Learn how to save money on dog food, which can be an expensive addition to your budget.
One of the things people are shocked about when they adopt a dog is how much dog food can cost, especially if they’re on a tight budget. Even the cheapest brands can put a strain on your budget, depending on how much food your dog needs!
And if you have more than one dog? Woof!
Use these helpful tips to save the most money on dog food.
How Much Food for Your Dog is Needed?
Let’s start with some calculations. Many dog owners don’t actually know how much their dog needs to eat. I know I always overestimate how much my pups need!
Finding out how much food your dog actually needs daily or weekly can help you determine how much food you need to buy.
Note: These measurements are based on dry dog food. Please consult the bag/container of the food you choose to get actual serving sizes according to that brand.
|Size of Dog||Amount of Dry Food|
|3-6lbs||1/3-1/2 cup per day|
|10-15lbs||3/4-1 cup per day|
|20-25lbs||1 1/3 – 1 1/2 cups per day|
|30-40lbs||1 3/4 -2 1/4 cups per day|
|50-60lbs||2 2/3 – 3 cups per day|
|70-80lbs||3 1/2- 3 3/4 cups per day|
|90-100lbs||4 1/4- 4 1/2 cups per day|
While these are basic guidelines, you also need to consider the age of your dog, its activity levels, and how many times a day it should eat.
Puppies usually need to eat 2-3 times per day. Older dogs might eat less. Some dogs will need their food split up during the day, others can have it all at one time and nibble throughout the day. Some dogs even like to work for their food.
You may need to do some research before you adopt a dog to find out how much your dog will eat.
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Budget for Food
Once you figure out how much food you’ll need for a dog, you’ll need to think about how much you want to spend on dog food according to your budget.
How much you’ll spend on dog food will depend on what kind of dog food you want to buy.
Dry dog food, or dry kibble is the kind that most people use. It’s usually the cheapest option, depending on the brand that you buy and how much you need. Some name brands can be pricey, but chances are that your dog won’t need an expensive brand.
There’s also wet dog food, freeze dried dog food, fresh dog food, and raw dog food. These are sold in stores or online, and tend to be more expensive than dry kibble.
TIP: Like fresh dog food but can’t always afford it? Buy some to use as a topper on kibble!
You can make your own dog food as well. The price per meal depends on the ingredients you use and how much you need to make, but you also need to consider the time you’ll spend preparing the food and storing it.
Once you’ve decided what kind you’d like to feed your dog. You may need to do some research into the different kinds and what they will cost. Choose a type that will fit in your budget and keep your dog healthy without breaking the bank.
How to Save Money on Dog Food
Have a kind of dog food in mind that you’d like to buy?
Here are a few tips for how you can save the most money on dog food:
Shop around. Prices for dog food can vary from store to store, so it’s worth comparing prices before you buy. Dog food at specialty pet stores will be more expensive than big box stores or even grocery stores. You can also buy dog food online, which can often be cheaper than buying it in stores.
TIP: Compare and track prices of dog food in Google Shopping.
Join loyalty programs. Many name brands offer loyalty programs, where you can earn rewards or discounts for buying their products. You can sign up via email or text message, or even download an app. They’ll send info regarding sales and special codes you can use to save money.
Blue Buffalo has a rewards app with a social side. You don’t even have to purchase their food to earn rewards! Sign up for free using my code MMCKENCFAC here.
Purina also has a rewards app. It also has training and playtime videos to watch.
Use coupons. Many pet stores offer coupons for dog food, so be sure to ask about them when you’re shopping. You can also find coupons online or in your local newspaper. Some stores even offer coupons within their apps or on social media. Check everywhere!
Use cash back or rewards apps. Shopping apps can help you earn back cash or gift cards. Some can transfer cash either right to your bank or PayPal (or even Venmo) while others have a variety of gift cards to choose from, including Visa, Walmart, Target, Amazon, and many more. EDIT
My favorite shopping apps for cash back or gift card rewards include:
- Ibotta– Ibotta has to be my favorite cash back app, mostly because I use it for everyday shopping. Ibotta lists offers that you can choose from and earn money back. There are often offers for pet food in box stores as well as offers for food in pet stores. They even have offers for cashback from BarkBox and Super Chewer! That money can be cashed out to Paypal, a bank account, or on a variety of gift cards. It can then be saved and used toward more dog food. In all my time using the app over the years, I have earned back almost $4k! Join Ibotta for free today and earn a bonus $5 after you submit your first receipt!
- Fetch– Fetch is used for grocery purchases, gas purchases, restaurant visits, and more. Get points for certain brand name items, and earn rewards when you snap your receipt. Some pet brands earn extra points. They even give points for any receipts you snap a photo of that is in their TOS, like a specialty pet store receipt. Earn gift card rewards with so many to choose from. Get 2000 points when you join for free today. Use CODE MR5EG if prompted.
- Amazon Shopper Panel: Snap photos of 10 receipts a month, get a $10 Amazon gift card that you can use toward dog food or treats!
- Shopkick– Points called ‘kicks’ are earned for walking in certain stores, for scanning items in-store, and for in-store and online purchases. Shopkick works at stores like Petsmart, PetCo, Walmart, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target, Lowes, Wegmans, CVS and many more. Get 250 kicks when you join for free today! Use CODE DEAL022590 if prompted.
- Receipt Hog– Easily snap photos of dog food receipts and get coins. Redeem coins for gift cards or Paypal. Really, really easy to use!! Get bonus coins when you join for free! Use CODE sapt5857 when prompted.
- Receipt Pal- With the app Receipt Pal, you take photos of qualifying dog food receipts (or any receipts) and get points. Redeem for gift cards. SUPER easy to use. (Not accepting new members at this time. Hang tight!)
- Shopmium: A relatively new app from Coupons.com. You can find cash back offers for pet food and supplies often.
- Swagbucks Tada App– Get points for qualifying purchases at stores. Redeem points called SBs for gift cards, PayPal and more! (You can actually earn SBs for more than just shopping!) Join for free today and earn 150 bonus SBs!
- Dosh- Link up your cards and earn cash back for dog food and other purchases. Purchases automatically show up and give you credit. No need to snap receipts! Join for free today.
- Rakuten– Shop through their app or Chrome extension and get cash back from retailers. Join for free and get a bonus $30 when you spend your first $30!
Buy dog food in bulk. If you have the space, buying in bulk can save you a lot of money on dog food. Look for discounts on larger bags of food, or consider buying in bulk from a wholesale club like Sam’s, BJ’s or Costco. Larger bags of dog food or even dog food ingredients tend to be cheaper than smaller bags or smaller amounts ingredients.
Try a subscription service. Some pet food companies like Chewy offer subscription services that deliver food to your door on a regular basis. This can help you save money and time. (Get $20 off first order over $49 at Chewy)
Is It Cheaper to Make Dog Food?
Interested in making your own dog food? Fresh made dog food has many health benefits, and it is possible that it can be cheaper to make your own. There are plenty of recipes available online, plus you can customize the food to meet your dog’s individual needs.
The only thing that adds some expense is that you may need to purchase dog supplements if the meals being made are not balanced. Your vet can provide recommendations if you are concerned about your dog’s dietary needs.
Here are some resources about homemade dog food to consider:
- Ultimate Guide to Homemade Dog Food
- How to Make Homemade Dog Food
- Dog Supplements for Homemade Dog Food
More Tips to Help You Save Money on Dog Food
Here are some extra tips to help you save money on dog food:
Skip the premium brands. Premium brands, deemed higher quality, are often more expensive than store brands. There is no hard evidence that premium brands are any better for your dog than store brands, so you can save money by choosing a store brand.
Don’t be afraid to switch brands or types of dog food. If you find a brand or type of dog food that your dog loves and that fits your budget, stick with it. However, if you think that your dog is not getting enough nutrients from their food or that they are not digesting it well, you may need to switch brands.
By following all of these tips, you can save money on dog food and still provide your pet with the healthy and nutritious food they need.
Have Other Ways to Save Money on Dog Food?
Know another way to save money on dog food? Share it in the comments below!!