I am seriously considering going with raw food option for Dexter.
Here is him trying it for the first time… To say the least, it was a success
It has been 3 days and we are doing kibble (Taste of the Wild Salmon) in the morning and raw Bravo Turkey Blend in the evening as a transition process. I do see qualities of raw food that many people speak of. Dexter’s stool is more solid and he is drinking less water after he eats raw. There hasn’t been enough time yet to make a better evaluation, but so far there has been no negative side effects.
However, an important aspect of going with raw (pre-manufactured, not home-made) option is the cost. Especially for a large breed it could be substantial even with kibble, but raw comes out even more.
Here is a breakdown of costs kibble vs raw:
Taste of the Wild Salmon 30 Lb = 120 cups $40.79 s/h http://amzn.com/B0018CIP6K
According to the manufacturer, Dexter requires at the age of 6-12 weeks about 2 and 1/2 cups a day. As an adult at the weight of 110 lb, he will require about 5 cup per day.
Thus, simple math shows that a 30 lb bag would last me about 48 days now and about 24 days when he is an adult. The cost of feeding is about $1 a day now and about $1.70 later.
Bravo Original Formula Turkey Blend from PetFoodDirect.com 2lb Chub $6.01 s/h
According to the manufacturer, Dexter requires at this age about 0.56 lb a day. As an adult, at the weight of 110 lb, he will require about 2.5 lb per day average.
Thus, same period as a bag of food would last me, raw food for Dexter would cost me about $80 ($1.66 per day) and about $180 (about $7.50 per day) when he is fully grown
So the cost of raw food is about double the price for the puppy (or small dog) and almost 4.5 times more for an adult large breed (Cane Corso) dog.
48 days of food for puppy
Dry high end kibble food – $40.79 (aprox. $1/day)
Bravo Raw – $80 (aprox. $1.66/day)
24 days of food for adult
Dry high end kibble food – $40.79 (aprox. $1.70/day)
Bravo Raw – $180 (aprox. $7.50/day)
Obviously, it is a lot more expensive to feed raw, especially for an adult large mastiff breed. If raw food delivers all the health benefits claimed by pro raw food community, then the argument is easily won for the favor of raw diet. The vet bills to deal with skin, coat, allergy and digestive issues can be very high. Many dogs with food allergies end up on special vet diets, which can be nearly as expensive as raw.
Aside the costs, dogs health and well-being is a major concern and if raw will prevent all of the above mentioned health issues then, again, the pro-raw argument is easily no-brainer.
I am not arguing here one way or the other. There are great quality kibble foods out there (nearly 100% grain free; grain is usually one of the main concerns in kibble food). I think a conclusive ruling on raw vs kibble is still out there. I am leaning towards raw.
Raw also presents a storage issue as it requires fridge space which can be difficult if you live in an apartment (like I do) and do not have space for extra fridge. I will have to buy a mini-fridge to store food for Dexter.
Here is an article from WebMD discussing raw diet for dogs.
I would love to hear back from people about their raw vs kibble experiences and opinions.