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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.
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.