In 2001 a 40 pound bag of dog food cost me 20 dollars. This was for the better brands of the day. In 2005, with a bit of searching I could still get 40 pounds for 20 dollars.
Then changes came to corn. After Hurricane Katrina, adding ethanol to fuel became big business. Corn prices skyrocketed as bio-fuel roared into the forefront of everyone’s mind. A side effect of these changes in corn prices were changes in food prices.
Corn is in everything but this isn’t an article about corn. Corn is a common ingredient in dog food and as the cost of corn increased so did the cost of dog food. Now, one may say, “Get corn free dog food!” Today, that is a simple task. Eleven years ago, it was harder and there was not the work to remove corn from a dogs diet.
The other side effect was that bags of food got smaller. It used to be that 40 pounds was an average size bag and 44 pounds a special. That changed and the weight started to come down. Many products did this including cereals and ice cream. The price and the package were the same. The weight was less.
Now, move to 2016 and a large bag of dog food is often between 30-36 pounds. A high grade food may have its largest bag at 28 dollars. Feeding your dog has never been easier, harder, and more expensive.
In 2008 I transitioned over to raw feeding. I left the world of commercial made dog kibble behind me. No more bag reading, ingredient checking, and finding out between one manufacturing cycle and the next a key ingredient had changed that my German Shepherd was allergic to.
I could swing into the grocery store and buy my dog raw meat for less per pound then dog food. It was blissful and my dogs thrived on a prey model raw diet.
Then the great recession happened. Food prices soared and I watched my price go from 60 cents a pound to over a a dollar a pound. It was now on par with dog food if not cheaper. But, it requires work, forethought, and a deep freezer so that I could buy up deals.
Now today I am down to two dogs. I have not had only two dogs in fifteen years. It is an odd feeling. Next week I will be back up to three. However, I need puppy food for the first time in a long time.
Puppy food has changed over the last decade. As the generic ‘puppy’ formula has proven to not manage the wide types of dogs out there different formulas have appeared. Small breed with higher calorie contents to manage hypoglycemia. Large breed formulas with decreased mineral contents to not overstimulate growth. There is no one size fits all formula for dogs and the pet food companies have responded. That still leaves a wonderland for the owners.
If you are fascinated by dog food dogfoodadvisor.com is a great site. However, there is one rule that we must remember. The best food is the food a dog does well on. Some dogs do well on ‘cheap’ foods and poorly on ‘premium’ brands. Never ignore the dogs condition for the food.
I’ve been using Prunia products for a while. They were for a time the best of the best. They’ve become midgrade and low grade depending on who you talk to. Once Eukanuba was the top brand on the market. My dogs however, have always done well on ProPlan so I keep using it.
My breeder uses Proplan Focus Large Breed Puppy. At petsmart and Petco it is about 45 to 50 dollars a bag. I discovered it for 40 on Amazon and thought myself quite fortunate. Not knowing my pickup date, I shoved it in my cart. That is my holding spot for things I want to buy.
Checking my amazon cart, as I am wont to do, I saw the price plummet to $32. I am looking at a 34# bag of food. This puts my cost at UNDER a dollar a pound. Just under, but still under.
I ordered a bag. It would be fine sitting around for a week or two. At that price, I was fine with it. Then, on Sunday I got my puppy pickup date for the following week. The price on Amazon was still $32 dollars.
I ordered a second bag.
You may have guessed that I am an Amazon Prime user at this point. The bags ship for free with Amazon Prime. Prime membership now costs $90 a year. That membership covers myself and my husband. We both order things from Amazon at least once or twice a month. Prime membership increased that. I can buy my hair product for instance for a dollar more at Amazon than Walmart with it shipped. That means I no longer have to take a special trip to Walmart for the product. That is on the low end. I buy books, dog supplies, and about a quarter of the stuff I buy online these days. My prime membership pays for itself and NOW I have dog food delivered.
I don’t begrudge petstores things. I think, however, having several dogs for so long has ruined me a bit. I cannot just accept the cost handed to me by another. Dog food expense has been part of my budget since I started to work.
Money is not unlimited for many of us. Compare prices. Look at trusted online retailers. Preplan. You may find an amazing deal along the way.