The most affordable raw dog food is typically the kind you make yourself. One of my tips is to take advantage of your grocery store’s deals on whole turkeys after the holidays. The same goes for chickens if your dog can eat chicken.
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Buy Whole Raw Turkeys On Sale
Once the holiday season is over, the big birds are on sale for $10-$15 less than their original price tags.
I can find 13 pounders between $15-$18, which leaves me with 9 lb of useable muscle meat, raw meaty bones, and secreting organs. That translates to $1.60-$2.00/lb of meat.
Talk about a great deal!
In comparison, ground raw turkey from raw dog food brands and retailers costs between $4-$7/lb.
If you have a designated freezer for your pup’s raw dog food, you can really stock up and freeze several birds.
Affordable Raw Dog Food: A Whole Turkey Averages 9 Lbs Of Useable Meat
On average, I can get 9 lbs of useable meat out of a whole turkey:
- 3 lbs 8 oz muscle meat (breasts/heart/gizzards).
- 5 lbs raw meaty bones (2 wings, 2 thighs, 1 neck).
- 3 oz secreting organs (liver).
Good to know: Hearts & gizzards count towards muscle meat in raw feeding. Only secreting organs like liver, kidneys, brains, spleen, thymus, pancreas, testicles, & ovaries fall into the (secreting) organ category.
If you’re interested in learning more about organs in raw feeding, check out my blog post Putting My Dogs’ Raw Meals Together – Part 2: Organs.
Whole Turkey: Which Parts Not To Feed Your Dog
I get rid of most of the turkey skin because it’s simply too fatty and can cause pancreatitis if fed in excess.
Additionally, I also don’t feed the carcass. However, I use it to make bone broth.
Whole Turkey Meal Prep Is Less Than An Hour For One Bird
It takes me about 45 minutes to take one whole turkey apart. That includes putting the useable meat into food storage containers, throwing out the skin and cleaning my counters, knife, and cutting board with hot soapy water.
I personally feed my pups Missy, Buzz, and Wally the raw meaty bones whole.
But you can also grind the bones and/or the meat for your pups. That’s a good idea if they’re used to eating ground raw dog food, or if their teeth are in poor health and therefore can’t eat raw meaty bones and larger cuts of meat.
If they have the tendency to gulp raw meaty bones down whole, you can hold one end of the turkey neck or wing and let them chew on the other end.
Bonus: This doesn’t just slow them down, it also teaches polite behavior around food when humans are touching it.
You can find meat grinders on Amazon that are able to grind chicken leg quarters and turkey necks for $500-700.
In my opinion, it’s time well invested since I can save $30 on the original price tags.
Leave your comments or questions below in the comment section!
- How to make raw dog food at home
- How to keep raw dog food affordable
- Freezer space makes raw feeding affordable
- What’s the cost of raw dog food?
Even though we don’t do raw, getting turkeys on sale now is such a great idea! In fact, a friend of mine was just talking about this yesterday. We cook a whole turkey (I just cooked one that hubby got for the holidays from work – free is the best!), and then we use it for us humans as well as the dogs, and our kitty Samantha too. I just finished boiling the carcass, legs, and wings, so I’ll have broth to use to make soup for the humans. Now I’ve been reading that I shouldn’t give the dogs the dark meat because it’s too high in fat. But it sounds like you use that too? I don’t care for the dark meat myself, but had figured I could at least use it in our soup if I can’t give it to them.
Free is definitely the best 😉 Followed closely by discounted, HA!
I use all of the meat, but I do get rid of the skin because it’s very high in fat and would probably cause cannon butt. That’s wonderful that you made a nourishing broth out of some of the cuts – I ended up breaking the carcass down in two pieces and managed to squeeze it into my smaller sized crockpot, so I got some turkey bone broth as well. The pups LOVE it, and I enjoy using it to boil brown rice for me.
That brings me to another question….what exactly is bone broth, and how does it differ from just regular broth?
I think the main difference is that it simmers at a very low temperature for about a day or two, that apple cider vinegar is added, and that the bones used for the broth are from an animal’s joints (think chicken or duck feet) because that’s where the glucosamine and chondroitin are located which are extremely beneficial for joint pain/arthritis.
I wrote about bone broth here: