Does a cheaper bag of food really cost you less?

Does a cheaper bag of food really cost you less?

February 2, 2020 By Doodle Dogs

Nothing can compete with convenience.  You grab your shampoo, an oversized container of High Chews and boom - there it is in the pet aisle!  The $65 bag of your furry family member's food.  Like most items in this giant warehouse of great deals and volume discounts, it's cheap

But is it?  Basic math tells us $65 is cheaper than $88, but how often are you having to go back and purchase that bag of food.. and how much cleanup are you doing in your back yard?

Costco dog food IS NOT CHEAPER than most pet specialty foods!

The root of the confusion is related to the quality ingredient quantity and the feeding guidelines. It turns out, that when you fill a bag with less expensive ingredients such as grains, potatoes, peas, etc…you require MORE PER DAY of that food in order for your pet to get their daily required nutrition.
The higher the quality of the ingredients, the less you feed.

Chart below is based on the daily feeding guidelines for a less active 50 pound dog: 

If you choose to feed Royal Canin, it will cost you $690 more per year (for one 50 pound dog).  That's a return trip to Hawaii!   That is the unfortunate result of feeding four (4) cups of food per day versus 1.5 cups, all in an effort to hit the necessary caloric and nutritional intake requirements. 

Visual representation. But remember, what goes in must come out.





So now you’re probably really curious,

why the huge difference in guidelines?

All ingredients and feeding guidelines are online… all brands are grain-free to compare apples to apples as grain-inclusive options are a whole other price point based on the cost of grain (very inexpensive). The exception here is Royal Canin, which is grain inclusive as they do not make a grain free – however, its price point puts it in the tier of their grain-free competitors.

The first ingredients listed make up the majority of the recipe and gets smaller as they go from top to bottom.


 Acana Adult recipe (this one openly and honestly provides the % of each)

Ideally, for our carnivorous house mates we want meat in the food, and as much as possible. Meat is providing our protein, our nutrients, the taurine, and all of our necessary building blocks – followed by fruits and vegetables for their essential nutrients, fibre, and minerals.

It’s the percent of one versus the other that is changing the daily feeding requirements, the kcal per cup and the cost per bag.

Many companies make up their primary ingredients by splitting inexpensive vegetables such as peas and potatoes to make up the majority of the recipe.  Pro tip: remember if the first ingredient is the highest quantity, the next 2-5 will make up more than that first (and usually) most needed ingredient.  This formula below for example has blueberries (YUM! YAY antioxidents WAHOO!) but it's riiiiiiight before salt.  And salt cannot be more than 1% of the bag

Pulsar Chicken - Ingredients 2-4 are plant based 

Pet foods manufacturers aren't required to provide the percentage of each ingredient in their recipes, but isn't it nice when they do?  Wouldn't it be nice to know whether you're feeding a bag of primarily potato starch or primarily angus beef?  

Our pets are with us for such a short period in our lives, and many of them are born with genetic and hereditary issues that they will be challenged with their whole lives.  Since we can't control everything that happens in their lives, isn't it important that we control what we put into their bodies?  

*Based on grain free foods (except RC). Pricing is MSRP as of February 2020.