What Is the Cheapest Dog Food?

This peaceful bowl is moments from being emptied by the family dog.
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It's a sight and sound every dog owner can identify: a dog inhaling a bowl of food with a power that rivals the best vacuum cleaner on the market. Dogs might not always come when they're called, but they can hear the tinny ring of a kibble hitting their bowl from what seems like a mile away. Americans spend millions of dollars annually on dog food. Bag by bag, which brand is the most economical?

Getting the Best for Your Dollar

The most economical choice in dog food is based on what is best for your dog.

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A broad Internet search reveals that Walmart's Ol' Roy dog food is probably the cheapest brand, when you calculate cost per pound, but when you consider the overall cost of raising a pet, it's important to look at more than just the cost of his food. Feeding your pet a lower quality dog food may save you money at the cash register, but a dog with a poor diet can develop intestinal disorders and other health issues, which can hit your wallet hard when you visit the veterinarian.

Feed Your Dog

Determining the best dog food for your dog means knowing what specific dietary needs your dog has. According to Dr. Jennifer Coates, a small breed dog needs a higher calorie food due to the small size of its stomach. Small breeds require 40 calories per pound of body weight, whereas a large breed dog only needs 22.5 calories per pound. What you feed your dog is as important as how much you feed him. His food should contain the right balance of protein, fatty acids, water, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. As your dog's primary care provider, you owe it to him to give him what he needs. If you're not sure what that is, ask your veterinarian. There isn't a more qualified professional to help you choose the right food to keep your canine companion healthy.

Sorting Through the Choices

So, how do you know which food is best? Recently, Dog Food Advisor conducted a study comparing more than 3,300 products from hundreds of companies to determine which are the best. They separated their choices into 11 categories, and in the dry food category alone, they named nearly 200 products that received a four-star review or higher. Determining the right food for your dog can be difficult, especially when you're wading through thousands of products. Do your homework, know what your dog needs and read product reviews.

Cheaper vs. Most Cost-Effective

The average cost of owning a dog for its entire lifetime has been estimated to range from $4,200.00 to $39,000.00. Making the right food choice to keep your dog in good health is the best way to ensure a long and happy life. Cheaper isn't always better, and can be more expensive in the long run. Making an informed decision about the most cost-effective food to meet your dog's specific needs is always the right choice.