By Kelly Bentley, Veterinary Technician
It’s hard to argue that offering a fresh raw diet is the best option when feeding our pets. A beautiful coat, pearly white teeth, fresh breath, more energy and less poop are some of the invaluable benefits. However, there can be a bit of sticker shock to some, especially when first starting out. Don’t fret – there are ways, even when feeding a raw diet, to reduce food costs.
1. Buy in Bulk
With Big Country Raw products, your best cost per pound will be in our Grab N Go and NEW XL boxes. A Grab N Go is a variety box with a pre-set mix of proteins and come in both 12lb (1lb vacuum sealed packs) and 18lb (2lb containers) boxes. Your pet’s weight and your personal packaging preference will determine which you choose. There are many options, depending on whether you prefer thaw and serve Dinner formulas, or if you prefer to add your own supplements to our Pure and Blend formulas. Coming soon are our new XL 24lb Boxes that contain 4lb tubs, and will have only one base protein in a chunkier grind – chicken, turkey or beef. These will be a fantastic option for large breeds or multiple dog households. Please note XL is not recommended for dogs under 25lbs due to its chunky texture.
2. Saving on Supplements
Who doesn’t like to keep things simple? Our Dinner formulas are NRC complete with our recommendation of an added omega. This saves on having to add additional supplements to make Pure, Blend or even DIY diets balanced. Another option would be to simply add whole foods such as sardines, salmon fillets, herring, Pure Salmon or Fish Dinner to eliminate having to supplement with an omega oil. Tip: Freezing Pure Salmon or Fish Dinner into treat molds is a great way to portion out smaller amounts!
3. Add Ingredients From the Fridge
Feeling creative? Want to work on your plating skills for an audience that won’t judge? Many items in your fridge (and a few from your pantry) are safe for pets!
– Fruit and veggies such as broccoli, carrots, berries, zucchini, apples and avocado flesh. (With the exception of onions, grapes, raisins, unripe tomatoes and rhubarb. Be sure to remove any pits).
– Dairy products such as plain yogurt and cottage cheese.
– Eggs that are raw or cooked.
– Soaked oats or chia seeds.
*If you don’t know if a food is safe for your pet, it’s best to avoid until you’ve asked your veterinarian or a canine nutritionist.
4. Budget Friendly Proteins
Many people will try to avoid common proteins like poultry and beef for fear of allergies. With their lower cost, these have typically been the proteins of choice for kibble manufacturers for decades. It’s not uncommon that pets are actually reacting to other fillers and preservatives that are present in kibble and not the protein itself. If you are switching to a raw diet and suspect protein allergies it is very easy to avoid poultry and beef. However, once the allergy symptoms have resolved, you can definitely try adding in some budget friendly proteins and see what happens – you may be surprised about how well it goes!
5. In-Store Loyalty Program
Many of our retail partners offer a Loyalty Program of Buy 12 Get 1 FREE! This applies to our 4lb cartons, Grab N Go’s, CookHouse Meatloaf and Fare Game. This program works out to be an 8% savings, so don’t forget to ask your local retailer!
(Not available online through the BCR website).
6. Eliminating Vet Bills
When starting on your raw journey, especially if your pet has specific (and often costly) dietary needs, it can be overwhelming! However, what we feed our pets dictates their overall health. Feeding a fresh diet that is void of questionable ingredients will result in a healthier pet and fewer trips to the vet! Often times pets with allergies can come off of medication, chronic digestive upset will disappear, and old age related illnesses may be avoided. Less vet visits will ultimately save your bank account and prevent a lot of stress for both you and your pet.
We all want our pets to live their best lives, and we hope some of these cost saving tips will help you find the perfect balance!