Affordable and healthy food choices for your dog

I work with a good number of dog owners that would like to feed a healthier diet but are concerned with higher costs that are often times associated with healthier food.

Bottom line, I get it, I have months where money is non-existent for fancy extras or high priced anything, but always keep in mind that were you choose to spend your money counts.

In my household I will spend a bit extra on healthier food for my children and dogs, because if I don’t purchase better nutrition I will most certainly purchase expensive doctor or veterinary visits in the not to distant future. So choices count, and for me it makes sense to spend my extra money on good healthy food, than a lot of money I don’t have on over priced medical care. Something to think about, because after all, we are what we eat, literally.

But fear not, there are ways to make food healthier for your dog, while you transition to an over all species appropriate diet, that are sustainable and affordable, and totally doable. And I know from what I saw when I was transitioning over 16.5 years ago, it was a profound moment where I finally felt like I was truly and honestly nourishing my dog, not just feeding my dog.

“Health is more than the mere absence of disease, it’s the presence of a superior state of well being, a pizzazz, a vitality that has to be worked for each and every day of your life.  Its got to be gotten through diet, exercise, rest, recreation and attitudes of mind working all together every day of your life” – Doc ‘Dorian’ Paskowitz

Lets begin –

If you are feeding kibble, please feed a kibble that isn’t high in carbohydrates and starch, and just so we are clear, ‘grain free’ doesn’t mean starch and carbohydrate free. If the kibble comes from a big box store, on-line pyramid marketing set up, or the hardware store, it is best served as fodder for your trash can. Visit a pet nutrition store or call one, and they can recommend the better brands within your price point, but please make your price point reasonable. And remember if you want to feed a dog kibble that is pennies on the cup-full, then you will be spending thousands of dollars on each veterinary visit. So again, where you spend your money counts.

Top Dressing is adding whole, mostly raw, nourishing foods to the kibble you are feeding to bolster the quality of nutrition, and hopefully making what your dog eats more bio-available, meaning they can absorb more nutrients. Add one or more of the following  ‘top dressings’, or rotate throughout the week for variety, variety is always good. This is just a starter list, please don’t use it as ‘this only’, please keep adding!

RAW GREEN TRIPE – 1/8 – 1C each day. If you want to add just one thing to your dogs food to start with, let it be raw green tripe. Not dehydrated, not canned, not cooked, but raw green tripe. It is SUPER affordable, SUPER nutritious, and the perfect balance of calcium and phosphorous. If you cannot find it at your local store you can order direct through GREEN TRIPE  There are other companies so please do your research as to what works best for you where you live.

RAW EGG – 2-3 times per week – if it is farm fresh you can use the shell and all.

WHOLE FAT PLAIN YOGURT – every day – raw is better if you have that availability.

WHOLE FAT PLAIN KEFIR – every day – raw is better if you have that availability.

BANANAS – 1/4 of a banana – 2-3 times per week

DARK LEAFY GREENS – 1/4 cup every day – dandelion, chard, spinach, tot soi, parsley, etc, blend until mushy for better absorption.

SWEET POTATO – 2-3 times per week – 1-3 T – cooked and mushy is best for absorption.

LACTO-FERMENTED VEGGIES – 2-3 times per week – 1-2T – you can make your own or purchase from the grocery store (cabbage, beet, cabbage/apple, cauliflower, etc…) Blend until fairly mushy.

CAMELINA OIL – every day – 1-2tsp – Omega 3-6-9 with naturally occurring vitamin E.

CANNED OR RAW SARDINES – 2-3 times per week – 1-2 sardines.

DIATOMACIOUS EARTH – 1tsp-3T each day – great for parasite control, trace minerals.

SPIRULINA – 1/4 tsp – 2-3 times per week – because it’s awesome

CHAGA MUSHROOM – 1-3tsp – 2-3 times per week


RAW GIZZARDS – 2-3 – each day

RAW BEEF LIVER – 1-4T – 2-3 times per week

and on and on and on …

And I would venture to guess that once you start seeing the changes in your dog, their overall health, that transitioning off of kibble to a more species appropriate diet won’t be so daunting, and you will find that it is not the ‘huge’ expense you once thought it was.

So small steps forward for better nutrition, but steps forward each and every day.

All the best, Nancy

psst – the photo of Story I chose specifically for this post because he is now 14.5 years old (2019), has never had a health issue in his life, is all raw fed, and has no arthritis. He for sure sleeps more, and enjoys uninterrupted time outside, just hanging out and doing his old man thing, but is vitality is tangible. A naturally reared dog, and I am grateful every. single. day.



6 Comments Add yours

  1. Casper O' Hane says:

    Sound advice. 🙂 Not sure how much nutrients she gets from them, since I don’t chop them, but my dog adores vegetable scraps. If she hears me chopping something, she comes and hovers around the kitchen hoping for a carrot top, piece of lettuce core, broccoli stem, (her favorite,) and other such things. Anything crunchy, she will eat. (Provided it is safe, of course.) I call her the living garbage disposal.

  2. Mickey Maynard says:

    Thanks NANCY. I really needed this spelled out for me , baby steps. So far we do duck necks, banana, yogurt, blueberries, broccoli.

    Doggies are doing great. Finn and I are going to a AKC dog trial in Great Falls. He loves the sport as do I.

    Sarah graduates on June 2, and then she is off to her mothers for the summer. Hopefully, very soon, we’ll get to live full time in Gateway house.

    Do you have any time next week for a orivate, 1/2 hr for each dog scenting. If not how about lunch on me. 😍

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Been feeding raw of years with excellent results. Sadly it is environmental things that can only be partially controlled that are now causing many diseases.

  3. Annemarie says:

    Aren’t canned sardines too salty for dogs? I sometimes give my dig the oils from the can.
    Thanks, Annemarie

    1. Nancy Tanner says:

      not too much, it depends on the brand and if you are buying oi, water, tomato sauce … And it isn’t their ENTIRE meal it is a suppliment – frankly a good quality sardine vit/min/amino/fatty acids/micro nut – far outweighs the ‘salt’

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