Dr. Maro: Make the most of your pet care budget by feeding your pets more nutritiously.
With the cost of many goods and services rising due to inflation, now is a good time to review your pet care budget and emphasize providing healthier meals and treats while saving for veterinarian care and emergencies.
The price and availability of meat products, as well as shipping costs, have had an impact on not just the price of pet food, but also the quality of the contents. Understanding the nutrients that make up healthy nutrition might help you avoid some of the costs and problems associated with feeding manufactured meals to your children.
Despite the fact that ingredients are always disclosed on pet food labels, the truth-in-labeling practices that apply to human foods do not apply to pet foods. The guaranteed analysis for percentages of protein, lipids, and carbs mentioned on the bag is all that is required of the components in each bag of pet food, with substitutions in real ingredients and quantities not reflected on the label.
Cats evolved to hunt and devour live prey such as mice, small rodents, rabbits, and birds. They are carnivores who must eat only meat.
Dogs and cats do not eat grains and do not require them; if left to their own devices, they would never graze or consume grains. Plants they eat are frequently only partially digested in the stomachs of the small animals they prey on.
Pet rabbits and rats, on the other hand, developed to eat a plant-based diet and can survive on fruits, vegetables, and grains. Instead of eating a pelleted diet, which does not encourage healthy tooth wear, rabbits thrive when they can wear down their teeth by chewing grasses and hay.
With this knowledge, you can provide a healthy diet for your pets by incorporating raw bones into their diet.
Fermented veggies are best for dogs, but they can also consume fresh fruits and steamed, diced, or pureed vegetables.
To extend your budget when feeding your healthy pet (always see your veterinarian before trying these tips if your pet has been prescribed a particular diet for a health condition):
Keep all of your whole, unprocessed food scraps for your dog to eat.
Onions should not be fed to pets, but other vegetables and fruits are allowed.
Save all uncooked bones and feed raw bones to your dogs and cats on a regular basis, at least several times a week.
Consult your veterinarian about your pet's weight and body health. The majority of pets are overweight. Stop overfeeding and offering goodies if your dog is overweight, according to your veterinarian.
When you feel compelled to feed your pet (and yourself) unhealthy snacks and sweets, take them for a walk or play with them.
You may save money by giving your dog or cat homemade snacks prepared from real foods and/or organ meats. Recipes for homemade snacks can be found on a variety of websites.
Request that friends and family who go hunting conserve all organs and bones for feeding to dogs and cats.
If your cat hunts outdoors, you won't need to offer extra food on days when your pet consumes its prey.
Cats and dogs do not require many meals every day. It's good to feed once a day. Fasting one day a week is also beneficial to dogs and cats, unless they are being treated for a specific health issue, in which case you should consult your veterinarian.
Herbivorous pets, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, require daily feeding but not processed, store-bought food.
Look up your pet's usual diet and offer them actual food. Make sure you're getting enough vitamins and minerals for your pet's species. Guinea pigs, for example, require vitamin C supplements on a regular basis. They will perish if they don't get it, so make sure you give them the right whole food supplements.
Many pet owners overdo it when it comes to toys and treats. Many products include harmful substances, and there is no regulatory organization for pet toys. I recommend manufacturing your own toys so you know exactly where they come from.
Finally, create a pet care budget that includes pet food, grooming, and vet care, as well as emergency care and/or pet health insurance.
Then make an effort to stick to it and avoid the urge to acquire possibly hazardous and unhealthy treats and toys for your pet on the spur of the moment.