It can be costly feeding your dog fresh food all the time, especially if you have a large dog, although of course, your dog probably appreciates it. There are several ways that you can lower costs, whether you simply want to add fresh food to your dog's diet every so often, or you maintain a diet that consists of entirely homemade food.
1. FEED YOUR DOG GRAINS Grains can cause various problems with some dogs, including weight gain, inflammation and even seizures, and for this reason, many dog owners avoid feeding their pet grains. However, if your dog is in good health and does not have an adverse reaction to the grains, there is no need to preclude them from the diet; not all dogs have a problem with grains. Some of the healthiest grains include millet, quinoa, barley, oatmeal and brown rice, which is healthier than white rice. Be sure to cook all starchy foods well so your dog can digest them, and make sure that starchy vegetables and grains comprise no more than 50 percent of your dog's diet.
2. BUY A FREEZER one of the best ways to save money on meat is to buy in bulk, and when sales are on, but of course you need somewhere to store the meat. If you are trying to cram your dog's food into your own freezer, along with the food for you and your family, you can probably see the value of having a separate freezer. Buy the biggest freezer that you can; you may be surprised at how quickly it gets full up, and in general you can expect to pay around $200 for a 5.5 cubic foot freezer, which will store up to about 175 pounds of food. If a new freezer is not in the budget, look on sites such as Craig's List for good used freezers. An upright model is probably a better buy, although chest freezers tend to hold more food. Once you have the freezer, make sure that you label food clearly, and include the date that it was frozen.
3. MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR GROCER It is worth talking to the butcher at your local store or supermarket, to determine what they do with meat that is nearing the sell by date, and some butchers will give these cuts to regular customers. Supermarkets throw out a lot of wasted vegetables and fruit that is past its sell by date, and it is also worth talking to the produce manager. Ask for eggs that have been broken too. With a little time spent networking in your local supermarket, you can potentially be frugal.
Try your local farmer's market for inexpensive and fresh meat and produce, especially at the end of the day, when vendors discard unsold goods. Also, check out any ethnic markets or food stores in your area, as these are often a good place to find inexpensive or unusual cuts of meat.
4. USE COUPONS Good commercial dog food may be your only option, if you do not have the time to do anything else, and you may have to test several brands on your dog. Once you find a brand that your dog likes, look for dog food discounts and coupons, which can be surprisingly easy to find.
5. ORGANIC IS NOT MANDATORY Organic foods are great, but they can be expensive, and it is perfectly acceptable to feed your dog regular supermarket foods, which are better than processed foods.
6. MIX AND MATCH Consider adding fresh foods to your dog's diet occasionally, if you do not have the money or time to use a completely homemade diet. Healthy leftovers cost nothing and are also a good option.