It seems everyday at Tilly's HQ we get an email informing us of a price increase on raw food and treats. Electricity prices are just ridiculous and don't even get me started on fuel!
Times are hard for all of us and, unfortunately, it means we do have to consider where every penny is going. This also means we may need to revaluate what we feed our dogs.
At Tilly's, we always have the dog's best interest at heart so we have come up with a few ways you can make those pennies stretch further and still feed your dog the best diet possible.
Choosing a Different Raw Food Brand
We have a wide range of brands from the more expensive premium brands (e.g. Paleo Ridge and Betsy's) to the economy brands (e.g. Southcliffe, Totally Natural and Birmingham Raw) and many that fall somewhere in between.
We always recommend using a selection of different brands to give your dog as much variation in their diet as possible. If you usually stick to the more premium brands, now might be the time to consider the economy brands.
If you currently feed completes (e.g Nutriment, Naked Dog), you will find it cheaper to switch to an 80-10-10 and add your own veg/fruit/seeds/etc (we are always on hand to guide you on which ones are most suitable for your dog).
Please, please don't buy from a butchers - they are very rarely mixed in the correct ratios and will use very little muscle meat (as they can sell that to humans for a higher price). Also, all raw meat needs to be frozen for a minimum of a week before feeding to dogs to kill some parasites that may be in the food (these are usually killed through cooking).
It's also worth remembering that food meant for humans doesn't go through as strict testing as food meant to be fed raw to dogs. For example, human meat is allowed to contain small amounts of salmonella because this will be killed by cooking; raw meat for dogs isn't allowed any level of salmonella.
You can feed less raw meat and bulk your dog's meals with up to 20% mixer. Don't go above 20% or you'll risk unbalancing the food.
Suitable mixers are vegetables (choose those that grow above ground if your dog suffers with yeast/itchy skin as these usually contain less starch), fruit (small portions only and obviously no grapes!), seeds (soak and crush before feeding), and nuts (but stay away from macadamia nuts as these are poisonous to dogs).
Other bulkers include oats, quinoa, (no rice!) and prepared mixers like Nature's Menu Mighty Mixer.
Kibble is cheaper. Although it hurts me to say it, kibble is something to be considered when money is tight. And yes mixing kibble and raw food is completely safe despite what some Facebook 'experts' might lead you to believe.
We would never recommend feeding just kibble. Kibble really isn't the best food for dogs. However, there are some kibbles that are better than others.
The advantage to kibble over bulkers is that kibble is balanced. This means you can add as much or as little as your purse allows.
Please don't stop raw feeding altogether. Even if it's just a spoonful of raw on top of the kibble, some fresh food is better than none at all.
Which Kibble should I choose?
If you are going to consider adding kibble, then make sure it's the best quality you can afford. This is where Tilly's will help. We have decided to stock a small amount of kibble; not to replace raw feeding, but to use to mix with raw. We always ensure we only stock ones with suitable ingredients.
These are difficult times for all of us and we want to do all we can to help you continue feeding a species appropriate diet even if that does mean supplementing with kibble.
Please ask us if you are unsure.
We will help you develop a diet that is the best for your dog at a price that you can afford. We're always on hand in the shop or online to offer help and advice.
We're in this together for the dogs!