The costs of feeding a dog are one of the major concerns dog owners have which impacts their decision of adopting a pet. And rightly so – feeding a dog, especially a large breed, can amount to a hefty sum of money over the years.
Dog owners who can’t afford quality dog food to feed their pooch end up relinquishing pets into shelters or even leaving them on the streets. Another reason for dogs getting abandoned are the rising veterinary costs, particularly for older canines, and it's often related to food since lower-quality meals result in more health issues.
Optimizing the way you feed your pet seems to be a key factor in lowering your overall dog related expenses. You must seek out cheap dog food but can't compromise on quality to avoid extra future veterinary expenses.
It's true that some homemade dog food meals are often expensive than buying regular commercial foods. However, if you learn the ropes of cooking for your dog, and find well-balanced cheap dog food recipes that fit your pooch, it's possible to save money simply by making your own food for the dog.
SEE HERE: 25 Vet Approved Homemade Dog Food Recipes (Costs Included)
Homemade Food is Cheaper Than Premium Brands
This is something that comes as a surprise to many people at first, but high quality commercial dog foods are actually more expensive than human foods. Let's do the math.
15-pound bag of high-end dry dog food costs approx. $42 per bag.
5.5 oz. can of high-end wet dog food is worth approx. $2 per can.
Now, a medium dog requires about 2 cans of wet food or 2 cups of dry food which amounts to ~$5 per day.
However, using affordable homemade dog food recipes, you can get same two cups of food to cost around $3 to $4. Even when you add the cost of additional vitamins, mineral and calcium supplements you need to add to your dog’s homemade diet, the sum will be just slightly lower compared to commercial dog food.
Of course, this doesn’t account for the time you spend cooking, but if you cook your dog’s food in bulk and you become proficient and fast enough, the cooking time will decrease. Overall, regular (average priced) kibble will likely be cheaper, but high-quality premium dog food brands will be painfully expensive compared to a homemade dog food meal.
Homemade Food is Healthier Than Many Average Brands
Pet owners are sometimes forced to buy cheap dog foods due to budgetary constraints. However, cheap dry kibble is deceptively expensive in more than one way.
First, the nutritional value of the average cheap kibble is lower than expensive dog foods, and it's lower than properly made homemade dog food meals. This means that your dog requires more food and then price for the extra cheap kibble starts piling up.
Second, when feeding your dog with nothing but cheap kibble, you can expect dangerous and expensive-to-treat health problems to start developing soon. One major reason why some dogs get abandoned is exactly that – their owners have been feeding them badly for years, the dogs have started developing health issues, the owners haven’t been able to pay for the necessary treatments, and so they’ve dropped off the dogs at the shelter.
Investing in a more expensive and higher-quality dog food saves future medical expenses. Or, alternatively, you can cook a well-balanced homemade dog food for the price of a average commercial food, and save the future vet bills without overpaying for food at all.
Buy in Bulk + Freeze = Save Money
Balancing between the quality and the price of homemade dog food can sometimes be difficult. Even though some homemade foods are cheaper than many premium store-bought brands, it’s not free of cost.
While compromising on the quality of the ingredients or skipping essential supplements is a big No-No with homemade recipes, there are other ways to save money. Cooking your dog’s food in bulk, then freeze it for weeks or months ahead is a great strategy. A lot of the ingredients for homemade dog food are much cheaper in bulk than they are in small batches. Plus, by cooking it all at once you can save yourself time.
Having your dog’s food always be fresh is obviously the better health option, but a well-prepared and well-frozen homemade dog food is still a far superior alternative to cheap commercial dog food, and it's cheaper than premium brands.
Make Friends with Wild Game Processors or Hunters
If you live in an area where hunting is a common pastime, consider contacting a local hunter or a wild game processor. They often don’t or can’t use the entirety of the game they’ve hunted and are looking for ways to get rid of some parts like bones and organ meat. From such a source you can often get high-quality ingredients for your homemade dog food for a much lower price (if not even free).
Get in Touch with Local Farmers
Similar, try contacting a local farmer. Most farmers, particularly ones that work on a larger scale, have found ways to optimize their meat-processing practice, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. It’s not that uncommon to find a farmer who’ll be willing to sell you all sorts of high-quality meat, organs and bones at a much lower price than you’d get at a store.