Good dog feeding on a budget

There are a lot of dog owners who are living on a very tight budget. For them, the cheap sacks from the supermarket must seem good value for money. Those of us who are interested in canine nutrition know that they are usually poor foods and in a sense, not really good value at all. Just wondering what advice we can give to people who are on a tight budget but want to feed their dogs as well as possible?

I really don’t have a problem with feeding cheap foods, so long as the dog has no issues with it and it is not full of added sugars, salts and colours. I’ve fed my current dog on Wagg for just about six years, and only recently changed due to her digestive system slowing down and not agreeing with it as well as she used to. As the labelling isn’t clear, I decided to switch to one where I knew exactly what was going into her.

I feed Autarky now, and would also recommend Skinners, as they are both cheap options and are also suitable for the wheat intolerant dog (of which one of mine is), although some of the Skinners range doesn’t fit into this.

All in all, I’d say keep it as natural as possible, and just because someone poo poos it, if your dog is healthy and happy on a certain food, stick with it.

Absolutely agree with Psychedelic. When it comes to dog food, quality and price really don’t go hand in hand and just as there are ridiculously expensive bad foods, there are also lots of very inexpensive good foods.

Dry brands like Autarky, Skinners, Natural Dog Food Company and Markus Mühle all provide excellent value for money (all come in at less per day that Bakers, for example). Wainwrights and Rocco are two examples of great value wet foods and Nutriment and Natures Menu make some surprisingly economical but nutritionally outstanding raw options.

For those on a really tight budget, the best option would probably be to go for a good value, middle-of-road complete (CSJ, Sneyds, Alpha, for example) and then spice it up with cheap additions like healthy left overs, cooked veg (carrots, cabbage etc) and a little of one of the wet or raw foods mentioned above. Overall, this would be more like a 4+ star diet (by our standards) but for a relatively tiny daily cost.

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I would add Vitalin varieties to the list.The premium varieties are as good as the well known mid_range brands and I did a comparison between Adult Maintenance and James Wellbeloved for a unit of my canine nutrition course. It lacks the nice sounding herb etc. ingredients but frankly it is the protein source that is most important. Seeing wheat or any cereal as first ingredient is a no. I would avoid the colourful looking kibble because of additives but I think most of it is coloured. My butcher sells ox liver, heart etc at about £1 a kg so feeding home made or raw can be cheap as long as you keep the calcium balanced. I am of the conviction that dogs evolved as scavengers and do not benefit from being fed the same thing daily unless they have a serious condition.

I think the problem is that owners tend to only read what’s on the front of the labelling of how great this food is and there’s nothing better for there dogs and don’t bother to look at ingredient and think its a safe bet as long as its a chicken or beef etc. flavour the bigger company’s have the upper-hand over smaller company’s when it comes to the general public and that is the brand name i bet if you asked someone which brand is the best one for your dog bakers or markus muhlne and a safe bet there going to say bakers i also think that a lot of owners don’t even think about what’s in the food as long as the dog eats it then its a great food probably in a lot of cases the reason there wolfing it down is because its packed with sugar and the dogs bouncing of the walls and the owners then saying they cant cope with the dogs bad behaviour. As for people who look for advice well pointing them to this site if i were going to advice

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I’m intrigued that you say cooked veg, any particular reason?

The little Cav loves his veggies and when I’m preparing any for myself I usually keep a bit back to add to his dinner for extra variety - he especially loves green beans, cauli, sweet peppers and broccoli. I wash and roughly chop them, but it’s never occurred to me to wait until I’d cooked them, he chomps them down just as they are.

i would say that lots of dogs don’t find raw veg as appealing than cooked

Maybe it’s the way I bring mine up then ;D . All my puppies have been given frozen raw carrots to ease teething, and all bar one have gone on to enjoy raw veg. (The one didn’t enjoy them raw or cooked.)

If I offer raw veg, I have to give it in very small pieces or it wont be eaten. Cooked veg is more readily eaten. Having said that, she has started to enjoy bigger pieces of raw carrot.

My dogs love raw veg too. They always wait in the kitchen when I’m preparing the vegetables for dinner, and are very disappointed when they have to share with the chickens. ;D

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Back to feeding on a budget - try your independent pet shop - there is a range of white label dog (and cat) foods sold through pet shops that are made up to similar recipes to branded ones, they are reviews on this site giving around 3.4 or 3.5 and price ranges around £26 - £32 for a 12kg bag. There is also a range of grain free which are considerably lower than the many brands out there (yet to be reviewed on here)

We have a local pet food warehouse that sells own brand, white label foods at reasonable cost. Recipes don’t look too bad (seen much worse). Was told that they are made in the same factory as James Wellbeloved. Is it usually the case that one factory makes food for several different companies?

Great question George. Its not so much a question of taste - my border terrier loves a bit of raw carrot as much as the next dog, but more one of digestibility. I’ve always found cooked veg pass through much more efficiently than raw. Quite often, raw comes out almost the same as it goes in while cooked is fully digested.

As of this week, and as you’ve spotted in the other thread, there’s now also the question of higher lectins in uncooked veg.

Wellbeloved not made there, but many, many others are. (including the one where she pretends to make it on her AGA)

I have tried my dog on many different types of food, raw, dry and wet finally settling on wet which she seems to prefer over the others. There is a place not to far from me which sells raw frozen dog/cat food for 50-60p for 500g. I used to give it to her raw, but she wasn’t to keen so I ened up cooking it a bit. My question is, is there any detriment to feeding raw meat cooked? I usually added a small handful of good quality kibble to it as well.

Can you let us know what is in this meat mix? I wonder if some of these mixes are a bit fatty. The intention is that they should be fed raw to maintain the nutritional values. I am led to believe that you shouldn’t mix raw and kibble because of the differing rates of digestion. From what you say, you may find it easier to just feed your dog the good quality kibble. There isn’t much point in feeding raw food if they don’t care for it - not all dogs do.