I switched my dogs to a raw food diet to save money as well as to improve their health. As a longtime dog owner, I try my best to give my dogs the ultimate life as pampered pooches.
From premium dog food to routine trips to the groomers and vets, my two poodles receive outstanding care, and it comes at a significant cost to my checkbook.
When I was looking for ways to cut back last year, I realized I can’t skip routine vet visits. I could push our grooming trips back from monthly to every other month, but the area in which I could really save money was in the food I provided for my dogs on a daily basis.
Although realistically I could have opted for a $5 bag of dog kibble at a discount store – I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my dog’s health to save money. I was paying over $200 a month for premium dog food in the form of kibble, and I wanted to cut back. I didn’t want to reduce my spending in one area of my dogs’ lives (dog food) only to see it increase my spending in another area (vet visits due to feeding low-quality food which could result in loose stools, dry or itchy skin, weight gain or weight loss, etcetera.)
Instead, I decided to research the raw food movement and realized this was a switch I was willing to make. Raw food fed appropriately can lower not only your monthly bills for feeding but also your veterinarian bills over the years.
Dogs fed raw often are healthier than those fed a kibble diet, mainly those heavy in corn and animal byproducts which a dog would not regularly eat in the wild (has anyone actually seen a wolf scarf down chicken meal?
Do we even know what chicken meal is as a consumer? I didn’t, and most pet owners don’t.)
While it might appear switching dogs from a kibble diet to raw would be more costly, there are many ways to make this switch cheaper. I signed up for a food co-op with other local raw feeders.
We order a pallet of meat from a food vendor every month and divide it to feed our dogs at home. By purchasing in bulk, we receive significant savings. If you live in an area rich with hunters or farmers, you can also buy your meats directly from them to skip the middleman.
I currently have a broad ice chest in my garage dedicated solely to dog food, and whenever I note significant sales on meats in my local market, I stock up. In the end, I’ve reduced my dog food budget from over $200, including gravies and other add-ins, to keep my picky dogs interested in under $100 a month.
Feeding my dogs a raw diet has given my dogs’ healthier teeth due to their natural inclination to chew bones included in their meals as well as shinier coats. It has also helped lessen the significant dent left monthly on my wallet regarding pet food.
While feeding raw may not be appropriate for every household since it does require research and dedication, it is a great way to save money on your pet bills.