Connect Pets

Top Ways To Save Money On Pet Food

Casandra Andrews  |  April 11, 2023

You want to save money on pet food. (It’s expensive!) Here’s how to snag the best bargains on food for your best and most furry friend. 

Saving money on pet food has gotten more difficult in the last year. That’s because inflation has hit everyone’s dinner plates — especially the dog’s. Months of higher food prices have hammered away at our budgets, and increasingly consumers are shocked by just how much they spend on pet food and treats. The price of pet food increased by 15.1% from January of 2022 to January of 2023, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — yes, that’s double the overall inflation rate of 7.5% during the same period. 

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Even in 2022, we spent a whopping $54.2 billion on pet food, according to the American Pet Products Association — an increase of 4.5% from 2021. Today, two out of three U.S. households have a pet, per the American Veterinary Medicine Association, and we know that these rising costs can be tough on everyone’s budget. Thankfully, having a furry family member doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune on their food and care. Here’s a look at the top ways to save. 

Why Is Pet Food So Expensive? 

Several factors are at play. Inflation has made the cost of some raw ingredients (like fish, meat and grains) skyrocket, and those going into your pet’s food are no exception. Plus, more people (particularly younger generations) want to feed their dogs healthy foods, which usually means more expensive kibble. One survey found that nearly three-quarters (69%) of millennial pet owners are more likely to consider foods whose recipes use naturally-made ingredients over “normal,” mass-produced foods. 

Special Diets = Spending More (So You Have To Find Ways To Save!) 

Melissa Walsh, Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and founder of Clarity Financial Design, says she’s been working with clients in recent months to adjust their budgets to account for rising food costs. “One had a dog who ate a specially-formulated, and rather costly, food, and one had a cat with dietary constraints,” Walsh says. “In both cases, the pet parents were unwilling to compromise on their pet food, preferring to instead focus their efforts on trimming expenses in other areas.” 

Thankfully, with a long, hard look at your budget, you can get serious about a monthly spending plan that allows you to work in everything you need to care for your animals properly. If you’re not sure where to start with your budget, coaching can help. 

FinanceFixx, HerMoney’s personal finance coaching program has new sessions starting every few weeks. You can work with a trained finance coach to create a personal budget, and learn proven strategies for paying off debt and building wealth. You can find out more or sign up here.  

Subscribe And Save

There are a number of pet retailers offering subscription service discounts on regular shipments of food and other deals. For example, when you sign up for automatic shipping at, you can receive 35% off the first shipment, with 5% off repeat deliveries. You can also spend $49 and receive a $20 electronic gift card (plus free shipping on your first order) when you use the code WELCOME. With this offer, some exclusions apply on certain brands, so be sure to read the details. is also offering 40% off a customer’s first repeat delivery order, with a 5% discount on recurring orders. Those who purchase more than $50 worth of items online can receive 15% off when they pick up the order at a store or use curbside delivery, notes Another national retailer, Petsmart, offers a loyalty program for customers to receive discounts and deals, including offering free same-day delivery. 

You Gotta Shop Around 

Remember, sometimes you have to spend just a few minutes and shop around online (and use coupons, codes and extensions) to get the best deals. Pro-tip: Even if you’re shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, you can add last-minute coupons to an app, or even better, save a screenshot of the barcode you need. Shopping experts note some of the best apps and websites to score coupon deals include Rakuten, Honey, Dosh, Ibotta, and (And yes, these coupon deal sites work just as well for pet products as they do for people products!) 

Made With Love = Prepared at Home  

Sometimes, making your own pet food from nutritious table scraps can be economical, as long as you consult with your vet to make sure Fido is getting a balanced diet. (But if you’re eating roast chicken and rice for dinner, your dog would probably love to have some, too!) Some pets with gastrointestinal and other health issues do require special diets consisting of human foods and treats (hello, sugar-free peanut butter) prepared at home. 

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers a list of pet-friendly foods and ingredients you can safely give your furry best friends. On the flip side, they also offer guidance on the foods your pets should avoid. If your pet eats something you think may be dangerous, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Financial Pet Assistance 

For those who may be struggling financially, we understand feeding your pet a healthy diet can be a challenge. If you can’t afford pet food, your local animal shelter may be able to provide you with free or discounted food. Additionally, offers a state-by-state (and province-by-province) guide on where to seek financial assistance for pet food and get help for other pet-related issues. You can also visit for a list of more than 1,800 financial resources across the United States. 

Pet Sharing 

There are many ways to experience some of the joys of pet ownership without breaking the bank. Diane Darling, a member of HerMoney’s FinanceFixx class who is also a pet-sitter, has been looking for creative ways to reign in spending during these inflationary times. 

About 12 years ago, she met a neighbor in her Boston apartment building. After a few conversations, they decided to share ownership of a cat. They looked on Craigslist and found a gray kitten they named Violet. Since then, the women split the cost of food and Violet splits her time between her two moms’ apartments. These days, a can of food for the 13-year-old kitty costs about $2 each at Trader Joe’s and lasts three days when mixed in with some dry kibble. 

“The joy she gives me is enormous,” Darling says of Violet. “I don’t know if I would have existed through the pandemic without her.” 

Buy in Bulk + Focus on Generic Brands 

To help reign in the high price of pet food, Jennifer W. Kang, CFP, CRPS, founder and financial planner of JWK Financial in New York City, says she’s noticed more of her clients buying in bulk when they can. “Other people tell me they’re just going to Costco to buy dog food,” she says, noting the Kirkland brand is popular among her clients and friends.   

Pet Insurance

Also, some of her clients have considered getting pet insurance. “It’s giving them a peace of mind,” she says. It seems like more pets – at least in her circles – have been getting sick. “Some are just older, and they are really seeing the effects of that,” Kang says. 

According to Healthy Paws, the average pet owner saves $2,500 per year on veterinary care by having pet insurance. This is because pet insurance can help to cover the cost of expensive treatments like cancer surgery, emergency care, and prescription medications.


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