Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Dog Food?

Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Dog Food?

Home-cooked meals have a world of benefits for our furry best friends. They can offer a more exciting diet that is rich in high-quality ingredients that are free from dangerous preservatives. Fresh home-cooked meals can support our dogs’ health in ways so many commercial foods fail to. Giving them shiny coats, healthy doses of energy, and the foundation needed for a long and healthy life. 

But giving your dog homemade dog food doesn’t just have benefits for them. Did you know that creating meals for your dog at home can save you money?! For example, you can buy high quality ingredients at your very own local grocery store to make your own homemade dog food for as low as $1.81 per pound compared to store bought fresh dog food which can come out to $10+ per pound.

Now, we do need to be honest! While it’s often cheaper to make your own dog food, the time, energy, and commitment required can easily counteract the savings. So what’s the answer? Thankfully, with countertop dog food makers like ChefPaw, you can affordably create your dog’s food at home without spending hours in the kitchen or becoming a whiz in pet nutrition. 

The Origins Of Dog Food

Before we dive more into how ChefPaw can create healthier and more affordable meals for your dog while doing all the major work for you, let’s look at the history of our dogs’ diet. 

Our dogs are keen hunters and brilliant scavengers. Not only did this encourage early interaction with humans who would feed them their scraps, but it also gave these ancestral dogs a large and diverse diet. While once enjoying diverse meals for thousands of years, by the 20th century, the average dog's diet consisted of meals created from just a handful of the same ingredients. 

Foods like dog biscuits, dog bread, canned food, etc., did serve their purpose, allowing dog owners during the Great Depression to continue caring for their dogs with cheaper meals that had longer shelf lives. While they have overstayed their welcome, they have seen improvements, starting in the early 1960s when the first pet food that was specifically formulated for the unique nutritional needs of puppies was introduced. 

Today, we are finally seeing these inferior diets diminish in popularity thanks to fresh diets that can be easily and affordably made at home. Fresh diets that avoid the many pitfalls of the raw diet, which is also created at home. Raw diets are notorious for their high costs due to their reliance on specialty and harder-to-find ingredients.

A Dog’s Unique Dietary Needs

While our dogs enjoy pretty much all the same foods we do, which makes homemade meals so exciting because they give our dogs back the diet they’ve enjoyed until very recently, dogs have different nutrient requirements. In particular, a greater need for calcium and some other minerals. This is why, while many veterinarians love the idea of homemade meals, they tend to prefer specifically formulated commercial foods. So what’s the answer? 

This brings us back to ChefPaw. The dog food maker that not only creates more affordable meals without you spending hours in the kitchen on prep, cooking, and cleaning, but its nutrient analyzer solves the nutrient deficiency issues all too often seen with homemade dog foods. 

4 Pro Tips For When Cooking for Dogs

Creating your dog’s food for them at home is a great way to give them healthier meals that cost less than inferior commercial brands. And by following a few simple pro tips, we can elevate these meals even more. 

1. Unsafe Ingredients 

Compared to our loveable cats, who thrive on carnivore-based diets, our dogs are very much omnivores like us, and there is a much greater overlap of the foods we eat that they can too. 

However, macadamia nuts, chocolate, tea, coffee, raisins, grapes, onions, or excessive amounts of garlic should all be off the table. With nutritional information on 1000+ dog-friendly foods and a large library of complete and balanced recipes, ChefPaw will help ensure you don’t give your dog unsafe ingredients. 

2. Food safety

Just because a food item has been marked safe for our dogs to eat, doesn’t mean it can be given willy-nilly. Raw foods, especially meats, can make our dogs very sick, as they can be contaminated with bacteria, parasites, and other food-borne pathogens. While our dogs have some slight additional protections against these nasties compared to us, they are always susceptible to them. Then, another concern is that constant exposure to them increases the risk of antibiotic-resistant E. coli. 

By gently cooking your dog’s food, not only does ChefPaw pretty much eliminate these contamination risks, but it promotes better nutrient retention, so your dog can enjoy the maximum amount of nutrients their fresh food can offer. 

3. Best Ingredients 

Due to allergies, the best ingredients for one dog may not be appropriate for another dog. This is one of the reasons why ChefPaw’s pre-programmed recipes can be customized — even if it’s just switching out a single ingredient for another. This way you don’t have to pay for the extra costs that often come when paying for specialty allergy-based commercial dog foods.

In general, homemade meals should feature a high-value protein source. While meat is greatly preferred here, yogurt, eggs, and cottage cheese are excellent additions and may be able to replace meat if needed due to allergy concerns, etc. Speaking of meat, while a dog’s diet shouldn’t contain too much fat, it’s essential for hormone production, and everything from eggs to fatty fish are excellent options. Carbohydrates high in fiber, like leafy greens and sweet potatoes, will help round out the rest of a dog’s diet. 

Supplements are an essential component of a homemade diet, and many pet parents rely on fish oil and multivitamins high in calcium for that. Just as ChefPaw will help ensure your dog is getting the right macronutrients, it will analyze all the micronutrients your dog requires based on their age, weight, etc. 

4. Storing Homemade Dog Food 

When looking to save even more money by creating your own dog food vs. buying commercially, it’s essential you’re properly storing the food. Freshly created meals typically last between 3-7 days, depending on the recipe’s ingredients. BPA-free plastic containers and glass jars are excellent options for short-term storage. But little beats a vacuum sealer that can preserve the meals 3 to 5 times longer, especially when freezing them. 

How To Make Homemade Dog Food 

In the past, slower cookers, pressure cookers, and stove top methods, such as boiling and pan frying, were popular ways to make homemade dog food. However, these tools of the trade require a lot from you, as you’ll have to do all the prep work and constantly monitor the cooking process. Then you’re left with a lot of dishes. Not great, right?! 

With durable mixing blades that easily handle whole cuts of meat and tough vegetables, ChefPaw mixes and cooks the meals in a single batch. All you need to do is adjust the mixing speed if needed after the first 10 minutes. Then you’re free, so go have a nice bath, doom scroll social media, or try picking up that new book for the third time. 

In just 40 minutes, your dog will have a fresh and specially formulated meal that’s been gently cooked to perfection. The only cleaning you need to do is simply add 1 drop of dish soap and water, then activate the self clean mode. Lastly, all you have to do is rinse out the bowl. 

Final Thoughts: Is Cooking Your Dog’s Food Worth it? 

Even when compared to some bottom-of-the-barrel commercial dog foods, the average pet parent will find they save considerable money by making their dog’s food for them at home. Meals made with human-grade ingredients that support our dogs’ health in ways most commercial foods can’t. 

When creating meals for your dog, make sure you are utilizing grocery store deals and incorporating ingredients you bought for yourself, but aren’t sure you’ll want to eat them before they expire. ChefPaw is great for making dog food in batches, so follow our tips for proper storing to get the most out of ChefPaw. By providing your dog with healthier meals that support their health, from their coat health to their general health, ChefPaw has the potential to keep several expensive bills away from your wallet. Creating your dog’s meals for them at home has always been a great way to save money, but in the past, the time, energy, and commitment required largely erased that. With ChefPaw those issues are eliminated, allowing pet parents everywhere to finally enjoy the money they save when making their own dog food.

Back to blog