In recent years, pet owners have been facing a significant challenge: the rising cost of dog food. In a recent Veterinarians.org survey of 1,000 U.S. pet owners, 34% of respondents indicated having to shop for cheaper alternatives when it comes to pet food.
The Special Reports Team at Veterinarians.org analyzed price history data for the Top 100 Amazon Bestsellers in both the Dry Dog Food and Wet Dog Food categories to determine how the cost of dog food has changed over the years and which products in particular have seen the steepest increases. The Team has also included resources at the end of this report regarding financial assistance for pet owners, including information about pet food pantries for those in need.
The Special Reports Team at Veterinarians.org analyzed price history data for the Top 100 Amazon Bestsellers in both the Dry Dog Food and Wet Dog Food categories. This data was captured on April 25, 2023 (dry dog food) and April 26, 2023 (wet dog food). The Team specifically analyzed the pricing of each product as set by Amazon itself (e.g. where Amazon is listed as the seller), excluding third-party vendors, which often set prices far above the average.
- The price of dog food (both dry and wet products combined) has increased by 45.5% on average when compared to 2020 prices. This comes out to an annual increase of approximately 15% per year since 2020 – which is 3 times higher than the usual annual price increase of 5% on average.
- Percentage-wise, the price of wet dog food has increased by a larger amount than dry dog food (50% vs. 41%) when compared to 2020 prices.
- The largest percentage increase compared to 2020 prices is for a wet dog food product by PEDIGREE, which has increased by 207% compared to its 2020 price.
- The largest dollar amount increase compared to 2020 prices is for a dry dog food product by Royal Canin, which is currently $43.99 more expensive per bag than it was in 2020.
- In a recent Veterinarians.org survey of 1,000 U.S. pet owners, 50% of respondents indicated having to shop for cheaper alternatives to pet food as a result of rising costs. Pet owners also found themselves shopping for cheaper alternatives to pet treats (41%), pet toys (34%), and pet health supplements (28%).
- 55% of surveyed pet owners indicated having to cancel pet food subscriptions on Chewy.com, Amazon.com, or through a raw food/pre-cooked meal service as a result of rising costs.
- 22% of pet owners indicated having applied to special services in their state that help pet owners pay for pet-related costs, while 73% of pet owners felt a food pantry for pets would be helpful to them.
- 24% of pet owners indicated considering rehoming their pet or surrendering their pet to a shelter as a result of rising pet food/pet supply costs.
- According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $50 billion on pet food and snacks in 2021.
Continue reading below for more insights on the Team’s analysis of dry dog food and wet dog food price increases, including Top 10 rankings for the products with the steepest increases compared to 2020 prices.
The Rising Cost of Dog Food: A Deeper Look
Key Insights for Dry Dog Food
- Compared to 2020, the current price of dry dog food has increased by 41% on average.
- Of the 100 dry dog food products analyzed, 2023 is the most common year when products have been at their highest historical price (this is the case for 62% of the products studied).
- The largest percentage increase in the price of dry dog food is for Purina ONE Plus’s 16.5lb Healthy Puppy Formula High Protein Natural Dry Puppy Food, which has increased by 143% compared to its 2020 price.
- The largest dollar amount increase in the price of dry dog food is for Royal Canin’s 30lb Medium Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, which is currently $43.99 more expensive per bag than it was in 2020.
- Purina ONE is the brand of dry dog food with the most products in the Top 10 ranking for largest percentage increases when comparing current prices to 2020 prices, with an average percentage increase of 86% compared to 2020 prices for the same products.
- Purina Pro Plan is the brand of dry dog food with the most products in the Top 10 ranking for largest dollar amount increases when comparing current prices to 2020 prices, with an average price increase of $24.92 compared to 2020 prices for the same products.
Key Insights for Wet Dog Food
- Compared to 2020, the current price of wet dog food has increased by 50% on average.
- Of the 100 wet dog food products analyzed, 2023 is the most common year when products have been at their highest historical price (this is the case for 44% of the products studied).
- The largest percentage increase in the price of wet dog food is for PEDIGREE’s 12-pack of 13.2 ounce canned Adult Wet Dog Food, Chopped Ground Dinner Chicken & Rice Flavor, which has increased by 207% compared to its 2020 price.
- The largest dollar amount increase in the price of wet dog food is for NUTRO’s 36-count variety pack of 3.5 ounce trays of Adult Natural Grain Free Wet Dog Food Cuts in Gravy Beef, Lamb, Chicken, and Turkey, which is currently $35.35 more expensive per case than it was in 2020.
- PEDIGREE is the brand of wet dog food with the most products in the Top 10 ranking for largest percentage increases when comparing current prices to 2020 prices, with an average percentage increase of 144% compared to 2020 prices for the same products.
- Hill’s Science Diet is the brand of wet dog food with the most products in the Top 10 ranking for largest dollar amount increases when comparing current prices to 2020 prices, with an average price increase of $19.36 compared to 2020 prices for the same products.
Why is the Cost of Dog Food Increasing So Much?
One of the main reasons for the increasing cost of dog food is the rising cost of ingredients. The cost of raw materials such as meat, grains, and vegetables has gone up due to factors such as droughts, floods, and other climate-related events. The cost of transportation and labor has increased as well, which adds to the overall cost of producing dog food. Finally, 2022’s period of inflation had a significant impact on pet food and pet supplies, with prices seeing astronomical increases in various sectors of the pet industry.
Another factor contributing to the rising price of dog food is the growing demand for premium and specialized dog foods. Many pet owners are willing to pay more for high-quality, natural, and grain-free dog food that contains no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. As a result, pet food companies have responded to this trend by producing more expensive dog foods that cater to these preferences.
How to Save Money on Dog Food
What can pet owners do to save money on dog food? One option is to buy in bulk. Purchasing larger bags of dog food can be more cost-effective than buying smaller bags, as it can save money on packaging and shipping costs. Pet owners can also look for coupons or deals on dog food from their local pet store or online retailer.
Another way to save money on dog food is to make it at home. Homemade dog food can be a great option for pet owners who want to know exactly what is going into their dog’s diet. Making dog food at home also allows pet owners to use ingredients that are more affordable and accessible.
Finally, pet owners can consider switching to a more affordable brand of dog food. While premium and specialized dog foods can be appealing, they are not always necessary for every dog. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian to ensure that the dog is getting all of the necessary nutrients and that any changes in diet are made gradually.
Pet Food Pantries
Pet food pantries have become increasingly popular in recent years as more people struggle to afford pet food for their companion animals. These pantries are designed to provide free pet food to pet owners who are experiencing financial hardship and may be unable to provide for their pets.
Pet food pantries operate in a similar way to traditional food pantries. They are usually run by animal welfare organizations, shelters, or local pet stores. These organizations collect donations of pet food from individuals and businesses and then distribute the food to pet owners in need.
One of the main benefits of pet food pantries is that they help keep pets with their families. In many cases, pets are surrendered to shelters or rescues because their owners are unable to afford to feed them. By providing free pet food, pet food pantries can help keep pets in their homes, which is better for the pets’ wellbeing and reduces the strain on shelters and rescues.
CoFund My Pet is one of many websites with a comprehensive national directory of pet food pantries, which pet owners experiencing financial hardship can use to find pet food for their companion animals.
Other Financial Assistance Available to Pet Owners
For pet owners struggling with the financial strain of inflation, there are resources and programs available that can be of assistance.
RedRover provides a comprehensive directory of state programs that provide financial assistance to pet owners, as well as national organizations that help with certain needs. Pet owners can also refer to RedRover’s directory of financial assistance programs by medical condition, by breed, and by need (including assistance with pet food, low-cost spay/neuter resources, and financial assistance). The organization also offers urgent care grants for pet owners struggling with economic hardship when pets are in life-threatening situations.
+All Top 10 ranking graphics featured in this report reflect the top price increases by dollar amount and percentage for all analyzed products, categorized by food type (e.g. bags of dry dog food, cans/trays of wet dog food). These rankings stand independently of the Team’s Top 100 Amazon Bestseller analysis, which focuses on the bestseller lists for the Amazon product categories specified in the report.