15 Amazingly Simple Hacks To Save Money on Pet Food (#7 Is Genius!)

Feed your pet like royalty on a shoestring budget with these clever tips.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Woman feeding her dog

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Your fur baby is a member of the family, which means you don’t skimp when it comes to treating the cat or dog to the best food carried by the local pet store.

But pet food is expensive, making it difficult to keep more money in your wallet. Fortunately, thrifting your way into cheaper pet food is not hard. 

Here are 15 clever, easy-to-implement ways to cut down on pet food costs without compromising your pet’s health and happiness.

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Buy in bulk

Milles Studio/Adobe Woman feeding food to hungry cat

A great Costco hack that fans of the retail giant use is to check their local store’s pet section to find affordable bulk pet food.

A wholesale bag of pet food can last you months instead of weeks. It also can save you money compared to the amount you would spend buying smaller individual bags at more regular intervals.

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Sign up for subscriptions

AntonioDiaz/Adobe Cute puppy eating dry food

If you’ve never tried a pet subscription box before, now could be the perfect time to give it a whirl.

For example, Meowbox and Chewy will send competitively priced pet food, treats, and toys on your preferred delivery schedule, maximizing convenience and savings.

Compare prices

135pixels/Adobe Dog and cat eating food

Humans are creatures of habit. If you’ve been going to the same pet store for years, it’s easy to forget that there are other options.

Instead of defaulting to your typical pet store, compare prices at other stores in your city or online. You might find that you can save more by shopping elsewhere.

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Look for a less-expensive brand

spyrakot/Adobe Cute cat shopping

Similarly, perhaps you buy a more expensive pet food brand out of habit rather than because of your pet’s dietary needs or food preferences.

Re-evaluate your reasons for purchasing the pet food you tend to buy. You might find that your furry friend likes the cheaper brand as much as the expensive food you typically purchase.

Buy cheaper treats or give them out less often

Chalabala/Adobe Giving dog a treat

It can be tempting to reward your pet for every cute or charming thing it does. But just like humans, pets shouldn’t eat too many treats.

So make sure you aren’t overindulging your pet to the detriment of both its health and your budget.

Double check for coupons and discounts

rosinka79/Adobe Cat with cat food

If you’ve signed up for your local pet store’s customer loyalty program, you’re probably receiving regular emails advertising deals, discounts, and sales.

If you haven’t seen any of these emails in a while, check your promotions folder, spam folder, and trash. Then, tweak your settings so pet store emails always go straight to your primary inbox.

Ask the vet for samples

rh2010/Adobe Vet offering dog a treat

Many veterinarians are happy to give out pet food samples, especially for prescription diets. Even if your pet isn’t on a special diet, it can't hurt to ask your vet for a food sample the next time you're in their office.

You might also find that your vet sells pet food, potentially at a better price than you would find at a big-box store such as Petco or PetSmart.

Request free samples from pet food companies

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe Dog eating food from bowl

Some pet food companies — such as Pet Wants and Zignature — will send you free food samples either by request or in exchange for your contact information.

Take advantage of matching prices

New Africa/Adobe Puppy and cat eating food

Retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Amazon often advertise their price-matching services. If you find the same product sold for a lower price at a different store, they'll drop their price to match.

If you find your favorite pet food at a lower price than you typically pay at a big-box store, take advantage of the price-match policy.

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Use Amazon Subscribe & Save

ikhsanhidayat/Adobe Cat looking at food

Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program lets you sign up for repeat deliveries of products you purchase regularly, including pet food.

Depending on the product you purchase, Amazon will give you as much as 15% off, although you’ll need to set up an automated delivery of at least five products to the same address to qualify for the discount.

Buy discounted gift cards

kozorog/Adobe Dogs and cats eating

Sites such as Giftcards.com and Raise sell gift cards at a discounted rate, including gift cards for pet food.

Taking advantage of these offers can save you money on an ongoing basis.

Download money-saving browser extensions

Petra Richli/Adobe Dog using a computer

Rakuten and Ibotta help you find more ways to save when you’re shopping from a laptop, desktop, or phone.

Additional options such as Honey scour the web for coupons so you can save money on purchases upfront.

Skip organic pet food unless your vet recommends it

goodluz/Adobe Vet explaining food

Organic food isn’t always worth paying a higher price, especially when it comes to pet food.

As long as your pet eats a balanced diet, you don’t need to go above and beyond to buy pet food that labels itself “organic” or “natural.”

Ask your vet which pet food brand they recommend, then stick with that instead of reaching for top-shelf “all-natural” pet food products.

Take back food your pet doesn’t like

Phuttharak/Adobe Dog next to food

There’s no bigger waste of money than buying a massive bag of pet food your beloved cat or dog refuses to eat.

Luckily for pet owners with picky eaters, most pet stores — or at least major brands such as Petco and PetSmart — offer at least partial refunds on recently opened bags of pet food as long as you return them promptly.

Use cash-back rewards apps

st.kolesnikov/Adobe Woman feeding dogs

Credit card rewards aren’t the only way to earn cash back on frequent purchases. Cash-back apps such as Rakuten and Ibotta can help you find discounts at your favorite stores.

Take advantage of current deals and receive cash back simply for shopping for pet food at a store you love.

Bottom line

Chalabala/Adobe Dog waiting for food

Pet ownership is an expensive project, but with these 15 tips, it doesn’t have to destroy your household’s budget.

Instead, lower your financial stress by putting these steps into practice so you can cut down on pet-related costs.

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Author Details

Michelle Smith Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.

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