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In the UK, many of us are currently reviewing our outgoings to see where savings can be made. Here are our tips on what to look out for when searching for the best value pet food for your cat or dog to save money.
With so much variety available, how do I compare costs of pet foods?
When considering switching your pet’s food in order to make savings it is better to consider ‘best value’ rather than ‘cheapest cost per bag’. It may seem like a good deal at the time, but many cheaper pet foods contain low quality ingredients. These are less nutrient dense which mean feeding quantities are much higher and therefore that bag will not last as long. So that cheap bag may not be saving as much as you think!
We suggest comparing ‘cost per day’ rather than ‘cost per bag’ as this will give you a true picture of how much you will be spending per month and allow you to compare like for like. It then becomes much easier to select the best quality available at a price point you can afford.
To work out the cost per day:
- Look at the feeding guide for the dog or cat food
- Check how much per day is the recommended amount to feed for your pet.
- Divide the total weight of the bag by this feeding amount.
- This will give you the number of days the bag will last.
- You can then divide the cost of the bag by the number of days.
Here’s an example for our ACANA Adult dog food:
Just divide the size of the bag in grams by the daily feeding amount
An 11.4kg bag of ACANA Adult Dog Food has an SRP of £67.99. The feeding amount per day for a 15kg dog is 150g. To work out how many days the bag will last:
11400g (11.4kg bag size) ÷ 150g daily feed = 76 days
You can then use this figure to work out how much it will cost to feed per day:
6799p cost per bag ÷ 76 days = 89p cost to feed per day
So, a food with 60% meat compared to some with just 25% meat or less is better value and better for your dog.
How do I compare cat and dog foods with similar prices?
So now you know how much the pet food will cost, how do you compare the quality of similar priced pet foods? And how do you know you are getting value for your money?
Here’s what you should you be looking out for:
Good quality ingredients mean better digestibility and palatability for your dog or cat. All pet food packaging should be labelled with an ingredients panel. Ingredients are listed in descending order of quantity in the recipe.
- Meat, poultry or fish should be the first ingredient.
- Good quality animal ingredients such as meat, fish, poultry or eggs should make up at least 50% of the recipe. Cats and dogs have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrates.
- Does the recipe include fresh or raw ingredients? If it doesn’t say ‘fresh’ or ‘raw’ on the ingredients panel, then it probably isn’t. Watch out for similar terms such as ‘freshly prepared’ or ‘deboned’ – these can mean very different things.
- Does the recipe include WholePrey ingredients? By this we mean does it include muscle meat as well as organs or edible bone and cartilage? These ingredients are naturally nutrient dense, providing your pet with essential vitamins and minerals in a bio available form, meaning less requirement for synthetic additives.
Using ACANA Adult dog food as an example once again, this recipe contains 60% quality animal ingredients. The first ingredient is fresh chicken and it also contains fresh chicken liver and heart, and raw flounder.
Compare best value dog and cat foods
Let’s compare the value of the ACANA dog food example above to other dog foods available in the UK. We’ve selected a recipe for ‘Medium Adult Rich in Chicken’ from a well-known brand for this example:
Initially we notice that the cost of the bag is slightly lower than our ACANA recipe and the bag is also larger at 14kg. However, the feeding quantity is higher. Using our cost per day method we can see that it will cost £1.01 per day to feed a 15kg dog, so the real cost is actually higher than the bag of ACANA. So now let’s look at the quality. The first ingredient is chicken but this is only 20%, it does also show ‘dehydrated poultry protein’ further down the list of ingredients but doesn’t tell us how much. The recipe does not include any fresh or raw ingredients and it does not include any nutrient dense WholePrey ingredients.
Perhaps you are thinking we have selected an obvious example, so let’s look at another dog food. We’ve picked another well-known brand, this time it’s ‘Medium Adult Dog Food with Lamb & Rice’. Again, the bag is larger at 14kg and the cost per bag is slightly lower. Using our cost per day method, we can work out that it will cost £1.09p per day to feed. Reading the ingredients panel tells us the first ingredient in the ‘Lamb & Rice’ recipe is actually maize and the second is wheat. Lamb meal is the third ingredient listed, however this brand does not tell us the percentage. The recipe does not include any fresh or raw ingredients and doesn’t include any nutrient dense WholePrey ingredients.
As a reminder, the ACANA recipe cost 89p per day, contains 60% quality animal ingredients and includes fresh, raw ingredients, along with nutrient dense Wholeprey such as liver and heart.
All ACANA recipes are complete and balanced so you know your pet is getting everything they need. Each recipe contains fresh or raw quality animal ingredients along with farm-fresh fruits, vegetables and botanicals. No artificial colours or preservatives are added in our kitchens and we don’t use wheat or corn in any of our recipes.
As we all know, eating a healthy diet is best for our long term health. It is the same for our cats and dogs. Making sure they are fed a good quality food, maintaining their healthy weight and encouraging appropriate exercise are all things we can do to support our pets to live their best lives.
How else can I save money on cat and dog food?
Review your shopping habits. It can be convenient to buy online but it is also worth visiting your local independent pet stores. Many have incentives such as loyalty programs which may save you money. They are also able to offer a wealth of advice and share their expertise when comparing foods. Here is the link to the stockist locator for ACANA: https://www.acanapetfoods.co.uk/stockists/
Give us a call or send us an email. Our nutrition team are on hand to chat through your pet’s specific requirements and offer expert advice. They can be reached during office hours on 01737 767679 or at CustomerCare@BernPetFoods.co.uk.