I am a college student looking for a good food on a budget. The dog I recently adopted is on Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Small Bites mixed with a grain free wet food. He doesn’t have any grain allergies so I am interested in switching him over to a good food that is more college student budget friendly!
When reading some reviews, I saw some negative feedback on the brands Diamond and Nutro. I know that Nutro is AAFCO certified, so I was wondering what problem there was with this brand? My parent’s shelties have been on Nutro Max their whole lives and have wonderful coats, etc. I just want to make sure I am the most informed as possible before making a switch!
Sheltielove, a few of us here are college students, myself and my husband included. We also shop on a super tight budget for our dog, but so far we have managed to keep our food costs at $6.07/month for 4-5-star food. That is pretty low, although I am not counting Bruno’s (the dog’s) additives in the price. He gets an egg, a raw meaty bone (usually a chicken back or pork/beef neck bone piece), 1/2 can of sardines, and a tablespoon of coconut oil every other day and 1 tablespoon of yoghurt every other day. And The Honest Kitchen raw dehydrated food as a topper (1 tsp/meal, aside from when he gets coconut oil or yoghurt). The price of THK is calculated in his food cost though. Right now we are stocked on kibble and THK till the end of August, 2015.
Now, how did we do that?
Part 1 – lucked out! Our local Petland had a special during the months of November and December 2013 and was giving away FREE small bags of Holistic Health Extension. I stocked up on those with 4 bags.
Part 2 – Petland also sends me a coupon for $10 off of $25+ purchase – a great way to get bigger bags for less. I got 3 14-lb bags for about $20 each (with tax and all).
Part 3 – Luck again – there is an awesome little pet specialty store with amazing sales on top notch brands when they’re a month away from expiring, plus they give away free samples. Got me some of those too.
Part 4 – I facebooked a bunch of companies to ask for samples of their foods – some sent just coupons, some samples and treats, and some – whole small bags of food. Two bags of food came this way.
Part 5 – Planned couponing – for more info and to speak to this site’s real coupon guru Akari_32, see this thread – https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/coupons/
Part 6 – Scouting for deals and sales online. Websites, such as petflow.com and chewy.com will have flash sales at which you can get food for $1/lb – I got 19lbs of food this way, all in 4- or 5-lb bags of great, various flavors and brands.
Part 7 – MOST IMPORTANTLY – all of the above methods will be kind of on the hard side if you do not rotate protein sources (flavors) AND brands of food. More on diet rotation and why it’s important – https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/frequently-asked-questions/diet-rotation-for-dogs/ But this way you get to take advantage of all or most deals and sales versus being stuck to a specific brand/flavor.
Also, some of the more affordable overall brands are: Earthborn Holistic, Victor Select and Victor Grain Free, in some places NutriSource (not around Kennesaw, GA though – here it is soooo expensive!), Taste of the Wild (a Diamond product), Canidae (in my area it’s not too pricy), and possibly Dr. Tim’s.
As for Diamond – they manufacture several brands. They had a huge recall in 2012 and handled it poorly. Hence the issue of many with them.
As for Nutro, I cannot speak, although I have fed their small breed puppy food – one bag, first food we bought for our doggie before we discovered this site.
Hope this helps! Welcome, and keep the questions coming! 🙂
Welcome! I too have a sheltie; you can see Gemma in my picture. Regarding NutroMax or any food, go to the review section (click reviews in the red line above) and read the reviews.
I don’t feed a budget friendly food but if I did, I’d look at Dr Tims, Victor, Earthborn and maybe Whole a Earth Farms.
Naturella gave you plenty of information to go off of, so I would review some of the things she linked. I’m a sheltie person too 🙂
As far as Budget friendly-I’ll second Marie’s Earthborn-I don’t really follow a budget either but I do use that in rotation. I don’t like Nutro-almost every dog food is AAFCO certified (im a bit confused, do you just mean AAFCO compliant?) so I wouldn’t use that as a base or selling point.
A few other options that come to mind: Victor if you can find it as Marie said-it’s not really around me and it’s pricy online, but haven’t tried it myself-Simply Nourish-I use the source blends from time to time are a few other options. Dr Tims people seem to like and I haven’t tried. Whole Earth Farms is budget friendly but made by Merrick, so buy it after doing your research on them. I wouldn’t personally but plenty of people like them
If you were to use Nutro, use the LID puppy (it’s a green bag). The best one the offer IMO. However, you can do much better if you learn to use coupons. I feed a cat, two large dogs, several aquariums and ponds, and 4 reptiles on $10 a week with coupons and smart shopping. The furry critters all eat mainly wellness, which we all know is pricey. It’s hard and time consuming, but it’s also a fun challenge, and very worth it in the end. Definitely check out the link Naturella posted to my coupon thread 🙂
If you or your parents have a membership to BJ’s their Earth’s Pride Pet brand is highly rated on this site. They have 3 varieties including a grain free. My dog loves all 3, they’re part of his rotation. Naturella made a really good point about rotation diets, good for the dog and the budget.
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