, including supplements and the plastic bags I use when repackaging cases of frozen foods like chicken leg quarters, duck necks, or turkey hearts or livers, add a bit more, likely bringing cost to a high of $1.50 a pound. That’s a savings of about $1.50 per pound from the examples here. And remember, the commercial foods do not contain human quality ingredients, while the foods my dogs eat are all human quality.
Beyond the lower cost of the food, there are savings as your dog becomes healthier when eating a natural, raw diet. Imagine the savings if you don’t have to go to the veterinarian for an ear infection, or bout of gastrointestinal upset? Let’s say you save two veterinary visits per year — that’s easily $100 – $200, depending on your location. There’s the cost of your freezer! And the bonus is you can save money on your food by using the freezer your dog’s savings bought! And who can place a dollar value on a dog living longer? What would it mean to you to have your best friend with you for an extra year or more?
Are you ready to cut your dog food costs while increasing the quality of what you put in your dog’s bowl? It’s not that difficult, certainly not that costly, and only requires a willingness to consider new feeding options. If you can, join us at the Feeding Fido Workshop April 13 in Albany, NY. If you live too far away to come, please keep checking back here. Exciting things are in the works!