Feeding your furry friend a raw diet can make them feel like a top dog and worshipped cat, but let's be honest—occasionally, it can also make your wallet feel like it's been chewed up and spit out. But when you look at it in the right frame of mind, there are ways a raw diet may be able to save you from unexpected costs further down the road. So without further ado, here are three easy tips to help you budget for a raw diet without breaking the bank!
Choosing Your Priorities Re: Your Budget
Choosing Your Priorities Re: Your Budget
In our free ebook, Creating a High-Quality Diet for Your Pet’s High-Quality Life, we outline what we consider to be the three forces behind choosing a raw diet: the quality of the food, how convenient it is to prepare, and how much it costs. When we understand that we can’t have the best of all three, we can start to narrow down our options for reducing how much we spend each month on our pet’s raw diet.
Now, it’s important to remember that there’s a line where cost intersects with quality and lowers it and the price drops. At a certain point, the “you’re getting what you paid for” balance starts to shift from paying for quality to saving money by purchasing a less quality-consistent product. While this might seem like an acceptable compromise at the beginning, a lifetime on a low-quality diet can create more expensive problems for your pet’s health over time. So while you may be paying a few dollars extra per day to feed your dog or cat a healthy diet, you might find that preferable to huge, unexpected veterinary bills!
This blog is for people who have decided that they prioritize the quality and cost of their pet’s diet—they’re not willing to sacrifice giving their pet the best nutrition possible, but they’re looking to cut costs wherever possible. This is totally feasible, but it may take more time and effort to plan out accordingly.
However, anyone who values quality and convenience—i.e. they don’t have the time to lean too heavily into DIY raw—can still benefit from a few tips here because it all comes down to planning and budgeting within your means!
Tip 1: Choosing Cost-Effective Proteins
The first step to reducing your pet’s food budget is by purchasing cost-effective proteins. When it comes to raw food especially, there’s a wealth of exotic options, from bison to camel, venison to kangaroo, there are more exotic proteins than you might have expected. While these are great options, especially if your pet has allergies or sensitivities, they’re not the most cost-effective. If possible, choose from less expensive proteins like chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef.
If you have a dog without any food sensitivities, intolerances or allergies, then aiming for mixed proteins like those in our Everyday Raw meals can cut costs even more! In addition to being slightly less costly than a pure protein like those in our Foundations Raw meals, you can save freezer space and work less to keep track of which proteins you’re rotating through.
Tip 2: Add a Tripe Meal Day
Tripe can replace up to two meals a week, or it can be added as a supplement to their regular meals. For example, you can mix ground tripe with beef or chicken to help to create a balanced meal for your pet.
In addition to being cost-effective, adding tripe to your pet's diet can also provide them with a variety of health benefits. Tripe is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, which can help to support your pet's overall health and well-being.
However, it is important to ensure that the tripe is from a reputable source and properly prepared to avoid any potential risks of contamination. It is also important to consult with a veterinarian before introducing tripe or any other new food into your pet's diet.
Replace up to 2 meals a week with tripe. Add a bit of veggies to the tripe for extra wow!
Tip 3: Buying in Bulk
While the savings can vary depending on which meals you’re stocking up on, buying in bulk is just one other way to save a few extra bucks—and it adds up over time! Instead of buying single meals, get the whole case, or even opt for the larger portion sizes, with 6 x 2 lb trays for a total of 12 lb of food in a single box. When it comes to our Everyday Raw line, we also offer a variety box with 12 lb of food with three different protein combinations.
Of course, buying in bulk will take up more room in your freezer, but it’ll save you time and gas money from having to restock more often! Additionally, purchasing larger portion sizes can help reduce waste and packaging, making it a more environmentally-friendly option. When you look at it this way, the convenience and cost savings are well worth it in the long run.
Tip 4: Supplementing with Fresh Foods
If you’re not ready to sacrifice quality (and you should never be!) but cost is your priority over convenience, then it’s time to look at how you can cut back on your pet’s raw protein while still providing them with the nutrition they need. As we mentioned before, this may take more time and planning on your part, but it also allows for more flexibility depending on your budget that week—especially when you meal prep in advance!
For dogs, you can up to 10% of their raw diet with quality cooked whole grains like oatmeal or quinoa; if you feed 1 lb of raw food per day, for example, you can substitute half of it for ½ lb of cooked grains one day per week.
Another way to cut down on raw meals is substituting some portions with tripe or vegetable blends—we’ve got some great recipes and meal plans, free to download here!
Feeding your pet a raw diet doesn't have to break the bank. By prioritizing quality, you can leave yourself some wiggle room to play around with cost and convenience save money while still providing your furry friend with the nutrition they need. Choosing cost-effective proteins, buying in bulk, and supplementing with fresh foods are all simple but effective ways to cut costs without sacrificing the quality of your pet's diet—of the quality of their life for years to come.