We love our dogs, but caring for them can be pretty expensive! While having kids is more of a financial investment, paying for your dog’s food, veterinary care, toys, treats, training, and other expenses can feel like raising a human child at times. As with children, however, maintaining your dog’s health should be a higher priority than simply saving money, which is why the usual advice of “buy cheap food in bulk!” doesn’t necessarily apply to pet owners.
Buying large quantities of cheap dog food that is full of corn and grains won’t do much for your dog’s skin, fur, and internal functions, just like how a carb-heavy diet isn’t the best option for humans, either.
How to Save Money on Dog Food
If you want to give your dog the best possible diet without breaking the bank, then how can you save money on dog food? It’s not impossible to learn how to save money on dog food. Here are a few ideas to help you get started saving money on dog food.
Ingredients Matter More than Name Brands
When it comes to dog food, ingredients matter way more than name brand dog food varieties. While you might see some buzzwords like “holistic” or “complete nutrition” on the dog food bag, the truth is: these words are utterly meaningless and designed to convince dog owners that this food is top-notch quality. “Natural” dog food doesn’t even have a clear definition established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) or the FDA, so don’t let clever dog food brand marketing tactics fool you into buying food you think is the best quality.
Instead of automatically searching for name brand dog foods, look at the ingredients of different types of dog food bags at the pet store. If the first ingredient is a grain product, then look elsewhere for better dog food.
It’s also important to know the difference between meat and meat by-products (or meat “meal”) because you might end up feeding your dog cheap protein from non-rendered parts of an animal (e.g., fatty tissues and intestines) if you purchase a dog food that has mostly “by-product” ingredients (through “meal” is worse for dogs – some by-products are okay for many dogs).
Additionally, cost-conscious dog owners might want to avoid “fresh meat” because although this sounds like a top-quality ingredient, the water content of the fresh meat actually offers less protein than dog food varieties that use dried meat. The takeaway here is that in order the save money on dog food, ingredients matter more than name brands and eye-catching buzzwords on the front of a dog food bag.
Find Coupons and Rebates
Your best bet for getting good deals on quality dog food is finding coupons or manufacturer rebates. Some dog food companies and pet stores offer email newsletters with occasional coupon offers on dog food, though it’s important to stick to one type of dog food instead of switching kibble every time there’s a deal available (your dog could upset its stomach if you’re changing dog food every time a bag runs out).
You can find coupons, sign up for e-newsletters for coupons and updates. Or, contact your favorite dog food company to let them know how much your pups love their product and see if you can score a coupon out of it.
Don’t forget pet insurance. You can check out Pets Best pet insurance where you can get plans starting at only $16 a month!.
Amazon Subscribe & Save
Amazon is an incredibly popular platform for dog owners because you don’t have to do much guesswork when it comes to choosing a quality brand of dog food (you can read the ingredients list online and read customers’ reviews), and the 2-day shipping option for Prime members ensures you don’t have to lug home a heavy bag of dog food because an Amazon delivery person will drop it off on your doorstep instead.
In addition to this convenience factor, Amazon offers its “Subscribe & Save” discount program on many varieties of pet food, which allows you to save 5-10% off the single-bag price if you sign up for regular deliveries (every 1-3 months, typically).
Add Protein Separately
A final way to save money on dog food without sacrificing quality (and putting your dog’s health at risk) is by adding more protein to their kibble. If your veterinarian recommends feeding your dog more protein, you might consider adding natural ingredients from the local grocery store, including cooked chicken, beef, eggs, and cottage cheese.
Some people forgo store-bought kibble altogether and create home-cooked meals for their dogs, but this isn’t necessary if you’re pressed for time and/or money. For dogs with digestive problems, you might also consider adding probiotics to their diet to make up for any shortcomings in your current dog food’s ingredient list.
When it comes to your dog’s diet, it’s important to balance proper nutrition with affordability. Getting the cheapest or most recognizable dog food brand isn’t always the best option, but you shouldn’t have to feed your dog food that seems fit for a king, either. By emphasizing ingredients over brand names and finding additional ways to save with coupons or Amazon’s Subscribe & Save option, your dog will be happier and healthier as a result.
Do you know how to save money on dog food? What are your favorite tips?