I wonder how many poor dogs and cats who think they’re loved and adored by their owners, will be dumped this winter? I ask because the cost of pet food has taken a sharp increase in recent weeks – and this never bodes well for our four-legged friends. It’s different for livestock – if the cost of feeding gets too much, then reverse the situation and let them feed us but when it comes to our pets, we abandon them when the going gets tough, even though they’d follow us to hell and back.
Snipe, being a Labrador, is happy with whatever food comes her way so I feed her on Asda SmartPrice complete dog biscuits (at 95p for a 2.5kg bag, can you blame me?!) but Midge is extremely fussy and would much prefer things if she never had to eat a biscuit in her life. But she will eat both the Webbox and the Wagg biscuits which are twice the price of Snipe’s but as she eats less, one bag lasts her longer. And each day they share a tin of Asda’s complete dog food, which is £1.79 for a six pack. On Sundays, they get treated to a tin of Pedigree between them.
The cats get complete biscuits whenever they want them – there’s a bowl in the kitchen that we keep topped up at all times so they can help themselves when they’re hungry. None of them are fat so this system obviously works for them. We’re really lucky that they’re not fussy when it comes to their biscuits, so I get to buy whatever seems to be good value, just to vary things a bit for them. We used to get an excellent sack of biscuits from the farm shop but they came in 25kg bags and just one flavour – after they’d eaten 100kg, they started to get somewhat bored!
However, whilst they’re happy to eat whatever biscuits come their way, Queenie is quite fussy when it comes to her tinned meat. For months, we had to buy Whiskers for her and the shop’s own brand for the boys (who are well trained and if it’s in front of them, they’ll eat it!) but we eventually persuaded her to try a shop brand and so long as it gets varied (and isn’t supermeat), she’ll grudgingly tuck in to the cheaper tins! Like the dogs, the cats get a “posh” brand on Sunday – usually Whiskers or Go-Cat. Unlike the dogs, they sulk every Monday because they expect their treat to carry on!
Having said all that, I’m looking again at how we feed the dogs and cats, as the prices have gone up quite alarmingly in just a short space of time. Asda’s dog tins were £1.79 for a six pack, but are now £1.98. The SmartPrice dog food is still 95p but Midge’s Wagg biscuits have gone up from £1.98 for a 2.5kg bag to £2.19. Luckily, the Webbox are still at £1.98 but I think I’ll have to try her again on Snipe’s cheapo biscuits. And I’ve not bought them their usual tins this week. Asda have got 1.2kg tins so I’ve bought one of those to try. The theory is that I use one 400g tin a day for both dogs so a tin three times the size will last three days. Price-wise, it’s great – 74p per tin so the saving for six days amounts to 60p… It might not seem like much, but remember that this saving pays for two thirds of Snipe’s biscuits!
I opened the tin yesterday and the dogs didn’t object to their new meat, which is good news. The only hassle is putting two thirds of the tin in two containers and then getting to the bottom of the tin for that day’s food. Why they have to make these big tins tall and narrow is beyond me – short and wide would make much more sense, especially when you don’t want to smear dog meat gravy all over your hand!
The other way of feeding them, which would be even cheaper, would be using the Chubb sausage things. I hate them and they look vile but I know the dogs like them. There are just two things putting me off that idea. Firstly, it’s not a complete food, just complementary. I don’t know what, if any, difference this makes, but I’d rather feed them the complete food, if only because I don’t know when Midge will next refuse to eat! She’ll always eat the meat, even if she refuses the biscuits and I don’t want her to miss out on the necessary nutrients just for the sake of a few pennies. The other thing is that I’d only need three a week but Asda only sell them in multipacks of 8 so the savings would be monthly, but I get paid weekly which just makes it a bit of a pain!
The other obvious thing to cut the costs would be to stop feeding them all their Sunday “treat”. We only started this at mum’s because we all enjoyed excellent food on a Sunday, especially our roast dinners after we put the pigs in the freezer, so why not let the animals enjoy some food treats as well?
We could always give them milk or something to continue the tradition, there’s plenty of things they’d enjoy as a treat but the annoying thing is that the cat tins come in packs of six – but there are seven days in a week…
This post has turned into a rather lengthy (and, I fear, extremely dull) ramble about what I feed my dogs and cats but the original point was meant to be this:
People get rid of their pets when the going gets tough (I won’t dwell on the methods) but the PDSA have announced that according to their figures,
around 30 per cent of the nation’s dogs are overweight or obese – that’s around 1.95 million fat dogs across the UK!
Surely, then, if the owners of these dogs (and cats) cut down their food intake, they’d save money and our nations pets won’t be dumped because they cost “too much” to feed?! There are ways to save money when it comes to your pet’s grub – and without compromising their health.