Feeding Your Dog Without Breaking the Bank

One of the biggest costs associated with owning a dog is food. Some expenses are negotiable. Your dog will probably sleep just as comfortably on an old, folded comforter as on that expensive memory foam dog bed, but good food is a necessity.

To keep dogs happy and healthy, owners should provide food made with high-quality ingredients that meet the lifestyle requirements of the individual animal (for example, puppies need food for overweight puppies and pets should be on a low calorie diet). There is a “you get what you pay for” element with dog food, so higher quality foods tend to be more expensive. But, with just a little effort, owners can save a lot of money without compromising the health of their pets. Here’s how.

Choose your dog food wisely

Dogs do best when on a consistent diet. People like variety in their meals, but there’s no benefit to constantly changing the type of food you feed your dog. It can also increase the risk of a dog becoming skittish, always waiting for the next tasty treat that will accompany the next day’s meal.

Most dogs thrive when they eat high quality, but not necessarily premium, dog food. If you don’t eat organic, does your dog need it? And some manufacturers spend huge amounts of money marketing niche products, such as foods that are supposed to be made for particular breeds. You pay a premium for these formulations, but in all honesty, they are overkill for most individuals of the breed.

So look for dog food that is moderately priced but still contains ingredients that look like real food. Two brands that fall into this category are Iams and Purina One. These products also have the advantage of being widely available.

Comparative purchases and coupons

Once you find a food that works for your dog, compare it. Prices can vary widely from retailer to retailer. Consider becoming a member of a wholesale operation like Costco or Sam’s Club. These companies will usually let you into their facilities as a guest so you can check out what they offer. Walmart, Target, and Kmart also tend to have good prices on pet food, as do major pet retailers like Petsmart and Petco. In general, you’ll pay more for food at smaller pet shops, but they tend to carry a wider selection of quality or specialty pet foods. Don’t forget to sign up for any rewards programs offered by stores.

Monitor the advertisements run by your local retailers; dog food is often on sale. And keep your eyes peeled for coupons. Online sites like or are a good way to keep up to date with current offers. Simply Googling the name of your dog food with the word “coupon” is another easy way to see what’s available. The manufacturer’s website is another great resource. Many offer coupons to encourage people to try their products.


If you’ve found a great price on your dog’s food, stock up if you have the storage space. Most pet foods have a shelf life of about a year. Check the expiration date on the bag and buy as much as you think your pet will eat at that time. As a general rule, large bags of food are much cheaper in weight and volume than small bags, and dry foods are always cheaper than canned.

Don’t forget the internet

While many of us use the internet to shop, buying pet food online is still in its infancy. But it can be a convenient and inexpensive way to get plenty of supplies for your pet, including food.

Large price comparison sites like and are a great way to find the lowest prices on food. Just type in the exact product you are looking for, and voila, all the information you need will be displayed. Be sure to compare apples to apples though. Check that the prices are all for the same size bag of food and don’t forget to add shipping costs for sites that don’t offer free shipping and taxes, if applicable. offers a wide selection of pet foods, as do major pet retailers and Other options to consider include,,, and If you’re having trouble finding a website where you can order your dog’s food, go to the manufacturer’s website. Many have links to retailers that carry their foods.

However, beware of websites that stay overnight. Buy only from reputable retailers to ensure you receive high quality products, not counterfeits. Websites should have a prominent customer service phone number. Call and ask a few questions. You just want to get an idea of ​​their legitimacy and customer service. You can also check customer reviews on sites like or search for a business on the Better Business Bureau’s website.

Special situations

Some dogs need very specific diets to manage their medical issues, and these products tend to be more expensive than typical dog food. If your pet is on a prescription diet, you can still shop around. You don’t have to buy the food directly from your veterinarian; he must provide you with a written prescription if you ask for it. Many of the websites mentioned above (for example, and sell both over-the-counter and prescription diets.

If you’re feeding your dog a homemade diet, use the same cost-saving techniques you use when doing your own grocery shopping. When meat is on sale, buy lots of it and freeze it. Frozen vegetables can be used in place of fresh vegetables and stored for much longer periods. But don’t be tempted to buy low-quality ingredients or make unapproved substitutions for what would otherwise be a nutritionally balanced recipe. These types of changes can save money in the short term, but often lead to health problems and expensive treatments in the long term.

In conclusion, you never want to skimp on your dog’s food, but there’s nothing wrong with spending your money wisely.

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