Owners adore their dogs, and most of us want to feed our four-legged pals only the best. Who can blame them? Our furry friends are pretty awesome. The good news is that you don’t have to empty out your wallet to feed Fido a healthy and nutritious meal.
Today we’re offering 6 tips and strategies for feeding your pooch without blowing your entire budget!
Know Your Dog’s Needs – Don’t Pay For What You Don’t Need
Feeding your dog quality food is important for his overall health and wellbeing. However, spending more cash for high-end dog food might not be the best way to your dog’s heart.
Make no mistake, limited-ingredient and hypoallergenic dog food diets are fantastic for canines with certain allergies, but food allergies are pretty uncommon in dogs. In fact, food allergies account for only 10% of all allergies seen in dogs. Inhalant, environmental allergies are much more common (just as they are for humans).
Instead of dishing out dough for hypoallergenic dog food that you don’t need, make an effort to read labels and find a dog food that features animal-specific protein sources as first ingredients.
Seeing lamb and chicken meal as first ingredients is ideal. Avoid foods that list generic “meat-meal” as a major ingredient, as these vague meat meals don’t tend to be high quality.
Also, don’t forget that carbohydrates aren’t necessarily a bad thing for your dog – just seek our complex carbohydrates like oatmeal or sweet potato rather than rice.
Remember to be critical of the marketing hype when it comes to dog food, and make sure you’re not overpaying for specific diet formulas your dog may not necessarily need.
Add a Dollop of Anchovy Oil or Fish Oil To Your Dog’s Kibble
One way to make traditional kibble more mouth-watering to your pooch is to add a bit of anchovy or fish oil to their dinner. Just mix it in with the kibble – we doubt your dog will turn his nose up at that.
Not only will this make your kibble more appetizing (making it a great hack for fattening up a skinny dog), but it’s also full of great nutrients for your pooch! Fish oil is packed with omega 3 fatty acids, which can improve your pup’s skin, coat, joints, immune system, and more!
For Great Training Treats, Look No Further Than Hot Dogs!
There are plenty of fun, fancy treats on the market for spoiling your dog. Freeze dried liver and grain-free sweet potato biscuits are all well and good, but you don’t need to spend a ton on high-end treats to give your dog something he’ll adore.
In fact, we’ve found that uncooked hot dogs work fantastically well – they’re a staple training treat for many dog experts.
Having a hard time getting your dog to take his meds? Try squeezing the pill into a piece of hot dog – the meat can sometimes mask the smell of the medicine. Or, even if your dog does smell those pills, he might be so tempted by the hot dog that he won’t even mind taking his meds!
Amazon Subscribe & Save Can Help Offset Dog Food Costs
If you order your dog food online, consider hunting around on Amazon for dog foods that are a part of Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program – this can offset the cost of your dog’s food anywhere from 5% – 15% per delivery.
It’s also best to buy in bulk when you can – larger bags of food almost always mean bigger savings. Just remember to grab appropriate dog food storage containers to keep your dog’s food fresh and free from pests. That way you can stock up and be confident that the food will last.
Just Add (Warm) Water
Mix in warm water or bone broth with your dog’s food to soften it up – this is especially beneficial for older dogs who have a harder time chewing.
For an extra treat, instead of water, pour in a bit of that chicken stock you have in the fridge – then your dog will really go bananas! This works for other types of dog food too – canned wet food can get pricey, but you can mix smaller amounts of wet food with your dog’s dry kibble to make the meal more enticing.
Feed Your Pup With Puzzle Toys to Prevent Boredom
Puzzle toys are great for keeping your dog occupied and his mind sharp while you’re away, but you don’t need anything fancy – in fact, a simple Kong toy will do (and they’re less than $10 bucks).
Kong’s have an inner hole that can be filled with anything your doggie desires, from wet canned food to peanut butter (or some delicious combination). To make the meal last longer, you can even freeze it beforehand, forcing your canine to slow down and lick away at his meal.
This is especially beneficial for dogs that tend to gulp down their food too quickly – in some cases, inhaling meals can cause bloat in a dog – a dangerous and life-threatening situation.
Do you have any tips for feeding your dog on a budget? Let us know what you think!
[su_box title=”About the Author” box_color=”#15a582″]Meg Marrs is the Founder and Senior Editor at K9 of Mine, a site dedicated to helping owners keep their dogs happy and healthy through training advice, product reviews, and dog care FAQs.[/su_box]