We have been transitioning our pups Missy & Buzz from a high-quality kibble & wet diet to a homemade diet, using a grain-free, dehydrated pre-mix of organic herbs & vegetables that we add our own protein to (Dr. Harvey’s Veg-to-Bowl).
The pups have been on the new diet for over a month now, and are thoroughly anticipating meal time and enjoying their fresh & healthy food. Even our picky boy Buzz starts drooling over the new food, so that’s a clear indicator that he gives it 4 enthusiastic paws up!
I love the fact that we get to add our own quality and amount of protein, and aren’t left to wonder what’s really in their food. I’ve really become paranoid with the pups’ nutrition after Missy’s cancerous tumor removal & her four chemotherapy sessions.
I have read so many testimonials from owners of dogs who had cancer & who experienced a wonderful turnaround after changing their nutrition to a homemade, even raw, diet, that I am more than willing to try this route.
Higher Price Point For Large Dogs
The only downside of the homemade dog food journey is its price point since Missy & Buzz weigh 54 & 74 pounds respectively, meaning their daily protein intake is 18 ounces for Missy, and 24 ounces for Buzz.
This translates into Buzz needing about 1,5 lbs per day, and Missy just a little over 1 lb, equaling 2.5 lbs of dog protein per day. At about $5.29 for 1 lb of all-natural ground turkey from turkeys fed without any growth hormones and/or antibiotics, we’re looking at a little over $13 per day.
Multiply that by 7 days, and we’re looking at $91 of protein cost every week, and $364 per four weeks. One 5 lb bag of Dr. Harvey’s Veg-to-Bowl costs $56.49 and lasts us about 2 weeks, meaning we’ll need 2 bags per four weeks, adding $113 to the $364, bringing us to a grand total of $477 in dog food costs per four weeks.
The last kibble we fed was grain-free Earthborn, which ran at about $55 per 28 lb bag, of which we needed two per month, bringing us to a total of $110 per four weeks. We mixed in some wet food, canned pumpkin & turmeric, meaning we had total dog feeding costs of about $150 in four weeks.
So we upped our dog food price point by $327 for a four week timeframe. Yikes.
Keeping the grand picture in mind, we are hoping that our investment in healthy, homemade dog food will keep future vet visits at a minimum, and cancer a chapter of our past.
There are actually a few “tricks” that help lower above mentioned cost per week.
Varying Protein Sources For Ultimate Health
Since the protein added to our pups’ food should be mixed or rotated on a regular, weekly basis, we have several different protein sources at our disposal: Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck), beef, lamb, salmon, lentils, or eggs, which all have different compositions of amino acids, as well as different levels of fats, nutrients, and vitamins.
While high-quality meat just has its price, lentils & eggs are much less expensive! We started mixing our meat with lentils and eggs, and have been able to cut our cost by about 1/4.
Smart Shopping Pays Off!
I’ve noticed that meat nearing its expiration date will be marked off quite a bit, and is easily recognizable by colorful price tags with a so called “value price”, translating into $2-$4 less than its original price tag.
I’ve actually been having quite a bit of fun hunting around for dog meat deals, and scored big just today! I was able to get my hands on 9 lbs of all-natural chicken breasts for $24 which would originally have cost $40 ~ saving me $16! ***Happy Dance!***
Another means of saving on our puppy food has been looking for closeout items, meaning the respective product will no longer be carried by the supermarket, thus receiving a lower price tag. That’s how I got my hands on about 12 one-lb bags of lentils for $0.79 each (we’ve used several bags already, that’s why there’s only 7 featured in the picture below). I was ecstatic!
I was also able to get 2 glass jars of organic turmeric which were closeout products at our local Food Lion for $2.50 each, as opposed to the original price of $4.50. We sprinkle a little turmeric on the pups’ respective meals, as turmeric has an incredible amount of health benefits, to include anti-cancer properties.
I’ve realized that there are a lot of options on the dehydrated/raw dog food market, and I will be looking into several of them, always keeping the price point in mind as well, of course.
Just to mention a few options I have come across so far:
- Grain-Free Base Mix Dog Food, by The Honest Kitchen. Similar to Dr. Harvey’s dehydrated pre-mix, you simply add water to rehydrate the vegetables & herbs it contains, then add your own protein (7 lb. box for $58).
- Raw Foods from Darwin’s Pet Food. Natural Selections Food Line, antibiotic, hormone, pesticide, and steroid-free meats (Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Turkey, ranging from $2.95 – $7.95/lb.), to be added to a dehydrated pre-mix.
Stay tuned to our journey of keeping our homemade dog diet going & affordable! I have a feeling we have only seen the tip of the iceberg, and that the healthy dog nutrition world has much more in store for us! I can’t wait to broaden my healthy-dog-food horizon 🙂
Are you feeding your dog a homemade/raw diet causing you to get creative to keep it affordable? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!
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