When someone asks me What’s the cost of raw dog food?, I always ask them several follow-up questions before I can give them an answer.
That’s because it depends on several factors!
Disclaimer: This blog post contains some affiliate links.
What’s Your Dog’s Size, Age, And Level Of Activity?
For starters, it depends on your dog’s size, age, and level of activity. Is your pup a small Chihuahua, a medium sized Boxer, or a large German Shepherd?
Are they puppies, adults, or seniors? Pregnant or lactating?
Couch potatoes, daily walkers, athletes or working dogs?
Commercial Raw Dog Food Or Homemade Raw?
Next up, ask yourself if you want to feed commercial raw dog food or make your own?
Generally speaking, commercial raw is more expensive than homemade raw, although you can also find great deals on commercial raw. The cost of commercial raw also depends on the type of brand you feed.
If you make your own, ingredient costs are going to vary depending on where you source them, if you can take advantage of sales and if you have enough freezer space to stock up on meat deals.
Commercial Raw Is Great For Beginners
Commercial raw is great for raw feeding beginners. That’s how I started feeding raw dog food back in 2015. The brands I fed back then were Darwin’s Natural Pet and Raw Paws Pet Food.
Both are high quality brands, and both have their perks! Darwin’s has a great introductory offer of 10 lbs for just $14.95 (no shipping costs).
What I like about Raw Paws Pet Food is that they have sales and deals on a regular basis.
I Mostly Feed Homemade Raw Because I’m A Nerd
That said, these days I mainly make my pup’s own raw dog food. That’s because it’s less expensive, I get to nerd out about making it, and Wally has a bunch of food sensitivities.
For example, he can’t have anything chicken related, including chicken eggs, no quail, pheasant, salmon, anchovies, sardines, mussels, no grains whatsoever along with several veggies and fruits.
How Many Dogs Are You Feeding Raw?
Last but not least, it also depends on the number of dogs you’ll be feeding raw dog food.
If you have more than one, you’ll be multiplying your numbers.
The Cost Of Raw Dog Food: Commercial Raw
Like I said before, the cost of commercial raw depends on which brand you’re buying.
If you’re looking to buy raw dog food at physical pet retail stores, you’ll likely be able to choose between these common ones: Stella & Chewy’s, Instinct Raw, Steve’s Real Food, Bravo Pet Food, and Answers Pet Food.
You can also buy commercial raw from online raw dog food retailers like Darwin’s, Raw Paws Pet Food, My Pet Carnivore, and Raw Feeding Miami.
Bear in mind that you’ll be paying shipping costs whenever you place an online order. Then again you’re likely going to have to hop in your car to get the food from a physical store, so it depends on your personal preference.
For comparison’s sake, let’s look at their respective prices for ground turkey:
Stella & Chewy’s: $27/4 lb = $6.76/lb
Instinct Raw: $29/6 lb (Beef, they don’t carry turkey) = $4.80/lb
Steve’s Real Food: $41/5 lb = $8.20/lb
Bravo Pet Food: $20/5 lb = $4/lb
Answer’s Pet Food: $27/4 lb (fermented raw dog food) = $6.75/lb
Darwin’s: $10.38/2 lbs = $5.19/lb
Raw Paws Pet Food: $5.49/1 lb
My Pet Carnivore: $4.07/1 lb
Raw Feeding Miami: $6.00/lb
The benefit of commercial raw is that the meals are pre-made and can be fed as is. The downside is that you’re paying for that convenience.
The Cost Of Raw Dog Food: Homemade Raw
Now let’s assume we’re shopping around for individual cuts of turkey in order to be able to make a homemade, (mostly) raw turkey meal. We’re also going to add rabbit kidneys and thread herring.
Good to know:
Raw dog food consists of 70-80% muscle meat (10% of that should be oily fish), 10% raw meaty bones, and 10% secreting organs (5% liver, 5% other secreting organ like kidneys, pancreas, brains, etc). If you decide to add plant matter like veggies, fruit, nuts, and seeds, feed 10% plant matter and only 70% muscle meat.
Raw-fed adult dogs eat between 2-4% of their ideal body weight in food per day.
Puppies need to eat 10% of their current body weight until they’ve reached their adult stage. Alternatively, you can also feed them 2-3% of their adult target body weight per day.
Pregnant and lactating dogs need considerably more raw dog food beginning with their third trimester of gestation at 40 days. That’s when their bone intake needs to be increased from 10% to 15-20%. Their liver intake also needs to increase from 5-7%, and so does the other secreting organ (spleen is recommended).
Where to shop for individual cuts of raw meat
My favorite online retailer for individual cuts of meat, including less common ones like brains, eyeballs, pancreas, and uterus is Raw Feeding Miami.
Next up is Raw Paws Pet Food who carries cuts like duck necks/feet/frames, chicken leg quarters/feet/necks, turkey necks, meaty goat and lamb bones, and liver from different animals.
Tip: You can use my affiliate discount code K9Savings for 15% off anything from Raw Paws Pet Food.
For this particular recipe, I can find most of the ingredients I need at Raw Feeding Miami, except a secreting turkey organ besides turkey liver. To make up for it, I’d opt for something like rabbit kidneys:
Boneless ground turkey (muscle meat): $10.25/2 lbs
Turkey gizzards (muscle meat): $6.99/2.5 lb
Turkey hearts (muscle meat): $7.00/2 lb
Thread herring (muscle meat): $7.89/2.5 lbs
Turkey necks (raw meaty bone): $7.50/2.5 lb
Turkey liver (secreting organ): $7.50/2.5 lb
Rabbit kidneys (other secreting organ): $8.00/1 lb
The total ingredient cost would be $55.13/15 lb = $3.67/lb. That’s pretty flipping inexpensive, right?!
However, you’ll still have to add shipping to it. That’s unless you’re lucky enough to live in the greater Miami, FL area to pick your order up in person.
BUT, if you use my 15% referral discount code, you’ll negate the shipping cost and a little more, so it’s still really inexpensive.
The Cost Of Raw Dog Food: Bottom Line
So as you were able to see, the cost of raw dog food really depends on quite a few factors.
Generally speaking, commercial raw dog food is more expensive than homemade raw dog food. It’s also most affordable when you’re feeding smaller dogs or have a big budget.
That said, I also know a few people who feed their tiny pups, as in like 5 lb Chihuahuas (hello Ashley and Stephanie!) homemade raw dog food, including raw meaty bones.
So at the end of the day, it also comes down to your personal preference and willingness/time to meal prep for your pup(s).
Let me know if you’d like me to break down the cost of any more raw dog foods, commercial or homemade! You can do so in the comment section or shoot me an email at Barbara AT K9sovercoffee DOT com.Join the K9sOverCoffee Community today! Get your free raw dog food recipe, excerpted from “20 Raw Meals for Dogs”!