Saving Money on Dog Food: DIY and Don’t Stress

by | Feb 2, 2021 | Nutrition, Recipes

We’re approaching a year in lockdown, and that means many of us are still dealing with the stress of these unprecedented times! At this point, let’s just be honest and blunt to each other. This sucks. The only thing that probably doesn’t suck is our dogs! 

Speaking of dogs – if part of your financial stress comes from trying to provide the best dog food to your furry friend possible, but you’re still feeling strained, know that there are ways to reduce that stress!

I know it’s easier said than done, which is why we will give you some very easy, creative ways to make some small changes that offer big financial stress relief. 

Today, let’s talk about financial stress relief and how to make raising a healthy pet more affordable during times like these!

Here we go!

Become a DIY Queen (or King)!

For us here in Dubai, DIY is honestly a craft that we need to survive. Over here, we just don’t have the abundance of choices that are found in the US. And even if we do, they likely cost us a kidney! 

The great thing is that you can save loads of money by making your own of literally anything.

Larry and I have become extremely creative over the past months. We actually realized that we can save $10 a week by not buying “blueberry yoghurt,” but buying plain yoghurt and a bag of frozen blueberries and mixing those together instead! 

The same goes for dog stuff!

For example, making your own dehydrated treats can literally save you over $100 a month! Of course that depends on the amount of treats that your dog gets, but have a look at this:

Making our own dehydrated grass-fed beef treats costs less than $2.50 for 50g! Compare this to $7-$10 retail price! Keep in mind, Dubai is pretty expensive so your DIY treats will probably be even cheaper than ours! 

Here’s how we do it:

Make Your Own DIY Raw Dog Food!

Of course, making your own raw dog food will also save you loads of money during these difficult times. If you believe that you can’t afford your pre-made raw any longer and you’ll have to switch to dry food, we really recommend trying out DIY raw first and see if that’s more affordable for you. 

The beauty of DIY is that you can literally make it as expensive or as cheap as you like. If you just found an extra $50 bill that you hid under your mattress for difficult times, and that means you can afford organic and grass-fed ingredients this week, then, by all means, go and get organic ingredients!

If you are able to afford conventional veggies and meat, then please know that this is amazing and will definitely reduce the cost of your raw food bill!

Of course, we know that feeding non-organic ingredients to our dogs isn’t the most ideal, but the times that we’re in right now really aren’t ideal either, so please, please, PLEASE don’t beat yourself up! You do the best with what you have! Be proud of that.

When we make our own DIY raw dog food, of course it’s important to have recipes that you trust are “complete and balanced”. To make it easier for you, check out our awesome “Flavors of the Middle East” recipe for you! This will definitely lower your food bill and also introduce some flavorful middle eastern spices into your dog’s life which we hear works wonders! This is a recipe we created with the help of Emma Rutherford from the Natural Canine Kitchen and we recorded the video for it with Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Becker at the Creator’s Lounge in Canada last year! 

Here are some other great ways to reduce your financial stress:

• See if you can bulk order ingredients and split them with your raw feeding friends

• Contact your local butcher to see if they sell trims or items that they would throw away

• Contact local restaurants to see if they have any meat you could take off them

• Doing a fish day once a week is affordable and super healthy!

Other than that, now is also a great time to evaluate your dog’s weight. Are they at an optimum weight or are you possibly overfeeding them?

Mixing Dry Food and Raw Dog Food

Maybe you’re an avid raw enthusiast and can’t believe we’re saying this right now, but maybe you’re not. Maybe you haven’t made the switch to raw. No matter what, once again, we do the best we can with what we have. And, even if you normally feed raw, but find yourself strained, PLEASE DO NOT put even more stress on yourself if you have to go back to mixing raw with kibble. That is 100% okay!

Just know that you are doing the best that you can, and if that means that you’ll mix and match for a couple of months, then that is absolutely okay. Your dog will love you no matter what and you just continue to take it one step at a time – one day at a time. 

We have always been supporters of mixing raw with dry dog food. Many pet parents don’t think they’re ready for the full switch and a study by Dr Anna Hielm Bjorkman shows that adding as little as 20% fresh food to kibble has the power of drastically reducing disease markers. We believe some raw is better than no raw and you should not feel anything other than AMAZING for adding any amount of fresh food to your dog’s diet!

So go ahead. If you have to choose between keeping a roof over your head or feeding your dog raw, then please, just substitute and do the best you can with what you have. The most amazing thing about our dogs is that they will love us no matter what. You are amazing for adding fresh food to your dog’s diet, don’t ever let anyone tell you different.

Now, Larry really wanted to add some items that are affordable and actually help reduce stress in ourselves and our dogs, so here we go:

Fermented Veggies, Yogurt, and Probiotics: Fermented vegetables and yogurt contain probiotics which support a healthy gut. Studies have found that gut health has a direct connection to improving anxiety and depression

Small Oily Fish: the omega 3 content supports mental and cognitive health

Eggs: the high vitamin D content and the tryptophan can help reduce anxiety, depression, and enhance mood

Blueberries: contain antioxidants and vitamin C which have been shown to reduce anxiety

Pumpkin Seeds: rich in potassium and zinc which can help reduce anxiety and effect mood positively

Turmeric: the active ingredient curcumin may help lower anxiety by reducing inflammation

Alrighty ladies & gents! That’s it for today’s episode of “How to not break the piggy bank”! And remember to check underneath your mattresses to find those hidden $$$$ bills!

We wish every single one of you and your pets nothing but the best and hope that you will be able to find light in every day.


Charly and Larry are pet health researchers who create fun videos that raise awareness about natural pet nutrition and wellbeing. PAWDEGA is based in Dubai and have travelled around the world to interview world renowned holistic and integrative veterinarians on the topic of pet health and nutrition. They have helped and inspired pet parents globally to switch to a fresh food diet and a natural way of raising their pets. You can find free pet health videos on their YouTube Channel and Facebook Page, PAWDEGA. Visit PAWDEGA!

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