How to save money on pet food
Did you know that there are over 12.5 million cats & dogs as pets in Canada?
We sure do love our pets, but these furry friends can be quite costly. One way to cut costs on pet care is by saving money on pet food.
Note: The focus here is not on which food is best, nutritionally, for your pet (that’s a personal choice that each pet owner has to make, and will depend on special dietary requirements as well as budget). These are general tips for saving money on pet food.
Consider store brands
There are many myths about pet food ingredients.
High prices on certain brands don’t necessarily mean that the food is of higher quality. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that by comparing ingredients, as well as prices and feeding guidelines, there are generic brands that are just as good (or better) as the more expensive brands.
Make your own
One alternative to commercial pet foods is to prepare your own at home. This can save you money as well as provide your pet with wholesome quality food.
Before trying this, be sure to do your research and speak to your veterinarian about specific recipes, serving sizes, etc. This is important to ensure that your pet gets a balanced diet that meets their nutritional requirements.
Buy in bulk
If you use coupons, watch for fantastic sales on pet food and then match your coupons with those sale prices. Always buy the smallest size bag (and as many of them as you can) of pet food possible when using coupons, as this is the best way to save the most amount of money.
If you don’t use coupons, or simply don’t have any for the pet food you regularly purchase, keep an eye out for sales and purchase the large bags when they are priced at their lowest. Store the extra food in large storage containers in a cool, dark place.
Just like any kind of shopping, do your research and shop around for the best prices.
Most times, if the type of pet food that you are looking for is available at a major retailer or supermarket chain (such as Walmart or Real Canadian Superstore), it is going to be cheaper there than at a specialty pet store.
Coupons & samples
Another great way to save money on pet food is to search for and collect coupons for these items.
If your veterinarian insists on a certain type of pet food that can only be purchased in a specialty store or at the veterinarians’ office, be sure to ask for samples and any coupons or special offers that may be available. Also, ask what the issue is and if there are any alternative foods (that are cheaper) with similar ingredients.
Mix it up
If your pet is not picky and will accept a change in food every now and then (like our pup), alternating the brand of food, depending on the best deal available, can help save you some serious cash.
Please note that it is very important to introduce the new food gradually over a week or so, mixing it with the old food, to help avoid any issues.
Compare the serving size and not just unit price
Read pet food labels carefully. Not all pet food is created equal when it comes to the amount that your pet will need to eat each day. Most brands don’t have the same suggested amounts to meet your pet’s nutritional needs.
For example, one type of food may appear cheaper but it turns out not to be as much of a bargain when you see that it requires one more cup per day than another brand that appeared to be more expensive.
When it comes to the type of food (wet or dry), wet food is almost always going to cost more since it’s made up of a high percentage of water, which means you’ll end up needing more of it to feed your pet.
Don’t overfeed your pet
Feeding your pet too much not only costs you more in pet food, but it also leads to obesity (which in turn leads to more expensive trips to the vet).
Pay attention to the feeding guidelines for your pet’s weight, activity level, and age, and talk to your veterinarian about how much to feed your pet. Skip the treats, too (they’re the equivalent of feeding your kids junk food).
There are certainly ways to save money on pet food, but remember to always follow up with your veterinarian to make sure you are feeding your pet the correct food. Some pets cannot handle store brand or name brands and need specialty pet food instead. (One of our cats has kidney issues and is on special food from the vet.)
Most cats & dogs are able to eat whatever you give them, and if that’s the case for your pets, be sure to try out some of the tips above to save money on pet food.