We love our pets, but that doesn’t mean we have to go broke for them to be well-fed.

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Dogs cost dollars – Americans spent more than $103 billion on their pets last year, so says research by The American Pet Products Association (APPA). That’s a lot of coin.

“Today more than ever, pet owners view their pets as irreplaceable members of their families and lives,” says APPA president and CEO Bob Vetere, “and it’s thanks to this that we continue to see such incredible growth within the pet care community.”

This is especially true when it comes to buying pet food; feeding our furry friends added up to more than $42 billion last year. If you’re looking to spend less while feeding little Spot, here are some saving tips.

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1. Shy away from big-name brands

Buying from pet food marketing giants may give you peace of mind, but if you’re on a budget you may be better off searching for nearly identical bargain brands.

The key driver for increased pet food spending was premium food and treats – but just because your go-to brand is expensive doesn’t mean it’s more nutritious than other, more affordable brands. Compare labels and ingredients and consider making the switch.

Be cautious if your pooch has health issues or allergies. If they’re young and healthy but you’re still hesitant about buying cheaper pet food, consult your veterinarian.

2. Or, search for deals

You don’t have to sacrifice your favorite brands to save a few bucks, but you need to actively scope out pet food deals.

Keep an eye out for your pet store’s coupon list, and subscribe to their email newsletters for weekly deals. You can also sign up for membership programs at pet stores to earn back rewards and get exclusive offers.

Pet brands can have deals, too. Before throwing away your pet food packages, check inside and out for manufacturer’s coupons. Also check out your favorite brands on social media for discount codes, coupons, and other offers.

Your vet may have some free products to give out to patients. During your next visit, ask about coupons and food samples.

3. Buy in bulk

Buying large amounts of food usually saves you money compared to the smaller bags. I like to take advantage of my Amazon Prime membership by getting the bulk puppy food. Just make sure you’re comparing unit prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

That being said, make sure your pet will actually eat the food first. If you’re switching them to a new product, start with a single small-sized bag to see if they like it before hauling a large bag home. A picky pet won’t care about how much food you bought – if they don’t like it, they won’t eat it.

4. Measure serving sizes appropriately

Feeding pets more than their serving size means you’ll need to buy more frequently. If you’re giving Fido two cups when he only needs one, you’re buying food twice as much as you really need to.

Plus, overeating raises health concerns. Pet obesity is gaining for the seventh year in a row, costing Americans tens of millions of dollars each year. The overfeeding may seem like only a few dollars wasted at the moment, but in the long run, the costs add up.

During your next trip to the vet, ask how much you should feed your pet per serving. Then, keep a measuring cup on hand to make extra sure you’re giving out the right portions.

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About the Author

Brittany Ferrendi

Brittany Ferrendi

Ferrendi is a freelance writer and the webmaster for South Florida Gay News.

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