Hi, I will try to make this as short as possible. Ok, I have a newly adopted dog Bailey. She is a 1 1/2 yr. old border collie/Pit bull mix and she weighs 50lbs. I HATE all the stuff I hear about commercial dog food. I am just recently into researching everything. I had a doberman who died at the age of 11 from an undiagnosed problem and I have a feeling it was from either commercial dog food crap, vaccines, topical flea stuff or all of the above. I am fully committed to doing better by my new dog. I just recently switched to Nature’s Variety Instinct kibble (I was using Purina One) which I feed her for breakfast. For dinner, I switched her to Deli Fresh by Freshpet. I really, really want to switch her to a raw diet, but I have no clue where/how to start, what foods to feed or not to feed, if I can afford it, etc. I’m afraid once I start I won’t know what to feed and and how much and if I am giving her the right variety of stuff. I’ve looked up raw “menus” online, but it sounds like there is so many different things that I would have to feed Bailey, that I might end up going broke. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated…
And, I forgot to mention, I don’t have a whole lot of money. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to keep up with what I just started feeding her. So, if someone can help with the cheapest raw things that I could feed my dog, with the right variety that would really help me alot!
Steve Brown’s book “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” is an EXCELLENT place to start.
Hi Cyndi –
It’s wonderful that you’re considering a raw diet for your dog!
Owning three large and active dogs, I can sympathize with you on wanting to keep things cheap. My tips for keeping raw feeding budget friendly would be:
1. Rely on chicken, turkey, pork and beef as your primary protein sources – they’re the cheapest per pound.
2. Rather than feeding boneless meat and supplementing with calcium, incorporate raw meaty bones (chicken necks, turkey necks, etc.) as the calcium source. RMB’s are much cheaper per pound than boneless meat.
3. Rely on hearts and gizzards as your primary source of muscle meat in the diet. While boneless skinless chicken breast might be more appealing to a person, there’s no reason dogs need to eat these expensive cuts of meat.
4. Add things like eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt or kefir to stretch the meal a bit with some cheap but high quality animal-based protein.
5. Avoid pre-ground meats, they’re generally more expensive. Feed meat in chunks or dice it yourself.
6. Buy bulk – try to locate a wholesale supplier. Shop the manager’s specials at the grocery store.
7. Use supplements made for humans rather than for dogs, believe it or not they’re generally much cheaper. I order from Swanson Vitamins (cheap, high quality, big variety).
Thank you Pattyvaughn, I will check that out. & thank you also, Hound dog mom, all that is very good to know. Ive just been getting so overwhelmed by researching & reading all the different things that people say they feed their dogs. I really dog want to feed my dog raw, but it all just sounds too expensive to do, but if/when I do make the switch, I need to make sure I can afford it.
Any idea how much, I guess in pounds, that I will need to feed. I feed Bailey twice a day and she currently weighs 50lbs. & I’d like to keep her at that weight preferably.
Thank you both, so much, for your help!
Oh, a totally unrelated question…… How do I go about putting a picture up for my profile pic? I tried to figure it out earlier, but didnt have any luck.
Yay Cyndi! I have also recently (as in yesterday) started researching a raw food diet for my 50lb ACD. I found a page (and forgot to bookmark) that helped me decide that with his weight range, I should give him about 1000 Cal/day, or about 1.25lb each day of food, including boneless meat and raw meaty bones. HDM’s suggestions are great, and I went today all around town to local butchers, grocery stores, and even a vet that has knowledge and that supports raw food diets. I made a list of what each place had to offer based on who had better prices on things, especially harder to find things like beef hearts and turkey necks. Ended up buying 3 fryer chickens that were on sale for $0.77 a lb, and some other stuff on sale. My plan is to establish my budget that I can devote to this, price everything up, and start saving. And also to buy meat when I see it for a great price. We are lucky in my area to have access to a local butcher, several grocery stores (HEB has had the best selection of doggy type meats for decent prices) and also a natural/organic food store that has a ton of the great supplements that I have seen mentioned. Check the “Transitioning to raw” thread on this section of the forum, it has a lot of great info and I think a sample recipe from HDM. There’s also a thread “Suggested raw dog food menus” that has several recipes that HDM and others have posted.
My two very active 40 lbs dogs eat about a pound a day, one slightly more than the other. The rule of thumb is 2-3% of their body weight.
When turkey is on sale at Thanksgiving, I get 2 or 3 extras.
Hi Cyndi –
The general feeding recommendations for raw are as follows (amounts are in % of the dog’s body weight):
1.5% – weight loss
2.0% – inactive
2.5% – adult maintenance for average activity level
3.0% – slight weight gain or active dogs
3.5% – significant weight gain or very active dogs
4.0% – puppies (8 weeks – 1 year) or working dogs
4.5%-8.0% – puppies (4-8 weeks), pregnant/lactating females or working dogs
This is a good guide, but all dogs are different so just monitor your dog’s body condition and adjust portion sizes accordingly. My 9 month old female eats about 3.5% of her weight, my 2 year old female eats about 4% of her body weight and my 8 year old male eats about 3% of his weight.
Thanks so much everyone for all the feedback! I sincerely appreciate it all. One more question, for now anyways, lol! I have read conflicting things on starting to feed raw. I have read to fast your dog for 24 hours & then just start the raw diet, starting with one meat source at a time to get them used to it, but I have also read to introduce raw food slowly, giving them some raw food mixed with their kibble each day. Which is the right way, or is there a right way to make the switch?
I started using raw as a topper and had no problems, but it could be a case of some dogs having problems and some not. When my dogs were eating enough raw to make a meal of it, I switched to feeding raw for breakfast and kibble for dinner. Now, I can feed all raw, raw and kibble, just kibble, whatever. It is all what works for you and your dog.
Thanks Patty. I just got done reading some of the threads about Darwin’s raw food. Do you think this would be a good place for me to start? I haven’t researched the cost for them yet, but Darwins sounds like a good alternative for me instead of me trying to figure out on my own if I’m feeding the rights raw foods in the right quantities. Are they really expensive, do you know?
Including shipping they top $4 a pound for me. I use some Darwin’s, but not all. When I started feeding raw, I googled homemade dog food and found DinOvite. It was an easy way to get started. I used their Yeast Starvation Diet for a bit while I read up on feeding raw. It’s a very easy recipe and I still make it occassionally with some modifications. There are a few premixes and vitamin/mineral mixes that are made to be mixed with either boneless meat or grinds that are also an easy way to get started. These are more expensive than doing it all from scratch, but less expensive than premade balanced raw diets.
Ok, I will have to do a bit more research. Atleast the food I have her on now is much better than the crap she was on. Thank you for all your help, I really do appreciate it. This all just seems so overwhelming, but I so want to do the right thing for my baby. I am so glad I found this site and you are all so polite (compared to another forum where I more or less got yelled at for asking an off topic question). Thank you so much, again, for your help!
Have a great evening! 🙂
I was just looking at the DinOvite site, that you mentioned, and they have a recipe on there, with a video, for Homemade Dog food. What do you think about feeding just this as a primary diet? Would my dog be getting everything she needs in that diet? & I wondered why they used hard-boiled eggs and not raw eggs in that recipe. Can I get your thoughts on all this, and anyone else’s, if you don’t mind? Thanks in advance! 🙂
Oh, and what modifications would you make to make it better?
I use it in rotation, it is heavy with flax seed, so I don’t like the idea of using it all the time. When I use it, I use 9 lbs of ground meat(sometimes I use turkey and pork) and 1 lbs of organs. I add 4 0z. of apple cider vinegar. You can mix it without the eggs and then add eggs when you are ready to feed it if you want to leave the eggs raw. It doesn’t mix and store well with raw eggs.
Ok, thank you, once again, for all your help!
Hi again! I have another question, for anyone that feels like answering. I currently feed my dog Nature’s Variety Instinct grain free kibble in the morning. In the evening I feed her Deli Fresh by Fresh pet. My question is if I were to switch one of her meals for either Primal Raw frozen or Nature’s Variety Raw, which one do you think I should I eliminate? I still don’t feel comfortable switching to all raw, so I figured atleast this is a start. Thanks in advance.
Hi Cyndi –
If you can afford it, I would eliminate the kibble. Deli Fresh is much more species-appropriate than kibble (even though NV is a high quality kibble). If you check out this website Dr. Goldstein ranks foods in terms of healthiest to least healthiest: drmarty.com/feeding.htm
I agree with HDM.
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