According to a 2011 Consumer Reports study, dog food can average $36 a month. It is the biggest ongoing cost of owning a dog.
But you can save money on this expense if you’re using coupons, buying in bulk and, most important, buying less-expensive food.
Before you adopt. Pet food is an ongoing expense that you’re likely to have for a decade. Dogs are creatures of habit, eating what they’ve eaten before, so the foods you buy early in your dog’s life matter. So start your dog on store brands or moderately priced varieties. If you start it on the premium brands, it’s not going to willingly switch to lesser varieties.
Buy from big-box stores. Consumer Reports sent secret shoppers to 21 retailers and found that Target and Walmart often have the lowest prices on dog food, while supermarkets and specialty pet stores – including such retailers as Petco and PetSmart – tend to have higher prices. Also, Costco and other warehouse clubs tend to have great deals on dog food.
Don’t shop online. Consumer Reports determined that prices online were much higher. Its 2011 study found that online sites were 50 percent higher, before shipping costs. Skip the convenience of online shopping and just pick up the 50-pound bag yourself.