I went to the vet today for my pal Luke and bought a 6-month supply of Frontline and Heartgard (anti-fleas and ticks, anti-heartworm medicines) and a 5-pound bag of Science Diet. Cost about $120, of which $80 was for the flea killer.
That’s a lot of money. It seems disproportionate to me, considering that the inexpensive heartworm med is for something that could actually kill him, while the expensive anti-parasite only prevents something that wouldn’t really hurt him. I have to get used to veterinary bills, I guess. Luke does visit other dogs sometimes, and no, I don’t want fleas in my house.
(When I was in 7th grade my parents closed out their business, moved 13 miles south to this town and bought a house. For some reason they were worried that someone might break in; a crazy thought considering the crime rate was zero, but whatever. So I volunteered to guard the house, which meant sleeping on the floor before the furniture got moved. Little did we know that the house was infested with fleas, which bit my legs all night. So paying $13 a month for flea prevention is probably a great investment.)
But then I saw the bill for five pounds’ worth of Science Diet; $2 a pound. I could feed Luke chicken at retail for less than that; I could feed him pork chops and COTTAGE CHEESE. A little can of peas and carrots, mixed in with his supper, lasts almost a week. What should I do?
I wonder what other puppy parents do; kids are expensive. (And they attract fleas.)
Chances are the vet charges more for Science Diet than other retailers do; I’ll check that out next time I’m at Wal-Mart. I’m lucky really that there’s a vet in town with Science Diet for sale. But still, $2 a pound means the dog’s eating better than I am.
If I were to feed him human food, he still wouldn’t get all the vitamins and minerals he needs. Chicken, peas and carrots will only get him so far. He needs the other stuff too. But still, $2 a pound? Who does he think he is, a Rockefeller?
Is Science Diet that much better than, say, Alpo Dry? They’re both certified by AAFCO, which sets minimum standards for dog food, and I can buy a 17-pound bag of Alpo for ten bucks, the same price as 5 pounds of SciDi. I’m not looking to make him eat the cheap stuff, but $2 a pound seems awfully expensive. I want him to be healthy and happy, but it would be nice if I didn’t go bankrupt feeding him. Alpo costs 60¢ a pound, not $2. How do other dog owners handle this?
If you have a dog, please leave a comment.
Meanwhile here’s our feeding pattern. I give him pellets in the morning, which he doesn’t always eat, and “good stuff” at night; canned dog food usually (he likes Skippy, a cheaper brand, better than Pedigree, which is pricier and looks like crap). I often supplement his supper with human food, which might be scraps of chicken, pork or beef, peas and carrots, rice or COTTAGE CHEESE. He has a clear preference for the good stuff over the pellets, but once he’s had supper and pooped, he gladly chews the pellets he turned his nose up at earlier; crunchies clean his teeth. Every now and then he gets a bone if I’ve got one. I hope, between the vitamin and mineral-enhanced pellets and the protein-rich good stuff, he gets a balanced diet; and it’s a wonderful thing to watch him eat real vegetables and grains. Humans don’t like peas that much, but Luke scarfs them up when they’re mixed with Skippy Bar-B-Q Beef.
Probably I worry too much, but food is important to a dog. Did I mention he loves COTTAGE CHEESE?
I figure it’s a good source of calcium, and it’s cheaper than Science Diet. When I give him some CC, I always make a big show of licking the spoon afterward, just to see him go nuts. When it’s Skippy time, I let him lick the spoon.
He’s an endless font of entertainment, so sweet, so nice, even if he misbehaves at times; now that he’s been here two months and we’ve got toilet training down, I’m giving him more and more free time. He’s learned to run up the tiled kitchen steps instead of always racing around to the carpeted steps in the living room, and I’ve learned to interpret his behavior better. My favorite Luke things? When we’re going downstairs from my bedroom and he leaps down to the landing from the third step; and playing My Paw, where I grab one of his legs and he fights me with pretend-bites. Somehow he likes having my fingers in his mouth.
Now it’s time to walk around outside the house, our mid-evening pee ritual. He’ll try to drag me off to the street, but I won’t go (it’s cold out), so he’ll huddle under the evergreens, then the spruce tree, then the pine tree, before scrambling up the back steps saying, “What took you so long?”
A very good boy he is; a fantastic boy. Cute as the dickens, sweet as pie.++