Dogs are like family members – they bring us so much joy and comfort and we want the best for them, but they also come with added costs. In addition to pet insurance, vaccinations and vets bills, you also have the added cost of feeding them food and treats every day, which can get expensive.
The cost of feeding a dog will vary depending on how healthy the diet is and also the size of your dog. There are so many options out there too, from kibble and canned food to freeze dried raw food and gourmet subscriptions. In general, the fresher the food, the more expensive it is. The larger the dog, the more expensive it will be to feed them. A tiny chihuahua will be a lot cheaper to feed than a Labrador. Still, there are things you can definitely do to save money on dog food, which I’ll list here:
A 2.5lb bag of kibble is going to cost more per serving than a 13lb bag. While it may feel like an expensive purchase to buy in bulk, it will save you money in the long run and you won’t need to keep ordering as often. Buying your dog food in large quantities will always be cheaper than buying individual cans or smaller bags.
Skip the local pet stores
Sorry – I know that it’s good to support small business but I’ve noticed local pet stores are always much more expensive than buying from Chewy.com and Petco. If you’re trying to be frugal, skip the boutique doggy stores and buy online – you’ll usually get free delivery if your order is over a certain amount. Local stores are great for emergency supplies but their markup is always a lot more.
Sign up to loyalty programs
I often use Petco for vaccinations, dog grooming services, training and dog food. Sometimes it pays to be loyal because I earn points through their Pals Rewards program which can be used at the checkout to get money off my bill. Wherever you shop, see if they have a loyalty program so you can get discounts on future shopping.
Buy treats and toys at T.J Maxx
I am in LOVE with T.J Maxx for all things pet related. From treats and toys to shampoos and pet beds, all of their stuff is heavily discounted and so much cheaper than buying full price. My dog’s pet bed was $20 instead of $40 and I will often find toys in there for around $2.99. Treats usually cost between $2.99 and $6.99. Compare that to paying $10 and up for bags of treats elsewhere and that’s a pretty good deal.
Take advantage of the discounted autoship
Chewy offers 30% off your first autoship and and Petco offers 35% off. They’ll re-order your food every month, so you don’t have to remember to place new orders. Even if you don’t want the autoship, you can take advantage of the intro offer and then cancel it.
Get introductory subscription offers, then cancel
Many of the “fresh” dog food subscription services like Ollie and Nomnom offer introductory deals where you can get a big discount off your first order. These companies would probably hate me for saying this, but you can always take advantage of the introductory deal and then cancel. Just remember to actually cancel though, otherwise you’ll end up paying full price for your next box.
Cook your own dog food
Cooking your own dog food can often be much cheaper than buying dog food, although it depends on the size of dog you have and what type of food they eat. If you have a large dog that demolishes everything in sight then you may want to stick to buying kibble in bulk. Fresh dog food is more expensive than dry dog food, but much healthier. If you have a smaller dog that doesn’t eat too much then it’s usually going to work out cheaper to cook your own.
There are plenty of dog food recipes online but make sure you choose ones that are nutritionally balanced and make sure you stick to the exact ratios. Most will contain a combination of meat (often ground beef, chicken or turkey), rice or potatoes, and veggies such as carrots and peas or broccoli.
Get trial packs
If you have a dog who’s a fussy eater, get trial-size packs instead of buying full packs and wasting them. Lots of dog food brands sell trial-size packs and you can sometimes get them for free from your local store. Just ask!
Buy organs and cheap cuts of meat
Many dog parents are choosing to go raw and there are any benefits to a raw diet. Some grocery stores sell all sorts of cuts of meat and organs, and they also happen to be much cheaper than the cuts of meat we’d usually eat. Things like chicken gizzards, beef liver, hearts and kidneys are very nutritious for your dog and essential to their diet because they contain vitamins and minerals that can’t be found in other cuts of meat.
Get bones from the butcher
If you have a local butcher, try asking them if they’d mind giving you some raw bones to give to your dog. They’re good for dog’s teeth and may help you save on the cost of dental care. Don’t give your dog cooked bones as they can splinter into shards and damage your dog’s mouth or insides.
Find coupon codes
Another great way to save money on dog food is to look for coupons online. There are plenty of coupon sites like Coupons.com, RetailMeNot, CouponCabin, Rakuten and Honey where you can get coupon codes to apply at the checkout. With discount codes you can often save anywhere from 5-20% off the cost of your food shopping.
Give your dog healthy human snacks
Dogs can have things like cucumbers, carrots, strawberries and blueberries. My dog LOVES cucumbers so I’ll often feed her a few slices chopped up as a snack. Not only are they low calorie and nutritious, they don’t cost as much as regular dog treats.