How Much Does Dog Food Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

Dog food is one of the many recurring costs you will experience each month as you take care of your dog.  The cost of dog food will depend on the type, ingredients, brand and where it’s purchased from.

Dog Whisperer dog food by diaper, on Flickr
Dog Whisperer dog food” (CC BY 2.0) by  diaper

How much does dog food cost?

According to The Dog Food Project, dog food will cost $160-$250 per year for a moderately active mid-sized dog.  The overall average price per year is $100-$300. This price largely depends on the size of the dog and the quality of the dog food.  A large bag of store brand dry dog food for a medium sized dog will probably be on the lower side of $160 per year, while a high-quality gourmet dog food for a medium sized dog will cost about $200 per year.  The high-quality dog food may seem to be more expensive initially; however, because of the higher amount of nutrients, the serving size is smaller.  Therefore, the higher quality of the food, the longer it will last.

Wellness dog food, which is recommended for dogs either on a diet or need a special blend formula, can cost anywhere from $23 to $55 per bag.  Common sizes for these bags include 15, 26 and 30 pounds.

For example, a popular brand, such as Newman’s Own Organics Formula that comes in a 12.5-pound bag, retails for $22 to $31 per bag.  An economy type bag, such as the Pedigree Wholesome Recipe for Dogs, retails for $12 to $23 per bag.

Canned dog food comes in sizes which range anywhere from 12 to 16 ounces.  This food can cost anywhere from $1 to $3 depending on the brand.  A wellness diet blend is going to be more expensive than a brand such as Pedigree.

Dog food prescribed by a veterinarian can range anywhere from $20 to $70 per bag or pack of 12 cans.  This food is prescribed for dogs that have weight issues and diseases; it can only be purchased with a prescription.

Dog Food BrandCost
Blue Buffalo Dog Food$45 to $50 per 30 pound bag
Blue Wilderness Dog Food$48 per 24 pound bag
California Natural Dog Food$45 to $50 per 30 pound bag
Evo Dog Food$35 to $50 per 15 pound bag
Fromm Dog Food$36 to $46 per per 33 pound bag
Iams Dog Food$25 to $30 per 30 pound bag
Kirkland Dog Food$30 per 40 pound bag
Natural Balance Dog Food$32 to $36 per 13 pound bag
Orijen Dog Food$55 to $65 per 15 pound bag
Pedigree Dog Food$20 to $25 per 50 pound bag
Science Diet Dog Food$25 to $30 per 17 pound bag
Victor Dog Food$46 to $51 per 40 pound bag
Zignature Dog Food$50 to $55 per 27 pound bag

What are the extra costs?

Some dogs need to be on a special diet for medical or allergy reasons.  This type of food can be more expensive, costing an average of $40 per bag instead of $30 per bag.

Most pet owners tend to put their dog food in a storage bin.  These bins are ideal for preserving the freshness.  Storage bins designed for dog food can start at $15.

While optional, dog vitamins should be included in a dog’s diet.  These vitamins can cost $5 to $20 per 90 tablets, depending on the brand and type of vitamin.

Tips to know:

According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), dog food needs to contain certain percentages of certain vitamins and nutrients.  Check your dog food label carefully to ensure your pet is getting exactly what he needs.  All food should include one or more sources of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.  Some companies may also create grain-free food, designed to be mixed with meats.

Dog food can come as a dry “kibble,” in a can, refrigerated or frozen.

Each type of dog food is geared toward a specific age.  Be sure to purchase a dog food that is ideal for your dog’s age.  Adult dogs will need an adult blend while a puppy will need a puppy blend.

If your dog has any type of allergies, you will want to make sure the ingredients your dog is allergic to isn’t present in the food.  The most common allergy for dogs is grains.

The size of the dog will play a vital role since they will need more protein and calcium.  Smaller dogs are going to need more carbohydrates.

Federal law requires companies to list the ingredients by its weight.  This means the first ingredient will have the largest presence, followed by the second and so forth.  Experts recommend you look for a healthy ingredient, such as meat and fish, near the top.

How can I save money?

There are many coupons readily available.   Check Facebook, search online, check the local paper or join the company’s e-mail newsletter.

It is recommended you choose a brand and stick with it; switching brands based on the current sales ads can harm your dog’s digestive system.  It is best to be organized and stock up when the sales are good.

One way to really save money on dog food is to control the dog’s portions.  Most dog owners feed their dogs too much.  Ask your vet what size portion is right for your dog, and stick to it.

Making your own dog food at home can save you a lot of money.  Plus, this option can be a lot healthier.

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