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The Pros & Cons of Buying Dog Food in Bulk (2023 Guide)

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 size of the dog. This can really add up if you have a giant breed or if you have multiple dogs (or if you have several giant breed dogs!). If you’ve been thinking about buying your dog food in bulk to save money but aren’t sure how to start or if it’s even worth it, we’re here to guide you.

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Will Buying Dog Food in Bulk Save You Money?

Absolutely! Buying dog food in bulk saves you money, and it can be much more convenient; no more lugging heavy, large bags of dog food home with you every week from the store.

You should first determine 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 an opened bag should be consumed within 6 weeks. Therefore, you must 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. If your dog eats about 2 cups of food daily, 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 aim 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 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 likelier to buy wholesale than the average consumer.

The dog food manufacturers sell the food wholesale to the business, and then each retail business sells the product to the customer. However, as a customer, you can ask for a discount if you purchase the dog food in bulk. Many retailers will automatically offer discounts for buying multiple products at once. For example, some 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 perishable dog food can waste money since your dog 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 sick if you feed her food that has expired. That 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 it loses its nutrients. The last thing you want to do is feed your dog anything that won’t provide the proper beneficial nutritional value.

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

dog napping
Image Credit: Mat Coulton, Pixabay

Buying Directly From Your Favorite Brand

This isn’t easy to accomplish since 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, such as friends you’ve met at your dog’s obedience school, to band together 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 ask if they could give 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 those places carry the food you prefer to feed your dog, you could go to the 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.

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, rolling it up, clipping it closed, and then placing 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) since they undergo erratic temperature fluctuations.

It’s also best to buy smaller cans of food because once they have been opened and 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 expiration date on any food before you purchase your dog food, and be sure 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, and it helps if you can find ways of cutting the costs. Buying dog food in bulk can be a great way to save money. However, it depends on the type of food you buy and the space available for storage. 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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