Feeding Your Senior Dog on a Budget

When your dog is old, you realize that the same old food may not agree with their stomach anymore. That’s the problem I had with Sie. She was nine and vomiting constantly. I hated cleaning up the daily mess. After speaking with my Uncle Clay, I switched Sie to Biljac, but only after trying every version of Purina there was at the time. I had not realized each “brand” of dog food was made by them until I noticed their logo on all the bags. I tried Alpo, Beneful, and several other kinds. Biljac was the lucky charm.

She stopped puking within the week, rapidly gaining weight. Pretty soon she weighed eleven pounds which was much better than nine pounds. Before I took her off Biljac she was thirteen pounds. Every time I bought Biljac, the price would go up and the bag would be smaller. I grew weary of paying a higher price each time and buying the soft food as well. I started looking around. PetSmart immediately suggested Blue Buffalo, which was fairly new on the market in my area and with a hefty price. I kept looking for another grain-free option.

On a whim, I meandered into Tractor Supply and asked the associate what grain-free food he recommended. He said he used 4Health himself and knew several customers who only fed that to their dogs. He said, “It’s grain-free.” But the bags I picked out weren’t grain-free; if I had read the label, I would have noticed the ingredient list. Sie liked the new food, so I switched her over. Once I discovered the canned food was much cheaper than Biljac, I switched that too!

Sie needs grain-free treats.

35 lbs. of 4Health dog food is about $35. That brings the average price to $1/pound. With a senior dog (Sie is 13.5 now!), meal time can be tricky. Sie is spoiled and picky at times. Sometimes she wants crunchy, sometimes she wants soft, sometimes she wants whatever is in Cinderella’s bowl. I hide her daily pill in a couple spoonfuls of wet dog food. She deigns not to notice it because I refuse to feed her anything else until all that food is gone. {I found out while researching this blog that 4Health is moderately grain-free, which seems to suit Sie. 4Health does have a completely grain-free variety though.}

I take her kibble and pour some broth over it. Just was a few spoonfuls, enough to coat it and make it chewy. Now, I have to soak it to mush before feeding or she will choke. This last development scared me with its random ferocity. My dog, reduced to no crunchies, poor thing.

To make homemade chewy dog food:

  • Get your dog’s favorite kibble. 2.) Coat it in broth or water. Stir it around or put it in a tight sealing container and shake it. 3.) Drain excess juice. 4.) Always refrigerate!

You can get your broth from anywhere, save the broth from pot-roast, and ham, leftover gravy, bouillon cubes, even out of date bouillon. You can freeze it or keep it in a tight sealed jar in the fridge.

You want to select the best food for your dog within the scope of your budget; bearing in mind that your dog likes certain flavors. For instance, once Sie realized Cinderella had Lamb and Rice flavored kibble, she refused to eat her Salmon and Potato. I had reservations about feeding Sie the Lamb because the Chicken flavor had upset her stomach. Lamb agreed with her stomach and her appetite. I try to make her eat as much Salmon with it as possible. Dogs– picky eaters.  Please do bear in mind your animal’s individual health and nutrition needs. Don’t take my word for it, ask your vet!

Sie wondering when dinner will be served.
Cinderella thinking about her food.

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