Very few people are not affected by this bad economy. Some are affected more than others, but everyone has been touched or knows someone that has by this economic depression. For many this means their lifestyles have had to be adjusted. Things that people have taken for granted in the past have now been compromised and we have had to learn to sacrifice some of those things for a simpler way of life.
Because of this poor economy, some have had to change the way that they are taking care of their dogs. Many of us have to stop and think before we buy that $15 toy at the dog store that we just know that “Rover” will love to chew on.
Perhaps we have looked at another way of feeding our dogs without sacrificing the health of our companions. With the gazillion different brands of dog foods on the market, it has made many of us wiser consumers by reading the labels and understanding just what it is that our dogs are eating. Doggie snacks have always been an indulgent treat that we enjoy giving our pets, but even these have become more expensive than some households can afford.
So what’s the answer when you are trying to survive yourself and then you have dogs that depend on you for everything? It’s about compromise. It’s about educating yourself to understand and truly read labels. It’s about getting the best value for your dollar.
Some people find themselves feeding a cheaper dog food than they have in the past. Others will take a cheaper dog food and mix it with a higher quality, more expensive food hoping to get the best that they can without spending too much money. Others feed a raw diet and swear that it’s cheaper than the traditional dog foods. I feed a dry dog food and also buy meats for my dogs. I look for any meat that is on sale or reduced in price like the manager’s specials. I find that a great buy is chicken legs when they go on sale. I don’t feed raw, however. I cook all of the meats that I feed my girls. I take the chicken legs and roast them in the oven and then cut off all the meat and put it in their dry food. I used to feed them lots of chicken livers, but this has gone up a lot in price this last year. So now the only time that I feed them this is when I see it go on sale. I’ll feed them beef liver, hearts, giblets, etc. Also they get eggs in their dinner every day. Cottage cheese is something else you can add if you see it goes on sale. Yogurt is also great for their digestive system and I’ll buy the store brand unless I have a coupon for a national brand.
You can add vegetables to your dog’s food as well. Just make sure it’s a vegetable that they can have. No onions or raw garlic. Carrots, string beans and sweet potatoes are good choices if you want to add these things to your dog’s diet. String beans are good to use as filler if your dog needs to go on a diet. Giving raw carrots as a treat is a good option if you dogs like it.
If you like to bake, then you can bake your dog’s treats and snacks. There are a whole lot of recipes on the web that you can try. Also if you belong to the Show list they have recipes in their archives that you can use as well. Some people make their own dried liver treats which are great for double handling your dog for shows. There are recipes using hot dogs, cheese, etc. The list is endless or you can make up your own ingredients.
Anyone that knows me well knows that I am the coupon queen. I never go to the store without them. Some of your better known dog food companies offer coupons for you to use on their products. Just go on line to the company that makes your dog food and see if they offer coupons. Many times you have to sign up for their newsletter and they’ll send you coupons every month. You can also call them and ask if they can send you coupons. Many companies have a breeders program where if you buy a certain amount of their product, they will send you a coupon for a free bag. The companies are aware of the economy problems and many of them are trying to help and keep their customers happy.
Another thing you might consider doing. If you have other breeders that live in your area that feed the same food as you do, you might want to order your dog food from a company together. Many times a company will give a discount when you order a certain amount of food from them. This can amount to a considerable savings when you divide up the expense among the breeders.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to get some toys for your dogs, one of the best and most economical places you can go to is the Good Will or Salvation Army stores. Just go into their children’s section and many times you will find a great variety of stuffed animals and a lot of times they are new or just like new. You can always throw them in the washing machine before you give it to your dog. Just make sure when you buy these stuffed toys that there are no removal parts like button eyes or noses or squeaky gadgets in them.
If you are looking for bedding for your dog, here again the Good Will and Salvation Army is a great place to find these things. You can buy quilts and blankets and towels here that you just need to put in the washing machine and there you go, you now have spent a whole lot less and your dog has a comfortable place to lay his head. The towels are great for bathing him as well.
Someone told me recently that where she lives there are many dog clinics. Wow……..so I looked into my area just yesterday and I found a couple not too far from me. I’ve never used them, but I’m told that they can save you a lot of money. I’ll have to call them to see what they charge for similar services that my vet performs. There are also spaying and neutering clinics that you can check out if this is something you need for your dogs.
Many breeders give their own shots and medicines. You can find these items in most animal catalogs. JUST KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING BEFORE YOU DO IT! Don’t play veterinarian unless you know what it is that you’re doing. Don’t administer medicine unless your dog has been checked out by your vet. Ask him/her for a discount on the medicines that they are advising you give your animal. Some vets (not all) will be willing to work with you on this. If not, buy the medicine from a catalog or on line.
When it comes to dog shows, here again, some people have had to cut back on how many times they show their animals. Some now are only going to local shows or ones that are no longer hours and hours away. They are no longer staying over night at hotels and eating out at restaurants. They pack up their own lunches and don’t go to shows where they have to stay over night. Some people “car pool” with their friends and share the expense of gas and tolls to help cut down on the money that they are spending.
Well these are just a few tips that I have found to be helpful when taking care of dogs in these rough times. I’m sure many of you have other tips you could share in how you make ends meet. I’ll be looking forward to hearing about some of them.
My rating: cutting back where needed without sacrificing quality care: (4)