On Saving on Dog Food Expenses: DIY or Buy?

I was interested in knowing whether I would save making my own dog food versus buying dry and wet food. At an approximate, I spend $60 per month typically on dry and wet food combined, the majority of which is on dry food. So for the month of November, I took on another challenge, on top of my Thankfulness Challenge and Declutter Challenge. I wanted to see if making my own dog food will be more beneficial to my budget and for our German Shepherd Dog. The result is pretty interesting. Read more below.

Background info before I start the breakdown

  • I buy Grain Free Wellness 30 lb bag dry food for our GSD previous, which is just above $50/bag. (Not a sponsored post.)
  • I had to wean him off the dry food leading to the month of November before feeding him 100% home cooked meals the whole month of November.
  • I did not seek the help of my Vet, just did research on my own online. (If you are attempting to do the same, do what you are comfortable with. Seek help from professional if you are more comfortable before proceeding.)
  • Our GSD eats 2x a day, morning and night. (Though he definitely prefers to eat all day.)
  • I typically give him 1 cup dry food and 1/2 cup peas each meal (At the advice of my vet because he’s getting a little chunky. A chunky large breed dog is not good with reference to hip dysplasia.)
  • I also give him fish oil with each meal (Also at the advice of our vet.)

My DIY Dog Food Breakdown

  • 3/4 cup pulled baked/boiled meat (I used both Chicken and Turkey)
  • 1/2 mashed vegetables
  • 1/4 frozen peas (Our Vet said this is a great addition to meals for practically no calories)
  • 1/4 cup no spice chicken broth to keep it moist (made from boiling the meat I used)
  • 1 Fish Oil Capsule

The total monthly expense

2 Whole Turkey + 2 Whole Purdue Chicken = $20

4 Bags Frozen Green Beans + 5 lb Sweet Potatoes + 5 lb Yellow Potatoes = $13.13

10 Bags Frozen Peas = $9.50

Total = $42.63

(Savings of $17+.)

How I managed to save on dog expense and tips

  • Looked for sale on meat.
    • I found Walmart has the cheapest per pound cost on whole chicken without any promotional sale, comparing groceries I regulate in our area. (Not a sponsored post.)
    • November also had Turkey sale everywhere and Kroger had Turkey promotional sale for $0.37/lb. I bought 2 because I know I will be using it. A $20 turkey only cost me $5 each. (I will likely do the same for this month if I chance upon it again to continue the savings.)

How our GSD reacted to the change

  • He absolutely loved it! And begs for more. Mealtime, he is there, did not lag and smell his food and leave like he started doing with his dry food. If we falter even a few minutes in giving him his food, he is all up in our face to let us know he’s hungry. He knows exactly what he’s getting because it smells delicious. (Side note: his food is people friendly, probably no taste though since it’s prepared without spices.)

What does cooking my own dog food entail:

  • I had to keep an eye for sale.
  • I either boiled or baked the meat, without any spices, and saved some of the broth to include with each meal.
  • I also boiled the vegetable in the broth once the meat is done and mashed it. I use a pasta pot so all I have to do is pull it out of the broth without scooping it all out or using a separate strainer.
  • I had to cool the meat before I can pull it apart.
  • I discarded the skin, fat, and bone.
  • I bought reusable containers to meal plan. All I had to do is microwave the meal and serve.
  • I freeze some of the meals, to avoid spoiling, because I do prepare quite a big batch, and thaw it in the fridge the day before to give time to soften.
  • Making my own dog food required space both in the fridge and freezer. (Good thing I decluttered my kitchen.)

Final words

Because I can see how excited our GSD is about his food and because it did save me this month, I will continue on making his meals from scratch at home. I will definitely keep at eye on it and see if it affects him any differently; but, from what I can see, he’s doing well and so I will continue on this DIY dog food expense project to save on cost. I am also thinking of adding multivitamins in his diet. I will research a little which is a good choice to try. I will also try other meats for him to try, when at a budget-friendly price, of course.

It takes a little bit of planning and prepping but once it is all packed, I just microwave the meal each time before serving and he loves it. I also love that there is no guessing in feeding measurement for the whole fam when it’s feeding time for our GSD, everything is already packed and ready.

I plan to use a more varied type of vegetables in the mix as well. For this first trial, I wanted to make sure I use safe vegetables for him. I will have to do a little more research which is dog-friendly.

If you have tips to keep our dog healthy on a fresh food meal plan, do give me some tips on the comment below.

Until next time.