Pricing Raw Diets

By Marilyn Orillion

Natural meat dog food or dry food

Natural meat dog food or dry food?

Most potential raw feeders ask, “How much will this diet cost?” The answer isn’t simple. If raw feeders buy only prepared, prepackaged raw foods, it is more expensive than preparing it at home. Buying in bulk is considerably cheaper.

The amount of raw meaty bones needed is determined by a dog’s weight and activity level. As a rule of thumb, multiply a dog’s weight by 16. Multiply the result by 2% to get the average amount of raw food needed per day. Of this amount, the majority should be raw meaty bones—60% or more. Some raw feeders use much more. The remainder can be a mixture of raw vegetables, eggs, dairy, fruit and/or organ meat.

A dog that weighs 30 lbs. might eat about 6 oz. or more of raw meaty bones per day. The price of raw meaty bones varies. Chicken necks, backs and wings can be bought in 40 lb. cases at about $.50 per lb. Chicken and turkey are the least expensive. Using an average price of $1/lb., feeding 6 oz. per day costs about $.30. Multiplied by 30 days, this comes to $9/month, on average, for raw meaty bones.

A dog will need raw vegetables, organ meats and some supplements. The cost of vegetables depends on finding “deals.” Buying in bulk from a farmer’s market is more economical. Organ meats (liver, kidney, tripe, heart) are more expensive than most raw meaty bones but less of these are needed. Organ meats can be added to a daily meal or fed as a meal itself. Supplements, initially, are the most expensive aspect of raw feeding. The number of supplements varies from user to user. Some limit supplements to a daily dose of fish oil and a vitamin while others use a whole array of supplements.

Originally published May 2008.

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