by Susan Moss

Prices for agricultural products are going up across the board, and this has had a major effect on pet food prices as manufacturers pass on the increases. Below are a few tips for feeding your canine like a king without robbing the treasury. In addition to the savings, these steps will bring variety and interest to Fido’s menu.

1. Downsize your kibble – a lower priced kibble may contain less meat, or contain only meat meals rather than fresh meat, and perhaps fewer frills in the supplement category. But you can ramp up the meat protein in less expensive ways as add-ons and toppers (see #4). 2. Feed whole or ground meaty bones – in place of a few complete raw food meals ($4 to $8/ lb.), substitute our less expensive ROAR ground chicken backs or ground turkey necks for $1.99/ lb. Even better, give your pup whole turkey necks or turkey neck sections for something to sink his teeth into, $1.79 – 1.99/ lb.

3. Serve up some ‘Noble Grains’ – grains have gotten a bad rap, but whole grains can be a good food source, as long as your dog doesn’t have a sensitivity to them (most dogs don’t). It’s wise to stay away from wheat and corn because of their allergy potential, but noble grains in their whole cooked state, like oatmeal, barley or brown rice, can be added to any type of raw food, replacing from 10% to 40%. Or grains can be served the way you might eat a bowl of porridge (perhaps once every fourth day) with a dash of honey and a dollop of cream or yogurt. It’s fun to experiment with different combinations.

4. Substitute ‘real food’ meals a few times a week in place of kibble: scrambled eggs and whole-grain toast, canned fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon), yogurt and banana, cottage cheese, steamed or grated veggies, or healthy leftovers. Basic foods like these are a very good buy, and you will be swapping out processed food for real food.

What About Cats?

Lowering your cat’s food bill is not as simple. Cats are hard core carnivores, eliminating the grain option, and unlike dogs, they don’t like change and they probably wouldn’t eat that new food you put in front of them. But hey, they’re cats. So keep the high meat, high moisture food coming, comforted by the knowledge that the excellent diet you feed them now will pay off later in better health and lower vet bills.