Owning a dog can be expensive, especially in a city environment. Besides the obvious cost of feeding them everyday, add in the cost of flea and heartworm medicine, along with a trip to the vet for an unexpected ailment, and you have hundreds of dollars.
We love our dogs and know that these expenses are just part of the package of being a (responsible) pet owner. But given today’s economy, we can all use some inventive ways to save money. Contrary to what pet food commercials would like you to believe, you don’t have to buy fancy dog food to give your dog a nutritious meal.
Here are easy ways you can save money and still feed your dog healthy meals:
Bulk Kibble: Find your closest Costco, Sam’s Club or other price club to buy a 40-50 pound bag of house brand kibble. They usually stock chicken and rice or lamb and rice combination that the average dog will love. And your pocketbook will love it too, as house brands can be a better value than national brands. Many people give their dogs too much kibble, read the package carefully. This is especially important if you add other ingredients into the bowl.
Canned Food Substitutes: Check the weekly sales at your local grocery store or price club for large (value) packs of lean ground beef (no more than 80/20 of meat to fat ratio) or packs of chicken pieces, preferably breasts. It’s amazing how much you can save just by doing a bit of cooking. For example, by boiling chicken breasts, you not only get lean meat, but you can also use the tasty broth to moisten kibble. The cooked chicken and broth can both be frozen for future use.
Supplements: Fish oil and flax meal are wonderful supplements for both humans and a dog’s diet. The fatty acids and Omega 3 oils found in fish oil help make your dog’s coat shiny. An added benefit is that it improves heart health and aids stiff joints. Gelatin capsules can be put in their dish, or you can puncture it squeezing the oil onto their food. Buy the larger bottles of fish oil capsules made for us humans found at discount drug stores and price clubs. Besides being a great butter and oil substitute in baking recipes, flax seed meal is another natural and tasty supplement. Flax meal is a plant-based source of the same fatty acids found in fish oil. A tablespoon’s worth in their bowl helps your dog’s digestion, and it’s a binding agent, making the "pooper scooping" much easier. Buy it at stores like Trader Joe’s or Costco to save money, or try your local health food store though it may be more expensive.
Cottage Cheese: Lowfat cottage cheese is not only good for us humans; it can be a tasty and healthy dose of dairy for your dog. Cottage cheese provides necessary fat and calcium, and most dogs love it. Start with the small curd style if you are concerned with your dog’s digestion. A tablespoon per meal is all your dog needs.