Last Updated on 2022-03-31 by Admin
Because dog Food costs keep rising I wanted to find out How to keep Dog food costs in check during these inflationary times. The increased cost to feed Annie is very noticeable because her food is pretty much the same as humans consume. Annie is on a rotational diet where she gets raw food for a while, and then she gets home cooked food, all human grade.
For dog owners that feed kibble, the impact of inflation is slightly less because a bag of dog food will last for a long time. Plus, they have the choice to buy a small or large bag of dog food. Purchasing a larger bag stretches the duration between purchases. Kibble also has a long shelf life.
Regardless of what a dog gets fed, there are ways to reduce the cost of feeding. Me, being old enough to have lived through inflationary with a background as a chef has proven to be a great combination. So I like to share some simple things that can help keep dog food costs in check during inflationary times.
Here are a few simple rules that I follow:
- Review store flyers for deals or buy bulk
- Shop at ethnic stores
- Buy today what You need tomorrow
- Use food preserving methods like freezing, vacuum packing, cooking and drying
- Use Creative ways to reduce food waste
- Keep food odds and ends and find ways to utilize them
- Make homemade dog treats
Review Store Flyers for Deals
In our household it is my wife who checks for deals on items we need every week. Because Annie does best on a raw meat diet, my wife weekly checks for sales on meets for Annie. There are, of course, many other items besides meat that we as a family consume. But the cost of meat for Annie is one very noticeable budget item.
Reviewing flyers can make a significant difference in the food budget. Here is some saving I had on our last grocery bill.
We Bought a large Beef roast that was cheaper than ground beef per pound. The savings we got is approximately $2 per pound of meat. The pieces of meat were large and required cutting the meat into pieces so that I could freeze some of the chunks.
By buying 30 eggs for the same price as 12 eggs, we dramatically reduced the cost per egg. We give Annie eggs at times as an addition to her food or a meal mixed with vegetables and rice.
Shop at Ethnic Stores
Shopping at ethnic stores might not be an option when living in rural areas. However, it is an option when living in or near a major city. Many of the leading grocery store chains have an ethnic section. Brows that section and check the price. Often, items in that aisle are much cheaper than mainstream products.
Also, visit some specific ethnic grocery stores. The first thing one notices is that prices are often much lower. Visiting an Indian grocery store, I see that spices and legumes are much cheaper than at my main grocery store. Many vegetables are also more reasonably priced at Asian grocery stores.
One also finds new and unfamiliar products at ethnic stores, making for exciting shopping. Many mainstream grocery stores don’t sell internal organs anymore, yet they are essential to a dog’s diet. Because of that, we shop at other stores to buy liver, lung, spleen, heart, and bones for Annie.
Buy Today what You Need Tomorrow
Buying today what You need tomorrow might not always be possible for people on a tight budget. However, keeping an eye on future needs and purchasing a little more when there is a deal to be had can save money in the long run.
Over time, we all develop shopping habits. Those habits might have developed during a time of plenty, and prices were stable. But now, with higher inflation, it is time to review our practices. For example, we might go shopping every Saturday and buy rice or flour. That might mean that we buy a 10 kg bag of flour or rice to last a month, instead of buying a 2 kg bag every week or so. Often larger volume also means lower price per pound.
Use Food Preserving Methods Like Freezing, Vacuum Packing and Drying
Preserving food can make a huge difference to the cost of food because one can maximize purchasing power by purchasing items on sale. Cutting up meat on sale and freezing it reduces how often I need to go shopping. That minimizes the exposure to frequent price increases somewhat.
A couple of months ago, I bought a small handheld vacuum sealer. With this little vacuum sealer, I can keep meat fresh for much longer in the refrigerator, which reduces waste. At the same time, I bought some extra reusable vacuum bags.
Now You can take vacuum-packed raw or cooked food with you when travelling with a dog. One can buy meat and vacuum seal what is not required right away. Most hotels and motels have fridges and freezers, so the longevity of the meat can be even more extended.
I use this little handheld vacuum sealer for all kinds of things. Homemade pasta, frozen sauces, crepes, meat, bread, leftovers and dried goods are all vacuum packed. What I don’t need right away goes in the freezer. Working like this allows me to portion meals for Annie and us.
A Food drier is excellent for making homemade treats for Annie, plus it gets used for other purposes. Dried food has a very long shelf life.
Cooking food also extends the life of meat and vegetable. At times all that is required is to cook the meat to keep it longer. When we cook meals for Annie, we can freeze or vacuum pack what doesn’t get used right away.
Use Creative Ways to Reduce Food Waste
When feeding a dog raw or cooked food, some work is involved to avoid wasting food. One can do simple things with wilted parsley and lettuce: rinse it in cold water and then place it in a container with some water on the bottom. Often those wilted vegetables perk up again after a few hours in cold water. Another trick is to roll lettuce leaves, kale and other leafy greens in a moist towel and store it in the crisper. Parsley will last longer when washed, rinsed, shaken dry and placed in a plastic bag full of air and sealed.
Romaine lettuce, for example, can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable. It also can be finely chopped prepared similar to spinach. Carrot ends, parsley stems and bones cooked can be made into a broth to pour over the dog food. Or use the broth as a base for soup that humans consume.
Often one can tell that some vegetables will probably go bad before its consumed. In that case, shred and cook them. Then add them to the dog food.
Nutrefresh farms has a page with 15 ways to reduce food waste.
Keep Food Odds and Ends and Find Ways to Utilize Them
Because I feed Annie raw food, all kinds of scraps get utilized. Duck bones or veal bones get made into gelatin and added to Annie’s food. We also remove whatever meat is left on the cooked bones and feed it to Annie as treats or meals. However, double-check that all small pieces of bone get removed. It is best to screen for bones twice. Never give a dog cooked bones.
The skin of Duck or chicken is rendered by adding a little water to the fat and letting it reduce till only fat is left. When making treats, a small amount of the fat gets used to make homemade treats tasty.
The Bone marrow of beef bones I cut out and placed into a jar in the freezer. When I have enough of it, I make cookies for Annie, more about that in the next section.
Many dogs like Bananas or apples. When apples are bruised, cut out the bruised part, Peel the skin, remove the pit and stem. Then make a sugar-free apple sauce. It gets added to the dog food on special occasions.
Most people throw eggshells away. However, we wash and keep them in the fridge. When we have a little bowl full accumulated, they get baked at 300 F for 5 to 6 minutes. Once they have cooled, they get ground into a very fine powder. That eggshell powder gets added to Annie’s cooked or raw food as calcium. Beats buying calcium powder for when Annie has no bones to chew.
Make Homemade Treats
Many dog owners spend a little fortune on dog treats. Looking at some of my bills, I’m shocked how much good treats cost. Homemade dog treats can save a bundle and, at the same time, give the dog a healthier treat. At the very least You know what is in the treats.
With lean ground beef, one can make dog treats. See video below.
Lately, I used Sweet potatoes or squash to make treats. I peel and remove the seed. Then cut them into finger-thick long pieces and boil in salt water until the middle is hot. Then I drain the pot and cool the vegetables with ice or cold water. The reason I cook them is to preserve the colour. Once they have cooled off, I place them in the food dehydrator or the oven at low heat to dry them.
I also made baked dog cookies containing chickpea flowers, melted duck fat or melted bone marrow, blueberries or raspberries. When some cooked duck meat is available from boiling duck bones, it can be ground and added. Those treats are best frozen or refrigerated because they have a short shelf life. Only a small amount of bone marrow or duck fat is required for making cookies. If chickpea flower is not on hand, grind some oatmeal into flower, it works just as well but contains less protein.
Smart shopping and a little meal planning can make a difference in the dog food budget. However, the best approach is to combine smart shopping with all of the other ways mentioned.
I mentioned that the little handheld vacuum machine is probably the most effective and low-cost way to save money and reduce waste. Extending the shelf life by preserving food with freezing, vacuum sealing, and drying reduces waste and saves money. However, there might be an initial cost to acquire some equipment.
With a little extra work the dog food budget can be kept in check even during inflationary times.
Disclaimer: I like to make you aware that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, should you decide to purchase one of the products through the links below, I would earn a commission at no extra cost to You.
The pump is available on Amazon Canada
There is also a hand pump version that does not use any electricity from the same company.