Since when does convenience replace the welfare of our pets! Oh, that's right; kibbled foods are very "convenient" but also fill our pets with toxic additives and carbohydrates they do not need, creating a myriad of health problems and shortening the lifespan and reducing the quality of life for our pets. Yes, we trade "convenience" for the health and welfare of the very animals that depend on us for their care.
A raw diet is as convenient as you make it, but it will always be more work than pouring preformed pellets into a bowl. But your pet's health should be much more important than convenience. If not, then why do you own a pet?
If you are buying a whole bunch of vegetables and spending hours juicing and pureeing them, then yes, it is inconvenient. Remember, our dogs do not need vegetables (see omnivore myth). With a prey model diet, there are no veggies, no cottage cheese-yogurt-liver-supplement mixtures. There are whole animals, raw meaty bones, and organs. That's it. Eggs can be included too, but those you just remove from the carton and hand to your dog whole. Defrosting food is optional (unless you have cats). Yes, your dog will spend more time eating its food, and yes, you will have to supervise. Yes, you will have to spend time shopping for, packaging (unless you have a lot of dogs and can feed a whole case of whatever to them), and freezing meat. But this is a small price to pay for the glorious health your dog will enjoy. And as time goes on, both you and your pet will become more efficient—you at shopping, packaging, and freezing, and your pet at ripping, tearing, and chewing.
Raw feeding can also be as expensive as you make it. It can be more expensive than kibble at first until you find a reliable source for meat. Or it could be dirt cheap to begin with. As your dog's protein sources diversify, your cost will also decrease since she can eat a variety of meats. This means you can get whatever is cheapest and on sale. Do not forget about all the money you will save on vet bills and from the artificial chewies and toothbrushes and toothpastes for dogs (since you will not need those anymore).
Here are some ways to cut cost and time:
Buy in bulk from a butcher, co-op, restaurant supplier, meat purveyor, etc. An extra freezer for your pet's food is optional, but that one-time investment definitely helps cut costs dramatically, especially if you have more than one dog or cat!
Keep an eye out for sales. Buy meat on sale to cut costs.
Shop for meat that is a day old or about to expire. Most dogs do not mind their meat a little ripe, and are perfectly capable of handling it. Cats can be a little pickier, but if you buy meat the day before it expires (when it is marked 'Reduced for Quick Sale'), it should still be fresh enough to feed that day or to freeze for later feeding.
Look for butcher shops and small-animal breeders or ranchers in your area that can serve as a source for whole chickens, whole rabbits, whole goats or goat parts, whole lamb or lamb parts, cow parts, etc.
Get to know some hunters. However, be careful feeding things shot with lead: always inspect game for shot pellets and remove them so your pet does not ingest them. If worried about parasites, freeze wild game for about one month before feeding.
Stock up on ziploc bags and package each day's meals in a separate bag. This involves a peak of time and energy investment once each month to plan meals for the month, buy meat accordingly, and package the meals. The rest of the month is an easy cruise as you just pull the day's meal from the freezer and toss it directly to the dog (defrosting is optional), or each night pull the next day's meal out and put it into the fridge to defrost. The beauty of a raw diet is that you can mold it to fit both your dog's specific needs as well as your own.
Want to learn about how to feed your dog a raw diet? Head over to the Yahoo! Raw feeding group, the Feeding Raw and Switching to Raw pages, or visit the Raw Meaty Bones site, the Raw Fed Dogs site, and the Raw Learning site!