Raw Dog Food on a Budget – 2 DIY Raw Dog Food Recipes

The message I’d like to bring across today is that raw feeding doesn’t have to be overly expensive.

I’ve been running a survey on my blog for a few months about reasons keeping dog owners from feeding their four-legged besties a raw diet. Affordability is a common concern.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Feeding your dog a balanced, raw diet certainly can be expensive, especially if you’re relying on pre-made raw dog food from a trusted brand.

That convenience factor is somewhat comparable to human fresh food that has been pre-assorted and packed up. I’m thinking Blue Apron or Hello Fresh – these typically come with a steeper price tag.

Today I’m going to share two easy raw dog food recipes my pups Missy & Buzz start drooling for the minute I mix them up.

They consist of only 5 ingredients each, all of which I was able to find at a local big name retail chain!

I found all the ingredients for these raw dog recipes at Walmart

Easy raw dog food recipes using raw beef #rawdogfood #rawfed #rawfeeding #rawdogfoodcommunity

This may sound surprising, but I was able to find all the ingredients for our raw meals in the grocery section of a local Walmart.

I made it a point to go ingredient shopping there to prove that a raw dog food meal:

  • doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive
  • can be shopped for locally

Bonus: By combining raw dog food shopping with your own grocery shopping, you can reduce your carbon footprint. No need to have raw dog food purchased online shipped your way.

I put together two different meals following the 80-10-10 formula:

  • 80% muscle meat
  • 10% raw meaty bone
  • 5-10% organs

*Get our three FREE raw dog food recipes now! Click Here

Organ meat for a balanced raw diet

The only component I wasn’t able to find at Walmart was a different secreting organ besides liver.

Ultimately, you’ll want to add some of those such as kidneys or sweetbreads. They don’t necessarily have to make it into every single raw meal. We strive to achieve balance over time, within about 7-10 days.

You can find secreting organs in Asian markets or ask your local butcher/farmer if they’d be willing to sell them to you.

Buying organ meat online is another option but will require shipping unless you live close enough to the retailer’s warehouse and are able to pick up your order.

Buy beef liver from Raw Paws HERE.

I’m feeding my dogs beef liver and chicken liver because beef liver is far more nutritious.

*Get our three FREE raw dog food recipes now! Click Here

Raw dog food on a budget – two easy recipes for dogs of all sizes

The following are two easy recipes with all ingredients from Walmart. After each ingredient, I listed out the price I paid and the weight, just to give you an overall idea on cost.

Easy beef raw dog food recipe:

Easy raw dog food beef recipe
  • Beef tongue: $19.42 for 3.57 lbs
  • Ground beef: $5.98 for 1 lb
  • Beef oxtails: $12.73 for 2.34 lbs
  • Beef liver: $2.23 for 1.21 lbs (or available online here)
  • Chicken liver: $2.03 for 1.21 lbs

Total Cost: $42.39 for 9.33 lbs

Cost per pound: $4.50

Easy chicken and turkey raw dog food recipe:

Raw dog food on a budget - poultry recipe
  • Chicken breast: $8 for 4 lbs
  • Chicken gizzards: $1.35 for 1 lbs
  • Chicken wings: $4.43 for 1.5 lbs
  • Ground turkey: $3.95 for 1.85 lbs
  • Turkey necks: $2.39 for 1.87 lbs

Total Cost: $20.12 for 10.22 lbs

Cost per pound: $1.90

In comparison, a 6-pound bag of Nature’s Variety Beef Patties from Petco costs $43 or about $7.16 per pound

A 6-pound bag of Turducken (Turkey/Duck/Chicken mix) from Steve’s Real Food purchased at an independently owned pet retail store costs $54 or $9 per pound.

How to serve your dog’s raw meals

All you need to do is cut up or grind the muscle meats and organs and measure out your dog’s portion (more on how much to serve below).

All muscle meats are easy to cut up. I found that a bread knife works best on the beef tongue and the chicken gizzards. The ground beef/turkey are obviously easy to break up into custom portions.

Your dog will get the biggest dental benefit from eating the raw meaty bones whole because they acts like a toothbrush, but they can also be ground. See my post: How to safely feed your dog raw bones.

If your pup has weak teeth that wouldn’t be able to handle whole raw meaty bones or larger pieces of cut up meat, you can grind them.

I tested the grinding capabilities of my food processor and blender, since I don’t own a dedicated meat grinder (yet).

The food processor did a good job grinding the beef tongue:

Raw dog food on a budget - using the food processor

And my blender handled the job of grinding the chicken wings:

Raw dog food on a budget - blending chicken wings

I didn’t bother trying to throw the oxtails or turkey necks in. I had a feeling that might have been too much for my kitchen blades.

While it can be a little tricky to find small or even tiny raw meaty bones for extra small dog breeds, the oxtail packages sold at Walmart contain oxtails of various sizes.

You could use the oxtails that are too large or too small in a batch of bone broth or some other sort of nourishing soup.

Whole chicken wings work great for smaller to medium size dogs. Whole turkey necks are great for larger dogs, especially those who have a tendency to gulp bones whole without giving them a few good crunches.

For more details on raw dog food, see our post: Raw feeding for beginners

How much raw dog food to serve

You’ll want to feed 2-3% of your dog’s ideal body weight on a daily basis. Your dog’s size and weight will determine how much meat their meals will consist of and how long the amount of meat purchased will last.

Missy weighs 50 lbs and eats 1 lb of meat every day. Nine to 10 lbs of food would last her about 9 days.

Buzz weighs 70 lbs and eats 1 lb 6 oz every day. The 9 to 10 lbs would last him about 6.5 days.

Raw chicken and turkey recipe for dogs of all sizes #rawdogfood #rawfeeding #rawfed #rawdogfoodcommunity

I measured out meals for our imaginary 10 & 20 lb doggie friends. The 10 lb pup would eat around 3 oz per day, meaning the 9 to 10 lbs would last him about 48 days!

The 20 lb pup would need double his amount on a daily basis and could make the same food last about 24 days.

You’ll also have to take your dog’s activity level and metabolism into account.

I typically feed Missy & Buzz less throughout the summer because our humid climate here in central North Carolina restricts our physical activities.

Now that it’s cooler and they’re more active again, I bumped up their food allowance by 2-3 ounces per meal.

If you’re unsure about your dog’s ideal body weight, check in with your vet and they should be happy to help you figure it out.

See our post: How much raw dog food to feed

Bottom line: DIY balanced affordable raw dog food recipes

I will say that only the ground beef I purchased was from grass-fed beef.

The tongue, oxtails, ground turkey, chicken breasts, wings, necks and livers probably came from grain-fed animals that weren’t pasture raised.

In an ideal world, you’d want to prepare your dog’s raw meals with cuts of meat from organic, grass-fed, happy animals. However, those cuts of meat come at a higher price point and aren’t sold everywhere.

If you have the choice between offering highly processed, dry dog food and a raw meal consisting of non-organic meat, I’d say the latter still trumps the first option and shouldn’t keep you from raw feeding.

You could also opt to replace one of your pups’ daily dry dog food meals with raw food. I recently wrote about being able to mix kibble & raw dog food on my blog when answering a reader’s question about that topic. A little raw is better than none!

Do you have any tips for feeding raw dog food on a budget?

Let us know in the comments!

*Get our three FREE raw dog food recipes now! Click Here

Barbara Rivers writes regularly for That Mutt about feeding her two boxer mixes a raw dog food diet. She is a blogger and dog walker and maintains the blog K9s Over Coffee.

Additional resources:

More homemade raw dog food recipes

How to find affordable raw dog food

39 thoughts on “Raw Dog Food on a Budget – 2 DIY Raw Dog Food Recipes”

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Dogs can generally handle it as they are designed for eating meat. But I hear ya, that is a common concern. They’re digestive systems are obviously different than ours.

    2. Leigh Wohlschlaeger

      Dogs stomachs are different from humans. Their stomachs produce strong acids with a ph of 1. The low ph kills the bacteria. They are carnivores designed to eat raw meat. Feeding my dogs a raw diet was the best thing I ever did. They are so healthy, their coats and skin are perfect and their teeth are sparkling white. I’ve never brushed their teeth. The raw bones clean them perfect and they don’t have bad breath ever.

      1. Thank you for your comments on feeding your dogs a raw diet. It makes sense to me. I am just starting to get into it. And your feedback really encourages me. learning about all this is refreshing . Every time i bought dog food , I read the labels trying to find the perfect food.. Now I have! I hope I can succeed . There is just as much negative comments about it as there are positive ones. And thoughts go through my mind like – I hope this is really okay. And I hope it doesn’t cause health problems. I see you posted some time ago, but if you get this and can give me any info., I will appreciate it . Thank you.

        1. Leigh Wohlschlaeger

          Hi Jean
          I think it’s great you are looking into raw feeding. Its confusing at first but so worth it. You will see a lot of negative comments but there is a reason for that. The pet food industry is big business! The best advice I can give you is watch the documentary on Netflix or YouTube called “Pet Fooled “ it has a ton of great info. After seeing this I started feeding raw the same week. It blew my mind. Also if you can get on Facebook the group called Raw Feeding Advice and Support. This group helped me more than any other resource. They are great at answering all your questions no matter how many and they also have starter guides that you can print out or screenshot. Hope this helps!

    3. Last year I added a 65 lb airedale to our home. The breeder feeds her dogs raw, so I followed suit. Ozzie gets 6 oz of raw hamburger 1 raw egg and a couple of spoons of yogurt twice a day. In the am he gets vitamins, a probiotics and a capsule of neem (to help with ticks) To this basic diet I add pumkin, vegetables and fruit. I make his treats and I also cut up and bake sweet potatoes for him. I wait until hambburg goes on sale, but a lot and freeze it in 6oz patties. Yogurt at $1.99 a container, and eggs are always on sale. So feeding like this is way better for him and cheaper for me.

      1. Hi Frances Ellis what kind of vitamins and probiotics do you give your dog? and is there a website you get them on? and also where do you buy your capsules of neem? is it safe to give your dog neem every day? and do you give it all year round?

    4. My dogs are all 65-100 lbs and what your feeding them it way to little. My 65lb and 70lb Shepards eat 1.5 – 2lbs a day and the 100 lb shepard eats 2-2.5 lbs a day. None are fat and their stocmachs don’t look sunk in either.and underweight like some I’ve seen..I love raw and wouldn’t feed them anything else and love your artical, but please feed them more appropriate portions.

      1. what are the recipes you use? both my dogs are 100lbs and I am looking at a 2lb raw diet for both. Is this weight just in meat or are you including the pumpkin in that analysis as well? Thank you!

  1. Hi, I usually got raw meat from online but the shipping fee is really expensive so I tried to get meats from Walmart and publix. but I worry about the sodium..? what do you think about it? I got a beef liver, chicken liver, gizzards and whole chicken.

  2. Leigh Wohlschlaeger

    I buy chicken from a poultry warehouse. I got 100 lbs of chicken backs, 50 lbs of chicken necks, 30 lbs turkey necks and 40 lbs chicken feet for $142.00. I buy my beef from a local farmer for 1/4 side for $640.00. The beef comes out to about 3.20/lb that’s including processing. It’s about 2 days of packing into meals but so worth it!!

    1. this sounds like such a bargain! how big is your pup, and how long does this supply usually last you? I have 2 90lb dogs and food adds up quickly! Thank you

      1. Leigh Wohlschlaeger

        He is 90 lbs now. I give him 2 2 1/2-3 lbs a day. So now that he eats more it is more than feeding bagged food but he is so healthy an never sick so I save alot on vet bills. The bagged food has so much filler and unneeded crap that their digestive systems dont process well. The pet food i dustry standards are this— If the package has any word like “recipe” or “dinner” after the meat ingredient like “Chicken recipe” or “Beef supreme” it only has to contain 3% of that meat. They put by product which is not meat in most commercial food. Feeding my pets raw food was best thing Ive done for them!

  3. I have 3 dogs. 2 ate about 70-80lbs and one is 50-60lbs. How much food do I need it’s confusing. One has severe allergies to almost everything. Meats he can have is turkey,venison and quail. But the neutral meat is beef and a few more I have a list somewhere . What about about doing veggies or fruits. Or brown rice? We buy 2 different dog foods and it gets to be so much. But scared to switch to raw.

  4. Can’t they eat it whole? Is there a particular reason that we need to grind/cut the meat up? Is this for fish as well?

  5. Well written and informative article but people who are on a budget cannot afford a total cost of $42.39 for 9.33 lbs. That’s $183.69 per month for a bigger dog. On my budget, that would leave me approximately $10.00 per month for my own dietary needs.

    1. So for a 70lb dog I’m looking at approximately $60 of raw for 2 weeks if I’m reading your article correctly….?? That’s way too expensive

  6. Try looking at Big Dan’s Trucking website, raw dog food is cheap & definitely worth it if anyone is interested in buying good quality raw dog feed, I’m in Alaska and have them ship it up here.

  7. Christie Morris

    I feed my dogs raw, about 10 months now. My oldest GSP was not eating his dry food, I started adding (home made) gravy, eggs, peanut butter with coconut oil or pumpkin to his food, but he would lick that off & ignore the rest. That was the deciding factor. The only info I have never found an answer to is how much of the skin does anyone leave on the chicken.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      For my dog Ace I left all the skin on the chicken. For my dog Remy, I pull as much of it off as I can. If there’s a little bit on, no big deal.

      The reasoning: Ace did fine with the skin, Remy gets an upset tummy from it. I assume because it is so fatty/rich.

  8. I decided to start feeding raw because my 7 year old minerature dachshund, Juju gets pancreatitis very easily, especially from chicken skin or changes in her diet. She is also overweight.I feed her 1/2 cup of ground chicken or turkey daily with organ meat a couple of days a week. I mix raw green beans and apples and raw eggs with a pinch of Himalayan salt. I rotate the veggies to include broccoli, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Amazingly, she begs for and eats all these veggies without the meat. Much better snacks for her. I make 3 pounds of ground meat with ground veggies and put 1/2 cup in zip lock bags and freeze 1/2 of the portions and it lasts between 12 and 14 days. She has lost 1 or 2 pounds but mostly she is happy and slowly loosing the weight. Ground meat is for my convenience mostly so I can patty up her portions without cutting and weighing.

  9. I see comments about adding fruit and veggies to a raw food diet. Are there any that are better than others or ones I should avoid. I have tried grated carrot but my dogs manage to spit every smidgen out.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      There are some lists online that list out what not to feed but the main thing is not to feed onions or grapes which can be toxic (but only if they eat huge quantities). Also, most dogs don’t like citrus like oranges or lemons.

      I feed carrots, peppers, green beans, green leafy veggies, broccoli, pumpkin, apples, berries and bananas.

  10. Please explain a little more about the bones, you mentioned turkey neck and oxtails, do these bones need to be processed? Is it safe?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Just fed raw, as is, with the meat still on. They are soft and pliable and safe for dogs to digest.

  11. Still would be $100 more for my 95 pound Doberman alone per month than I currently spend on both my dogs combined (smaller dog is 50 pounds) so really not cheap enough. At the very MOST I can spend $120 a month on food for the two of them. I currently feed Victor kibble and spend approximately $80 a month on the two of them. My smaller dog would not be eating raw, so that comes out to probably $80-$90 I could spend per month on my Doberman maximum. Is there any other options that don’t require me spending a ton of time going to different stores, etc?

  12. I started feeding raw my 20lbs terrier about 2 months ago.
    I buy meat (hamburger, turkey), organs, bones which I mix with eggs and veggies and make them into small patties and freeze them. I mix one of the patties with “freeze dry raw” dog food and feed her twice a day.

  13. My friend & I are just starting & we’re trying to figure things out. She is externally worried about figuring out how much & what kind of Vitamins & Minerals to give each dog we have. I have been looking but I couldn’t find anything that broke it down by weight & percent that you need for each Vitamin/Minerals that they need. Is there a list that says you must have this…?

    Thanks in advance,
    Mystie

  14. Hello,
    Love your site but I have a question?
    I thought my puppy was to be eating 2 to 3% of their ideal adult weight.
    Is that correct?
    Have a 10.8 lb Aussie that’ll likely be a 60 lb. adult male dog.
    I have been feeding him about 8 oz 3 times a day. Mixture of 80/10/10.
    Have I been over feeding?
    Thank you in advance
    So confusing and I don’t want to get it wrong

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Is your puppy fat? Skinny? Just depends. Some say you can do 10 percent of current weight, which is less than what you’re feeding. But that doesn’t mean you’re overfeeding, necessarily. You could ask your vet how his weight/ condition seems or ask the breeder.

      Here’s our post on raw feeding puppies that might help;

      https://www.thatmutt.com/2018/11/28/raw-food-for-puppies/

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