Saving Money On Your Pets: Dog Food Tips And How To Save Money


HOW TO SAVE ON DOG FOOD


Tightening the purse-strings and trying to save money it seems extends to everything these days.

Even in economic hard times though, in many cases, people spend an exorbitant amount of money on their pets while buying cheap food for themselves or seeming to care little about their own diet.

While I’m not a proponent of feeding your dog on the cheap, there are many ways that you can cut down on the high price of pet food which seems to be a given in our country.

Suppliers and pet stores know for a fact that most people today value their dogs as if they were members of the family and sometimes only the best will do when it comes to feeding them.

However, there are ways to keep Fido healthy and completely satisfied, and save you, the owner, money at the cash register.

Let’s look at some great ways to minimize the bite of the dog food bill!


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MONEY-SAVING TIPS FOR SAVING ON DOG CHOW


Trim the fat from the bill.  First and foremost, quit buying dog treats.  Even if you’re training a dog, kibble will serve exactly the same purpose.  Or use little bits of meat or chicken...and truly only use a little bit.  Size of the treat has nothing at all to do with training.  It’s the reward that actually matters, no matter how small.  You can increase a dog’s weight tremendously by giving just one treat per day.  You can also induce allergies if you think about it.  You put the dog on a high end dog food and then you give them a cheap treat with who knows what in it.   Your dog is scratching all the time but you can’t figure out why.  It’s probably the treats!  You will save a bunch of money by just cutting out dog treats.  Use the money instead for toys or exercise gadgets.


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Coupons and Rebates.  If you can locate coupons for your brands of dog food or rebate offers, do it!  Even write to the manufacturer or go on line and see if you can hoard up some coupons.   Ask your pet store if they have coupons available or if they have product rebates.  You’ll never know until you ask.  Also check the bags of your dog food to see if there are coupons inside or on the backs of the bag.

Be a smart shopper.  Compare prices at warehouses, pet stores, on-line and any place you can find that sells your brand of dog food.  There is absolutely no sense in spending more than you need to on a bag of dog food.  Even ask your pet store to match the lowest price you’ve found....and show them proof of your lower price find.  Beware though of ordering online if there are shipping charges.  Many brands are cheaper on line but can cost more than a bag locally because of shipping charges. 

Bulk up!  If you find a good deal on dog food, buy it in bulk!  Save it on your shelf in the garage because the shelf life on dog food is usually incredible.  Just keep it free from contamination and out of reach from mice and other potential pests.  Store it in plastic garbage containers with a lid for more protection and stack it up.  Or if you know other people in town that buy the same brand of dog food, go in together and buy it and then divide it up. 

Ask your pet store if they have or will do a club card.  Buy so many bags of dog food and get 1 free....or ask if they’ll do a community buy.  If you have 4 other people for instance who want to buy the same dog food, will they offer you the dog food at a reduced price?  Business is business and more people purchasing the dog food adds up to good business!

Some dog food brands such as Acana for instance offer a deal where you buy 12 bags and you get the 13th bag free.  It might take a while to get there, but the savings is a substantial one. 


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MORE TIPS ON SAVING MONEY ON DOG FOOD


Compare ingredients.  If you’re buying a certain brand of dog food and you think it is way too expensive, start reading the labels.  Find another brand that is cheaper and has the same exact ingredients and proportions of protein, etc....or close to and switch to that food.  You can also go on line and type in dog food ingredients and percentages and compare that way.  Also ask your vet.  Sometimes we end up feeding our dogs diets that are too high in fat or too low in protein simply because we don’t know the percentage that’s right for our dog.  It’s all based on the breed of the dog, their age, their build, their overall state of health, their level of exercise and what their unique system can tolerate in terms of illnesses, allergies, or digestive system.  Find the best dog food for your dog and you’ll be happier in the long run and save more on vet bills as well.

Think outside the bag.  You can save money on dog food if you put your dog on a part human food, part dog food diet.  Just be careful not to include things like junk foods or foods that are poisonous or harmful for dogs, such as grapes, onions and garlic.  Check out any ingredients as safe ingredients before you give them to your dog or add to their food.  Things like beef, chicken and fish though are always good add-ins for dog food but remember not ti overfeed with kibble or canned food on top of that.  Most cooked vegetables are safe (again check on every one you use) and things like rice are generally well tolerated by dogs.  Weigh how much the human food costs as opposed to dog food before making up your mind as to the cost factor but in most cases, this is a good way to supplement their diet while saving on dog food.  Especially if you find that you have a lot of leftover proteins such as eggs and meats.  Just make sure as in any dietary switch that you add in foods gradually and don’t switch their diet immediately. 

Consider making your own dog food and even a few dog treats.  Look at the overall cost and time involved and decide if making your own dog food is something that will save you money and make your pet healthier. For instance, you can make dehydrated sweet potato slices to use as dog treats that are good for them and are very inexpensive to make. 


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HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON PET FOOD


In short, there are many great ways to save on dog food and keep your pet healthy.  

Of course, you can also apply these ideas to any pet food that you buy on a routine basis.

Another thing to keep in mind is that more and more of the "top" brand dog foods that we are paying a fortune for are being made overseas.  I personally have a problem with this in that I cannot find a decent well-made dog food without tons of fillers and garbage in it that is made in my own country. 

I have recently switched my dog to a premium dog food made in Canada because he seems to be reacting to all these other "top of the line" dog foods!

Use a few of these tips or all of them and you can’t help but save money. 

Don’t forget the one part of pet care that’s free though....love and good care.  These things are ours to give to our pets.  Whatever way you choose to feed your pet to save money, they can still have those "freebies" in abundance! 


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Comments 6 comments

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Sally - Griffin has turned out to have quite the sensitive stomach too and allergies. We saw a holistic vet even and she recommended Acana. It is a bit more expensive than what we were already feeding him but the change has been great for him. I figure in some cases, the price of the food outweighs the trips to the vet! Thanks so much for the read!


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Thanks for a thoughtful hub. I like your advice to Brandon about mixing the old food and new food . . . My guy has skin allergies and a sensitive stomach, but I will look at the ingredients of the costly food and work from there.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

BJ....I hear you on the getting them to work it off...heh heh - if only! Actually I think they provide me with enough raw material and laughter that they pretty much earn their 'keep'. Griffin by himself is entertainment to last a lifetime....and stay tuned....#3 is coming soon to a crazy house near me!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Really meaningful information, Audrey. If I ever own a pet again I will put these useful strategies to work.

I know you own two large-size dogs yourself - about how expensive are they to feed each week? Maybe we could find them jobs ... to help out? Whatcha think?


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Will - That is too funny but really not so, eh? We were having a terrible time with our little Griffin's weight and couldn't figure out WHY? He was also having all kinds of allergies and for a pup, that seemed a bit odd. Turned out it was all the blasted treats we were using for 'training'....once I figured out just to use his kibble, he's been better...think he definitely has some food allergies and he is my jumping on the counter eating the pie and muffin kinda guy - but knowing what to cut back on really helped! Maybe slip your mother-in-law some kibble....well not her actually but wherever she gets the treats!

Brandon - you should always ask your vet what kind of 'equation' your particular dog should be on - or even research it by breed on line. For instance, I have malamutes and they should have at least 60/40 (protein/fruits and veggies) or even higher if they are real workhorses and pulling all the time. Then it can go up to 70/30.

The problem is most dog foods (even the "best" dog foods on the market) are full of fillers and grains. Some if not most dogs cannot digest this stuff.

So in the case of our dogs, we looked at the foods that we were feeding them and then tried different ones on a 50/50 basis....half of the old and half of the new to see if they stayed the same in weight, their coat was good, their stools were okay.

We have one 2-year-old mal who is very sensitive to everything so we opted for Acana - it is totally without grain and is the right ratio (now) for him 60/40 and it is fish...because he seems to be very allergic to a lot of foods.

If he becomes more active, we might go up to the 70/30 dog food but I have a sneaking suspicion he will stay on the fish diet from Canada and we just won't mess too much with his diet.

Bottom line is, any time you "switch" dog foods, do even a 25/75 mix for a few days (25 new food, 75 old food), then after a few days go 50/50, then 75/25 and then finally switch over. That is the safest way to go although in extreme cases of allergy, I've made them go cold turkey so to speak and it worked just fine!

Sorry to be so verbose here but dogs and their well being is something I think a lot about....the most important thing of all is to know your breed, match up their exercise level, their health in general, and then with the advise of vets, breeders or even on line, try and find the best diet that you can afford and stick with it. Although the 'best' diet might be a mix of kibble and some homemade!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

(sigh)

We have a forgetful mother-in-law living with us who loves to treat our lab...three or four times a day!

This is the first dog I've ever had who was overweight!

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