By Undercooked - 24/09/2013 19:08 - Canada - Mississauga
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58 - I worked in the pet food industry for ten years. My dog eats local raw and homemade treats now. Good reason. He's six and he looks and acts barely two, perfect teeth, beautiful coat, never any health problems. I'm a vegetarian with more meat in her freezer than most omnivores...
72 - Not really! Depends on the size of the dog and how you go about doing it. My dog is about 25lbs (up to 30lbs in winter, he gets tubby around Christmas because Mom always gives him the turkey necks, giblets and extra bits from meat she trims to freeze for winter, and whatever goodies he mooches from guests). I was buying a 15lb bag of Orijen a month (roughly $53) when I first got him. I spend around $60/month on raw, and I get fancier stuff because I'm too lazy to cut things up myself. Chicken necks from the grocery store need trimming, but go for less than a buck a pound here. If you have a good local butcher then you can often get off-cuts of beef or lamb for cheap. Then you'd need a little extra muscle meat and some organ meat (the 80/10/10 meat/bone/organ ratio is pretty easy to follow, the diet has to have some fat in it too though). Not terribly much more expensive than quality dog food, just takes a bit more time to hunt down and prepare, especially if you have larger dogs. One local raw food producer here makes giant rolls of frozen ground raw, which are pretty inexpensive compared to the patties/containers of local ground that I buy, but need to be cut into smaller pieces because unless you have three Great Danes or Newfs, no dog will eat it before it goes bad once thawed. It's not cheaper than the grocery store swill, but I save mountains in vet bills. Teeth cleaning alone would cost about a grand to do if he were eating cheap vet swill, he gets rabies vaccine every three years, Lyme isn't endemic in my city so we don't do that, kennel cough isn't necessary unless you kennel your dog, and most other vaccines really only need to be done every 4-6 years. I get a blood test for heartworm at the beginning and end of season, because the treatment for heartworm is the same as the prevention and is both expensive and toxic, and he's never had it because he's thick coated and I use mosquito repellent. Never had fleas, either. I don't pay for grooming, his coat is so gorgeous that he really only needs a bath twice a year when he's blowing it so I do it myself (Border Collie). So food and poop bags are really his only expenses, he likes snacks like carrots, cucumbers and bananas, and the squishy berries that we don't want to eat, so I only make liver treats once a year and freeze them. :)