Owning a pet is beneficial for your physical and mental health, but is the same true on the reverse? As a dog owner, you want to think you're doing what's best for your pet. However, if you're feeding them unhealthy food, you could be responsible for their lower energy levels, obesity, and other long-term health effects. To help you make affordable and healthy purchases to nourish your pup, we've listed three ways for you to feed them on a budget.
1. Start Small Before Completely Switching Your Pet's Diet
Before taking the plunge into paying for all organic, natural foods for your dog, try slowly introducing healthy treats into their diets. The benefits of this are twofold. First, your dog will be able to naturally adjust to whole foods and an influx of nutrients. This is especially important if they were previously on a grain-based diet, since your dog may need time to adjust to certain diets (i.e., the raw food diet).
Second, slowly implementing healthier foods can help you budget better as you will get used to accounting for this increase in spending for your pet. For example, you may be used to paying for dry food, which can cost about S$1,415 per year (or S$27.21 per week). However, if you decide to introduce healthier alternatives for their breakfast, like ground turkey (which costs S$17.00 per week), you'll have to budget for this additional cost. By slowly switching your dog's diet, you can anticipate the costs and how your dog will react to the changes to make for a smooth transition.
2. Get Creative With Alternatives
Another way to feed your dog nutritiously on a budget is to get creative with your ideas on how to feed them well. This could be as simple as mixing cost-effective vegetables (like frozen carrots and spinach) into their meat. Or, you could mix some nutritional supplements into your dog's current diet. The American Kennel Club recommends giving your dog glucosamine, fish oil, antioxidants, and probiotics to support a variety of functions, including pain management, maintaining a shiny coat, and heart, immunity, and digestion support. If you buy nutritional supplements, know that some online retailers offer inexpensive fish oil supplements for as little as S$0.09 per day. Moreover, Good Dog People also offers highly nutritious meals and supplements to improve your dog's health on a budget.
Dog Supplement Costs in Singapore
3. Shop Smart
Another easy way to save money on healthy pet food is to spend some time comparing prices to find the cheapest options available, as websites tend to sell the same product for vastly different costs. Additionally, in most cases, it's best to buy food in bulk. This can not only save you trips to the grocery store as you can prepare meals in advance, but can also cost a fraction of the price of individual foods—especially if you're buying frozen food. For instance, NTUC FairPrice sells frozen, organic spinach for S$6.25 for 400 grams, whereas fresh, organic spinach would cost S$7.30 for the same portion. When combined with 1kg of beef mince, which costs S$10.44 at NTUC FairPrice, you could make several meals to feed your pet for the week (depending on its size). In this case, roughly S$16.69 could feed your dog for an entire week– and at a cheaper cost than the weekly average of S$27.21. Of course, you should consult your veterinarian on any changes to the amount and type of food you will feed your pet so they don't get sick.
Comparison of Dog Food Costs from Animal Food Websites and Human Food Websites
Furthermore, shop smart by checking which discounts are available to you. For instance, your veterinary clinic may offer discounts for certain food brands. Finally, you can use a cash-back credit card with a high rebate. For example, if you get a 5.22% rebate on general purchases, spending S$50 a month could save you S$31.32 a year just on food alone.
Feed Them Well Now so You Can Prevent Sickness Later on
Studies have shown that including healthier, less processed foods into your dog's diet can increase their nutrition levels and make them healthier overall. To help you do this on a budget, consider gradually introducing healthy foods, being creative with ways to up your pet's nutrition intake, and shopping smart. This way, you can avoid hefty vet bills in the future and help your pet in the long run.