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Although I'm not the only blogger who writes regularly about raw feeding, I'm one of the few who regularly posts reviews about raw dog food.  My goal is to help raise awareness of raw, help change the opinion that raw feeding is a “trendy new diet.”

That changed when a raw food brand that is charging $15/pound for a protein that I can get for $5/pound told me that what people can afford depends on their priorities.  .

"The one thing I've learned in years of working in marketing many different kinds of products is that what people can “afford” depends a lot on their priorities."

Whawhawhaaattttt?.

Are you saying that my dogs aren't a priority, because I won't pay for raw dog food that is priced 200% higher than what I currently pay?

I'm more than positive that this isn't the message the brand was trying to convey; maybe the person was saying that if I cut back on other expenses, I'd be able to afford their expensive food.  It's obvious that I'm not the brand's target audience, and I don't think my readers are either.

Personally, unless the food is 100% balanced, arrives at my door, and someone stops by to pick up and analyze our dogs' poop – giving me a weekly status report – the food is too expensive.

25 Ways I Prioritize My Dogs

  1. I spend an inordinate amount of time researching everything so that I can give our dogs the best life.
  2. We have two freezers dedicated to their food.
  3. I blog about my dogs' raw food diet and health.
  4. I travel to expos and tradeshows in search of products that would be perfect for my dogs.
  5. I spend at least two hours weekly making dog food.
  6. Some days, I'm a short order cook, because of Rodrigo's food allergies.
  7. Our dogs have two animal communicators; just in case, they have something to say.
  8. Our dogs have two main vets, and I consult with three other vets.
  9. When we have a windstorm, I sleep on the sofa with Rodrigo (he's scared).
  10. When we have a power outage, I allow Rodrigo and Zoey to crawl into my lap; that's 120+ pounds of dog.
  11. I take our dogs to the pet store (one at a time) just for fun.
  12. I am a snob about pet stores, because I want only the best for our dogs.
  13. I've negotiated deals with brands so that I can get the best food and treats for our dogs.
  14. I work so hard building my blog, because I want to work from home and be with my dogs.
  15. My mother calls my dogs her grand doggies.
  16. I have a meat grinder and professional knives for raw feeding.
  17. I belong to a raw food co-op.
  18. I make a vegetable and fruit supplement mix for my dogs.
  19. All my friends are dog people just like me.
  20. I spent more than 3 months researching raw before I switched our dogs.
  21. Today, nearly 3 years after switching, I'm still researching their diet.
  22. I pick up poop daily to know how our dogs are doing; in the winter, I'm outside with a headlamp and flashlight.
  23. I make plans around my dogs' schedule.
  24. I attend two online conferences annually to learn more about feeding our dogs.
  25. Rodrigo and Sydney turn 6 today (3/31), and I have a yummy treat for them.

Does Loving a Dog Come Down to Money?

When I can't afford a brand's food, it's because I don't make enough money to justify the price point.  Although my dogs have food allergies, I have access to and can afford the feed a variety of proteins without breaking the bank.  I'm lucky, because there are many people who have had to adjust their priorities to be able to afford novelty proteins not readily available where they live, like brushtail, alligator, kangaroo, goat, quail, pheasant, rabbit, bison, venison, elk, bison, duck, and beaver.

I'm fortunate, because I belong to a local raw food co-op and shop Raw Paws Pet Food; this has given me access to duck, rabbit, goat, quail, bison, venison, and elk for an affordable price (significantly less than $15/pound).  I pay between $2-$5/pound for raw (this includes shipping and tax).

The decision to change my dogs to raw was easy after months of research.  Had my first introduction been at a high price point, I would never have switched, labeling the diet as a “rich man's luxury” and continued feeding a quality kibble.  My raw feeding journey lead me to make many changes, both to my dogs' diet and to other products I buy (treats, shampoo, flea and tick repellent) to raise them naturally.

Would I have made these changes if I had been turned off in the beginning by a high price tag?

I feed my dogs raw, because it's the best for them; not because I'm better than someone who feeds dry dog food.

How to Afford Raw Feeding

One of the coolest things about raw feeding is that you can feed a pack of dogs for less.  Our dogs' diet seems more expensive, because I buy in bulk, and include dog treats, supplies, supplements and more to my budget of $125/month per dog.  

The food alone is a lot less expensive.

I Thought This Was Too Expensive How I Was Able to Save Money
The Honest Kitchen Look for BOGO (buy one, get one free) deals and sign up for their referral program to earn points to use to lower the cost of their products.
Pre-Made Raw Join a raw food co-op that can negotiate deals on bulk orders.
Protein Variety Join a raw food co-op.
Supplements Join a raw food co-op and learn about natural alternatives that are less expensive and more effective than brands.
I Need a Freezer Buy one used on Craigslist or a refurbished one at the Appliance Recycling Outlet.
I Need a Meat Grinder Buy an STX 3000 on eBay or Amazon.com.
I Need Sharper Knives Wait for a distributor booth to be scheduled at Costco; you can save a bundle on knives.
Holistic Vets Are More Expensive You take your dog to the vet less often when they're fed a balanced, raw food diet.

After figuring out how to save money, I wanted to share what I learned so that others could make the switch without breaking the bank too.

If you come across one of these new raw food brands that are charging $10 or more a pound on non-exotic proteins that should cost less than $5 per pound – don't allow them to discourage you.  If you can't afford that food, it's not because you don't prioritize your dog, and it doesn't mean that you can't feed raw dog food.  The food is just too damn expensive.

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