Where can I buy meat for my dogs raw food diet?

by Jamie Dolan on March 24, 2010

Where can I find low cost meat for my dog?

Vasco eating a Chicken Quarter.

Vasco eating a Chicken Quarter.

It really depends on what you consider low cost.  For some people, any grocery store meat is too expensive, if that is the case, your going to have to do a lot more work to hunt down cheap meat.  Many people are able to afford to buy meat at the grocery store for their dog as long as they are somewhat selective about what they buy.  I’ll give some suggestions as to affordable items to look for;

Note: The following information is based upon my knowledge from my local market in the Neenah, WI area.  Prices make vary significantly in different parts of the country.  While this list may give you a place to start, don’t get discouraged if you find prices are different in your area, you may just have to spend a little more time searching for deals.

Chicken Quarters are almost always available for $.59 to $.89 per pound.  These can be a great food and can make up a fairly good portion of your dogs diet.  If you find chicken quarters too fatty for your dog to tolerate, you can simply remove some of the skin.

Turkey.  While a whole turkey can be a bit cumbersome to work with, especially for smaller dogs, if you don’t mind the work of cutting it up, it can be a good value.  Some times of the year I will see turkey priced quite high, however, if I look around a little, I often find a basic un-enhanced turkey available for $.89 per pound.  Again, as with chicken if you find the turkey to be a little too fatty for your dog (causes digestive problems) you can just remove some of the skin.

Beef heart.  In many areas beef heart isn’t that popular for human consumption.  However it is a quality meat and is often in abundance due to it’s limited use by humans.  If you can find a meat market / butcher that is willing to sell you beef heart, you will likely find it for less than $1 a pound.  I’ve heard if it selling for much higher prices in some cities, but in general, I suspect most places will be selling heart for less than $1 a pound.

Beef Roasts.  They are readily available at almost all groceries, most of the time around here, the cheapest beef roast is going to be $2 a pound.  I remember seeing them on sale at $1.50 a pound not that long ago.  They are worth taking a look at in your area.

Pork.  Various cuts of pork are often on sale for $2 or less a pound.  This past week pork butt roasts were on sale for about $1.49 per pound.

Fish.  I rarely find any fish for less than about $3 a pound, but once in a while I found it down around $2 a pound, if it is a decent fish, I will but some at $2.

This is far more work, and the quality isn’t high enough for everyone’s standards, but if you need to find a large amount of really cheap meat, you might not have a lot of other options.  You can search for a rendering plant.  This is where dead animals and by products of meat processing are taken, to be rendered into “meal” that is often used in animal feeds.  Some rendering plants will separate out some of the meat for dog / pet food and keep it unprocessed.  I’ve seen plants like this selling meat for $.29 to $.39 per pound.  You will make to investigate and make the decision if the meat from a plant like this is up to your quality standards.  It will be lower in quality than meat from any store, but some people will be comfortable with this level of quality for their pets.  After all, the majority of the meat at these plants is “rendered” into a meal that is cooked and processed into dog / cat food.

That should give you a good start.  I’ll write another post about idea for finding free meat, again it is more work, but can pay out with large amounts of free food for your animals.

Good Luck!

Jamie Dolan

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