One of the biggest costs associated with dog ownership is food. Some expenses are negotiable. Your dog will probably sleep just as comfortably on an old, folded comforter as in that expensive memory foam dog bed, but good food is a necessity.
To keep dogs happy and healthy, owners must provide them with food made from high-quality ingredients that meet the lifestyle needs of the individual pet (for example, puppies need puppy food and Overweight pets should be on a calorie-restricted diet). There is an element of “you get what you pay for” with dog food, so higher quality foods tend to be more expensive. But, with a little effort, owners can save a lot of money without compromising on their pet’s health. This way.
choose your dog food wisely
Dogs do best when they are on a consistent diet. People like variety in their diet, but there is no benefit to constantly changing the type of food you feed your dog. It can also increase the risk that a dog will become choosy, always waiting for the next tasty treat that will come with yesterday’s meal.
Most dogs thrive when fed high-quality, but not necessarily super-premium dog food. If You Don’t Eat Organic, Does Your Dog Need To? And some manufacturers spend a lot of money marketing niche products, for example foods that are designed for particular breeds. You pay a premium for these formulations, but in all honesty, they are too much for most individuals within the breed.
So look for a dog food that is moderately priced but still contains ingredients that taste 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.
Comparison Shopping & Coupons
Once you find a food that works well for your dog, comparison shop. Prices can vary widely between retailers. Consider becoming a member of a wholesale operation such as Costco or Sam’s Club. These companies will usually let you come into their facilities as a guest so you can see what they offer. Walmart, Target and Kmart also have good prices on pet food, as do large pet retailers like PetSmart and Petco. In general, you’ll pay more for food at smaller pet boutiques, but they carry a wider selection of premium or specialty pet foods. Don’t forget to sign up for any rewards programs the store offers.
Keep an eye out for ads running by your local retailers; Dog food often goes on sale. And keep your eyes peeled for coupons. Online sites like Retailmenot.com or Couponcabin.com are a good way to stay on top of current offers. Simply googling the name of your dog food along with the word “coupon” is another simple way to see what’s available. The manufacturer’s own website is another excellent resource. Many offer coupons to encourage people to try their products.
If you’ve found a great deal on your dog food, stock up if you have the storage space. Most pet foods have a shelf life of about one year. Check the expiration date on the bag and buy only as much as you think your pet will eat by that time. As a general rule of thumb, larger bags of food are much less expensive than smaller bags by weight and volume, and dry food is always cheaper than canned food.
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 many of your pet’s supplies, including food.
Large comparison shopping sites like Nextag.com and Shopping.yahoo.com are a great way to find the lowest prices on food. Just type in the exact product you’re looking for, and voila, Up pops up all the information you need. However, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. See that all prices correspond to the same size bag of food and don’t forget to add shipping costs for sites that don’t offer free shipping plus tax, if applicable.
Amazon.com offers a wide selection of pet food, as do major pet retailers petco.com and petmart.com. Other options to consider include petfooddirect.com, petflow.com, 1800petmeds.com, and nationalpetpharmacy.com. If you’re having trouble finding a website where you can order your dog food, visit the manufacturer’s website. Many have links to retailers that offer their food items.
Be careful with fly-by-night websites though. Buy only from reputable retailers to ensure that you get high quality products and not knock-offs. Websites should have a customer service phone number prominently displayed. Call and ask some questions. You just want to get a feel for their legitimacy and customer service. You can also check customer ratings on sites like Yelp.com or search for a company on the Better Business Bureau’s website bbb.org.
Some dogs require very specific diets to manage medical problems, and these products tend to be more expensive than typical dog foods. You can still shop if your pet is on a prescription diet. You don’t have to buy the food directly from your vet; He must provide you with a written prescription if you ask for one. Many of the websites mentioned above (eg petfooddirect.com and nationalpetpharmacy.com) sell both over the counter and prescription diets.
If you feed your dog a homemade diet, use the same techniques you use when shopping for your groceries to reduce costs. When meat goes on sale, buy a lot and freeze it. Frozen vegetables can be used in place of fresh vegetables and can be stored for longer periods of time. But don’t be tempted to buy low-quality ingredients or make unapproved substitutions in 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 run.
Ultimately, you never want to skimp on your dog’s food, but there’s nothing wrong with spending your money wisely.