Resources, Advice & Tips for Covid-19
Read More

Cheap (but Healthy) Raw Dog Food Recipes

Mychelle Blake
Preparing natural food for pets

The raw dog food diet is known for being expensive and often considered a luxury for many dog owners. While it's definitely more costly in terms of money and time, there are ways to make cheaper raw dog food recipes to save on your dog's food budget.

How to Make Cheap Raw Dog Food

Raw dog food recipes follow the 5:1:1 ratio, which means that your recipes must be five parts meat with bone, one part organ meats and one part vegetables and fruit. When creating recipes, look for options for each part that are more economical.

Shopping Tips for Cheap Raw Dog Food

There are a few tips you can follow when planning out and shopping for your recipes.

  • Keep on the lookout for sales at your local markets and take advantage of them.
  • Joining a bulk warehouse store like Costco or Sam's Club can get you good deals on meat, but not always. Price shop and do comparisons first to see if the cost of the membership deal plus the regular meat prices are worth it.
  • Check out local butchers in your neighborhood as many can provide you with deals if you buy in bulk and are a regular customer.
  • Ethnic markets and butchers are also a great source of ingredients and meats that may be cheaper than found at your larger grocery chains.
  • Also check out local farms if you live in an agricultural area. You may be able to find great deals on items that will be cast off, as well as on less common meats like lamb, rabbit and deer depending on where you live.
  • It's a good idea to invest in a small additional freezer if you don't have room to buy in bulk to save. You can even save on the freezer by looking for used ones on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and thrift shops like the ReStore.
  • Look for cuts of meat and bone and organs that are usually cheaper than others such as:
    • Chicken backs, feet, gizzards, liver, necks and wings - the average price for these items ranges from $1 to $1.80 per pound. Prices will of course vary by store and region.
    • Cuts of beef and average pricing per pound include beef face, esophagus, heart, kidneys, pancreas, tails, tongue trachea and fat trimmings - the average price for these items ranges from $1.50 to $2.80 per pound.
    • Pork heads are about $30 for an approximately 15-pound head (ask the butcher to cut it for you), intestines and necks (about $1 to $1.40 per pound on average).
  • For other ingredients, purchase store brands which are cheaper and just as good in quality as name brands, such as your eggs, yogurt and oils.
  • Buy vegetables that are in season when they're cheaper.
  • Many groceries will send fruit and vegetables for a lower price when they're over ripe. These are still safe for your dog and can be a great bargain.
  • You can also use scraps from vegetables and fruits that you eat yourself.
  • If you're feeling ambitious and have the time and space, you can grow your own vegetables in your backyard, as well as raise chickens for your eggs.
  • Consider also setting up a group buying plan at a local butcher with some friends who also feed raw. The larger your order, the more likely it is you can get a good discount on items together.
Raw Dog Food

Cheap Raw Dog Food Recipe Portions and Storage

Each of these recipes follows the 5:1:1 ratio while using cheaper ingredients. These recipes are designed to be made for a single meal or in bulk, and preparing them in bulk will usually save you more money. Just store them in individual portions and place in your freezer. To figure out how much of each ingredient you will need, just determine your dog's daily amount of food is by their body weight. Then take the percentages in each recipe to get the ounces of food you will need. For bulk recipes, take that number and multiply it by the number of meals you want to make.

Coconut Chicken Stew

This inexpensive dish pairs chicken bones and organs with healthy coconut oil.

Ingredients

  • 50% chicken parts with bones such as chicken thighs which are cheap, or breasts if they're on sale
  • 10% chicken livers
  • 10% chicken bones using inexpensive parts like backs, necks or wings
  • 5% coconut oil
  • 10% peas, fresh, canned or frozen
  • 10% carrots, fresh, canned or frozen
  • 5% low fat or nonfat plain yogurt

Directions

  1. Safety first! Start with washing your hands thoroughly as well as your kitchen counters, cutting boards and knives with soap and hot water.
  2. Chop up chicken livers and cut up 50% chicken parts. Place all in grinder together.
  3. Chop the carrots into small pieces, unless they are pre-cut in cans or frozen.
  4. Boil the carrots and peas vegetables lightly or steam and allow to cool.
  5. Mix the ground meat, coconut oil, and vegetables together in a bowl using a spoon or your hands. Wear gloves and wash your hands well before and after mixing the food.
  6. Serve the food or freeze immediately.
  7. Do a final cleaning of your kitchen counters, utensils and your dog's bowl when he or she is done eating. Don't forget to wash your hands as well!

Homestyle Beef Stew for Dogs

This recipe uses cheaper beef meats, bones and organs for a cheap but hearty meal.

Ingredients

  • 50% beef chuck stew meat with any fat trimmed off; you can also buy a roast and cut it up yourself if the price per pound is cheaper
  • 10% beef or chicken livers
  • 10% oxtail bones
  • 5% olive or flaxseed oil (or any other edible oil substitute)
  • 10% vegetables in season or canned or frozen; choose vegetables that your dog can eat and whichever ones are cheapest at the time you are cooking
  • 5% low fat or nonfat plain yogurt

Directions

  1. Make sure you start by cleaning all of your kitchen counters, utensils and your cutting boards with soap and hot water. Don't forget to wash your hands.
  2. If not pre-chopped, chop up your stew meat into about one-inch size cubes. Chop up the livers as well. Wash your hands when you're done.
  3. Chop the vegetables into small pieces (unless they are frozen/canned and already chopped).
  4. Boil the vegetables lightly or steam and allow to cool.
  5. With the exception of the beef tail bones, put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a spoon. You can also use your hands to mix in which case wearing gloves is recommended. You should also be sure to wash your hands with soap before and after you mix the food.
  6. You can put the food in your dog's bowl and give the beef tail bones separately. If you're preparing meals for the future, freeze individual portions immediately.
  7. Finish with one more cleaning of your counters, utensils, cutting boards and, of course, your hands.
  8. Always wash your dog's bowls after they are done eating.
Dog and vegetables

Doggo Salisbury Steaks

Ground beef can be purchased in bulk on sale to make this budget-conscious dish.

Ingredients

  • 50% ground beef or buy beef chuck and grind
  • 10% beef organ meats including hearts, livers, kidneys and/or pancreas
  • 10% chicken necks, placed in a grinder. If you don't want to grind, substitute bone meal powder
  • 10% oil, such as fish or flaxseed oil
  • 10% vegetables - use what's in season or on sale, as long as it's safe for dogs, such as peas, carrots, squash, green beans, spinach, kale, or yams.
  • 5% nonfat or low fat plain yogurt
  • 1 egg - if making food in bulk, add one egg per five meal portions

Directions

  1. Wash your hands, kitchen counters, cutting boards and utensils thoroughly with soap and hot water.
  2. Wash vegetables thoroughly.
  3. Boil the vegetables lightly or steam and allow to cool.
  4. Chop up the hearts and livers into smaller pieces.
  5. If you are grinding the meat, use your grinder now and add in the hearts and livers.
  6. If you don't use the bone meal powder option, you will need to grind the bones with your grinder.
  7. While you can mix the egg in raw, it's safest to cook it just a bit. You can baste, poach or microwave the egg for 30 to 60 seconds. Don't throw out the shells! They can go in the grinder with your bones.
  8. Mix everything together in a bowl. Form patties in meal sized portions.
  9. Serve the food in your dog's bowl as soon as it's ready to go. If you're making meals for later, freeze it right away to prevent bacteria growth and spoiling.
  10. Don't forget to wash your hands when you're done, as well as all your kitchen utensils and your food preparation area. Wash your dog's bowl after they eat too.

Cheap Raw Dog Food Video

This video show the types of ingredients you can buy to prepare raw dog food diet recipes that are easier on your budget.

This video shows how to make a raw diet using a beef roast which generally costs on the lower end of prices for beef.

Making Raw Dog Food Recipes on a Budget

Although making raw dog food is more expensive than feeding them kibble, you can save money by using cheaper cuts of meat, buying in bulk and purchasing your ingredients on sale and using seasonal pricing. Even better, team up with some friends to buy in bulk together and keep each other apprised of local sales and specials to keep prices down and your dogs happy.

Cheap (but Healthy) Raw Dog Food Recipes