How To Save Money on Your Pet’s Fresh Food Diet
Feeding Your Dog or Cat Fresh Raw Food on a Budget
I hear it all the time, “I can’t afford to fee my dog a fresh food (raw or home-cooked) diet.” Honestly, I get it. I’m not one to judge people on their decisions or choices. I’m just a gal who tries to educate and offer possible solutions and ideas. Things to think about. But, when it comes down to it, they are your pets, not mine.
Personally, I have seen dogs that have been switched over from a processed dog food to a raw or home cooked dog food improve their health and behavior. Some dogs went from alligator skin to a full white and fluffy coat just from finding the right foods and diet. I had one easily aroused dog in a dog-training class switch from an energetically hot processed food to a cooling, fresh food learn how to relax and focus. My own dog, Dexter’s neurological condition improved drastically from feeding him a fresh diet and focusing on specific foods to treat his condition. For him, this in turn dropped his medication costs, a monetary savings right there.
- Buy a Freezer or Two for Your Dog. Yup, said it. If you really want to save on your dog’s raw or fresh food diet, buying a chest freezer will pay for itself very quickly as I will outline in the next steps. Dexter actually has 2 freezers, one full of raw ingredients and one full of prepared meals, homemade treats, and chews. Yes, I only have one 28 pound dog and he has 2 freezers.
- Buy in Bulk and Freeze. Buying your dog’s food ingredients in bulk will almost always save you money. There are quite a few options to consider when bulking up on your pet’s ingredients.
- Large discount stores such as Sam’s, Costco, or BJ’s.
- Contact your local butcher shop and ask if they offer a bulk discount.
- Contact farmers and growers directly for large-order discounts. Checking out your local farmer’s market may lead you to some great farmers.
- Online raw pet food stores such as Hare Today Gone Tomorrow, Raw Paws Pet Food, or My Pet Carnivore often offer discounts for larger quantities. A lot of these online stores provide shipping or pickup.
- Meat or raw dog food co-ops are another option when looking for meat in bulk. You can try to locate a local co-op by searching the Internet, Facebook, and asking your local natural health store. Keep The Tail Wagging has a great co-op list.
- Sales and Expiring Soon. I can’t help myself. Whenever I’m at a store that sells ingredients I use in Dexter’s meals, I always run down those aisles to see if anything is on sale or is in the expiring-soon section. If so, I tend to grab all they have! Remember, Dexter has an entire freezer dedicated to his raw ingredients, so I never miss a sales opportunity.
- Chat with a Local Butcher or Farmer. Sure, you can chat about the weather, but I suggest discussing your needs. Maybe they can work with you at providing you their “ugly” fruits and veggies or their meat-cutting scraps. I don’t mean meat from the floor, but the pieces and trimmings that didn’t quite meet their packaging needs.
- Local Hunters. Do you know a local hunter? Or maybe you have a friend or relative who does? Put the word out there. You never know who may end up being a great source.
- Newspapers and Craigslist. I have to admit, I have placed one ad and browsed some other ads, but they did not pan out for me. However, I know plenty of raw feeders who frequent these types of ads with great success.
- Raise and Grow Your Own. When it comes to the meat portion of this, I realize it may be a lot to ask or do. Raising chickens and ducks for eggs seems to be the most popular. Now, growing fruits, vegetables, and even sprouts is a much more doable plan of action. Unless you are like me and cannot grow anything! LOL.
Freezing and Pre-Prep Tips
- When you receive your dog’s raw-food ingredients, portion the food out into increments prior to freezing. When choosing the portion size, think about how you make your dog’s recipes. Do you prep every day, week, month? Then think about the particular ingredient. Do you tend to add ounces per recipe, a pound, or pounds?
- Freezing Eggs-Crack your dog’s eggs open into a 2-ounce ice-cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, remove and store in a glass container.
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables- I personally prep my fruits and veggies before freezing. If they need to be peeled and chopped before feeding, they are peeled and chopped before freezing. Once again, try to freeze in approximate portions per your recipes. Another option is to make various veggie/fruit mixes and blends and freeze those.
- Fresh Herbs-Personally, I wash all my herbs and place them directly into the freezer in a glass container. It’s super easy just to grab what I need when frozen and add to Dexter’s food, either for the day or into a recipe.
Do you feed your pet fresh food? Tell me in the comments.
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