by Carrie Boyko, CEB © AllThingsDogBlog circa 2009My Pack Gathers on Earth Day 2009 Every now and then it happens--a reader gets in touch with me privately and shares the budget challenges that sometimes get in the way of bringing the best nutrition to their pet. Their anxiety is often palpable. I've done my research on where to put your dollars when there are not enough to go around. The answers often still do not allow for organic food for ourselves or our pets. It's a reality that we must sometimes deal with. You do have options for a healthier diet for your pets. If organic just can't wiggle into your budget, choose the best ingredient list you can find. Skip the artificial flavors and colors, look for a named meat (or poultry) and meat or poultry meal at the top of the ingredient list. Don't settle for corn or other grains as a protein source. Look for whole grains when they are included--not pieces of the grain. For example, whole grain brown rice includes the most nutrient-rich part of the rice grain; watch for the whole grain intact. Seek out exceptional sources of fiber and carbohydrates like oatmeal, which is not widely used in pet food because of its cost. And fresh vegetables always score higher in nutrition. Finally, look for added EFAs (essential fatty acids) such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 or flaxseed oil. As your pet ages, his coat and skin will need this more and more. Give him a courtesy Natural Balance good start! Need a suggestion? Check out Natural Balance's Original Ultra Dry Dog Formula for an exceptional food at a reasonable price. There are options when you simply cannot do organic. I'll event give you a little budget bump. Here's a Coupon for $5 off 5 lbs or more through 10/31/13. You can also grab additional savings on your next bag with the coupons you'll receive when you click on the ad at the top of my site. Is it raining dollars?!! Missed some of our earlier Green Dogs posts? Check them out here: Pet Health and Nutrition: What We’ve Learned Dogs Living Green: What Got Us Started Reading Pet Food Labels Buy Your Pet Food With Confidence Pet Food Categories: Their Meanings? As an NB Insider, I share information about Natural Balance, focusing largely on their organic formula. Today's post shares a good alternative to organic, when you need other options. NB Insiders receive paid travel to industry events and pet food for their furry families in exchange for sharing news and information about Natural Balance's products and events.