Friday, November 06, 2009

Frugal Savings - Pets

We're big on animals in this house. To us they're part of the family. We have four pets (not including the free loading blue tongue lizard that lives in various places in the backyard )

Our German shorthaired Pointers, Indiana Bones and Lola Daisy eat a lot because they are large dogs. Mordecai our ginger cat is also a big cat. (See the theme here - we like BIG) Moo is our anomaly. We got her as a kitten and she never really grew much. What she lacks in stature she makes up for in attitude. You don't want to mess with this cat.

Feeding four companions can get pretty expensive, and thats not even thinking about vet bills, flea treatments, heart worm prevention, unexpected illness  etc etc. I think at one stage we were spending around $3200.00 per year just feeding these critters. Isn't that insane? 

Now we make our own dog food about once every 10 days and pop it in the freezer in meal sized portions. That saves us about $525.00 a year over canned or pre-made dog food. I also save all the vegie and meat scraps from meals in a bag in the freezer and they go into the dog food when we make it up to pad it out a bit. (see my recipe below)

I buy good quality dry food in 15 kilo bags, three bags at a  time. Our breeder told us what she feeds dogs she isn't showing and we buy the same.  That's in preference to high quality premium bags of dogs food, which we did feed them for the first two years to assist with good bone development. That saves us about $494.00 a year. I also buy our cat food in 6.5 kilo bags instead of boxes which saves us about $100.00 a year.

I used to buy dried pigs ears because the dogs love them and they're good for their teeth. My dogs can also chew one to oblivion in 20 minutes. At $2.50 each twice a week thats expensive. Now I buy a huge bone cut in half which they play with for up to a week and that saves me $390.00 a year. Pigs ears are now "sometimes" foods just like Cookie Monsters cookie's.

So with just a little effort we managed to cut our food bill by almost half. That's $1500.00!!!

Fairy Bread's Dog Food Recipe

4 kilograms (around 9 pounds) chicken mince
2 kilos of chopped vegies (peas, carrot , beans) I just buy them already bagged and frozen.
2 x 500 gram packs of dry pasta
2 eggs
Crushed garlic (about a tablespoon )

Brown the meat, and drain off any excess fat. Microwave the vegies and while you're doing this throw in the garlic and eggs to the pot of meat and mix well. Boil the pasta, and add this, the vegies and any table scraps you've saved to the mix. Let it cool and bag in individual portions. Sometimes I throw in a can of sardines because they're good for the dogs coats. You can also use rice instead of pasta.  Our vet has commented positively on the condition and health of our dogs so we must be doing something right and the dogs LOVE their food.

Please be aware that some vegies are not good for dogs. Large amounts of potato, potato skins, and high amounts of broccoli can cause adverse reactions. Under no circumstances should onion be fed to dogs. Please check with your vet before you make your own dog food.

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