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The other day I received an email from a new raw feeding who didn't know where to find raw dog food. Ohhhh, this brought back memories. When I started feeding raw, I had no idea where to begin. It never occurred to me that I could find raw at local pet stores or that I could make the meals myself.
If this sounds like you, then here is a short list of places where you can find either commercial (pre-made) raw dog food or ingredients for DIY raw feeding.
1 – Shop for Raw Dog Food Online
The first place I went when I was new to raw feeding was the Internet. I quickly saw that it’s expensive to have frozen food shipped to your door, especially when you have several dogs. But there are some ways to save money.
Raw Paws Pet Food is as close to one-stop shopping as you can get. They offer complete recipes, supplemental feeding recipes, raw meaty bones, recreational bones, treats, and more. But what sets them aside is that they offer discounts. Sign up for their newsletter to be the first to learn about upcoming sales.
Darwin’s Natural Pet Food is another pet food company that delivers to your door. When I started feeding raw, I started with Darwin’s Pet and I’m glad that I did. Starting with a premed raw service allowed me to switch my dogs to a healthier diet while giving me the time to research what I needed to transition to DIY.
2 – Shop for Raw Dog Food at Local, Independent Pet Stores
A local, independent pet store should be in every raw feeder’s tool box. These stores allow us to pick up food between orders, the employees are knowledgeable about healthier diets, and the owners bring in amazing cool foods and treats to try out.
But that’s not the best thing about independent pet stores.
The store owners that I’ve met over the years are very knowledgeable about the pet food industry, so not only can I count on the food in their stores being high quality, if a brand makes a change to their food – the pet store owner is going to be in the know.
Although the big chain pet stores have raw, they don’t sell brands that I feel comfortable feeding to my dogs.
3 – Look for a Raw Food Co-Op in Your Area
A raw food co-op is an organization that allows members to order in bulk and take advantage of lower prices. I belong to a local raw food co-op and it has helped me save so much money. Through our co-op, I’m able to get ingredients for DIY raw feeding, commercial raw, and more. A lot more. So this is where I do the bulk of my shopping.
Besides the lower prices, a raw food co-op is a community of local, like-minded pet parents and a valuable resource if you’re new to raw feeding or an experienced raw feeder.
4 – Butchers are Starting to Make Raw Dog Food
Several years ago, I began seeing pet food on the “menu” for local butchers. I guess enough dog owners stopped by the butcher to ask about raw dog food, bone shavings, and random cuts of organ meat that business owners began to see a new market. Not all butchers offer raw dog food, but if you can find a quality butcher, you may score on an 80/10/10 diet. If your butcher doesn’t offer this, then ask if it’s something they’d consider. You never know.
Your butcher may be able to get trim, organ meat, bones, and bone dust at an affordable cost.
5 – Search for Raw Dog Food at Local Farms/Farmer’s Market
Do you live in a rural community? If yes, visit a few local farms to see if they offer raw dog food. I have friends who raise their own animals and they give me the organ meat for free. I’m able to get pasture-raised, organic eggs, fresh vegetables, and more from local farms. What I love is that this is all superior food so I know my dogs are getting the best.
6 – Ethnic Stores Have the Best Ingredients for DIY Raw Feeders
There is an amazing Asian market in our area that has amazing cuts of meat, fish, fresh vegetables, and more. When I make a trip to the market, I have to block out a few hours because it takes me a while to check out everything available. I usually stop by an Asian market every other month to buy food for my dogs.
Many of the foods that are a mainstay in a raw fed dog's diet are no longer available at the grocery store, but they are available in the ethnic markets: beef tongue, pork kidneys, quail eggs, and more. And the vegetables are so fresh.
7 – Discount or Salvage Grocery Store
And, finally, if you have a discount grocery store in your area, check it out. I have a friend who is able to score carts full of prime cuts of meat for a low low price shopping at these stores. I haven’t had the same luck at our local stores, but I do visit them a couple of times a year to stock up on chicken hearts that I dehydrate to make dog treats.