Feeding a pet can be expensive, particularly if you have a dog or cat, and there's plenty of advertising and marketing pressure to get you to part with a lot of money to feed the many different foods out there on the pet shop and supermarket shelves. Add the words 'Natural' 'Holistic' or similar to a brand and watch the price go up!
Bear in mind that big brands such as Pedigree, Iams, Eucanuba and Royal Canin spend £millions on advertising, research and sponsorship through the year (How much does it cost Pedigree to sponsor Crufts? A lot!) This money has to be recovered, and that's through increasing sales but also larger profit margins - it's common sense if you think about it.
However, there are several ways that you can feed a good quality food and save a considerable amount of money. Here's one or two, and maybe you have some more, in which case let us know!
Buying a 15kg bag of dog food works out cheaper per meal than buying a 2kg bag
If you can't carry a big bag home then have it delivered - several brands and online pet shops offer free or minimal postal charges, and you get the food delivered to your door. Other pet shops have their own delivery service in their catchment area - check them out!
Some shops offer bulk deals - Online stores often offer good bulk deals with no carriage charges. If you can store it and use it in a reasonable time, then why not save a few well earned £££s?
If you are raw feeding and using frozen meats/offal then consider investing in a small chest freezer just for the pet food so that you can bulk buy and save money - it'll probably pay over the long run, and also keeps the pet and human food separate, which is no bad thing!
If you are feeding a cat, the same applies - many pet shops or online stores will deliver tins in bulk. Ask, and they should offer you a quantity discount that you can offset against the delivery charge if there is one.
Some pet shops offer their own brands, particularly on bags of dog food. Are they cheaper because they are poorer quality than the more well known brand? Not necessarily, because of two factors.
Firstly, they are probably made by the same company that makes the well known brand! A handful of pet food manufacturers make food for brands like James Wellbeloved, Arden Grange and Burns Pet Nutrition but also make food for hundreds of other companies and pet shops, using the same machinery, similar ingredients and following the principles of the trade organisation PFMA.
The easy way to check is look at the ingredient list and see what the food is made of, then compare the cost between the shop food and the branded food - similar ingredients but £s cheaper? Then why not try the shop brand - if it doesn't suit, a good pet shop will replace the food.
Secondly there's the profit chain. Pet Shop brands are cheaper because there are fewer middlemen taking a cut of the retail price (A prime example would be the new premium Pets at Home food in its shiny new bag. A 15kg of dog food retails at under £30, up to £9 cheaper than some others for a recipe which is as natural and hypo-allergenic as any premium food on the market - and a money-back guarantee!) It works like this:-
|Pet Shop brand
|Well Known brand
|15kg dog food - manufacture cost c£8
|15kg dog food - manufacture cost c£8
|Manufacturer's profit ....£
|Manufacturer's profit ......£
|Pet shop profit .............££
|Brand owner's profit .....££
|Wholesaler's profit ......£££
|Pet Shop profit ...........££££
|Retail price £29
|Retail price £47.99
With four folk wanting a share of the profits, is there any wonder that a pet shop brand, bought directly from the manufacturer can work out 1) cheaper for the consumer and 2) more profitable for the pet shop?!
You don't need to buy expensive treats for dogs. Have you discovered the delights of giving them small pieces of carrot or brocoli/cauliflower stalk?
No? Why not, because they are cheap, natural and actually do your pet a bit of good, unlike some of the other stuff on the market. These are all naturally sweet, and many dogs simply love them!
Dog's don't need expensive treats - please repeat that over and over again until it sinks in. manufacturers may try and disuade you but what they're after is the vast profits on treats. Shops make more profit per item on treats than they do on food.
Go to your local pet shop and see what free samples they have of other manufacturers foods - your pet will never know you get them for free and enjoy the different flavours. Our dog can't wait for her night-time treat, and it costs us nothing because what she gets is 3 or 4 pieces of kibble of a food she wouldn't normally get!
It is well a known fact that most pet owners have no idea how much food they are feeding on a daily basis. This has two implications
1) There's the likelyhood that your pet has a better than average chance of becoming overweight, have joint or digestive problems or simply be out of condition. That's going to cost you eventually in veterinary bills.
2) You are wasting money, as evidenced by the fact you are converting exces pet food into sh*t which, of course, as a responsible pet owner you are picking up!
There is a reason why your pet food has a recommended feeding rate on, and you really do need to try and stick to that - it will benefit your pet and your wallet.
Let's put that into perspective with an example.
A 15kg bag of premium food costs £42, and the recommended feeding rate for a 25kg dog is 250g/day (which does not seem a lot divided into two meals!)
The cost per day is 70 pence if you feed at the recommended rate
But let's say that you overfeed by just 50g (or less than 2oz) then the daily feeding costs go up to 84p
That may not seem horrendous, but over a month that's £4.20 wasted!
Ask for a measuring cup for the brand of food you are using - most important as volume varies from food to food - or use the same dispensing mug each day and weigh the food into it so that you know you are not overfeeding.