Looking for a way to snag the best deal for your furry friend’s chow? You’ve come to the right place! Giving our four-legged buddies some extra treats, a new plaything, or an unexpected “just because” gift feels downright fantastic.
But let’s face it, those pet bills, especially when it comes to food, can add up fast. Ever find yourself dodging your bank account? Learning how to pinch pennies on dog food can help you keep that tail wagging and your wallet happy.
“The price you pay for food will depend on the size of your dog and the type of diet you want to offer,” said Linda Simon, DVM, MVB, and MRCVS, and veterinarian at Senior Tail Waggers. “Those with raw or premium ingredients tend to be more costly, while kibble is the most cost-efficient. As a rough guideline, [food for] smaller dogs can cost from $35 a month, while larger dogs can cost from $60 per month.”
1. Keep an Eye Out for Discounts and Sales
Got a favorite pet shop? Grab their app or join their email list. Stay in the know for discounts and last-minute bargains. You’ll be primed to snag a real steal! (And who can resist those holiday markdowns?)
2. Go Big with the Bags
Purchasing in bulk is your friend. Those little bags might look cheaper now, but trust me, you’ll save in the long run with a big bag, especially if you’ve got more than one hungry pup.
3. Shop Around, Find a Bargain
You know your go-to pet store, but have you checked the price at Target, Walmart, or even your local grocery? It’s worth a peek. And there’s a bunch of browser extensions like Honey or Rakuten that might even score you some cash back.
4. Price Match, Price Match, Price Match!
Spotted your dog’s favorite munchies for less online? Ask in-store for a price match. That saved cash could buy a new squeaky toy!
For instance, PetSmart doesn’t just match their own online prices but will even match a competitor’s. Now that’s a win!
5. Bulk Buy, and Save
Bigger bags are smart, but buying in bulk? That’s genius. You can stock up on your pet’s favorites without breaking the bank. (We’ve all got a soft spot for Costco, right?) Just keep it in an airtight container to keep things fresh.
6. Set Up Auto Deliveries
A lot of stores will knock off a bit of the price if you set up auto deliveries for the essentials. It’s simple, saves you a trip to the store, and keeps Fido’s food dish full.
Current auto-delivery deals:
– PetSmart: First order, 35% off
– Petco: First repeat, 35% off
– Chewy: All orders, 5% off
– Amazon: Subscribe & Save, 5% off
7. Loyalty Pays Off
Got a go-to pet store like Chewy, Petco, or PetSmart? Sticking with them could mean big savings. Each purchase adds up points, and more points mean faster discounts. It’s like a treat for your wallet!
8. Cheap Treats or Homemade Goodies
Why not find a wallet-friendly treat that tastes just as good? Or, if you’re feeling crafty, whip up your own using simple stuff like sweet potatoes, chicken bacon, or blueberry banana yogurt. Your pup won’t know the difference!
9. Switch Up the Chow for Savings
We all want the best for our furry friends, but sometimes our pockets don’t allow for premium prices. If your dog doesn’t have specific dietary needs, why not consider a more affordable food option?
Simon suggests choosing the best diet within your budget. This way, you can ensure your pet’s health while saving for other essentials like vet visits or grooming.
“All diets that follow the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommendations will be nutritionally complete and will provide what your pet needs. This is even true if the diet is very cheap,” she says. “Ideally, we’d stick to diets that have protein sources, like fish or meat, as the first
ingredient. It is best when these ingredients are specified, rather than just being listed as ‘meat and bone meal.’ We should steer clear of foods that contain artificial colors and flavorings.”
10. Be Your Dog’s Personal Chef
If you’ve got the time and the talent, cooking for your pup could save you cash, depending on the number of dogs and their sizes. Know what’s in their bowl and shop smart for ingredients! Just chat with your vet first, and maybe even a nutritionist, to make sure it’s balanced.
Homemade vs. Store-Bought
Cooking at home could be a money-saver, especially for a small dog. But Simon warns it might end up pricier—and don’t forget about the time it takes.
“As well as sourcing all the ingredients, vitamins, and supplements, owners need to pay for the cost of the food being cooked and need to store or freeze it, too,” she says. “Vets strongly recommend that owners consult a nutritionist to help them design the recipe to avoid nutritional deficiencies. This can cost $150–300.”
Following this initial consultation, you might enjoy savings based on the ingredient costs in the recipes.
Because it’s tough to get homemade dog food just right, Simon rarely recommends it. Most homemade food misses key things like calcium and iodine. But maybe your pup has allergies or won’t eat anything else. In that case, homemade might be just the ticket.
Ask your vet about the best way to feed your dog. They might even help you trim that food bill!