Nom Nom logo

Nom Nom Blog

Complete guide to comparing dog food prices

Tuesday, May 08, 2018
By Dan Massey
Comparing dog food prices is a challenging task. Not only do the bags or cans of food come in different sizes, but costs vary greatly based on the quality, type and the proportions of protein, grains, and vegetables used. Here are some important things to consider when comparing dog food prices so you know the true value of your investment concerning your dog’s health.

Tip #1: Figure out your dog’s recommended meal size

Because most dog food brands don’t know your dog and their specific needs, they’ll give you a range of portions. However, being told to feed “1/2 cup to 1 cup” isn’t very helpful. That’s like saying, feed two cups a day or four, doesn’t matter. It certainly does, because that’s a big difference in the amount of food you're giving to your dog. Doubling up (or cutting in half) a dog’s portions will impact his health just like in humans. For example, being overweight can cause health complications for the heart and can put excess stress on the joints and ligaments.

Another issue with standard “cup” type measurements is that each type of dog food has a different calorie density, so think in term of calories instead of cups. Many times dog food bags will tell you how many calories are in a cup such as 409 Kcals/cup. The calories your dog needs depends on his weight and activity level. Many experts say that dogs should eat 25-30 calories per pound that they weigh. This would mean that if your dog was 10 pounds, he should eat 250 - 300 calories which would be about ¾ cup of the previous example.

However, with a fresh food service such as Nom Nom we take the guesswork out of determining the proper portions for your pooch. You tell us the age, weight, activity level, and any health issues your dog may have, and we’ll calculate the perfect portion size for your pet. We also have four delicious recipes for dogs so your fur baby will get all the proper nutrition he deserves in interesting flavors that he can’t help but gobble down.

Tip #2: Simply calculate how much each dog food costs per meal

Now that you have a number in mind of how much your dog eats, determine how many meals your dog gets out of whichever food you decide to buy. If you’ll be buying a bag of dog food, or any wet food or fresh food that you have to portion out yourself, then you need to do these calculations.

Step 1: Find the feeding chart on the back of the bag or on the company’s website to see how much your dog should eat for his size.

Step 2: The food label should tell you how many ounces of food are in one standard measuring cup.

Step 3: One pound equals 16 oz. If you have a 50lb bag of food, that is 800 oz.

Step 4: Divide the amount that your dog eats in ounces into how many ounces are in the bag.

Step 5: Divide the serving size into the price of the food.

Example of the above equation:

A 15-pound dog should eat 1¼ cup of Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Dry Dog Food. There is 3.10 oz of food per one standard measuring cup. The directions say my dog should eat 1 ¼ cup, so that equals 3.875 oz. A 5 lb bag has 80 oz in it. 80 divided by 3.875 = 20.65 servings. If the bag of food costs $12, that’s 58 cents per serving.

3.10 x 1.25 = 3.875 oz serving size

5 x 16 = 80 oz in a bag

80 ÷ 3.875 = 20.65 servings per bag

$12 ÷ 20.65 = .58 per serving

Tip#3: Look for the best value

My last tip? Not all dog foods are created equal. Cost is often the first and foremost consideration when buying anything you use every day, so we can’t ignore it. But as with any item you’d be consuming yourself, you should determine what else you value in addition to cost and make sure to factor that in. Dog food, like human food, comes in all variations of quality. Here are a few reasons why there is such a broad range of food prices and quality:

Ingredient Quality

Some are fresh, some are not, some include premium ingredients, some keep it simple. Some splurge on taste, some are utilitarian. To me, the value that I consider with price is quality; I want my dog eating “real” food, especially since that’s how I eat. Rather than go for the cheapest dog food, I read labels and eliminate anything with ingredients that I’ve learned to be less than ideal for my dog:

Artificial preservatives

Natural preservatives have been around for hundreds of years and can include vinegar, citric acid, and vitamin E. The problem with artificial preservatives is that they are chemically derived and some have even been cited by the World Health Organization to potentially cause cancer.

Organ Meats

Organ meats aren’t bad for your dog. Actually, they have a lot of vitamins and nutrients that your pet needs. However, on many dog food labels, they list these as “byproducts” so you don’t know what you’re really feeding your dog. It could be skin, hooves, or other questionably sourced animal parts.  


Supplements such as fish oil provide omega fatty acids for a healthy coat, coconut oil supplies healthy fats for skin and coat improvement, and dogs need other specific nutrients to keep them healthy and happy. 

At Nom Nom, our veterinary nutrition experts carefully created a nutrient mix to ensure that your pet is getting the proper vitamins that they need on a daily basis. We offer the convenience of free shipping to your front door and the peace of mind that your dog is getting the perfect meal based our pet health experts’ careful analysis and formulation of our recipes.

You probably haven’t thought about this, but a lot goes into putting pet food on the shelves. Did you know that it costs more to make canned dog food than dry? Also, canned/wet dog food costs a lot more to ship because of the moisture content. Refrigerated sections in pet stores are also a big trend, but those refrigerators are expensive and take up a lot of real estate in the store. However, those “fresh” food sections in the pet store can have their food on the shelves for many weeks which requires the addition of artificial preservatives which may be unhealthy for your pet.

Making Pet Food at Home

Another popular topic that’s trending is that pet owners are looking into making their own food from home. This adds in other cost factors such as the time that it takes to research dog-friendly recipes, the effort it requires to go to the grocery store and then cook the recipe, figuring out the proper portion that your dog should eat, and finally determine if your dog is getting all the necessary nutrients. In this fast-paced life, who has the time to do all of this? By the time you add in the extra time to cook an additional meal for your dog, you’ll find that purchasing fresh food from NomNomNow is well-worth the investment.  We offer the convenience of free shipping to your front door and the peace-of-mind that your dog is getting the perfect meal based our vet nutritionist’s careful analysis of our recipes.

Avoiding Common Health Problems

Food is fuel for the body and provides the proper building blocks to keep the body functioning correctly. Proper food also helps to avoid health problems down the road. Sickness and health conditions (aka stress and expensive vet bills) can be avoided if you feed your dog properly. Here are some of the most common health problems that dogs face due to poor nutrition:

  • Obesity from eating too much food or foods high in fat can lead to arthritis, high blood pressure, and possibly cancer.
  • Pancreatitis - Too much fat in your dog’s diet can cause the pancreas to become inflamed and the digestive enzymes will begin to break down fat and proteins in the other organs.
  • An imbalanced diet can cause heart disease. Sodium is a common factor for this problem.
  • Diarrhea - This could be due to the type of fiber and fat that are in your current dog food.

Again, those are just my priorities, but that means I must factor the value of serving my dog a food that meets those requirements when I look at how much any dog food costs. If you, like me, believe that eating healthy in the short run saves you from (costly) health issues in the long run, this makes the price comparison a little less definitive as to which dog food is the best price. 

Get NomNomNow!

Recent posts