12 tips to keep raw dog food affordable

How To Keep Raw Dog Food Affordable

Learning how to keep raw dog food affordable was essential to me!

I really wanted to completely replace kibble with it, but couldn’t afford 100% commercial raw dog food.

Well, I found ways to do it because the benefits of a fresh food diet are SO worth it!

So since I switched to raw in 2015, I’ve learned that feeding raw dog food on a budget is possible.

That said, here are my top 12 tips to keep raw feeding affordable!

12 tips to keep raw dog food affordable

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

Tip 1: Make Your Own Raw Dog Food

This is without doubt my number 1 tip for keeping raw dog food affordable.

There’s a bit of a learning curve involved with this, but it’s totally worth it.

Once you get the hang of things, you only need to set aside a few hours for meal prep per month.

Doing meal prep at home for Wally's raw dog food with raw liver

Or you can meal prep on a weekly or bi-weekly basis as well, that’s totally up to you AND the amount of freezer space you have for the meals you prepare.

That’s it, BAM, you’ll have the freshest AND cheapest meals available for your pup(s)!

Bonus: Besides saving money, you’ll also know exactly what made it into your raw dog food ingredient-wise.

I’m sharing everything you need for that in my DIY Raw Dog Food Ebook bundle.

Tip 2: Order/Buy Commercial Raw Dog Food In Bulk

Here's my tip #2: Order in bulk whenever you can and you’ll save hundreds of dollars on raw dog food.

You'll get the best bang for your buck by ordering through raw dog food co-ops. They're membership communities that place bulk raw meat orders at wholesale prices.

I've shared a list of Raw Dog Food Co-Ops in the US on the blog ThatMutt.com - feel free to check it out to see if you can find a co-op near you.

However, be aware that you will need freezer space for this!

Tip 3: Invest in Freezer Space

I was the proud owner of a 5.1 cubic feet chest freezer I bought on Amazon for $205.

Since then, I upgraded to a 7 cubic feet chest freezer I found on Ebay for $340, followed by an 8 cubic feet upright freezer in 2021 (after my move to Germany and living in a smaller home).

These chest freezers only hold Wally's raw dog food!

Granted, freezer space is an upfront investment but one that WILL pay off in the long run. Try to time it right and shop for freezers when they're bound to be on sale.

Freezers tend to be on sale between September and December.

That's when appliance makers are releasing new models and discounting previous ones.

You're also likely to find a good deal on freezers when Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals pop up around Thanksgiving!

K9sOverCoffee.com | 5.1 cubic foot chest freezer for raw dog food storage
My old 5.1 cu feet chest freezer
K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally checking out his upright freezer that holds his raw dog food
Wally's upright freezer

In the middle picture above, it holds the vast majority of a 55 lb raw dog food order I had placed with Raw Feeding Miami.

They're one of my favorite online retailers for individual cuts of raw meat for doggie meal prep.

Raw Feeding Miami order for Wally, my new raw fed dog

One time, I was browsing Raw Paws Pet Food’s website and came across a bulk offer for their premade Signature Blend Raw Lamb Recipe that can be fed as is.

That's a fairly expensive protein, and I got 64 lb of it for $350, which translates into $5.40 per lb. 

The lowest price I can find on raw lamb at my local grocery store is between $2.99-$4.99 when it’s on sale. The regular price for 1 lb of ground lamb at said grocery store is $6.99.

You better believe that I stock up on it whenever it IS on sale!!

Bulk raw dog food order from Raw Paws Pet Food
What's the cost of raw dog food? Raw beef, chicken, and green tripe from Raw Paws Pet Food
K9sOverCoffee | Ground lamb on sale for $2.99:lb
Ground lamb on sale at a grocery store for $2.99/lb

Tip 4: Sign Up For Newsletters To Learn About Promotional Raw Dog Food Deals

Tip number 3 consists of signing up for newsletters from different raw dog food brands to get notified of any promotional deals.

Brands whose newsletters I follow are Raw Paws Pet FoodRaw Feeding Miami and The Honest Kitchen.

I also used to subscribe to two local pet food retailers in NC when I lived there, Naturally Unleashed and Moore Equine Feed & Pet Supply. They sell raw dog food and have discounted meat sales on a regular basis.

Early 2019 find: New raw dog food company CaliRaw offers 5% savings when selecting their monthly autoship option on CaliRaw.com.

Update 2021: They also have an Affiliate program now.

Tip 5: Save Money At Raw Paws Pet Food (US Retailer)

You can get 15% off at Raw Paws Pet Food with my affiliate code K9Savings.

Just type it in at checkout, and that's it! Also works on items that are already on sale.

Bonus tip: You can score extra discounts if you select auto ship on meat shipments you know you'll want to get delivered on a regular basis.

The great news is that Raw Paws Pet Food is located in Indiana, so pretty centrally as far as shipping is concerned.

Tip 6: Check For Raw Dog Food Discount Programs

Tip number 5 can save you $$$ by applying for specific discount programs with raw dog food providers. For example, affiliate, referral or rewards points programs.

Darwin's Pet has an affiliate program for anyone who wants to join!

So does Raw Paws Pet Food. They also have a Refer a Friend Rewards Program where both you and your friend get $30.

Raw Feeding Miami offers a rewards points program.

Tip 7: Check For Expiring Meats At Grocery Stores

This tip is fairly self-explanatory and makes sense if you're looking to make your own homemade raw dog food.

It pays off to purchase discounted raw meats that will expire soon. Whenever I notice a yellow sticker on meat at the grocery store, I buy it and either use it right away or freeze it until I need it.

Bonus tip: Ask your grocery store for the day of the week when they'll be discounting meats. There's usually a specific day or at least a time frame when they do!

Buy meat on sale to help keep raw dog food affordable

This is a great, inexpensive way of getting raw meaty bones like chicken wings, drumsticks and leg quarters, as well as turkey necks and drumsticks.

They make up 10% of raw dog food for adult dogs and are wonderful natural toothbrushes.

Tip: If your pup's teeth are in poor condition to the point where they can't properly chew raw meaty bones, you can grind them with a meat grinder.

I also buy duck necks from Raw Paws Pet Food and Raw Feeding Miami for the sake of rotating meaty bone proteins.

Use K9Savings at checkout to save 15% at Raw Paws Pet Food, and this referral link for 10% off at Raw Feeding Miami.

Walmart

You can also find inexpensive cuts of raw meat at Walmart. For example, ox tails, chicken feet and turkey necks.

Tip: Give the chicken feet a good rinse in water as they tend to have added sodium on them.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Chicken feet are sometimes labeled chicken paws (seen at Walmart)
Chicken "paws" (feet) at Walmart

Tip 8: Combine Raw Feeding With Kibble

If you can only afford raw dog food if it means you'll have to supplement with kibble, by all means - go ahead and do it!

A little fresh, raw dog food is better than none.

Mixing kibble and raw dog food to keep raw feeding affordable
Mixing kibble with premade raw dog food, plain goat yogurt and veggies

So when life throws us a curveball that causes financial restrictions, let's all agree to think outside of the box.

However, some dogs need a specific approach to make it work without upsetting their stomachs. Learn how to combine raw feeding with kibble safely here.

And speaking of financial restrictions:

If you’re currently in between jobs and are struggling to pay for your pup’s raw dog food, check out Jooble for remote employment opportunities to quickly get back on your financial feet!

Can you combine raw feeding with kibble?

Tip 9: Fast Your Dog One Day A Week

Seriously? Yep, (intermittent) fasting is healthy and a great way to detox your pup.

Read all about Fasting Dogs: Benefits, How Often & When Not to here.

The obvious benefit for your wallet is that you're saving a day's worth of raw dog food.

3 Bonus Tips for Saving on Raw Dog Food

Thinking outside the box can help you save a few dollars on raw dog food here and there as well. 

Tip 10: Kickstarter

It can pay off to look for (raw) pet food campaigns on platforms such as Kickstarter. See what the reward is for pledging a certain dollar amount in support of their campaign and jump on the discount wagon!

Might as well profit a little from a campaign launch, right?!

Balanced Blends

I did that when I supported Balanced Blends, a raw dog food company who launched their food in 2016, on Kickstarter.

I pledged $50 towards their campaign and received 20 lb of their raw beef formula at a fraction of the full price in return. Essentially 20 lb for the $50 I pledged instead of the retail price of $140. 

In addition, I will be getting 5 extra lb for free for every 20 lb of raw dog food I order for the next 3 months. On top of it, shipping is free as well. 

That’s a really good deal for a complete & balanced meal that has already been put together for me!

It follows the 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver and 5% other organ raw feeding formula.

Update 2021: Unfortunately, it looks like Balanced Blends went out of business.

Search Results for Pet Food on Kickstarter
Search Results For Pet Food On Kickstarter

Tip 11: Instagram

Another good source for special deals & coupon codes for raw dog food is Instagram.

When I browse the hashtag #rawfeeding, I regularly see discount codes for different raw dog food brands.

Sometimes it's from the brand itself, other times it's from raw feeders who are affiliated with the brand.

Tip 12: Place orders with another raw feeder & sign up for loyalty rewards

Also see about ordering raw dog food together with a fellow raw feeder.

You’ll be able to share shipping costs if you order from an online raw dog food retailer like Raw Feeding Miami

They also offer FREE shipping on orders $150+ with code SHIP150.

That's a great opportunity to stock up on cuts of meat that are on sale and not pay for any shipping!

As I mentioned before, this particular brand also has a loyalty rewards program for their customers.

You earn points for every order you place, which can be put towards any future raw dog food orders.

How To Keep Raw Dog Food Affordable: Bottom Line

Now you know how to keep raw dog food affordable!

Feeding my dogs a healthy, raw diet stayed and continues to stay affordable because I:

  • Began making my own raw dog food
  • Compared raw dog food prices
  • Stayed on top of special offers and discounts, including at the grocery store
  • Invested in freezers to store bulk raw dog food orders
Bone appétit - My Dogs Are Digging Into Their Raw Dog Food
Missy & Buzz with their raw dinner

I continue to do the same for my current pup Wally, my 38 lb Feist mix.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Wally eating a beef eyeball from Raw Feeding Miami
Wally eating a raw beef eyeball from Raw Feeding Miami

When you do the math, it’s really not any more expensive than purchasing high quality, grain-free kibble brands like Orijen ($119.99 for a 28.6 lb bag), Solid Gold Barking At The Moon ($94.99 for a 24 lb bag), or Annamaet ($106.19 for a 30 lb bag). 

…I’m not gonna lie, it’s also exciting and rewarding whenever I find a new deal or make a repeat purchase at a discount!

How to feed your dog raw on a budget
(Visited 4,796 times, 1 visits today)

Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.


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13 responses to “How To Keep Raw Dog Food Affordable”

  1. Walks With Rama Avatar
    Walks With Rama

    I second the buying in bulk. So much better! I’ve had great luck with local meat markets, too. Looks like you’ve scored some great meals!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Yes ma’am! And every time I score big, I’m excited like a little kid in the candy store :-))

  2. Anna Avatar
    Anna

    thanks for sharing! great post. We switched to homemade diet. But, it is quite challenging. I am thinking of substituting with some pre-made food. Also, Rocky (who looks very similar to Missy) is allergic to ton of foods.

    Anna.
    SOFLY.CO

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Welcome back, Anna, and thanks so much for the kind words. I’m excited for you and Rocky that you ditched kibble and are feeding a homemade diet. That’s exactly how I started our journey to a healthier nutrition. It gets easier the longer you feed it and the more you read about it – check out http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com if you haven’t already – I’ve come across many nuggets of wisdom on there.

      Back during our kibble feeding days, Buzz didn’t do well on formulas that included chicken. Interestingly enough, he doesn’t have any trouble with it when eating it raw. One of many mind-boggling finds!

      P.S. Would love to see a picture of your pup Rocky! Feel free to share one on here if you’d like 🙂

      1. Anna Avatar
        Anna

        Do you feed dairy to your pups?

        1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

          Not on a regular basis because they don’t digest it well. Every now & then I will add a little greek yogurt when I whip up a filling for their KONGs, and they do fine with that:

          http://www.k9sovercoffee.com/nutrition/how-to-keep-your-pup-healthy-and-entertained-with-vital-essentials-freeze-dried-mini-nibs-and-a-kong-food-puzzle/

          I’ve tried adding more yogurt to their raw meals on several consecutive days and it resulted in loose stool for both of them. I have yet to try raw goat milk – I hear that it’s easily digestible & chock-full of probiotics.

          1. Anna Avatar
            Anna

            thanks for reply! I am basing our diet on volhard formula. And they have some grains and dairy. But Rocky didn’t do well with yogurt either. So I used cottage cheese and eggs. Do you feed eggs? I also add quinoa since it is doesn’t have wheat or gluten. I can’t wait for the allergy test so I can start buying more pre-made foods! Thanks to your blog, I also realized that I don’t add any organs and not feeding enough protein.

          2. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

            I found that it’s all a matter of trial & error – your pup will “tell” you what works for him and what doesn’t. I do feed eggs about 2-4 times per week. When they’re organic, I add the shell which is great for added calcium & the inner lining of it contains glucosamine & chondroitin, both of which help with joint mobility. When they aren’t organic, I toss the shell and only add the yolk.

            I am not familiar with the Volhard Formula..but to feed a balanced raw diet it needs to consist of 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver and 5% other organ. I also add some pureed veggies, but no more than 5% overall. That’s just a personal preference though – I’m somewhere in between B.A.R.F. feeders and Prey Model feeders.

          3. Anna Avatar
            Anna

            Thanks you, Barbara! I am so glad I found your blog. It is so confusing when you first switch. I intuitively feel like I am not feeding the best possible diet. My dog is not getting bone or live or organs.

            I like the formula – it makes sense! We are going to do allergy test and I will try Darwin’s pre-made raw meals. I think from one of your blogs you’ve mentioned some company in Boulder. But I can’t find it.

          4. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

            I’m happy that you like the content I provide, Anna! Switching diets is confusing at first, but it gets easier the longer you do it. I fed pre-made raw meals for the first 6 months or so before I became comfortable putting my own meals together. I just didn’t trust myself to feed a balanced diet on my own at first.

            The company in Boulder is Balanced Blends – they just started offering a starter pack – 5 lbs with free shipping & no minimum order. I’ll actually be writing about them & their new offer next Monday, December 19! What a coincidence 😉

            I already wrote about them here:

            http://www.k9sovercoffee.com/nutrition/making-the-switch-to-a-balanced-raw-diet-was-never-easier/

            http://www.k9sovercoffee.com/nutrition/making-raw-feeding-fun-with-balanced-blends-pet-food-contest-sweepstakes/

      2. Anna Avatar
        Anna

        thank you!

  3. Sheri Stachowski Avatar
    Sheri Stachowski

    Hi Barbara,
    We also moved from the US to Hamburg, Germany in 2019 but only started feeding our Golden Retriever raw this year. I started buying pre-made from Futterhaus but am in the process of switching to homemade. Can you recommend any online or brick-and-morter sources of inexpensive raw here? I have been buying some really inexpensive cuts of meat and organs at the Turkish markets but that has been limited to lamb hearts/stomach, chicken heart/gizzards and liver. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
    Sheri

    1. Barbara Rivers Avatar

      Hi Sheri, so good to hear from someone else who moved from the US to Germany! I’ve been ordering individual cuts of meat from 3 different online places:

      1) Haustierkost: https://www.haustierkost.de
      2) Barfer’s: https://www.barfers-wellfood.de (I get whole mackerel & herring from them)
      3) Barfexpress by Bellami: https://www.barfexpress.de (I get beef testicles from them, but looks like they’re currently out)

      I try to buy as many cuts on sale as possible, and recommend comparing prices between the different retailers.

      I’ve also been able to find beef green tripe and premade duck at select brick and mortar pet retailers called “Fressnapf”. They’re a franchise, so every store has slightly different products. I find that the ones in Bavaria have a better raw dog food selection than the ones in Baden-Württemberg, where we are. Not sure about the ones in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, but it’s worth checking them out!

      Also, check in with local butchers – we’re lucky to have one in our village that sells fresh pork kidneys.

      Hope that helps a little!

      – Barbara

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