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Is Raw Dog Food More Expensive Than Dry/Kibble Dog Food?

Barkin Bistro Dog Eating Raw Food Min

This is a big subject, folks, and here at barkinBISTRO, we get asked this on a daily basis!  As fresh raw feeding becomes more popular for our furry friends, we wish to embrace this as folk are learning so much about their own diet and how important it is to avoid processed diets at all costs.

We thought it would be helpful to write an article and explain a little more information about dog food, raw and dry and our belief in a fresh, species-appropriate diet for our pups.  

What is raw dog food?

Raw dog food consists of raw muscle meat, organ meats, ground bone, vegetables and fruit suitable for dogs.  Premade fresh raw food is based on the diet we believe our dogs would choose to eat if left to their own devices or in the wild and is approximately made up of

  • 70%-80% muscle meat including heart and tripe
  • 5%-10% offal including liver, kidney, spleen and pancreas
  • 5%-15% vegetables and fruit
  • 10%-20% ground bone

Our pets are designed to eat fresh raw food. They would not be seen grazing in fields of rice!  Their digestive systems are designed for raw food, and they can digest these foods more easily than they can processed food. Dogs have powerful, hinged jaws along with canines and triangular-shaped carnassial teeth designed to rip and tear the meat off bones, plus crush the bone itself.  Sometimes they may choose to eat a few berries and fruit, if in season, or eat the contents of the stomach of their prey, which would be partially digested green plant matter and a few seeds and nuts.

Simple, easy, logical, healthy food for your furry friend.

How is raw food made?

Raw food is made using large machines which grind the bones (to avoid any sharpness). The meat, offal, and vegetables are then added (in some diets), having been minced to make up the diet.  The food is then put into tubs or chubbs (depending on the manufacturer) and into blast freezers, where they are frozen to approximately -24.

This food is safely manufactured, and the freezing is to kill any potential parasites – check out RawSafe  www.rfvs.info for extra safety and information via the RFVS (Raw Feeding Veterinary Society). We have also written an article that discusses further Raw Feeding and Safety.

What is dry/kibble food?

Kibble and dry food is made with a large number of carbohydrates such as grains, rice, sugar beet pulp, peas etc., and is normally sold as “Dog Food with Chicken/Duck/Lamb” The ingredients in an expensive well-known range are:

  • Maize
  • Pea bran meal
  • Chicken and turkey meal
  • Maize gluten meal
  • Digest
  • Dried beet pulp
  • Animal fat
  • Cellulose
  • Vegetable oil
  • Minerals
  • Flaxseed
  • Cartilage hydrolysate (source of chondroitin sulphate)
  • Crustation shell hydrolysate (source of glucosamine)

There is approximately 4% “meat meal” in most kibble and dry dog food, which can be broken down into anything from feet/feathers/fat etc. and is certainly not protein, muscle meat, and offal that we believe your pup needs to maintain a healthy life and wellbeing.

How is kibble made?

Kibble is made using a process called ‘extrusion’.  The process of making kibble is to gather all the raw materials, which consist of meat, fat, grains, rice etc.  Kibble needs starch to bind it together, and these starches can be lentils, rice or potatoes; sadly, dogs have no requirement for starchy carbs in their diets.

The kibble is then rendered, which means the by-products, also known as waste animal tissue are turned into ‘usable’ materials for pet food.  These by-products can come from slaughterhouses, expired meat from supermarkets, restaurant grease etc. The rendering process is to dry all the materials to separate the fat and water from meat solids.  The ingredients are then cooked to very high temperatures to become ‘meat meal’, one of the main ingredients in kibble.

After rendering, the wet and dry materials are mixed together to form a consistency of dough which is put into a machine called an ‘expander’ that uses hot water or pressurised steam to cook the dough. The dough then goes through little holes to make kibble.

The kibble is then spun through a revolving drum and is sprayed with fats, colours, synthetic vitamins, minerals and flavours.

It is also worth noting that there are safety risks involving dry/kibble food for dogs. Bacteria, mycotoxins and salmonella are often found in dry dog food, along with storage mites that can live in the grain (even after cooking at high temperatures). Some pups can develop a hypersensitivity to storage mites that often result in ear infections, hair loss, itchy, inflamed skin and gut issues.

What’s to like here folks?

So we have touched on what exactly the two foods are; now, folks, let’s do some price comparisons.

Cost of fresh raw dog food vs dry/kibble dog food

Clearly, the cost of the food you buy for your pup has to suit your budget.  We do, however, believe that if you choose a healthier option, such as fresh raw food for your pup, you are less likely to incur large vet bills through bad nutrition, something we are seeing far too often at barkinBISTRO.  Like you, your pup needs good nutrition for good health, and the benefits of a fresh raw diet include:

  • Fresher breath
  • Clean teeth
  • Shiny coat
  • No ‘doggy’ smells
  • Less poop to pick up

The same cannot be said for dry/kibble food, and here at barkinBISTRO, we are seeing a lot of pups with poor dental health.  We believe this to be down to a high carbohydrate diet such as kibble.  As kibble is mainly made up of carbohydrates, these turn to sugar, and we all know what sugar does to our teeth, folks, let alone our guts; plus, it is more addictive than cocaine! Poor dental health can lead to serious health issues in time.

Dog food is one of the largest annual expenses you have when owning a pup, so it is important here, folks, to do the research and know exactly what goes into your dog’s food bowl.

An adult 10kg dog will need approximately 200 grams of food daily.  See the chart below which we have based around two brands of food. These figures are in pounds and based on a 28-day month. The Raw is based on our barkinBISTRO Raw Lamb Complete food (£6.63 per kilo), and the dry/kibble is based on Orijen Original (£13.02 per kilo).

RawAmount  of food per dayCost per dayKibbleAmount of food per dayCost per dayMonthly Cost RawMonthly Cost Kibble
10kg dog200 grms1.31 10kg dog200 grams2.60 36.7872.83
20kg dog400 grms2.6320kg dog400 grams5.2073.54145.63
30kgdog600 grms3.9430kg dog600 grams7.80110.34218.48
40kg dog800 grms5.2540kg dog800 grams5.74147.09160.76
50kg dog1 kg6.5750kg dog1 kg10.35183.90300.02
60kg dog1.2 kg7.8860kg dog1.2kg13.00220.55363.90

The benefits of a fresh raw diet for dogs

The benefits are numerous folks. Most people never look back when they change to more biologically appropriate food for their pups.  The benefits mean your pup will thrive on the foods he was designed to eat.

  • You will be likely to have a well-licked and clean bowl every time you feed (although we always recommend washing the bowl in hot soapy water)
  • You will know they are getting the right nutrients in their diet
  • Rotating the proteins keeps your pup interested in food

The only downside we can think of is that you need to remember to get the food out of the freezer in time to feed your pup!

The benefits of a dry/kibble diet

At barkinBISTRO, we believe our customers need to have a choice in what they feed their pups. In all honesty, we would rather our customers feed a ‘species-appropriate’ fresh food diet to their pups, and as the above chart proves, it is NOT more expensive. 

A well-known brand of cheap kibble (Bakers Complete) came out at £2.76 per kilo, and for a 10kg dog eating 200 grams per day would cost £15.36 per month, less than half the cost of raw, but in our opinion, nutritionally deficient.

Dry or Raw – The Science behind the Debate – Feeding Dogs

For anyone wishing to know more about the science behind this subject, we highly recommend you read Dr Conor Brady’s fantastic book – Feeding Dogs. Here you can delve into highly researched evidence and science in a comprehensively and meticulously written book with easy-to-read ‘take home’ pages at the end of every chapter. 

Conclusion

We were surprised at our findings of costs here, folks.  We thought that comparing the cost of fresh raw food with the cost of a bag of cereal-based food would be a non-starter, as pound-for-pound meat is much more expensive than grain.

Remember that your pup does not have typical molars for grinding plant materials or a four-chamber stomach for the slow digestion and fermentation process of complex carbohydrates.  Your pup is designed to eat the animals that eat those foods. Nature is clever, and so is your pup.