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To try to make a long story a (bit) short, my 7 or 9 year-old Akita often has skin problems. I heard that Akitas often have allergies and do better when not fed corn or grain-based dogfoods. The switch from Science Diet to Solid Gold made the skin worlds better, but after about two years of healthy skin, along came a bladder stone and surgery to remove it, and ever since he's been eating Science Diet u/d (because it was an odd sort of bladder stone -- amorphous silicate)... but of course, the skin irritation is back. It occurs to me that for the $80 per month that 30lbs of the proscription diet costs us, maybe I could be doing something home-made or raw that would be better for his skin within that budget or less. Do you think this is possible? I'm a vegetarian myself, so I both lack a sense of what I might expect to pay for meat and of how much meat my active 80lb dog would eat instead of 5 cups/day of relatively high-fat dogfood. What are your raw or homemade diets costing you?

(I will work with my vet and/or a nutritionist if we decide to make a change -- his bladder stone situation is something we want to be cautious about and eliminates some components of other peoples' at home diets (like all vegetables) right off the bat... mostly I'm wondering if it will be cost-feasible within our very tight budget!)
 

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I'm feeding 6, ranging from 60lbs to 130lbs, raw. It costs me about $250 monthly.
When I began raw feeding I was also a vegetarian. However I now will eat fish and sometimes chicken, never any red meat or pork at all. Anyway, I was very meat dumb. lol :p I had no idea about the prices and different cuts. I learned real quick though!
As far as you working with your vet or nutritionist on your dogs raw diet; that may be a bit difficult. Most have no clue about raw diets and will actually tell you a raw diet is dangerous and will kill your dog. Vets have next to no training in diets for dogs except for what the big dog food companies tell them. Of course the kibble suppliers will never tell them a raw diet is healthy!

Check the stickies for this forum for some great links and information on raw feeding.

Good luck!

Jihad
and the pound puppy crew.
 

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Last I checked Sassy's home made food cost about $30 a month and Max's raw food cost $23 a month. Sassy is 44 pounds and is limited as to how much meat she gets. Max is 38 pounds and limited by his 'fluffiness'. Both are old, Sassy is a geriatric 15.5 and Max is a senior at 9.

Estimate how much food he will need. Cooked food is fed about as raw food, start at 2% body weight and then evaluate how the dog is doing. So a 50 pound dog gets a pound of food and a 100 pound dog gets 2 pounds of food. Figure that in raw meat, organ, egg and dairy only and cost it out [cooked meats lose a lot of weight]. 2 pounds would be 60 pounds a month. Chicken and pork are about $1 a pound. I haunt the clearance bin when the freezer is low on meat for $1.50 hamburger. Eggs are about $1.50 a pound. Organs are usually about $1.50.

It would be completely doable here for me, don't know what your prices are. Google grocery stores in your area and many will have online flyers so you can see the sort of thing that comes up cheap. Work with your nutritionist so you can use any cheap meat, don't get stuck on only ground beef or chicken. And fat is good if your dog isn't susceptible to pancreatitis.

I put Sassy on home made food for quality of life and fear of those dog food recalls in 2007. She had been on a script food for kidney disease. Guess I have been saving money as well as making her really happy at mealtime!
 

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Figure on feeding 2-3% of the dog's body weight each day. And my cost is about $1 per pound of raw food, if I shop the sales and store things up in the freezer when I find a great deal.
 

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If your dog is 80 pounds and has a similar metabolism to my akita mix and my elkhound, he would be fed roughly 19 ounces of meat morning and night, or 2.4 pounds a day. I never pay more than a dollar a pound. I can get turkey backs for .40 a pound, whole chickens for .80 a pound, etc etc. So worst case scenario assume 1$ a pound. That's about 71$ a month, and will be much much less once you get the hang of it.

For example, there's a place I can get 40 pound blocks of chicken and turkey backs and necks for .40 a pound. If your price averaged .50 a pound, you'd only be spending 35 a month!
 

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I buy chicken breast at cosco for him. he is a yorkie so does not cost much. I spend about 20 dollars a week for his meat, veggies, sweet potato, brown rice, and calcium supplement. Remember calcium is really important for home-cooked meals. Ground-up egg shells are one of the best source. Good calcium/phosphorus ratio.
 

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In a true, species appropriate, raw diet veggies, sweet potato, brown rice, and calcium supplement are not used. A raw diet consists of raw meat.
Dogs actually lack the enzymes needed to digest veggies. Rice is nothing but a filler that offers no nutritional value to dogs. The only supplement that may be needed is omega-3 which you can buy most anyplace in capsule form.

Jihad
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Rice is nothing but a filler that offers no nutritional value to dogs.
While I don't use rice in my dog's diet, that is not true. Dogs can actually get plenty of protein and other nutrients from rice. Much more so than corn or wheat. Brown rice is supposed to be best, but as long as it's not Brewer's Rice they can get nutrition from it.



To address the OP: Skinless Boneless chicken = $4-5 lb. Buy in bulk and you'll save a lot. Chicken with bones you can average $1.50/lb when you buy smartly. You can also use pork, lamb, venison, rabbit, whatever. I buy a lot from prey4pets.com and get great deals on "exotic" stuff.

Your 80lb dog will eat 2% of his body weight daily. That's 1.6 lbs of food a day (math don't fail me...) So you're looking at between $1-5 a day, depending on what you buy and where. Let's say it's $3 a day. That's slightly more than what you're paying now, and it'll be better for him.

My cat Felix has ideopathic urinary crystals and my vet said first option was prescription diet, second option was a supplement to our raw (prey-model) diet. I supplement with a good urinary health supplement and he's never been better.

Check out the raw feeding groups on yahoo
 

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Someone mentioned using calcium supplements on a raw diet. Solid Gold makes a really good bone powder that my best friend uses with her dogs and likes a lot. I mean, in addition to the raw meaty bones she gives them, just to be sure they're getting enough. (She says she doesn't always have time to give them bones because she has to watch them while they eat them, plus one of her dogs just gets the meat off and leaves the bones.)
 

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While I don't use rice in my dog's diet, that is not true. Dogs can actually get plenty of protein and other nutrients from rice. Much more so than corn or wheat. Brown rice is supposed to be best, but as long as it's not Brewer's Rice they can get nutrition from it.

Ok then, let me rephrase that; Dogs don't get any necessary nutritional value from rice. Everything they need is in a balanced raw diet that offers the appropriate amounts of meat/bone/organ. If little or no fish is fed then you may need to add the omega-3 supplement. :D

Jihad
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There you go, that is better! My older dog needs to eat rice as meat has too much phosphorus for her to get all her calories from it. She doesn't mind a bit. Rice is good, actually she eats about anything when she is feeling good.

I wouldn't feed a calcium supplement. Dogs must have lots of calcium but a little bone provides a lot of calcium. Too much calcium will bind up zinc and can create problems. Pretty sure you can feed it occasionally, just make sure the dog gets enough over a week or a month.

Round here I can get pork for $1 a pound, chicken for $.69, beef for $2, organs for $1.50 or less, fish for $2 or less. Last time I checked Max's food was $1.10 a pound and I shop grocery stores. No cheap trimmings from waste barrels, no freecyle freezer burned meat or anything like that. I'd take them but no room in my little freezer.

I am filling in the holes with some zinc, a multimineral supplement and vitamin B which are cheap and since he is showing slight signs of achy joints is getting a human 3 way joint supplement which isn't cheap.
 
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