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Buying Dog Food in Bulk: Complete Guide 2023

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

Dog food packing in plastic bag

The average dog owner in North America usually pays anywhere from $20 to $200 every month for dog food, depending on the type of food and the size of the dog. This can really add up if you have a giant dog breed or if you have multiple dogs (or if you have multiple giant breed dogs!).

If you’ve been thinking about buying your dog food in bulk in order to save some money but aren’t sure how to start or if it’s even worth it, we’re here to give you some guidance.

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Will Buying Dog Food in Bulk Save You Money?

Absolutely! Not only does buying dog food in bulk save you money, but it can prove to be much more convenient – no more lugging heavy, large bags of dog food home with you every week from the store.

You should first figure out how much your dog eats on average. This will give you an idea about how much food is too much. A sealed bag of dry dog food has a shelf life of approximately 12 to 18 months, but a bag that has been opened should be consumed within 6 weeks. Therefore, you need to calculate how much your dog eats in one day.

For example, for every 1 pound of dry dog food, there are approximately 4 cups, so if you were to purchase a 30-pound bag of dry dog food, it would contain about 120 cups worth of food. If your dog eats about 2 cups of food per day, she’s eating 1 pound of food every 2 days, so that 30-pound bag would last you about 8 weeks.

If the shelf life of the food is only 6 weeks, you would be running the risk of the food expiring before your dog has a chance to eat it, then you know you should be aiming for the smaller bags of food. You would need to buy no more than 20-pound bags of food.

dog food for sale in pet shop
Image Credit: pedphoto36pm, Shutterstock

How About Wholesale?

Bulk is usually for a customer, and wholesale is meant for someone in the business who buys a large amount of product in order to sell it to customers. Wholesale always means purchasing something in a much larger quantity than if you buy in bulk.  Veterinarians, pet stores, and breeders are more likely to buy wholesale than the average consumer.

The manufacturers of dog food sell the food wholesale to the business, and then each retail business sells the product to the customer. However, as a customer, you can then ask for a discount if you’re purchasing the dog food in bulk. Many retailers will automatically offer discounts for buying multiple products at once (e.g., most retailers will give you 10% off when purchasing around 5 bags at the same time).

Disadvantages to Buying in Bulk

In the long run, purchasing any perishable dog food will actually mean losing money since your dog(s) might not be able to eat it in bulk fast enough before it goes bad. This goes for canned as well as dry dog food. You run the risk of making your dog quite sick if you feed her food that has gone off – diarrhea, indigestion, vomiting, to name a few. This is why making the correct calculations on how much your dog eats is necessary.

Another disadvantage is the longer the food sits on a shelf, the more the dog food loses its nutrients. The last thing you want to do is feed your dog anything that won’t be giving her the proper beneficial nutritional value.

Lastly, and one of the most obvious problems, is you need space for all of that food. Additionally, the space needs to be cool and dry and without any direct sunlight. It’s also best off the floor to avoid any insects or vermin from having easy access to the food.

dog napping
Image Credit: Mat Coulton, Pixabay

Buying Directly From Your Favorite Brand

This is difficult to accomplish as dog food manufacturers typically only sell to retailers and businesses. Most dog owners can’t buy enough food at once to benefit the manufacturer.

You could ask people you know who own dogs – maybe those at agility classes or obedience school – to band together in order to take advantage of the wholesale prices.

Where Can You Buy Bulk Dog Food?

Buying bulk is generally the easiest method for most dog owners. If you’ve been going to a local pet store to purchase your dog food, you can start by asking them if they would be willing to offer you a discount if you buy in bulk.

Otherwise, you can check places like Costco or BJ’s Wholesale Club or look into ordering the food online at sites like Amazon or Dog Food Direct.

Lastly, if none of these places carries the food you prefer to feed your dog, you could go to that brand’s website and contact them directly. They should be able to help you find any retailer or distributor of their product that is closest to you.

canned dog food in a bag
Image Credit: Monika Schröder, Pixabay

Further Recommendations

Most dry dog food manufacturers recommend keeping the food in the original bag as it adds a barrier to retain the fats. If you prefer to store the food in an enclosed plastic container, they recommend keeping the food in the bag, roll it up and clip it closed, and then place it into the container.

It should be stored in a cool and dry environment. Avoid using places like your garage (unless it’s climate-controlled) as they will undergo erratic temperature fluctuations.

It’s also best to buy smaller cans of food because once they have been opened and are refrigerated, they should be used within 2 to 3 days. The shelf life of unopened canned food can be as long as 2 years.

Double-check the expiry date on any food before you purchase your dog food, and be sure that you’ll be using up the food before that date.

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Buying Bulk Dog Food: Final Thoughts

Taking care of our dogs can be quite expensive, so it does help if you can find ways of cutting the costs. Buying dog food in bulk can be a great way to save money. We hope these tips help you on your quest to feed your dog and save some money at the same time.

Featured Image Credit: tong patong, Shutterstock

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