We all love our dogs but these days I think we all find ourselves taking a hard look at our monthly budgets to try and find a way to make ends meet or to afford that family vacation. Dog food is one of the largest expenses for most pet owners…our dogs eat every day of their lives and we visit the our pet food retailers on a regular basis so I thought it would be fitting to discuss how to save on your dog food bills as my first instalment of Dog$ on a Budget! Below are a few tips that I hope will help you save a few dollars on a monthly basis.
Look for food which offers quality ingredients
A food made of quality ingredients may cost more per bag but you will almost always feed less of it! Nutritionally dense food typically has more protein and lower amounts of easily digestible carbohydrates. Don’t know what to look for? Have a look at my previous post about dog food and then have a look at the handout below for a listing of food available in Brandon sorted by cost.
Measure portions accurately and feed your dog scheduled meals
Many dogs out there are “free fed”. This means their bowl is always filled and they have no real meal times…essentially free feeding is a 24 hour buffet for your dog. While I am sure there is one dog in a million that is able to regulate his intake if allowed access to food 24/7, most free fed dogs are overweigh! I am not telling you to starve your dog but I am suggesting that by feeding your dog set meals, you will be doing his waistline and your wallet a favour.
Store your food properly
The most expensive food you buy is the food you waste. Thankfully, most quality food companies have moved to using natural preservatives such as Vitamin C, and Vitamin E instead of BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin. This means that while foods are relatively stable in their specially designed packaging, preservatives easily break down when exposed to sunlight, heat and oxygen. Store your canned food in the refrigerator with one of those handy pet food lids available at most pet food retailers. Store your dry food in an airtight container away from heat, oxygen, sunlight, bugs and rodents. I keep a week’s worth of food in airtight containers and the rest sealed in the original bag in the freezer.
Buy more, save more!
Buying the largest bag of food you can at a time (even if you have a 5lb Chihuahua) will always offer more savings than the equivalent weight in smaller bags. Of course if you have a 5 lb dog and buy a 30 pound bag of food, you need to store it properly. (See above)
Ask your retailer about frequent buyer programs
Many retailers have frequent buyer programs for many brands of foods. This may mean you have to buy a certain number of bags before you get a free bag or that you need to spend a certain number of dollars before you get a discount.
Shop around and ask for price matches
Many retailers will offer price matches but you have to ask!
Check out your dog food brand website
Many dog food companies offer coupons and free offers to individuals that sign up for newsletters!
Look for a retailer close to home, work or the gym
Whenever possible, look for a retailer that’s near home, work or any other location you frequent on at least a weekly basis. In my experience, living and working near your pet food retailer means you will have a visual reminder to buy dog food which means less time and gas wasted running around to find dog food at 10pm on a Sunday!
Printable Version Here