How much does it cost to feed my dog raw food?
A lot of dog owners would like to feed their dogs raw dog food but can’t afford it.
I also have to decide whether or not I want to spend $150+ on raw food for my dog each month.
To help myself and others decide if we can afford to feed raw dog food, I compared some prices for commercial raw food, homemade raw dog food, natural dry dog food and standard dry dog food.
These are just some general examples intended to give you an idea of what the dog food costs without spending time searching for sales or coupons or anything like that. There are all kinds of ways to save money on raw dog food such as shopping at Costco, buying in larger quantities, only buying food that is on sale or working out a deal with a friend who hunts or farms or whatever. That’s not what this post is about.
My dog is a 5-year-old, 67-pound black lab/hound mix with a naturally lean build. I keep him active, but he is not a high-energy dog. The following examples are based on the amount of food he would eat per day (generally 1.5 pounds raw or 3 cups dry) and the cost per day and per month to feed him. Since Ace primarily eats chicken as his main protein source, that’s what I used for the following examples.
Commercial raw dog food – about $210 per month
The prices of commercial raw dog food brands vary quite a bit from store to store, state to state, etc. I did my best to take the average prices, so don’t freak out if you find a certain brand for a lot more or a lot less. I also did not include any shipping costs if you plan to order online.
Stella & Chewy’s - Chewy’s chicken frozen dinner
$26.99 per 6-pound bag
$6.75 per day or $202 per month
Primal – canine chicken formula
$34.99 per 8-pound bag
$6.60 per day or $198 per month
Nature’s Variety Instinct – organic chicken formula
$29.99 per 6-pound bag
$7.50 per day or $225 per month
Homemade raw dog food – about $120 per month
There is a ton of flexibility here depending on what you want to feed your dog. If you want to spend significantly less on homemade raw dog food, you really need to buy directly from a butcher or buy in bulk. You can easily cut your costs for meat in half by shopping this way. For those of you who feed homemade raw dog food, I would love to hear your money-saving tips!
You’ll also want to consider my ebook 10 Easy Raw Dog Food Recipes. It is available here for $9 and includes a guide to raw feeding to get you started.
The following prices are from my standard grocery store, nothing special. I wasn’t worried about organic meat or what was on sale. I just took 15 minutes to walk through the store and jot down some prices of some foods I would use if I were to make homemade food for Ace.
Chicken thighs: $1.72 per pound, $2.58 per day or $78 per month
Ace would eat about 1.5 pounds of meat per day. Obviously you want to mix up the kind of meat you feed your dog. This is just an example.
Chicken liver: $1.99 per pound, about 1 pound per week so $8 per month
Again, just an example. You want to feed your dog a variety of organ meat.
Vegetables: $0.50 per day or $15 per month
For fruits and vegetables, I would just feed Ace whatever I happened to be eating that week (lettuce, spinach, bananas, apples, carrots, zucchini, asparagus or whatever). He would get 1/4 C. or so of veggies per meal. On the high end, that might equal out to $0.50 per day.
Yogurt: $1.25 per cup, $0.63 per day or $19 per month
Ace would get 1/4 C. of yogurt or so per meal.
Other expenses not included could be calcium tabs, glucosamine tabs, fish oil, organ meat, raw bones, raw eggs, etc. These are all things that could be included in my dog’s meals from time to time regardless of whether I’m making his food or not.
Natural dry dog food – $50 to $75 per month
Ace would generally eat about 3 cups of high-quality dry food per day.
Evo - chicken and turkey formula (Ace’s typical dry food)
$46.99 per 28.6-pound bag
$2.47 per day or $75 per month
Canidae – chicken and rice
$52.46 per 44-pound bag
$1.80 per day or $54 per month
Taste of the Wild – wetlands canine formula (wild fowl)
$47.49 per 30-pound bag
$2.37 per day or $71 per month
Standard dry dog food – $50 to $65 per month
Ace would generally eat about 4 cups of standard-quality dry dog food per day.
Iams – large breed chunks (chicken)
$31.95 per 40-pound bag
$1.60 per day or $48 per month
Hills Science Diet – large breed adult formula
$35.99 per 35-pound bag
$2.05 per day or $62 per month
Just want to point out that corn is the #1 ingredient in this food highly recommended by most vets!
Purina One - Smartblend chicken and rice forumula
$35.99 per 34-pound bag
$2.12 per day or $64 per month
I didn’t realize how expensive standard dry dog food has gotten. It’s almost as expensive as higher-quality brands. All the more reason to switch to natural dog food!
How much do you pay for your dog’s food?
I’m not out to make anyone feel bad about not being able to afford the cost of raw dog food or high-quality dry dog food. Worry about yourself and your family before you worry about what your dog is eating. Sometimes I look at my dog’s food and my cats’ food and see that all the ingredients are natural or organic and then I look at the food I’m eating – usually not organic! We definitely should not put our pets before ourselves.
Dogs can get by on a lower-quality food just like people can get by on a lower-quality diet. I do not believe someone shouldn’t have a dog just because she can’t afford the best food. That would be ridiculous. My dog and cats ate Purina One for a good two years. Eventually I started buying higher-quality food every other month or mixing the two together to save $10 here and there.
My dog eats raw dog food – day 53 update
Ace is doing great on 100 percent raw food. I am now a true believer in feeding dogs and cats raw! Ace has eaten mostly raw chicken but he’s also been eating some raw beef. I’m seriously thinking of switching my cats over to raw as well.
Poor Ace does seem to have an ear infection. And he has watery eyes, too. Food allergies or environmental allergies could be the cause. It is finally spring here and the grass is finally starting to turn green. Ace typically gets an ear infection around this time of year, and it’s always in one ear!
Unfortunately he still seems itchy. Part of this is behavioral. He scratches when he’s not sure what else to do, like when a cat is staring at him I don’t notice any dandruff, just scratching around his collar. He also continues to chew and lick his paws often.
Ace is getting noticeably more gray fur on his paws, legs, tummy and face.
He has less poop now than when he was eating Evo. Always a plus!
My dog is always thirsty
Ace is definitely not as thirsty anymore! He drinks a normal amount of water (6-8 cups per day or so) and he’s not obsessive about drinking it all at once.
No noticeable change. I never thought Ace had horrible teeth or breath, but I’m sure other people think otherwise!
I haven’t noticed an increase in Ace’s energy. He’s always tired from playing with his dog friends!