How Much Does Dog Food Cost?

Last Updated on January 7, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

As a dog owner, you obviously want to feed your furry friend the best diet possible. But between the dozens of pet food brands and formulations on the market, many pet parents wonder – how much does dog food really cost each month?

In this article, we’ll break down the average monthly and annual costs for dog food, what influences pricing, ways to save money on dog food, and how to budget for this essential pet care expense.

Key Takeaways on Dog Food Costs

  • Food will likely cost $30 to $100+ monthly depending on your dog
  • Purchase higher quality food if your budget allows
  • Compare prices across retailers to find deals
  • Buy in bulk for maximum value per pound
  • Budget extra for dogs with special dietary needs
  • Don’t skimp on nutrition – food fuels your dog’s health
  • Look for coupons and store promotions to save

How Much Does Dog Food Cost?

Most dog owners spend between $30 to $75 per month just on dog food. But costs vary based on factors like your dog’s size, age, activity level, and any special dietary needs.

For smaller dogs (5-20 lbs):

  • Dry kibble: $15 to $25 per month
  • Wet/canned food: $25 to $50 per month

For medium dogs (20-50 lbs):

  • Dry kibble: $25 to $35 per month
  • Wet/canned food: $50 to $75 per month

For large dogs (50-100+ lbs):

  • Dry kibble: $30 to $45 per month
  • Wet/canned food: $55 to $85+ per month

Some premium brands can cost:

  • Dry food: $80+ per month
  • Wet food: $100+ per month

So you can expect to spend anywhere from $20 for a small dog on budget food up to over $100 monthly for a large dog on premium or prescription food.

Petful notes that the average person spends up to $550 a year on food for their dog. For commercial kibble from a decent mass-market brand, you will spend about $1 per day for a 25-pound dog, and around $2 per day for a 55-pound dog.

For fresh dog food made from real cooked meat and vegetables, the cost is around $4 to $5 per day for a 25-pound dog and around $8 to $9 per day for a 55-pound dog.

According to Petfinder.com, the annual cost of feeding a dog or a cat ranges from about $120 to $500. Comparison shopping can save you up to 40 percent on pet food for any and every dog type. Chewy.com was found to be the least expensive online option, with prices about 11 percent lower than the all-store average.

Dog Food Advisor offers unbiased dog food reviews and ratings searchable by brand or star rating, helping you choose the best food for your dog.

What Influences the Cost of Dog Food?

Several factors determine how much you’ll spend on dog food each month including:

  • Your dog’s size – Bigger dogs eat more food, increasing costs.
  • Brand type – Premium/organic brands cost more than basic grocery store labels.
  • Special diets – Prescription or therapeutic foods add expense if needed.
  • Dry vs. wet – Wet and canned foods are pricier than dry kibbles.
  • Dog’s age – Puppies and senior dogs may need special formulations.
  • Where you purchase – Big box stores offer discounts over smaller pet stores.
  • Individual dog – Metabolism and activity impacts food amounts.

Consider your dog’s unique needs and talk to your vet for personalized recommendations when choosing a diet.

Estimated Annual Cost of Dog Food

Cute puppy eating dog food - isolated over a white backgroundBased on typical monthly expenditures of $30 to $100 on dog food, dog owners spend $360 to $1200+ per year feeding their furry friend.

Here are some estimates on total yearly dog food costs:

  • Small dog: $200 to $600+
  • Medium dog: $300 to $900+
  • Large dog: $400 to $1200+
  • Multiple dogs: Multiply accordingly!

To budget annually, take your preferred brand and your dog’s size/needs into account. Feeding costs really add up, so shop smart.

Ways to Save Money on Dog Food

You might also like our articles about the cost of dog daycare, dog microchipping, or dog training.

If your dog food costs seem excessive, here are some smart tips to spend less:

  • Compare prices across stores – Shop sales and buy in bulk on discount.
  • Buy generic/store brands when possible – Avoid premium brands for healthy dogs without special needs.
  • Consider canned/wet food as a treat – It’s pricier than dry so use sparingly.
  • Buy larger bags – The per pound cost is often lower.
  • Clip coupons – Watch for pet food coupons online or in flyers.
  • Buy in bulk online – Chewy, PetFlow, etc. offer discounts when ordering big bags.
  • Don’t overfeed – Follow bag guidelines and weigh food to avoid waste.
  • Consider DIY/fresh food – Can be cheaper but time consuming.

Saving just a few dollars per month on dog food adds up over the years. But don’t compromise quality just to save pennies either.

How to Budget for Dog Food Costs

The average dog owner spends hundreds of dollars per year feeding their pet. Here are some tips for budgeting:

  • Research food costs before getting a dog
  • Factor in your dog’s expected size and appetite
  • Include expected food costs in your monthly budget
  • Purchase larger bags to spread costs out
  • Save on premium brands for splurges occasionally
  • Price compare food options at different stores
  • Set reminders to restock before running out
  • Allow wiggle room for diet changes if health issues arise

Providing for your dog’s basic nutritional needs should be part of being a responsible pet owner. Make room in your budget to feed them right!

Is Buying More Expensive Food Worth it?

Premium dog food costs a lot more per pound compared to economy brands. But is the higher price tag worth it for your dog? Factors to consider:

  • Your dog’s health needs – Some warrant specialized food.
  • Ingredients quality – Better nutrition from higher quality meats and ingredients.
  • Allergies or intolerance – May need limited ingredient brands.
  • Age – Puppies and some adult dogs may benefit from premium foods.
  • Your budget – How much can you reasonably afford for dog food.

For healthy dogs without special dietary issues, an affordable brand offering complete nutrition is fine in most cases. Talk to your vet about your dog’s needs.

How Else Does Food Impact Your Dog Ownership Costs?

The right diet not only fulfills your dog’s nutritional needs but can save on other dog care costs like:

  • Veterinary bills and pet insurance – Good food keeps your dog healthier. A healthier dog requires fewer emergency vet visits and can be insured for less.
  • Grooming – Higher quality foods promote better skin and coat health.
  • Medications – May prevent conditions that require medications long-term, meaning you’ll have to visit the veterinarian less.
  • Supplements – Complete foods reduce need for extra vitamins, etc.
  • Dental cleanings – Kibble helps clean teeth better than wet or human foods.

Regardless of its breed, your dog’s overall well-being starts with providing high quality nutrition tailored to their life stage and health status.

Final Words

Research dog food prices before getting a new pup! But rest assured you can find an excellent diet for your dog at any budget level.

1 reply
  1. Jeffrey jennings
    Jeffrey jennings says:

    In my educated truth the industry of manufacturing dog food is that the CEO’s are criminals and stopping popple from adopting pets do to there unadulterated greed , damn them.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *