Spending Choices: Feeding the Dog

Hannah, chilling next to her dog bed

BF: It costs $1 a day to feed her?!?!

Me: Ummm… Sure?

It seemed like a crazy thing to be upset about. So I was spending $1 a day to feed the dog! To me, that doesn’t seem like that much. Okay, in actuality, I probably spend more like $2-3 per day to feed the dog. Given his already shocked expression, I wasn’t about to admit the reality was much higher.

Since Poodle passed away, getting Hannah to eat has been a difficult proposition. And not for the reasons I expected. Hannah was my first dog, a terrified little rescue who spent most of her time hiding away in the closet. Getting Poodle made a big change in Hannah’s personality. Poodle loved Hannah, would let her do anything (steal his treats, kick him out of the doggy bed), and he was always there to protect her. While Hannah remained terrified in many situations, Poodle became her backbone, enabling her to live a more normal life.

I completely expected that when Poodle died, Hannah would go back to being the terrified little dog that hid in the closet. Worse, the BF and I agreed that, since I spent a lot of time at his place, Hannah should start traveling with me, so she wouldn’t have to be alone so much. I expected this to go terribly. I expected her to be a trembling mess all the time.

I was wrong. Instead of reverting to her old, terrified self, Hannah has decided that she is queen. I’ve never seen the dog so excited, so happy. All I have to do is walk to the front door and say “Wanna go to BF’s?” and she’s out the door in a flash, tail wagging. She still has her quirks. And the more adjusted she becomes to the situation, the more confident she becomes that she’s only going to do what she wants to do. Like refusing to walk in the grass the majority of the time. Or pretending like she can’t hear when the BF talks to her. Lately she’s also decided that she’d rather just stay in her bed at the BF’s, and not come home with me in the mornings. She then pouts most of the car ride home about not getting her way.

Despite the successful changes, eating has become more and more of an issue. Granted, its never been an easy proposition. I have to be cautious about what I feed her, since years of abuse at the puppy mill led to a broken jaw and deteriorated cartilage, greatly decreasing the options on what she could eat. She’d always been slightly picky, and I never could get her to eat enough to maintain her weight the way it should be.

Despite being happy with her new and exciting life, Hannah was eating less and less, and the weight loss was noticeable. And she learned that the BF was twice the sucker that I was; if she held out long enough, he’d drizzle her food with bacon grease, and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. She’s an old dog, so I try not to go overboard on the healthy eating thing, so long as she eats. But bacon grease at every meal?!?! That felt a little like crossing the line.

So, I started exploring new foods, to see what she would eat. I tried many of her old favorites, with no success. Or more accurately, no success without bacon grease. And cheese. Finally, we settled on the brightly colored little tubs of food, with names like “beef stew” and “turkey medley”, along with tubes of treats that looked and smelled like summer sausage.

I’m not going to lie, it’s expensive. On top of that, I’m trying to keep a high quality, small bites, dry dog food available in case she gets hungry between meals. And finally, she’s eating. She gobbles down her treats like she hasn’t eaten in days, and does pretty well during her meals. Although she tends to push everything to the back of the plate as she eats, and then waits for one of us to come along and turn the plate before she can finish eating.

I’m happy to see that my dog is enjoying a happier, healthier life. It doesn’t bother me that it’s costing me a little more than usual. The money comes out of my weekly spending money, so it isn’t like I’m breaking my budget to feed the dog. It just means I have to prioritize my wants/needs differently. And I’m okay with that.

Have you ever had to deal with a picky pup? Is there a limit on what you would do for the health/happiness of your pet?

– Cindy W.


  1. Ha~

    I have never had to deal with that. My dog is 11 and has happily eaten Kibble-n-bits for all these years. Since it isn’t broke, I didn’t try to fix it!
    But, I would pay more if he wanted different food. He’s a sweetheart and has been a wonderful pet. =)

    1. I was making her dinner last night, and she’s dancing all around the kitchen and I thought “yeah, totally worth it.”

      It’s been guesstimated that Hannah might be somewhere between 12 and 15 years old. The BF keeps saying he thinks she’s a lot older, which I think is ridiculous. I mean, 12-15 is pretty old, especially if the first 8 or so years of her life were as rough as they think they were!

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