How to Compare Dog Food Prices

How to Compare Dog Food Prices

by ScritchSpot

Comparing dog food prices can be challenging, due to the varying sizes, quality, and types of dog foods. Here are some important things to consider when comparing dog food prices so you know the true value of your investment into your dog’s health.

Tip #1: Figure out your dog’s recommended meal size

Because most dog food brands don’t know your dog and their specific needs, they’ll give you a range of portions. However, being told to feed “1/2 cup to 1 cup” isn’t very helpful. That’s like saying, feed two cups a day or maybe four, it doesn’t matter. It certainly does, because that’s a big difference in the amount of food you're giving to your dog. Doubling up (or cutting in half) a dog’s portions will impact his health just like it would for humans. For example, being overweight can cause health complications with the heart and can put excess stress on the joints and ligaments.

Another issue with standard “cup” type measurements is that each type of dog food has a different calorie density, so it's better to think in terms of calories instead of cups. Many times dog food bags will tell you how many calories are in a cup, such as 409 Kcals/cup. The calories your dog needs depends on his weight and activity level. Many experts say that dogs should eat 25-30 calories per pound that they weigh (assuming they are at a healthy weight). This would mean that if your dog was 10 pounds, he should eat 250-300 calories, which would be about ¾ cup of the previous example.

However, with a fresh food service such as NomNomNow, they take the guesswork out of determining the proper portions for your pooch. You provide information about your dog's age, weight, activity level, and any health issues your dog may have, and they’ll calculate the perfect portion size for your pet. They also have five delicious recipes so your pup will get the proper nutrition he deserves in interesting flavors that he can’t help but gobble down. Plus, each portion comes in a pre-measured and sealed bag that you just tear open and pour into the bowl. It just couldn’t be easier.

Tip #2: Calculate how much each dog food costs per meal

Now that you have a number in mind of how much your dog eats, determine how many meals your dog gets out of whichever food you decide to buy. If you’ll be buying a bag of dog food, or any wet food or fresh food that you have to portion out yourself, then you need to do these calculations.

Step 1: Find the feeding chart on the back of the bag or on the company’s website to see how much your dog should eat for his size.

Step 2: The food label should tell you how many ounces of food are in one standard measuring cup.

Step 3: One pound equals 16 oz. If you have a 50 lb bag of food, that is 800 oz.

Step 4: Divide the amount that your dog eats in ounces into how many ounces are in the bag.

Step 5: Divide the serving size into the price of the food.

Example of the above equation:

A 15-pound dog should eat 1¼ cup of Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Dry Dog Food. There is 3.10 oz of food per one standard measuring cup. The directions say my dog should eat 1¼ cup, so that equals 3.875 oz. A 5 lb bag has 80 oz in it. 80 divided by 3.875 = 20.65 servings. If the bag of food costs $12, that’s 58 cents per serving.

3.10 x 1.25 = 3.875 oz serving size

5 x 16 = 80 oz in a bag

80 ÷ 3.875 = 20.65 servings per bag

$12 ÷ 20.65 = .58 per serving

Tip #3: Look for the best value

My last tip? Not all dog foods are created equal. For most of us, cost is often the first consideration when buying anything you use every day, so we can’t ignore it. But as with any food you’d be consuming yourself, you should determine what else you value in addition to cost, and make sure to factor that in. Dog food, like human food, comes in all variations of quality. Here are a few reasons why there is such a broad range of food prices:

Quality of Ingredients

Some are fresh, some are not, some include premium ingredients, and some keep it simple. Some splurge on taste, some are utilitarian. To me, the value that I consider with price is quality; I want my dog eating “real” food, especially since that’s how I eat. Rather than going for the cheapest dog food, I read labels and eliminate anything with ingredients that I’ve learned to be less than ideal for my dog, such as:

  • Artificial preservatives - Natural preservatives have been around for hundreds of years and can include vinegar, citric acid, and vitamin E. The problem with artificial preservatives is that they are chemically derived and some have even been cited by the World Health Organization to potentially cause cancer.
  • Organ Meats - Organ meats aren’t bad for your dog. Actually, they have a lot of vitamins and nutrients that your pet needs. However, on many dog food labels, they list these as “byproducts” so you don’t know what you’re really feeding your dog. It could be skin, hooves, or other questionably sourced animal parts. 
  • Supplements - Supplements such as fish oil provide omega fatty acids for a healthy coat. Coconut oil supplies healthy fats for skin and coat improvement, and dogs need other specific nutrients to keep them healthy and happy. Dog food from NomNomNow is created by a certified vet nutritionist and includes their NomNomNutrient Mix in every recipe to ensure that your dog is getting the proper vitamins that he needs on a daily basis.

Processing, Shipping, and Storage

You probably haven’t thought about this, but a lot goes into putting pet food on the shelves at a store. Did you know that it costs more to make canned dog food than dry? Also, canned/wet dog food costs a lot more to ship because of the moisture content. Refrigerated sections in pet stores are also a big trend, but those refrigerators are expensive and take up a lot of real estate in the store. However, those “fresh” food sections in the pet store can have their food on the shelves for many weeks which requires the addition of artificial preservatives which may be unhealthy for your pet.

Making Pet Food at Home

Another popular topic that’s trending is homemade pet food. This adds in other cost factors such as the time that it takes to research dog-friendly recipes, the effort it requires to go to the grocery store and then cook the recipe, figuring out the proper portion that your dog should eat, and finally determining if your dog is getting all the necessary nutrients. In this fast-paced life, who has the time to do all of this? In the extra time it takes to cook an additional meal for your dog, you’ll find that purchasing fresh food from NomNomNow is well-worth the investment. You'll find the convenience of free shipping to your front door and the peace of mind that your dog is getting the perfect meal based their vet nutritionist’s careful analysis of the recipes.

Avoiding Common Health Problems

Food is fuel for the body and it provides the proper building blocks to keep the body functioning correctly. Consuming the right nutrition also helps to avoid health problems down the road. Illnesses and health conditions (which also means stress and expensive vet bills) can be avoided if you feed your dog properly. Here are some of the most common health problems that dogs face due to poor nutrition:

  • Obesity from eating too much food or foods high in fat can lead to arthritis, high blood pressure, and possibly cancer.
  • Pancreatitis - Too much fat in your dog’s diet can cause the pancreas to become inflamed and the digestive enzymes will begin to break down fat and proteins in the other organs.
  • An imbalanced diet can cause heart disease. Sodium is a common factor for this problem.
  • Diarrhea - This could be due to the type of fiber and fat that are in your current dog food.

Again, those are just my priorities, but that means I must factor the value of serving my dog a food that meets those requirements when I look at how much any dog food costs. If you, like me, believe that eating healthy saves you from (costly) health issues in the long run, this makes the price comparison a little less definitive as to which dog food is the best price.

NomNomNow seeks a natural approach to pet nutrition. By analyzing a pet parent’s needs, NomNomNow creates a unique health profile for pets, and then crafts and delivers fresh, human-grade, personalized home-cooked meals for pets, shipped weekly, biweekly and monthly, Find out more at NomNomNow.com.