When I look for dogfood, I go for bulk. Bulk usually means cheapest by the pound - but it also means less of my time and energy shopping. I store bulk dogfood unopened and sealed in a garbage bag, in a cool place.
TYPE OF GRAINS: If I had the luxury of money, I would always buy GRAIN-free dogfood. That's fairly important. Grain is unnatural for canines, and encourages poor digestion, blood sugar problems, even yeast - or poor gut bacteria. Proper gut bacteria is one of the most important things in health. But, since I can't afford GRAIN-free, I do look for GLUTEN-free. Gluten is a pretty bad thing for pets, as it agitates the intestines, just like in humans,an leads to chronic diseases eventually - like arthritis, at least that's how I see it. Many nervous habits of pets can be attributed to wheat, barley, or millet in their food. Well, dogfood advertised as gluten-free, (GF), is often very expensive, as in "Grace" brand. But you can find dogfood that is virtually GF, or at least has only a modest amount of barley in it, and that's fine, it can be cheap too. I find that "IANS" dogfood is formulated this way. IANS also often has fish oil, or else flax - these omega oils are very important. People say fish oil is good for a dog's nice coat - but fuck that, the dog's internal health and mind are most important! Fish oils, or flax, should always be in your dogfood! Well, I do't worry too much about soy, but brown rice is the best grain for dogfood, followed by white rice, and then corn. The cheapest dogfoods often mostly have corn - and you might want to grab these before corn prices go through the roof. But if you can get rice dogfood, that is better. Corn is not so easilly digested - plus it might be GMO. Dog's will be turned off to eating GMO corn food, until they have no choice but to eat it. GMO corn can cause serious problems, which I don't eve want to get into.
VEGETARIAN?: Not necessary. Usually more expensive anyway. But if you do find a cheap dogfood which contains things like carrots, peas, pumkin, potatoes, or beets, (in adition to meat, of course), these will be worth buying - and dogs usually like these veggies. However, beets and potatoes are high-glycemic, so. Carrots and pumpkin do have beta carotene, lutein, etc. Dogs are meant to eat SOME veggies. If you can mix some in yourself, GREAT. Even better if they are fresh/raw! Fresh is important at times, for enzymes or live mRNA. Plus the vitamin content is higher. However, dogs may sometimes not be interested in eating fresh carrots, or etc. It depends. Dogs don't like mushrooms, beans, lentils... Potato peels should never be given to dogs. Citrus? No. Sweet or Sugary? No. Refined flours? No. Cats? Usually not. PS - If you are a die-hard vegan, and you want to buy veggie-only food for your dog, you will need to do some research on whether the food contains the proper vitamins, minerals an amino acids, and in their best bio-available form - and that takes a lot of bother. Oh - of course you want to avoid artificial additives, and such.
MEAT?: Yes. Dogs were meant to eat meat protein. Fish is the best, but expensive! Chicken is usually what I buy. Lamb is next, and is leaner than beef. I only use beef via wet canned dogfood, when I supplement, as a treat, or an inducement to eat some damn terrible tasting mix I made. When looking for a good cheap dogfood, I look to sea if the meat is the first ingredient. If so, that means there is less grain. More veggies, or additional meats, means less grains. More rice = less corn. More rice or corn = less barley or soy. (God forbid I buy ANY wheat). Also, I avoid added fat. Low fat is better, in my opinion. But not if it means a lot more more carbs. PS - I will also add ham sometimes to his supplemental mix. Another good thing to do is when he leaves rawhides, boil them up, soft, with the broth before starting!
MAKE YOU OWN DOG FOOD?: OK as a supplement, but the vitamins in dogfood are beneficial, even if not all of them are the best form. Mixed tocopherols, which are preservatives for fat, are a good source of E vitamins. If you do choose to cook up your own dogfood, as a supplement, you will want to use ingredients mentioned above, especially rice as a base, along with a meat broth, adding meat and lots of colourful veggies. Then, it can be frozen and saved for later. I almost always supplement in this way, but then I also add an aditional supplement of cooked chicken wings or breasts. Chicken legs MIGHT cause your dog to choke, esp. if it is a smaller dog. I have found the best veggies to add to the cooking dogfood are chunks of carrot, pealed potatoes, and something dark green. No green peppers. And lots of peas can help with the base, but you have to be careful that they don't cause the food to burn at the bottom. It becomes an art, after a while. I may also throw in some cornmeal, dry dog food or some quick oats near the end, to thicken it up. Note: Oats may contain some gluten.
HOW TO GET YOUR DOG TO EAT: I feed my dog at around 3:15 each day, with a tiny meal or snack also at 11:am and at 7:pm. When the clock is set back or forward, I keep to the dog's body clock, but I gradually move him back onto 3:pm. (If it weren't for the fact that I need to let him out to do his business at the same time, out of concern for neighbours, I would probably simply feed him according to his own body clock all the time). If he doesn't eat the tiny meals, they are withrawn completely. This helps modulate his appetite for 3:pm. I mix the supplemental or wet dog food in with his dry stuff. But since dogs aren't crazy about moist dog food, I scatter a little more dry food on top. I might add some tiny GF dog cookies as well. Then I top it off with an appetiser, like a chicken wing, a boiled egg, etc. Cheap hotdogs are great for this, and make great treats, (1/2 hotdog), but they are not healthy, so, moderation. You can extend the fridge shelf-life of cooked dog food mixes by cooking in bayleaf, a little garlic. Garlic and onions are not good for dogs, but a little garlic won't put him off. Cinnamon powder or oil can also be added, even after the mix has been in the fridge for a while, and this will definitely extend freshness, but mix it in and be careful because doggie won't like it too much. I believe rosemary might also work. You can exten food that is starting to go ba by cooking it up again an adding some new things. Salt also helps preserve. Mixing regularly, and/or sometimes exposing to air, also helps.
OK - here is a way you can get some cheapo dog food... I go to Mr. Chewy. Free shipping on orders over $49! Discount on first order, if you arrange regular automatic shipments for the future - but you can cancel these easilly later, or change them. Check the sale items, and list the items from least-to-most expensive. Also, try this discount link, (the last part might be the puchase code you need to add for the discount)...
I learned about this deal from folks at poor_skills, so check them out!
Here are what I listed for my own recent choice...
diamond barley lamb adult 40/40$ #49772 w/fish = 1/pound
sale natures recipe barley/chicken/rice easy digest 35/37$ #51604 - no fishoil/flax listed = 1.057/pound
sale GF IAMS large puppy chicken 44/47$ #45563 w/fish = 1.068/pound
- GF IAMS adult proactive health chicken 44/47$ #45559 flax = 1.068/pound
natures recipe sale senior barley lamb 35/38$ #51400 - some omega 3 = 1.086/pound
sale GF IAMS puppy chicken 40/47$ #45562 w/fish = 1.175/pound
IAMS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~GF large chicken rice somebarley 33/39$ #45561 - flax = 1.182/pound
GF IAMS adult minichunks chicken 30/37$ #45558 - flax = 1.233/pound
sale ~~~GF IAMS adult somebarley lamb/rice 35/45$ #45560 no fishoil/flax = 1.286/pound
The last two times, I ordered the first one on the list, but supplemented that with a very fishy 20 bag, and a veggie / GRAIN-free 20 bag, as well.
And here are some more online places to buy dog food:
http://www.mrchewy.com/b/dog-food - 220.127.116.11
free dog food offers!...
natures select distrub= an wotzag Tel: (847) 852-1700,
Nature’s Select 148 East Orangethorpe Avenue Anaheim , CA 92801 Direct: (714) 993-5500 Toll Free: 1-888-814-PETS (7387) Fax: 714-572-0929
rachael ray, nutrish, JUST6 OFFER - http://nutrish.rachaelray.com/switchto/just6
And, I made a post or two about dog and cat food offers WAY back somewhere in my journal, untagged I think.
Before I go, I want you to remember one thing, dear reader:
The word "dogfood" is actually a composite of two words...
PS - Dogs also like duck, because...
It's a dog-eat-duck world.