The Healthy Pet Food Hack You Need To Know About

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I’m not sure where we would be without our Mad Money pets. As most of my longtime readers know, we have a total of 4 furry companions in our household. And, we mostly love every minute of it.

When Mr. Mad Money Monster and I joined forces, we also multiplied our pet count. The more the merrier, right? If you’re just tuning in, here’s the quick pet rundown. We have 2 Mad Money Pups and 2 Mad Money Cats. They all make cameo appearances on the blog from time to time – mostly with an insightful wisecracking comment towards the end of each post.

Before we get into our healthy pet food hack to keep our pups playing fetch and our cats chasing lasers, let’s do a quick photo refresher to get you reacquainted with the furry side of our family! 

 A Refresher

I’m not sure why, but our Mad Money Cats seem to make it into more posts than our Mad Money Pups. This certainly isn’t due to any preferential treatment – probably more so because our cats seem to be a bit more expressive and, therefore, photogenic :). And, here they are…

Pets - Pet Food | Healthy Pet Food | Frugal Pet Food | Pet Care via@MadMoneyMonster

Keeping Our Pets Healthy

Keeping our pets healthy is one of our top priorities. We try to do everything with frugality in mind. They all get plenty of exercise and even enjoy our in-home, DIY grooming treatments, as needed. It’s safe to say our furry companions want for nothing and are spoiled rotten.

However, there is one arena where we don’t skimp to save a buck. And that’s their food. We are fortunate to be in a position where we’re able to provide them with a higher quality, grain-free food that’s better for their overall digestion and health. We’re completely okay with not being frugal when it comes to their food – and we have a really good reason for it.

The Original Mad Money Cat

Mad Money Cat

The Original Mad Money Cat <3 #neverforgotten

Many of my longtime readers will remember the original Mad Money Cat. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to him before we were ready. But let’s face it, you’re never really ready to say goodbye.

Although it’s true that Mad Money Cat was no spring chicken, he was healthy in EVERY way, except his digestive system. The last year of his life was a bit of a struggle. We made a ton of trips to the vet for many diagnostic tests, ultrasounds, you name it.

I adopted Mad Money Cat from a shelter when I was in college. And because I was in college, I didn’t have the financial wherewithal to buy expensive pet food.

So, what did I do? I fed him what I could afford. I bought him an inexpensive cat food from the grocery store. As time went on, I graduated, got engaged, obtained gainful employment, and started to buy the more expensive, grain-free food for him.

But then life got in the way. My fiance and I broke up, my father died, and I had to reboot my life. Not surprisingly, rebooting one’s life can be really expensive. So, it was back to the inexpensive grocery store food for Mad Money Cat. And on and on it went for many years to come.

The Digestive Decline

Mad Money Cat started to have issues in early 2016. When we took him in for an exam, our vet told us he either had extreme Irritable Bowel Disease or cancer, and it was nearly impossible to distinguish the culprit. So, despite the ultrasound, we ended up treating the symptoms because, ultimately, it really wouldn’t change the outcome.

Immediately, we switched to a grain-free food at the recommendation of our vet. And almost immediately, Mad Money Cat was back to “normal” digestive health. His symptoms disappeared overnight and he lived as he always had for the next 6 months, until the symptoms started to creep back again.

Slowly but surely his digestive system started to fail again, despite the grain-free food. But thanks to that grain-free food, we had another 6 months with our beloved Mad Money Cat.

We spent thousands of dollars on his healthcare that last year, and I can’t help but think that his outcome could’ve been a lot different had I fed him grain-free food for his entire life.

Does The Quality Of Pet Food Really Matter?

Mad Money Pets

Super excited about the arrival of new food!

It’s true, we can’t definitely say that feeding our original MMC a higher quality food over the course of his life would’ve significantly extended it. But, I do think it’s safe to assume that it wouldn’t have shortened it.

In my opinion, the old adage, you are what you eat, certainly rings true for humans just as it does for animals. And the closer we can get to a natural diet, the better our bodies will respond. Of course, it’s not realistic for us to allow our pets to roam free and actually eat a natural diet, or for us to prepare fresh meat each day for them. So, we do the next best thing!

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Our Healthy Food Hack

Mad Money Cat

Mad Money Cat modeling next to the new arrivals.

Since our beloved companions are all stuck inside the confines of our home and fenced-in backyard, the next best thing in our opinion is to provide them with high-quality, grain-free pet foods. After our experience with the original MMC, we truly value being able to give our pets a more natural, easier-to-digest food option.

And since we order most of our groceries online, we do the same thing for our pet food! It saves us time. And as we all know, we really value our family time around here. Unfortunately, we’re unable to order our pet food with our groceries, so we use Amazon.

Our Mad Money Pups enjoy Whole Earth Farms, Grain-Free Recipe with pork, beef, and lamb. We tried switching them last year to another brand that was a few dollars cheaper, but Mad Money Pup 1 had major gas issues. And…that’s pretty much all you need to know about that. Back to Whole Earth Farms we went.

Our Mad Money Cats enjoy EVO, Grain-Free Turkey and Chicken Formula. In full disclosure, this food isn’t the least expensive grain-free option out there, but our two fools have gone on hunger strikes (not even joking a little) in the past when we tried to switch brands. So, back to EVO we went.

Overall, feeding our pets grain-free foods isn’t the least expensive option around, but we consider it one heck of a hack when we compare it to the extravagant longterm health care costs we could face instead.

Pro Frugal Tip

Amazon isn’t always the cheapest way to acquire our healthy pet food. Sometimes our local, specialty pet store runs a 2 for 1 special on their food. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s definitely worth checking out from time to time to save some major money. Last year I was able to stock up and buy enough 2 for 1 bags to last us for about 3 months. Woot!

What do you feed your pets to ensure they’re eating a healthy diet? Please share your frugal tips in the comments!

Pet Health | Pet Food | Healthy Pet Food | Frugal Pet Food | Pet Care via@MadMoneyMonster


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early Nov 24, 2017, 3:32 pm

    We go for the Costco brand stuff for our dogs. Our one dog has a super sensitive stomach and it’s one of the few foods she can tolerate. Bonus points that it’s affordable – especially since she’s 110lbs and eats a LOT of it.

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 27, 2017, 9:44 am

      Wow! 110lbs! Now, that’s a dog. I’m glad to hear you found a cost-effective way to get her the food she needs for her stomach. We have a dog with a sensitive stomach, too. Our brand is one of the ones that hasn’t upset her. Score.

    • kelly Dec 1, 2017, 9:03 pm

      I do Costco grain free also, my dogs liked that and before the costco grain free they had Sam’s club grain free and Iams, they aren’t picky. The grain free in bulk is about the same price as the iams

      • Mad Money Monster Dec 2, 2017, 9:44 am

        I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I just found out that our Mad Money Cats’ food has been discontinued by the manufacturer! Yikes. They’re so picky I don’t know what they’re going to eat. I tried to switch them before but without luck. They went on a hunger strike. Not even kidding. My friend has a Costco membership – maybe I should try their brand.

  • Erin Nov 10, 2017, 2:04 pm

    Completely agree with the healthy pet food idea. This is an area we have struggled with because we see how much money we could save buying the cheap stuff. We also had a dog in the past that we feel had a shortened life due to poor quality dog food. I buy the grain free food now, but my dog also eats for “dinner” the dry food mixed with the high quality can food. That’s where it gets expensive because she is a big dog. We were looking at about $3-4 a day. I now cook up a batch of low sodium broth, chicken, and peas in the crock pot. I mix that in with her food and she couldn’t be happier. Takes a little more work on my end but it is way cheaper and I know it is still healthy for her.

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 11, 2017, 5:07 pm

      Cooking up some real food for your pets is a great thing! We haven’t made the switch to a raw diet or cooing batches of chicken for ours…but we’ve considered it. For now, the grain-free works out great!

  • Linda Nov 10, 2017, 11:05 am

    Totally agree with you about grain free dog food. When we first got our pup the vet suggested Iams dog food, but it didn’t agree with her system. Then we gave her Science diet but she gassed us out of the house and needless to say, she suffered too. After much research, we switched to Blue Buffalo wilderness chicken. She loved it, she has a shiny coat and is healthy. Grain free is the best for our dog and we will not skimp again. We have a healthy, happy dog.

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 11, 2017, 5:05 pm

      Yay for grain-free pet food! I wish I had known about the benefits when I was younger when I was feeding my pets the grocery store variety. ugh.

  • Jodi Ruschin Nov 9, 2017, 12:57 pm

    I have fully switched my one pup (14 months) to raw food. Its a not a whole heck of a lot more expensive for him and as he has already had bloat… and nearly emergency surgery to remove a stuffy arm he ate (no more stuffies) that resulted him in him having very liquid poos I consider this the best option. Our other rescue dog will sniff the raw food but wont eat it… yet! I’m hoping to switch him over at some point but have also gone grain free for him. The cat is a picky eater at best (no dry food EVER) so she gets what she will eat and we are happy with that!

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 11, 2017, 5:03 pm

      I love the idea of a raw diet. We have considered it, but we’re not ready to take the leap…yet. Thanks for the tip!

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