Thursday, April 17, 2014

Raw By The Numbers

Rylee's raw diet is going really well. We've been at it for just over three weeks now, and we've made some progress in the variety department. I started her off on chicken thighs only, then added in a few other chicken "things", while still keeping it all the same critter. She's eating chicken liver for her organ meat, chicken gizzards for muscle meat variety, chicken breasts for muscle meat, and the thighs are our staple at this point. They're fairly cheap, have quite a bit of meat on them, and include the bone, so she's getting her raw meaty bones from those, and I also got some chicken necks, so she was getting some of those thrown in too.

Once I knew we were good with chicken, I ventured out to try and find some inexpensive ground beef. That's just not possible. Since I haven't been at this for very long (and don't really have my "supply places" yet), if I can find stuff for under $1.50 per pound, I'm happy. I've been able to keep all the chicken stuff at right around $1.30 per pound, but the cheapest I've been able to find ground beef is $2.99 per pound. I've been to Harris Teeter, Kroger, Food Lion, and Walmart so far. I plan on checking out Costco or someplace like that too and see what kind of bulk prices I can find.

I found some variety at Walmart for decent prices, so I stocked up on a few things there. Here's my cart from this past Monday:

I think my dog eats better than I do!
I got the usual items, and picked up some ground beef ($2.99 per pound) and also some ground turkey. They had one package that was marked $2.14 per pound, so I got that one. Once the Easter turkeys go on sale, I'll pick up a couple of those, but I wanted to make sure she wasn't allergic before I stocked up on something she can't have.

I spend HOURS cutting up chicken and other assorted gross things. I weigh out how much of each she's supposed to have (raw meaty bone, muscle meat, and organ meat), and toss it all in a baggie. Most of them go in the freezer with labels of what kind of protein is in each bag. I think I finally have enough meals for 2 weeks, so I look forward to not having a kitchen coated in chicken juice for a while. In the meantime, I can look around for deals on meat.

Here's what a typical meal looks like for my high maintenance pup:

Chicken thigh, neck, breast, gizzard, and liver... with some ground beef thrown in.
If you're curious, even with the expensive ground beef added in, I'm averaging $1.49 per pound of food. She eats 1.5 pounds per day, so it costs me right around $2.23 per day to feed her the raw diet. The Fromm kibble she was on before was costing me around $1.80 per day, so raw is a bit more expensive so far, but I'm sure once I get used to feeding it, and I know what to look for and where, I'll be able to reduce that figure a bit. If I could stay at or below $2 per day, I would be really happy.

I was also trying to figure out how much a grain free kibble would cost, just to compare which might be the better way to go. The Orijen I was looking at would cost around $2.60 per day (yikes!) and the Taste of the Wild would cost me around $1.44 per day. Fromm makes a grain free kibble too, and that would run me around $2.05 per day. Those figures are based on a 4 cup per day feeding, which is the recommended amount for her age and projected weight.

The biggest expense so far has been my time. It's a lot easier to open up the bag of kibble, scoop some out, and toss the bowl on the floor. On the other hand, though, I'm not cleaning poo off the walls and carpet and spending over $1,000 at my vet to try and figure out what's wrong with my dog. She's happy, healthy, and enjoying her raw food diet, so I plan on sticking with it for a good long while.

**Disclaimer** I have terrible math skills, so I feel like the math is correct, but don't hold me to any prices or figures. Numbers hate me. **

In other news, Lilly had her hooves trimmed today and my trimmer was very happy with how things look. I told her about the ACTH test results, which made her even more happy, and then we talked about raw diets for about an hour. We reminisced about how Lilly used to be my high maintenance child, and now that torch has been passed to Rylee.

I don't want to jinx it, but things are going well... FINALLY. Oh god, I hope I didn't just jinx it.


  1. Yay for things going well for you!

    Definitely Costco + deep freezer! Our Costcos have packs of chicken legs, six little packets that weigh just over a pound each, for $1.29/lb. (Yours will probably be cheaper!) I think their ground beef is pretty cheap, too, but I never fed it. Anyway, I could stock up every six weeks at Costco, do all the processing, and throw it in the deep freeze.

  2. Try raw liver from a carniceria. I've found it as low as .79 cents a pound and the dogs love it.

  3. So glad to hear it's working! I second Funder's vote for Costco. Best prices by far if you're feeding raw.

  4. Sounds like you have found a great new feed :) and everyone is happy!

  5. Rylee says she's worth it. Glad it's working. So glad to read that pretty Lilly is doing well.