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So I've been low on funds lately and my dog's diet has taken a blow. I almost went for pedigree ._. No disrespect meant to those who feed Pedigree, I just don't like that food at all. She has skin issues (she had a biopsy done, so will finally found out what is wrong), but the veterinarian (which I understand is not an animal nutritionist, unfortunately there are none in this country as far I've researched) was concerned about low quality kibble, even IF food allergies were discarded.

I'm currently housing two dogs, my own, 8 month old, sickly 1 pound Chihuahua. And my mother's Chihuahua, who is currently 2 months old and 1 pound as well. I've been told that Raw food is relatively cheaper than GOOD quality kibble, and in fact, better for them. Is this true?

I obviously want what's best for my dogs. I'm currently stuck on Authority Grain Free Puppy, any more than that and I cannot afford.

Also, having such small dog, they don't eat a lot, is storing a concern? I'm not a big cook, I don't buy a lot of meat (honestly... I dont buy any except chicken legs lol) so I don't know about storing/freezing meat. How do I go about freezing/storing meat?

And also, how do I go about feeding 9 grams of food? (Im SUPER bad at math lol) I've read that in raw diets, you feed 2% of the dogs total body weight. Since they're 1lb each, it'd be (According to Google) 9 grams. What would that recipe look like on a daily basis?
 

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9 grams makes me think of a mouse size if your thinking of prey model of organ to meat to bone.. what is that about a heaping Table spoon or two for meal size.. They sell winglets and drumets in chicken parts that is what I like to give my cats to chew on.. When you consider grinding up your meals you could consider using Ice cube trays to freeze the portions then store them in a zip lock bag and only defrost what you will need each (next day) There is also a product I use

https://www.youngagainpetfood.com/raw-food.html

if you decide not to grind bones or add bones you would get the one with calcium added... will have to use (math) but able to make a large batch. freeze it and you have a good month supply you don't have to worry about always fixing a meal everyday.
 

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If you have a source to buy in bulk and can store it, raw CAN be cheaper but it all depends on how much freezer space you have and what kind of sourcing you have available to you. It's not automatically cheaper for everyone.
 

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Raw is not much of a muchness. It takes a fair amount of balancing to get a nutritionally complete raw diet. If you are super bad at math, I would say, it'll be cheaper and safer for you to stick with something that has been pre-blended and is nutritionally complete (could be a product advertized as raw, such as a roll . . . but those are often pricey).

There is a lot of advertizing hype and nonsense around kibbles. Feeding a chi shouldn't be that expensive, even at the top end of the kibble spectrum. There are dogs who have problems with some grains, or with one or another meats or other dog food ingredients, but grain-free or 'all natural' doesn't have any advantage for the average pooch. There are also a lot of dogs who have skin problems that have nothing to do with diet. Eg, it's possible that your dog has dermodetic mange or flea allergy and requires medication or flea control, not a change of diet.

I'd recommend waiting until you see what the biopsy shows and talking to your vet. Then try a variety of foods, starting with kibbles. The market really jacks up prices for the small bags of dogfood. If you want to save $$ in the long run, I'd say your best bet is to find something that works and buy the biggest bag you can and store it in a cool place with a good lid.
 

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I weighed out my dogs' grind this morning. Their 1.5 ounces was about an ice cube size, 9 grams was about a level tablespoon. If I was feeding dogs that small I'd be using a cat/kitten grind as otherwise each meal would be a strand of something and you might not get organ/bone/meat into even a day's ration. If you go ahead with feeding raw then invest in a scale! At first it is important to do close portion control as the gut can have trouble, aka loose to soft to urgent stool, adjusting to a zero fiber low bulk high fat diet.

9 grams is 2% of 1 pound, your math skills are fine. Small dogs can eat a lot more than 2% body weight though. I know of a chi that ate 10% his body weight. Large dogs do the opposite, they generally need less than 2% their body weight daily.

Unless you have access to a butcher that gives good quality scraps away, a meat processor that does the same or somebody that hunts often it isn't usually likely raw will be cheaper than kibble but if you eat meat then the tiny amounts your dogs need is not going to be missed from the dinner table. The amount they eat is less than one bite! That means it will cost only the price of organs unless your family eats liver and kidneys on a regular basis. A lot of the bone my dogs get is waste from my meals! If you eat a lot of chicken breast then buying bone in and boning it yourself will get you a lot of free chicken ribs. You would save those chicken ribs, cut into tiny bits and freeze then daily offer up a weighed bit of those ribs with a toothpick sized bit of liver or kidney you also cut to size and froze and for dinner offer a morsel of meat/egg/fish from what you are having for dinner. For really great chews you would bone pork, lamb or beef roasts or steaks yourself and give your dogs the bone expecting to toss the bare bone. It is super cute watching a dog working a bone that is much too large too!

I also add some multi mineral, fish oil and vitamin E to the dogs' diet. You may already have that in the house and you would need to use them only a couple times a week.

If you go with kibble then I would be keeping it in the freezer packed in small bags. Even so the fat can go bad in time.
 

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With a dog that has immune issues, homecooked might be better than raw. Look for vet nutritionist approved recipes like at www.dogcathomeprepareddiet.com

BUT, unless you plan to buy the dogs' food on food stamps (I know people who do this. . .let's not discuss the moral and legal complexities right now :/), or are able to get scrap meat for free or super cheap, home prepared food is probably not going to be cheaper. I was looking into feeding my cats something home-prepared, and the conclusion I came to was that if I did it the cheapest way possible, it would be cheaper than a high-end canned food, but more expensive than canned Friskies or any kibble. It costs about 25 cents a day to feed a cat decent kibble, I bet a 1-pound dog costs even less ;). So for pure economics, kibble is as cheap as you can get.

Buying the largest bag available can cut your per-pound price by half. The problem with it is that they might not eat it fast enough before it goes rancid/stale. You'd have to store the extra in an airtight bag in the freezer. So if you have the freezer room that could work but it might not be an option if you don't have a spacious freezer. Even buying the next size up could cut costs significantly though.

The math! If you get a Very Expensive kibble at $5 a pound, and feed 1/4 cup per dog per day (this is probably high but we'll go with it), there are usually 4 cups of kibble per pound so 16 1/4-cup servings per pound. . .31 cents per day! And there are very few kibbles that expensive. So I don't think you can really beat that price.
 

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I disagree. Nobody would notice eating 2 bites less food a day and that is all these tiny dogs need. Fresh food would end up costing less than kibble.

Missed your question about storing. Currently I wrap up 2-3 day rations in aluminum foil and freeze as I am comfortable keeping meat that long in the refrigerator. It gets less freezer burn and takes up less room in the freezer that way too. When the refrigerator tub is getting light I move another frozen packet to the refrigerator.

Since you eat chicken, buy some chicken breast for the tiny dogs. Save the bones from the chicken cut into 1" squares probably for the right weight and freeze with 1/2 the weight of liver and kidney for bony/organy meals. Use lean ground beef and pork that you have watched get ground so you know it is real meat and fresh for most of the other meals. You can feed tiny fish like smelt or pieces of sardines or bites of salmon. Every once in a while get beef ribs and cut off most of the meat for other meals and give them to your dogs to chew on for a meal or two.
 

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Possibly. When I was pricing for the cats, the best I could come up with was 25 cents an ounce for a varied diet (disclaimer: this was a few years ago; chicken was around $1 a pound, and beef and pork were considerably cheaper than they are now). So if the dogs ate 1 ounce a day each, that would be cheaper than $4-a-pound kibble. It's true that nobody misses 2 bites but that doesn't mean those 2 bites are cheaper than dog food ;). We just don't think very hard about how much our food costs per ounce.

I think the main problem for such tiny dogs would be keeping it balanced, and the difficulty of portioning it out. Their portion for liver would be like a bitty little sliver. Less margin for error is what I mean, I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the reply guys! Got busy with school, finally sat down on the PC ^_^

Raw is not much of a muchness. It takes a fair amount of balancing to get a nutritionally complete raw diet. If you are super bad at math, I would say, it'll be cheaper and safer for you to stick with something that has been pre-blended and is nutritionally complete (could be a product advertized as raw, such as a roll . . . but those are often pricey).

There is a lot of advertizing hype and nonsense around kibbles. Feeding a chi shouldn't be that expensive, even at the top end of the kibble spectrum. There are dogs who have problems with some grains, or with one or another meats or other dog food ingredients, but grain-free or 'all natural' doesn't have any advantage for the average pooch. There are also a lot of dogs who have skin problems that have nothing to do with diet. Eg, it's possible that your dog has dermodetic mange or flea allergy and requires medication or flea control, not a change of diet.

I'd recommend waiting until you see what the biopsy shows and talking to your vet. Then try a variety of foods, starting with kibbles. The market really jacks up prices for the small bags of dogfood. If you want to save $$ in the long run, I'd say your best bet is to find something that works and buy the biggest bag you can and store it in a cool place with a good lid.
Yeah I was kinda worried about the whole balanced thing with such a small amount, I'm not as horrible as I say I am in math, but I don't think I'm 100% comfortable yet (barely begun research) with small amounts like those. If I was feeding a bigger dog, I'd feel more comfy.

And yeah, she has been diagnosed with alopecia, demodex and possible thyroid issues (unable to diagnose that until she's older than 1 year old though). The biopsy was made because no treatment for the demodex is working at all, not even a little bit, so there's suspicions that it's something more. She's in Prescription Diet Z/D right now (we started in cheaper better foods and worked our way up to that one) and there was NO improvement. So it isn't a food allergy at all, but the veterinarian told me that she'd still feel uncomfortable telling me to just go back to the cheapest kibble and try to at least stay in the grain free areas, and if I could go raw or cooked meals.

I actually recently bought the Authority 16lb bag (Z/D is not done yet though) and am gonna store it. That bag will last me forever and it was way cheaper than buying the smaller bags monthly. I'm pretty sure I'm going to stick with that for a whiiiile, at least until I feel confident in more research on raw AND the biopsy is done. I won't take any further steps beyond research without my vet, just covering any basic questions here ^_^ Thanks for the reply!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I weighed out my dogs' grind this morning. Their 1.5 ounces was about an ice cube size, 9 grams was about a level tablespoon. If I was feeding dogs that small I'd be using a cat/kitten grind as otherwise each meal would be a strand of something and you might not get organ/bone/meat into even a day's ration. If you go ahead with feeding raw then invest in a scale! At first it is important to do close portion control as the gut can have trouble, aka loose to soft to urgent stool, adjusting to a zero fiber low bulk high fat diet.

9 grams is 2% of 1 pound, your math skills are fine. Small dogs can eat a lot more than 2% body weight though. I know of a chi that ate 10% his body weight. Large dogs do the opposite, they generally need less than 2% their body weight daily.

Unless you have access to a butcher that gives good quality scraps away, a meat processor that does the same or somebody that hunts often it isn't usually likely raw will be cheaper than kibble but if you eat meat then the tiny amounts your dogs need is not going to be missed from the dinner table. The amount they eat is less than one bite! That means it will cost only the price of organs unless your family eats liver and kidneys on a regular basis. A lot of the bone my dogs get is waste from my meals! If you eat a lot of chicken breast then buying bone in and boning it yourself will get you a lot of free chicken ribs. You would save those chicken ribs, cut into tiny bits and freeze then daily offer up a weighed bit of those ribs with a toothpick sized bit of liver or kidney you also cut to size and froze and for dinner offer a morsel of meat/egg/fish from what you are having for dinner. For really great chews you would bone pork, lamb or beef roasts or steaks yourself and give your dogs the bone expecting to toss the bare bone. It is super cute watching a dog working a bone that is much too large too!

I also add some multi mineral, fish oil and vitamin E to the dogs' diet. You may already have that in the house and you would need to use them only a couple times a week.

If you go with kibble then I would be keeping it in the freezer packed in small bags. Even so the fat can go bad in time.
Well where I live there isn't any hunting since there aren't any wild animals. We DO have a butcher inside our grocery store, I just never noticed because I just buy a bag of 8lb chicken and go on my way, or pre-packaged ground beef lol The tiny amount is definitely NOT gonna be missed from the table, it's only 2 of us in the family and my daughter has me throwing out most of our cooked food anyways because she doesn't eat it -.-;

I'll have to check how readily available are organs. Would you mind giving me a basic list of the organs I should look for? To see if I even have them near by?

Also boning them myself is a brilliant idea!

And omg it definitely is adorable!

And she's on a daily fish oil and multi vitamin supplement regimen (by docs orderes).

I'm probably gonna be doing that for a while, until I feel comfy with the research and the vet is comfortable with the diet too. Just buy the kibble in bulk and freeze it. I feel so dumb for not thinking about it before lol
 

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Hope she feels better, tough being a bitty thing!

The organs I see and feed most often are liver and kidney. Spleen and sweetbreads [thymus and possibly pancreas] are found by some as are testicles on occasion. If you are ever up to feeding whole prey you could buy appropriately sized pinkie rats/mice from a supplier of reptile feed and get brain and eye. Lung and heart aren't considered organ but are terrific meats to offer.
 

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The key is to balance over time -- it doesn't have to be balanced every single day!

I freeze my toy dog's meals in 3 day portions in containers and do about 2 months' worth at a time. He gets 69 grams of food per day at 7.5 lbs.

This is how I calculate and buy everything:
Monthly total:
2139 grams total
213.9 grams chicken carcass
105 grams of organs x2
1711.2 grams of muscle meat

3 Day Portions: 207 grams, 10 grams x2 of each organ, ~20 grams of chicken carcass

I hope that helps :)

and yes, it costs me about the same, if not less, to feed raw.
 

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Not to belabor the point, but from a purely economic view, I don't see how home-prepared "human food" can cost less then normal kibble (even pricey kibble) unless someone has a source for free/super cheap meat. Maybe it's a better-quality food, maybe the dog has special dietary needs, maybe the homemade diet is cheaper than prescription kibble, maybe you're saving a bundle on vet bills so it's worth it, maybe you don't notice the price if you buy it along with the other human food. . .there are lots of reasons a homemade diet might be the better choice. But purely economically speaking I don't know how it's possible for it to be the less expensive choice. I've crunched the numbers and I can't make it work no matter what.
 

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Not to belabor the point, but from a purely economic view, I don't see how home-prepared "human food" can cost less then normal kibble (even pricey kibble) unless someone has a source for free/super cheap meat. Maybe it's a better-quality food, maybe the dog has special dietary needs, maybe the homemade diet is cheaper than prescription kibble, maybe you're saving a bundle on vet bills so it's worth it, maybe you don't notice the price if you buy it along with the other human food. . .there are lots of reasons a homemade diet might be the better choice. But purely economically speaking I don't know how it's possible for it to be the less expensive choice. I've crunched the numbers and I can't make it work no matter what.
Well a bag of good quality kibble (Orijen, Acana, Fromm) that lasts me approximately 40 days costs $25-30. 60 days' worth of raw costs me $40... sooo it does. You have to factor in the processing costs + tax. We get taxed approximately 15% on sales, and there are no taxes on fresh foods and bread. Soo yeah... costs me less.
 

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That's awesome. I'll need to grill you sometime about it (still trying to find a way to incorporate home-prepared food for the cats). Of course, 15% off the top would be helpful (tax is the same for everything here)!
 

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The chicken ribs the dogs get are free. I pay $1 a pound for bone in chicken breast and do that super easy boning myself. The boned chicken breast cost twice as much at the store. We love braising pork shoulder and it cost half as much to get bone in as boneless. Dogs get that bone. We cannot eat that bone and would buy it anyway. We don't eat enough beef and lamb and my dogs eat more the amount a child would eat daily and we are very unlikely to eat liver and kidney so that part of the diet costs money.

Taquitos, shouldn't the weight of the chicken carcass be double the weight of bone needed? I figure it is about half bone, not all bone. I should be using grams too, both dogs eat 1.5-2 ounces per meal but I probably would be better off in grams so fluffy Ginger and ribby Bucky are getting what they need.
 

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The chicken ribs the dogs get are free. I pay $1 a pound for bone in chicken breast and do that super easy boning myself. The boned chicken breast cost twice as much at the store. We love braising pork shoulder and it cost half as much to get bone in as boneless. Dogs get that bone. We cannot eat that bone and would buy it anyway. We don't eat enough beef and lamb and my dogs eat more the amount a child would eat daily and we are very unlikely to eat liver and kidney so that part of the diet costs money.

Taquitos, shouldn't the weight of the chicken carcass be double the weight of bone needed? I figure it is about half bone, not all bone. I should be using grams too, both dogs eat 1.5-2 ounces per meal but I probably would be better off in grams so fluffy Ginger and ribby Bucky are getting what they need.
I don't know, the carcass I get is pretty bony -- I would definitely not say it's 50% bone only... The chicken wings I get are 46% bone I would not compare that to being similar to chicken carcass at all. I give a little bit more than the amount that I calculated but I pretty much feed to weight.
 

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I thought beef ribs were mostly bone but I weighed before and after the dog ate the meat off, they are about half bone so I figure chicken ribs to be about the same. I am not trying to skin off every last bit of meat though, too lazy!
 

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I thought beef ribs were mostly bone but I weighed before and after the dog ate the meat off, they are about half bone so I figure chicken ribs to be about the same. I am not trying to skin off every last bit of meat though, too lazy!
Yah, but that's wet weight (with either chicken or beef ribs). If you extract the water, bone dominates. Also, you need to consider fat content.
When I had a cheap source of chicken frames (in Australia) the thing that bothered me about them was the big globs of fat attached to the skin. Unless you remove that fat, I'm sure most of the calories in the frames were coming from fat. And the dogs poop turned hard and white . . . who knows what that much bone does?

No way you can get bone in chicken breast around here for $1/lb. Sometimes you can get legs at $5 for a 10 lb bag. But of all the bones in a chicken, the femur is the one I'm least comfortable feeding to a dog.
 
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