Zack Manko and his beloved Sorsha give us some great tips on feeding our pets, offer healthy options, guide us to supportive/financial help and give tips on where to find the chow!
Between global supply chain issues, skyrocketing inflation, and massive unemployment, this year’s Thanksgiving is shaping up to be the most expensive Turkey Days in history. That means the table might be a little bit leaner than usual. This can feel like a punch to the gut, as typical Thanksgiving celebrations are supposed to be feasts of food and fun.
What’s more, it’s not just people food that is hard to find right now. Pet food of all kinds is increasing in price or going out of stock during this economic upheaval. This can make Thanksgiving even less exciting for the family, especially the family dog.
No need to panic though. To help salvage the holiday (and beyond), Sorsha and I have put together some simple steps you can take to weather these conditions and keep Fido’s bowl full.
The first step you should take is to conserve what you already have. Consider rationing your pet food by measuring or weighing it. Oftentimes, we feed our pets more than they actually need, so take a moment to verify what the recommendations are for your dog’s breed, size, and weight. Chances are you might be giving them too much already, so cutting back will save you money, conserve food, and even make them healthier.
One of the best things you can do, for so many reasons, is to shop locally. Small businesses are often hit hardest by supply chain issues, as they typically do not have the same resources that big businesses have. While Amazon has its own distribution network and Target can purchase its own container ships, the small shops down the street are out of luck.
Now, dog food is not necessarily something that is made locally very often. However, many places carry homemade dog treats. Though it is a bit late in the season, farmer’s markets are a wonderful place to shop. If they are all closed already, go straight to the source, and check out a local farm. Many of them have small stores or markets with treats for your canine—and you!
Another great place to check are local dog-based businesses. Groomers, pet salons, and dog training schools often carry pet supplies, including dog treats and dog food. They may even have food from local sources or could point you in the direction of the shops or businesses that create them.
Make Your Own
A major trend across all industries and sectors right now is the Do-It-Yourself, Grow-It-Yourself, or Make-It-Yourself movement. As resources, supplies, and labor are all hard to come by, people across the nation have been rolling up their sleeves and tackling projects on their own, rediscovering lost skills and abilities in the process.
Why not apply this mentality to taking on your pet food challenges? Making your own pet food can be a rewarding, fun experience—and it can end up being healthier for your dog. Because you are in control, you can tailor the mix to the exact individual needs of your dog’s breed or temperament.
One of the first things you should decide on are the ingredients you will use, and in what proportions. Most experts recommend that the bulk of your dog’s diet should be meat. Vegetables and grains also play a role, but meat is king when it comes to canine cuisine. Be sure to choose veggies and grains that are safe for your dog. Also, try to get whole grains, and avoid refined grains for your dog, as whole grains provide more nutrition.
After deciding on and acquiring ingredients, it’s time to mix it all up. You can simply chop up your ingredients or break out the food processor to cut them up for you. Try adding some water to get the consistency right, to make it easier for your canine companion to eat and digest.
If you want to truly get serious, you can buy in bulk and mix up a bunch of meals for Fido, then refrigerate or freeze them. Since you are (hopefully) using fresh, natural ingredients, they should last for around 3-5 days in the fridge, and longer in the freezer if you package them right.
Oh, and don’t forget—this activity is a blast for kids! They’ll love the idea of “cooking for the dog” and will have fun preparing all the ingredients. Just be sure that they are old enough to help if you are using knives or other implements.
Free Pet Food Sources
Sometimes, the need is just too great. Everyone faces challenging times now and then. With all the craziness in the world right now, many people are struggling to make ends meet. These situations can cause anger, shame, and depression.
These feelings are even more hurtful when a pet is involved. Pet owners can feel guilty about not being able to take care of their families, themselves, or their pets. They may even start to wonder if they are fit to be dog or cat owners. These worries compound the emotions of shame, guilt, and despair.
However, all hope is not lost. Several areas offer resources for emergency situations like many are experiencing right now. For example, pet shelters and humane society organizations often offer free pet food for those in need. Consider calling or contacting state or local chapters of the ASPCA to find out more.
Remember though, before you approach these organizations for help, be sure that you absolutely need it. There are others out there that are also struggling, and if you use up free pet food resources out of laziness or cheapness, you’ll be depriving those who are truly in need.
Times are tough, but they are also an opportunity to step back, reflect, and be thankful for what we DO have. If you have your health, your job, or food on the table, you should count yourself lucky.
Also, practicing gratitude is far better for you than falling into despair, anger, or resentment. So, get thankful, roll up your sleeves, and face those problems head on!