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Hi there.. new here and been reading the forums for a bit now. Wanting some advice for my 7 month 32kg Bullmastiff bitch.

Firstly let me say I want the best for my dog and have been trying with limited success to research the best option for feeding. Let me share what I am doing now and what I would like to switch to..

Currently feeding 2 chicken frames in the morning and around 2 cups of K9 Natural frozen beef RAW dog food. I mix in any scraps of our food with her dinner ie. leftover meat, mix some gravy in that I have made, eggs, veges etc. I am finding her weight to be pretty good. Can not really see her ribs, but can feel them.

The problem I am having with this is the cost to be honest. My wife is a student and I am now part time. (We live in New Zealand by the way so things are different here then in the states.) The cost of the food is $135NZD for a 20 kg bag and it lasts for around 36 days. I can get the chicken frames 3 for a $1 for that is not bad at all.

What I am considering is this:

Changing her back to kibble with keeping her fed on chicken frames in the morning. I am considering going to a premium store bought brand and not the pet shop Eukanuba, Royal Canin, Hills as the cost is about half in the store. Now I am aware that store bought isn't the best and there are a lot of fillers etc in them that the dog simply doesn't need. Is there a nice balance I can acheive with store bought and Raw mix? Like the frames in the morning, store bought added with livers or hearts or eggs that will be a good match for her?

I don't have time to make the food for her as our schedule is pretty busy with 3 kids, work and school. I am very apprehensive of starting a RAW diet that I cook myself for her because if there is a day I miss or get too busy then she doesn't eat.. or gets a lot less then she should.

Some help appreciated.. sorry for the long post.
 

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Half raw half kibble sounds reasonable to me. Unfortunately I can't make any recommendations as to good food brands as I'm pretty sure you don't have Costco in NZ (and I'm a relatively new dog owner). If you DO Have Costco, I'd recommend Kirkland signature or KS Nature's Domain. I've also heard good things about Orijen (but I may be biased - its made in my city.)

My understanding is that a raw diet is just that - raw. Its various types of meat and offal that are fed to the dog raw in place of kibble or a cooked meal. I can't speak to cost as I don't feed raw myself (for a variety of reasons), and also prices are probably different here in Canada than in NZ, but I imagine things like kidney, stomach, heart, etc. you could get fairly cheap, and the dog's probably not going to care whether he's eating chuck or tenderloin. Plus, because you have the opportunity to shop as often for your dog as for your human groceries, you can always just pick up what's cheapest /on sale or offer at the supermarket.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
We don't have Costco here (i'm from Seattle,WA originally) and they don't know what they're missing..lol. I looked up Orijen and they happen to sell it at a pet shop locally here, and it also happens to be in the area I am headed to with the dog and kids today. How convenient. Will pop in and see what its all about. Unfortunately, chuck and even lesser cuts still go for around $17/Kg but will see what our local butcher has on offer by way of offal or offcuts. May be able to take it off their hands for cheaper. I just worry I wouldn't be giving her the correct balance of vitamins and minerals that she needs.. hence why I wanted to mix some cheaper kibble for one meal and some RAW for the other. Thanks for the comments!

Just an edit: Looked up some pricing and it is $154 for 13.5Kg's here.
 

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If you're going to feed her half raw and half kibble you still need to balance the raw portion as it will be a significant part of her diet. The rule of thumb for raw is 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% organs. You want to get as much variety as you can, beef, chicken, pork, fish, turkey are all good basic proteins to offer and if you can get them rabbit, emu, venison and deer are all good sources too.

Look around for an ethnic store or find a wholesaler or raw co-op for cheaper prices and more variety. Heart meat is usually the cheapest to feed for pork and beef and is full of nutrients. You can also place free online ads and look for freezerburned meat, meat scraps from butchers or meat from hunters (not sure if there is any hunting in NZ).
 

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It seems a lot of breeders in NZ and Australia feed raw. You might want to ask where they get food. You could find a wholesale, raw distributor, meat processor, etc. If you're worried about not being able to balance everything you can give a multivitamin. You just want to stay around 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ. You would start with chicken so it would be easy for awhile. Most feed chicken every morning and then a different meat at night to help with cost.
 

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It seems a lot of breeders in NZ and Australia feed raw. You might want to ask where they get food. You could find a wholesale, raw distributor, meat processor, etc. If you're worried about not being able to balance everything you can give a multivitamin. You just want to stay around 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ. You would start with chicken so it would be easy for awhile. Most feed chicken every morning and then a different meat at night to help with cost.
I do all my RMBs chicken/turkey/duck and that helps a lot too. But I only do that because she won't eat pork bones!

Anyway I second the cl idea, I got six ducks and five tubes of ground venison for $15USD from a hunter. Good stuff!
 
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