As a proud pup-parent, we know you want the best for your dog. We also know that feeding them the nutritious diet they need to stay happy and healthy can be challenging when money is tight.
A nutritious diet for a dog will provide the animal with all of the fats, amino acids, proteins and vitamins it needs.
Each dog breed and age requires different amounts, and the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia states as a general rule that an adult dog diet needs to contain a moderate level of high quality, digestible protein and the 10 essential amino acids found in dog food.
But different meal plans and diets suit different dogs, so which is the best for your dog… and your wallet?
Canned, moist or dry food for your dog?
RSPCA South Australia recommends feeding your dog a balanced diet appropriate for the dog’s age, lifestyle and requirements, but it can be hard to tell what diet will give your dog what it needs and not break the bank.
Moist foods are easily digestible for doggies with dental problems but are actually the most expensive way to buy dog food as you are paying for a meal that can be up to 70 per cent water.
The protein content of canned food diets is very poor, they provide no dental exercise and can be packed full of preservatives that could be harmful for your pup.
Semi-moist diets like minces, moist kibble and fritz loaves again provide little dental exercise and can contain dangerous preservatives.
Like canned food, this is an expensive and less nutritious way of feeding your dog and you have to use more product.
Dry diets are by far the most economical and healthy way of feeding your doggo and saving some coin.
How to get more for your money
Good quality dry foods contain more calories per unit and have a higher protein content. This means you get more bang for your buck as you don’t need to feed as much food due to its dense calorie count.
Bags of dry dog food containing omega fatty acids, dental defence and good digestible vegetable matter such as beet pulp and pre-biotics will go further and give your dog added benefits.
We recommend high-quality commercial food prepared by good pet food manufacturers.
All our shelter animals are fed on Hill’s Science Diet food, kindly donated Hill’s to ensure vulnerable animals in RSPCA shelters get the best possible nutrition as they recover and wait for their forever homes.
Our top 10 tips for easy homemade dog food and treats
To provide enrichment and the important variety a dog needs in its diet, try these cost effective ideas and tips – which can be made with commonly found items in your kitchen.
1. Raw meat
You can offer your woofer some types of natural human foods including fresh raw meat. Make sure it’s human-grade meat that doesn’t contain preservatives.
Avoid sausages and sausage meat or cooked manufactured meats that may contain sulphites.
Any uncooked bone wider than the width of your three middle fingers will make a hazard-free treat. Marrow bones are especially appealing for dogs.
2. Keen for beans!
For a great source of vitamin C and K, give your pup peas or green beans as a fresh and tasty treat.
3. Sweet potato and ‘pupkin’
Sweet potato or pumpkin can help improve digestion and give your dog a sweet treat.
These foods also provide a dose of beta carotene.
4. Peanut butter snacks
It might be hard for you to part ways with your stash, but peanut butter is a great snack for dogs with added protein, vitamin B and heart healthy fats. (Just make sure you choose a brand that doesn’t include xytlitol, as this can be dangerous for dogs.)
Peanut butter is a great food to use for enrichment games including smoothing it inside a Kong or on other rubber dog toys.
5. Not-quite-minty fresh
If your pup is killing the mood with bad breath, parsley can help to give you both a much-needed breath of fresh air.
6. Goldi’s fav, porridge
If you love to eat at the same time as your furry friend, double up that portion of porridge in the morning! A fibre-rich snack for
both you and the pup is always a great choice, though be sure to avoid any added sugars or syrups.
7. Homemade pupsicles
On those hot summer days when you’re snacking on an ice block, pull out one you made earlier for your pup and chomp happily together. Blended frozen berries are especially good, full of antioxidants and fibres for your dog.
Don’t forget to leave the stick out of the ice block to avoid choking hazards and check to make sure no syrups or sugar has coated the berries.
8. Even simpler pupsicles – ice!
If you don’t have to time to make your own puppy-poles then simply crack out the good old humble ice cube to give your dog a fun new game.
Watch on whilst your confused canine tries to consume frozen water as it disappears before his very eyes.
9. Go bananas!
When you’re craving your morning caffeine fix, give your dog the natural alternative in the form of a banana (and maybe swap out your brew for a natural hit, too?).
Bananas are sure to provide your dog with the energy needed to take on the day, plus they’re a great source of potassium, fibre and promote heart health. (If you have an active doggo already maybe ignore this tip!)
10. Popcorn for two, please!
Next time you’re having a cosy night in on the couch with your favourite flicks, make an extra batch of popcorn for your furry friend!
Make sure it’s homemade, to avoid added sugar, butter and salt.
Want still-more inspiration?
Our friends at RSPCA England and Wales have created the following awesome video on yummy homemade banana & peanut butter biscuits.
You might also like to check out our previous blog: 10 human foods you definitely shouldn’t feed your dog (and what to give them instead).
And for more ideas and inspiration, check out TV personality Rachael Ray’s article on recipes both you and your pet can consume!
For more information from RSPCA experts on dog feeding guidelines, please visit our Knowledge base. And if you have an excellent dog-friendly treat that your pooch loves, share with us in the comments below!