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This is my fourth year of tracking pet finances at the House of Two Bows. This is an ongoing effort to get a practical sense of what it costs to keep two 20 ~ 30 pound adult dogs in an area of the US with relatively high costs of living. Previous posts in this series can be found under the category of finances.

The Cost of (Pet) Things for April 2014:

  • Food: $15 [previous month, $83]
  • Treats: $12 [previous, $31]
  • Grooming: $0 [previous, $13]
  • Vet & Medical: $0 [previous, $80]
  • Accessories and misc: $0 [previous, $15]
  • TOTAL: $27 [running average for 2014: ~$142.50/month]

Well check that out. We rocked this month! This is the whole point of stocking up in previous months though, yeah?

Poultry organs are always cheap. The most expensive food item was this one pound chub of Mary’s Pet Food, purchased on a whim when I saw it at my local grocery store. There’s not a lot of online information about this particular product, which does claim to be a “complete” meal suitable for both dogs and cats (hmm…). I was even confused as to whether it was actually cooked, semi-cooked, or raw, as the label doesn’t even say; the meat was not pink, yet it was bloody and drippy after thawing. The website printed on the package doesn’t actually say anything about pet food, but it does tell about Pitman Family Farms, the parent company. Apparently they specialize in “less stressful” slaughtering techniques for poultry, using a process called Controlled Atmosphere Stunning. Interesting.

Mary's pet food

That sounds like a lot of technology to support for $7.99 + tax, which made me think it was a fair price. I bought it, but I’m not sold on the product. The overall feeding experience itself wasn’t anything special and actually pretty messy for what it was. There’s a reason that other raw food manufacturers freeze their portions in nuggets or patties; chubs are leaky and inconvenient to handle if you don’t use the entire thing at once. And since it was sold frozen, thawing it out rendered the convenience of a grab-and-go meal rather moot, for my purposes.

Mary's pet food with egg

The dogs, of course, loved it, and digested it just fine. But honestly, I think I could prep them a better, fresher meal just as easily.

Anyway, the real fun this month was in treats. Aside from the usual chicken hearts, I introduced a new ingredient to the home dehydrator: pig ears!

Freshly dehydrated pig's ears

A pack of three very large ears at $3.39 a pound cost less than $4 at Ranch 99. The best part about doing it yourself is that I can easily trim each piece into less gluttonous, treat-sized strips before popping them into the dehydrator. I did leave them in for nearly 16 hours, which may have been overkill. They looked great on the other side though! Given that one whole ear can cost $3 at the pet store these days, this was definitely worth the time and effort. We’ll be doing this again for sure.