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

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. It’s very healthy and convenient but of course you do pay a bit more. (Our sponsor Darwin’s has a great intro offer, if you’re interested.)

But 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

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

Easy beef raw dog food 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
Easy raw dog food beef recipe

Total Cost: $42.39 for 9.33 lbs

Cost per pound: $4.50

Easy chicken and turkey raw dog food 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.

Raw dog food on a budget - poultry recipe

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.

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

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.

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!

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

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

Let us know in the comments!

Additional resources:

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.

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Maizey

Thursday 25th of February 2021

Not sure where you live, but there isn’t a Walmart near Seattle, Wash with those items and prices. Furthermore, there isn’t a Walmart in the PNW- Canada that sells those items and the price per lb. for turkey starts at $3.50 lb.- beef is triple that price. Maybe meat on sale? Great recipes, though.

Sabra Powell

Wednesday 20th of May 2020

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

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 20th of May 2020

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/

Mystie

Saturday 8th of February 2020

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

ourania

Monday 5th of August 2019

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.

Morgan

Sunday 21st of April 2019

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?