Wednesday, Mar. 2nd 2011

Commercial vs home prepared diet cost comparison

Veterinary Alternatives March 2011 Newsletter

One of my clients recently brought to my attention that she had calculated daily costs of the home-made diets I had formulated for her and they compared favorably with high quality commercial diets.  It occurred to me that I had never really looked at cost so I decided to do a comparison.  I went to the local Hy-Vee, and then PetsMart with a list of ingredients for a number of my diets and a list of both diets I recommend and diets I wouldn’t feed a starving stray dog.  I had to go online to find the cost of Old Roy, I didn’t want to actually be seen in the aisle with it.  I chose ingredients that were on sale or store-brand when possible for best economics, although I do recommend using organic ingredients for pets if you can afford it, as it will raise the diet cost about 20%.


What  follows is my calculation for daily cost to feed each diet daily to a ten-pound dog.  Larger dogs would of course get proportionately more, but not exactly multiples.  For example, when a 10 pound dog gets 1 cup of dry food, a 40 pound dog might only get 3 ¼ cups.  But I had to use something to compare and 10 is an easy number.  When I custom design diets, I include the recommended daily calories for the patient and the total calories the recipe makes, so each patient gets exactly the right amount.


Diet                                                           Cost per day for 10# dog

Beef and rice warming diet:                                        0.35

Bison and Potato damp-draining                               1.65

Chicken barley warm draining                                    1.33

Turkey bean tofu cooling                                              0.74

Catfish egg millet neutral to cooling                         1.33

Bison Potato egg rice neutral                                      1.48

Turkey rice yogurt cooling                                            0.81

Turkey beef potato rice neutral                                    0.63

Chicken mackerel oats warming                                0.92

Beef chicken potato rice neutral                                   0.59


Science Diet Canine Healthy Mobility Dry                   0.57

Science Diet Canine Maintenance canned               1.40

Blue Buffalo canned                                                       1.04

Wellness canned                                                            1.16

Avoderm canned                                                             1.66

Alpo canned                                                                      0.70

Pedigree canned                                                             0.88

Purina Dog Chow dry                                                      0.76

Old Roy dry*                                                                     0.20

Blue Buffalo dry                                                               0.36

Wellness dry**                                                                 0.18

Purina ONE Canned                                                       1.03


*PLEASE don’t use this diet.  I don’t care how cheap it is.  You’ll thank me later.  Rates right down at the bottom with Kibbles and …. (the word I use here is inappropriate for a professional newsletter).

**Wellness does not include a weight-based feeding chart on their packaging.  I had to guess at proper amount based on other diets.  I may have guessed incorrectly.  It’s a good food.


As you can see, my diets compare quite favorably to the commercial diets.  Added to this, remember that the custom diets are formulated with ingredients intended to be therapeutic for your pet specifically.  I can incorporate tonics, drain dampness, avoid allergens or sensitivities, and use favorite foods.  I can add specific foods to increase Omega Fatty Acids, antioxidants, etc.  I also formulate seasonal diets or diets to use when symptoms flare up as opposed to when they are lacking.  My goal with such a diet is to keep your pet healthy and avoid symptoms that would require visits to your veterinarian for workups and medications.  Keep in mind that you get what you pay for with most dog foods.  Cheaper foods mean a less healthy pet, which will need more veterinary care, which means the food isn’t really cheaper after all.  If your goal for your pet is to keep it healthy and happy for as long as possible, I guarantee feeding an optimal diet will aid you in that goal.


For more information about diets, you can always visit my website.  In the newsletter archive, you can find several articles I have done about diet, ingredients to avoid, and ingredients which aid in good health.  The therapeutic foods page lists a number of common food ingredients and their energetic or therapeutic properties.


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