If you have a big dog, more than one medium or large dog, or, like me, you sometimes foster for a shelter or rescue group, it makes sense to reduce your food and other dog-care supplies by taking advantage of any savings program offered by the retailers you buy from.
While the savings are sometimes just a dollar here and a dollar there, if you consistently use every money-saving option available to you, by the end of the year, your savings can add up to as much as an annual wellness visit to your vet, complete with blood tests! It’s well worth the minor trouble it takes to register for these savings.
Shop For Dog Food Locally When You Can
I am a huge proponent of shopping at local, independent pet supply stores whenever possible. Independent store owners and workers are usually knowledgeable and passionate about helping their clients find the best and most appropriate foods for their dogs – and they tend to be discerning, early adopters of new, novel, local, and top-quality products that are not sold in chain pet stores or online.
I encourage dog owners to seek out stores that offer solid support and good advice along with their top-quality foods – but I also know that stores like this don’t exist in every town. (I know, because I live in a town without one!)
If you are lucky enough to have such stores in your area, ask if the store offers any sort of “frequent buyer” or membership club discounts. If they don’t, let them know why you’re asking, and, if they’re interested, explain your situation and hopes for reducing the cost of feeding your dog the very best!
If You Lack Local Options for Buying Dog Food
If, however, you live where there are no such stores, or you are on a tight budget, buying better-quality foods at a chain pet supply stores that offer free shipping, membership discounts, and rewards programs can be a good way to save.
Most of the chain pet supply stores offer similar types of benefits and discount programs, but the chain with the most to offer is…
Petco. Petco currently offers a 10% discount off any order over $50 when you buy online and pick it up in the store. All orders of more than $35 can be shipped to your home at no charge.
Petco also offers a membership club, Petco Pals. All eligible Petco purchases, whether bought online or in a store, earn points at the rate of $1 spent = 1 point. The member earns a $5 off reward for every 167 points. One catch is that the rewards revert to zero is your account is not used for any purchases in 90 days.
If you sign up for “repeat delivery” – a subscription plan for your dog’s food, albeit one that you can change or cancel at any time without penalty – you will receive 35% off your first order. All future orders will be discounted by 5%. A bag of the food I’ve been feeding my foster puppies ordinarily costs $54.99, but if I bought it by subscription, I’d pay $52.24 ($2.75 in savings).
Occasionally, the Petco website or app will offer additional savings if you buy more than one of the item you are considering. For example, the site currently lists a pet seat belt extender for $11.99, but says if you buy two, they will be sold at 30% off ($16.79 instead of $23.98). Check the “monthly offers” page for particularly good deals. I’ve found great pet beds on sale for $20, marked down from $40 and more.
The chain also offers a Petco branded credit card that gives you two points for every dollar you spend using the card at Petco (online or in a store), two points for every $3 spent using the card in grocery stores, and1 point for every dollar spent using the card elsewhere. You can get 20% off your first purchase at Petco using your new card.
The biggest benefit Petco offers – and one I haven’t found elsewhere – is available only through its phone app: In an attempt to drive consumers to the app, Petco gives you a free bag of dog (or cat) food for every seven bags (of greater or equal value) that you buy using the app. As a person who sits at a desktop computer most days, I’ve had a hard time remembering to order food using the app instead of the computer I’m already using, but when I can remember, it’s well worth the trouble. Of course, people who are more accustomed to using their phone apps for their coffee and grocery orders will have less trouble earning this perk!
Petsmart. The Petsmart membership program is called Treats. Members earn Treats points for Petsmart purchases, at a rate of eight points per dollar spent in Petsmart stores or online. You can redeem the points for discounts on any in-store or online Petsmart purchases, or donate points to Petsmart Charities. Treats members receive exclusive offers via email and advance notice of sales and in-store events.
Petsmart offers free shipping on all orders over $49.
If you agree to receive marketing texts from the Petsmart Treats program, you will be rewarded upon sign-up with 1,000 Treats points, and receive exclusive offers and sales notifications via text.
Petsmart offers an “autoship” (subscription) service, and offers 35% savings on your first autoship order. You’ll save 5% on all future autoship purchases. You can change items, adjust shipping dates, or cancel the program at any time without penalty.
Pet Supplies Plus. If you enroll in Pet Supplies Plus Rewards program, you will earn five points for every dollar you spend in its stores or its online shop. You can earn “bonus points” for activities such as taking a poll, watching a video, or checking out an article all on your Member Dashboard. You can also earn free products from select brands after qualifying purchases.
Members of the PSP Rewards program get early and esxclusive access to special events and giveaways. You can redeem your rewards points on purchases for discounts or donate your points to support animal shelters or charities. Unredeemed points expire one year after they are earned. Pet Supplies Plus offers an autoship program with free delivery on orders of more than $35, but these deliveries are limited to locations that are seven miles or less from a PSP store.
Other Types of Discount Programs for Dog Food
Online-only retailers also offer subscription programs with discounts. Chewy.com offers free shipping on all purchases over $49. Its autoship (subscription) program allows you to schedule deliveries of any products sold by Chewy and reduces the cost of anything you buy by 5%. The items or shipping dates can be changed with every order and the autoship program can be cancelled at any time.
Some pet food makers also offer frequent-buyer and subscription programs. Of course, the fresh- and frozen-food makers have made pre-scheduled ordering and direct-shipping a cornerstone of that pet-food niche. But even some makers of dry foods offer discounts to regular buyers of their products.