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So I want to start my dog off on raw, and ideally doing it cold turkey as I know this is better for the dog. However, I'm not sure I am able to due to financial reasons and lack of resources. I've spoken to my husband about raw feeding and although he's mostly ok of it, he may still have some doubts. I don't think he's sold on feeding an all raw-diet and I don't think he's comfortable with it. He's more comfortable for a gradual process by supplementing with raw opposed to feeding it as a try out. Then later upgrading to a half raw, half kibble diet.

Now, I'm pretty sure by the time we get our dog, due to limited finances, we're probably going to be forced to start with half and half until we feel we can obtain raw meat with ease and stay on a manageable budget. Mind you, if I discover that we have the resources, connections and money to manage handle all raw before we get our dog, then I will seriously pursue it. I'm just not too sure I can convince my husband to. His comfort and opinion is very important to me, as I respect him and I don't want to force him into something he's not comfortable with, but at the same time, I would like to start off on what's best for our dog, if it's proven to be possible. I know I'll have to invest in a freezer for this.

I've heard a lot of success stories on dogs doing very well on half raw and half kibble and I would like to think that a dog on a half diet is still better than nothing.

My questions are:

How do you determine you can afford an all raw diet?

How did you start out? Where did you look? Who did you talk to? What are the best providers?

What do you do when you are tight on money and cannot afford to continue all raw?

What is your monthly Raw bill? ( if you can include the number of dogs you have an their weight that would be great!)


To put you guys on perspective, we're planning on getting a female German Shepherd roughly 2 years from now ( originally I was going to get her this year but, money went poo poo). Prior to that, we're thinking of adopting a kitty whom I'd also like to feed raw - or at-least mostly. I know cats don't always go for that. So for everyone who is experienced, for a German Shepherd and a cat how much should I expect to spend on meat on a monthly basis?
 

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I started out by reading almost every single thread in this forum. Seriously. I went out about 150 pages and worked my way backwards.

I track my expenses. The most I ever spent a month on kibble, canned, premade and various raw goodies (oxtail, turkey necks, etc) was $240. Between my two dogs, they eat about 140-150 lbs a month. One weighs about 82 lbs, the other about 93 lbs. I figured if I could keep my average meat cost less than $2 per lb, I could do it.

I took Neeko to the vet 4 times last year for GI issues. I spent a total of about $600 on meds, fecals and blood work, only to be given a dx of "upset stomach" or gastroenteritis. Neither of my dogs has had a single GI issue since first switching to half and half, then mostly raw, and now all raw.

I get chicken quarters for 0.59 per lb, which is where most of their bone comes from. I'll occasionally splurge on duck necks or rabbit pieces. I order from My Pet Carnivore, and most of their products are $2-$3 per lb. My co-op sells beef heart for $1.49 per lb, beef tongue for 1.60 per lb, and nice boneless beef chunks for 1.50 per lb. They also have a nice variety of organs from different animals, typically less than $1 per pound.

I know there are plenty of members who have better sources and prices than I do. I set my budget, and have found the avenues to obtain meat within it.

I didn't realize how much fun raw would be, for me and my dogs!
 

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between my 50lb dog and kitty every month I was spending roughly $100 a month that only includes their food.

Now? I've spent roughly $42 since I started 22 days ago... I'll try to break it down ;) ground pork, ground turkey, chicken hearts and gizzards, 2 turkey drumsticks and 10lbs of chicken quarters, 2 cornish hens, a pack of chicken drumsticks and a pack of chicken wings. I have also acquired a whole rooster, plus roughly 20lbs of red meat for free. I also spent $50 bucks on a freezer lol .... The only think I'll have to buy for a while is some boney stuff, I'm down to 2 chicken quarters for bone and I can split that into 2/3 boney meals each... I'd probably feed less if I weighed something lol We're working on going one single meal so he gets a fuller tummy... eventually ;)
 

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Hi - I think it is super smart to get this info before you start.



How do you determine you can afford an all raw diet? I looked at my monthly kibble cost - ($150.00) plus supplements ($50.00) plus treats ($50.00)and vet costs. I figured if I could keep my meat costs below $250.00 I was breaking even. :) I calculated my dogs weights and found I would be feeding about 10 pounds per days - 4 adult collies and 3 shelties. My kibble at the time was mediocre so cost about $1.00 per pound. I still try to spend less than $1.00 per pound for meat. I spend on average less than $150.00 per month - use meat I buy already for treats and don't need supplements other than coconut oil which my whole family uses.

How did you start out? Where did you look? Who did you talk to? What are the best providers? I called restaraunt suppliers, game meat butchers, beef and lamb butchers, meat processors, put ads on Craig's List and told family and friends. I have a wonderful co-op where I get different stuff like emu, bison livers and kidney, whole, fresh caught sardines, I have a meat processors and an overstock place for chicken, all types of heart and a lamb butcher who gives me lamb lung and trachea -free and a friend who raises rabbits that I buy from him! It takes time but I am set - it is not so much work anymore. I buy in bulk and only have to package things that come in forty pounds cases. Everything goes into a box of gallon bag that will hold 5-10 pounds because we feed 10 pounds per day.

What do you do when you are tight on money and cannot afford to continue all raw? When funds are low I let the freezer get low, feed more chicken and call my lamb guys constantly to get fee lung. I also post on Craig's List and let friends know if they are cleaning out their freezer I will take whatever they have. I would rather my dogs have 90% chicken and some canned fish and lamb lung than kibble any day.

What is your monthly Raw bill? ( if you can include the number of dogs you have an their weight that would be great!
food
$150.00 or less - Last month was $60.00 this month is about $180.00 as the co-op and overstock guy had great deals. I am still under busget but have a 25 cubic foot freezer jam packed with meat.

Collie - Hunter (85 pound dog) 2.4 pounds food
Collie - Marshall (70 pound dog) 3 pound food (teenager)
Collie - Willow (50 pound dog) 1.5 pounds food
Collie - Maggie (50 pound dog) 1.8 pounds food
Sheltie - Cherri (25 pound dog who should be 22 pounds) 8 ounces food
Sheltie - Domino (27 pound dog) 10 ounces
Sheltie - Dixie (17pound dog) 10 ounces food
Hope that helps a bit.
 

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You mean people actually think about it?

I found this site one day and started raw the next. I was visiting a friend in West Virginia that weekend who has alot of fosters, so I packed up 120 pounds of dog food I had gotten through the mail the previous Friday and took it to her. I knew I was never turning back.

And I just made it work. There is, of course, probably a better way to do it.
 

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How do you determine you can afford an all raw diet?
- Well I was spending upwards of $120-150 a month on grain free kibble + goodies. Compared to an average of $60/month I spent in the first year of raw. Its cheaper now because they are eating mostly various beef parts and my family raises natural beef. Plus no more vet costs for stomach/coat issues related to commercial food!
I have two dogs, one Sibe/GSD mix girl (in my avatar) who is 50lbs and a 75% GSD/rest is Sibe and probably a Belgian variety given what she came out of who is 63lbs. Both eat about 1lb a day. With a GSD bitch you are looking at feeding 1-2lbs a day, depending on how thrifty her lines are. Some lines are food hogs and some can be thrifty. Something worth talking to the breeder about. If you are rescuing, I'd suggest getting a GSD/Sibe mix girl. Seems to be common in rescue, great dogs, and extremely thrifty with food while still being extremely active! Not that I'm biased... ;)

How did you start out? Where did you look? Who did you talk to? What are the best providers?
- Well Lily was having constipation issues on Acana grain free and Scout never did that great on any kibble (always intermittent loose poo!). I tried THK with Lily and pulled my head out on that one after her losing muscle and gaining fat, her coat getting nasty.... I was like wait one minute, she wouldn't graze alfalfa in the pasture she'd catch mice!!! So I went full pmr with her. I did half and half with Scout for two months, maybe less... I can't remember. Anyway half and half went fine (one raw meal in am and kibble in pm) when the kibble was Acana Grasslands, but it was literally a shit show with TOTW SM. So I went full PMR with Scoutie and omg the huge difference it made for her! After seeing the changes in them, I will never go back. Ever. Lily's detox was so friggin' revolting there are just no words. Scout's teeth were f'ing disgusting and totally brown on kibble, I couldn't stand to have her breathe near me... and she was only 2 at the time! After being on raw only for a few months her teeth cleaned right up and look perfect now.
I knew raw was best before I even got Lily, but I made the old no freezer space and cost excuses for YEARS! Now I'm kicking myself for not doing ti sooner! I had done a LOT of research for years beforehand... but when it got down too it, its really quite simple and easy. Don't overthink it too much, just do it!!!
I started out with cheap 10lb bags of chicken Q's from the evil empire (wal mart), I get beef parts from home, I bought 5lb bags of primal turkey necks from a local pet store, ditto with 2lb chubs of primal sardine grind for fish source, used pork necks from the evil empire (some dogs don't do so hot on those, but mine do fine... I always pair rmb's with organs anyway), and yeah it was really very easy. :)
I think the best providers kind of depend on where you live. :)

What do you do when you are tight on money and cannot afford to continue all raw?
- Um its kinda made feeding my dogs actually affordable. I couldn't afford to have them if I weren't feeding raw. My advice? Get your sourcing lined out first and then determine if you can get a dog. Because GSD's tend toward sensitive tummies and the alternative of shelling out for high end kibble is going to be more expensive than raw. Plus if you can't afford raw food, how are you going to join a training club to give your dog a job and keep her happy? Because the breed (and mixes thereof) tends to very much need a job of some sort!!!!!
Cats aren't cheap either, though some people seem to think "its just a cat." My cat will not eat anything, but kibble. She eats Wellness Core and every two months I buy a 5lb bag for $35. Its more expensive to feed her than it is one of my dogs and she only weighs 8lbs!!! Yearly vet care costs about the same too. Then you've got litter, etc. I shudder to think what canned cat food would cost to feed and thats much better for them than kibble. My cat won't eat canned or raw or even tuna.... but will catch and eat mice, go figure.

What is your monthly Raw bill? ( if you can include the number of dogs you have an their weight that would be great!)
Most months its pretty much zero because I'm poor and they eat a lot of beef (tongue, heart, brisket, liver, kidney, oxtail, etc.) and other animal parts (lamb hearts in fall, I still have some lamb liver, sometimes I share the elk/deer meat with them... but that stuff is pretty tasty and I'm stingy with it lol) from my parent's walk in. Their first year overall averaged $60/month for two big dogs.
I had a little foster for six months and he was on raw for five of those months. It actually got way more expensive transitioning him to kibble in preparation for him getting adopted. The first few weeks of raw were pricey, but after he was eating good variety it was pretty cheap and his tummy was pretty bombproof with raw... not so much with kibble.
I did buy two bags of chicken q's last month for $15 bucks. And in Jan I bought a case of turkey necks for $50. I usually have a bag of costco chicken breasts in the freezer... I like to make curry with it, so sometimes they'll get one of those for variety. We split that pretty evenly usually. I also sometimes chop and dehydrate it for training treats.
I'm probably going to order a case of green tripe/trachea/gullet blend when I get paid on the first, that will run scary high because of shipping cost. But it does so many good things for them that that will be our one big cost from here on out. The last case of tripe I got lasted me about 4 months feeding 3 meals of it a week. It seemed like it was the missing piece of the puzzle for their diet and I didn't realize how many good things it did until I ran out. :)
And I found a supplier willing to sell me elk offal by the case for a decent price that I will probably take advantage of for variety. Its such a nice lean, yet nutrient rich meat. So once I get her to get my order in, I'll be getting a case thats got heart, tongue, liver, kidney.
Someone was cleaning out their freezer before I started and I bought for $1/lb about 10lbs of bunny organs, some misc. goat organs/meat (about 10lbs) and 20lbs of bone in goat legs. Those were all a cheap big hit. She sent out a message through a local herding group and that was how I heard about it. :)
 

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Also, all the GSD breeders I have on my list of ones I'd be comfortable getting a pup from feed at least partial raw to their pups and breeding stock. I'm leaning more toward a Malinois, but I've done my fair share of research into GSD's as well. My number one pick as far as Mal breeder weans her pups onto partial raw and does a lot of really good stuff with her babies before sending them out into the world. Frankly I will probably ask whoever I go to if they would be willing to feed my pup only raw if they know which one they want me to take already. My timeline is realisticly like 3-5yrs, but omg I have such bad Malinois puppy fever! I do a lot of stuff with my rescues, but omg I want to raise myself a good working dog so bad! :)
 

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Mine won't be much help being in the UK but meh!

How do you determine you can afford an all raw diet? I looked up suppliers before i started and worked out what i could buy from where and how much

How did you start out? Where did you look? Who did you talk to? What are the best providers?order from a supplier, chucked the food to the boys ;)

What do you do when you are tight on money and cannot afford to continue all raw? Well if you could see our finances i don't believe that anyone couldn't feed raw, even just chicken or a couple of protein, if they put the work in to finding the best prices

What is your monthly Raw bill? I have 2 dogs a 22kg staff and 50kg american bulldog and buy in bulk but roughly it works out to £10 a month ($16 i think)

I will add that Harv is my first dog (chance being the 2nd obviously) and have feed raw from day one, so i've never fed kibble.
 

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How did you determine you can afford an all raw diet?

Simply put: I didn't. My husband is a Petty Officer Third Class (E-4) in the Navy. He makes jack s**t. I'm talking under 23k per year. I quite literally just decided that we were going to feed our dogs raw one day, researched it, found this forum, felt nervous, looked through the picture thread and dove right in. And I haven't looked back. Yes, it costs us more than it did when we were feeding kibble because we went from Pedigree with one dog to raw with two dogs (We switched the day we got Buck) but in comparison to the kibbles I was thinking about switching to before deciding on raw... Well, let's just say I am saving a small fortune by not feeding kibble.

How did you start out?

Being the Nervous Nellie I was and most of us are at first I was afraid to do trial and error on my 8 week old puppy who would be arriving the next week so I went out and bought a bunch of bony chicken pieces for Dude from the grocery store (and they were probably enhanced :doh:) and did a trial meal with him. When he didn't keel over dead I decided that, once Buck got here, we would start this thing for good. I waited one more week to feed him raw again because, being new to it all, I was afraid to have two dogs on two different transition schedules. So I fed Dude dead dogs and cats for another week (crap kibble). The next week, when Buck arrived, we came home and fed both boys their first meal of their new diet.

Where did you look? Who did you talk to? What are the best providers?

When I was first starting off I bought all of my meat from the grocery store. Soon after, I learned about our co-op from the other WA raw feeders on this forum. I joined the yahoo group for the co-op and soon after bought my first order, chicken necks. I met with Abi to pick them up. We now have some local farmers that we get meat from on occasion and our butcher will order in bulk for dogs. They will order just about anything we ask for. The only things they won't get are things they can't get. We can even order kangaroo meat through them. They are a great place. And very affordable. A lot of our meat does still come from the grocery store because it is very affordable. We order what we can through the co-op but we never have enough room when they have good databases opened! Craigslist has been a valuable resource as well. Even Abi has had people in MY area reply to HER ads and she sends them my way since I am closer. There are more people out there than we think who hate to see food go to waste.

What do you do when you are tight on money and cannot to continue to afford all raw?

For us, that is just not an option. If we are tight on money we go without and the dogs continue to eat as they should. We are almost ALWAYS tight on money. The advantage is that we can buy in bulk (And no, we don't have a chest freezer. Your little fridge freezer will hold more meat than you think! My little one has nearly 100 lbs in it!). We don't use all of our bulk stuff up before we go buy more. We are continuously buying meat because we find marked down meats and the normal cheap meats but the fact that we have that bulk meat stored in the freezer helps the rest of it last longer. We feed a little bit of the bulk meats and a little of the continuously bought meats and it all lasts longer. It prevents us from having to buy two weeks worth of food every paycheck. Does that make sense? I don't view raw as any different from kibble in the sense that, being tight on money doesn't mean I am going to feed my dogs any differently.

What is your monthly raw bill?

Honestly, I don't know. It's never the same. Some months I spend a ton because I found a great deal on a bulk order from the butcher or the co-op and some months I don't spend any money on raw. Some months I am feeding half freezer stored stuff (stuff I have bought in bulk) and half newly bought stuff from farmers of grocery stores. We generally spend less than $1/lb unless we find some cheap pork or lamb and then we might splurge on them a bit, money willing.

Dude - smooth collie - 61 lbs - 1.5 lbs per day

Buck - bluetick coonhound - 62 lbs when I weighed him two weeks ago but still growing and should top out around 80 lbs - 2.5 lbs per day
 
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i have tried to keep track of the costs but it's kind of difficult. When I go to the Asian market, grocery store, or Hispanic grocery I usually get non-dog stuff so I'd have to sit down and split everything out. The only easy thing to keep track of is when I order from the raw dog food supplier.

Oh, and the butcher since I usually order by the case.
 

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How do you determine you can afford an all raw diet?

We have 3 large dogs. Bella is still on kibble, she is a 16 year old brindle pit bull; not sure if we should switch her to raw.

We were spending $65.00 every 2 weeks for "grain free" dog kibble (Blue, Wellness) as well as $30.00 a month on another "grain free kibble which added up to $160.00 a month.
We decided to try Raw out and see if it would cost any less. The actual goal is healthier dogs, but it is fun to find deals on meat.


How did you start out? Where did you look? Who did you talk to? What are the best providers?


I looked inside my mailbox. I found local flyers for several stores withing 3 miles from me. Most are Hispanic small run grocery stores. Big chain grocery stores are more expensive here where I live. I also looked into a coop, but it was not for me. I also found a few online stores, like my pet carnivore and I googled green tripe and found a source for that when the dogs are off this initial 1st stage.


What do you do when you are tight on money and cannot afford to continue all raw?


I have read people stock up and have a separate freezer so that won't happen. Some revert to kibble I suppose.

What is your monthly Raw bill? ( if you can include the number of dogs you have an their weight that would be great!)


We are not into this one month yet. But I will post everything I have bought, as I saved all the receipts in an envelope.

Today is day 19:

The dogs on raw:

8 year old Malika (Doberman mix) weighs 75lbs
1.5 year old Max( German S/Bull Terrier mix) weighs 60 lbs

5/1/12: Costco: 10 lbs chicken legs: $9.99 final cost

5/1/12: Seafood City: Chicken liver 1.5 lb: $2.04 (freezing for later on)
4 whole raw sardines (to try out) .45

Total: $12.48

5/3/12: Picador Foods: 4 bags of 10 lbs chicken leg quarters skin on $27.60 final cost

5/5/12: Picador Foods: Pork neck bones 2 lbs: $6.24 final cost (I will not buy these again too many sharp bones.)


5/11/12: Smart and Final: 4 whole chickens $16.78 final cost

5/14/12 Vons
1 lb beef rib
1 lb Lamb Neck shoulder
1 lb Pork fat:
$5.21

5/18/12: Northgate: 2 10 lb bags chicken leg quarters ( limit 2) $11.80
5/18/12 Picador: 4 10 lb bags chicken leg quarters $27.60

I noticed their poop was white and chalky and is why the pork fat has seemed to help with that. The other stuff I just thought they might like to try. Basically we have 50 lbs of chicken leg quarters now.

I hope this helps answer your questions!
 
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