Prices & Serving Sizes
Dog Food Serving Size
Curious how much food should be in your pup’s bowl, or how much dog food you should be ordering to match her needs? Here’s what you need to know:
How Much Food Does My Dog Need?
It’s not just the kind of food you feed your pet that matters—just like with your own weight and health, how much you put in the bowl is maybe even more important. And unlike with traditional pet foods, subscription pet foods can sometimes seem more complicated: You’re not just plopping a whole can in the bowl for your pup to pounce on.
Fortunately, almost all pet food delivery companies have short quizzes on their websites that can help. By inputting your dog’s age, weight, breed and activity level—and sometimes some other information, like whether they have a finicky stomach, or if you can see their ribs—the brand will recommend a specific feeding regimen of their food that’s catered to your dog’s nutritional needs.
Some brands take easy feeding a step further, creating specific portions designed just for your dog’s weight and activity. “Fresh” food brands like The Farmer’s Dog and Nom Nom send pre-portioned packs of their freezer-stored food, while Spot & Tango, another top-reviewed brand, sends a custom scooper designed for your dog’s size to be used with its version of dry food.
How Do I Know How Much Food to Order?
The quiz on each brand’s website comes in handy here, too. Once you know how much food your dog’s going to need at each meal or on each day, the company will create a box of food that meets your dog’s needs for several weeks. Many of the best dog food brands start with a two-week trial box—provided at a discount, and so you can try out different varieties. After that, boxes are shipped every two to eight weeks, depending on the company’s available options and how often you want to receive shipments.
Since most dog food delivery companies operate as a subscription, you set your shipping frequency preferences when you start, but can change them over time. For “fresh” and raw meals, for example, you’ll need lots of freezer space to store the meals—so you may choose to change your shipping schedule if you find that you don’t have enough room for human food in the freezer.
Do I Need Different Food Based on My Dog’s Size or Breed?
Different breeds and sizes of dogs have different caloric needs. Most dog food delivery companies provide a short quiz that will help you determine how much food your dog needs to meet those needs. By inputting your dog’s age, weight, breed and activity level—and sometimes some other information, like their body shape—the brand will recommend a specific feeding regimen of their food that’s catered to your dog’s nutritional needs. Just like with people, bigger breeds and heavier dogs will need more food, while smaller dogs will need less.
If you’re concerned about your dog’s breed having specific health risks that can be addressed through their diet, ask your veterinarian before switching to a new food.
Dog Food Cost
The answer is, “it depends”—on your dog’s age, weight, activity level, breed and more. Dog food delivery companies often give dog owners a quiz to gather all of this info about their pets, and then use it to customize how much food your dog will need … and with it, the cost to feed your pet. So it’s not completely straightforward. But there are some similarities across the brands. Here’s what you need to know:
Average Daily Costs
Dog food delivery services are usually more expensive than “regular” dog food you’d get at the pet or grocery store—that’s because they’re often made of human-grade, organic or sustainably-raised ingredients. While the websites for these brands will say their meals start at around $2 per day, this is usually for a very small dog. For a slightly larger dog—around 40 pounds—most of these foods cost $4, $5, or more per day.
To bring the cost down, some brands offer “topper” plans. On these plans, you mix a smaller amount of the dog food delivery brand’s food with “traditional” food, giving the regular food a nutritional and flavor boost. With one brand that offers “topper” plans, Spot & Tango, the price to feed a 40-pound pooch drops from more than $60 per week to just about $20 per week when switching to a topper—but you’d need to buy the regular food, too.
Are these delivery foods worth the cost? That’s up to you: Reviewers of these foods say their dogs who are picky eaters enjoy these foods more, and other reviewers say their dog’s improved health (and lower vet bills) make the cost worth it.
If you become a subscriber to these services, almost every dog food delivery brand ships their food for free to the contiguous 48 states. Many of the brands only sell their food in a subscription model, so there’s not a choice to buy it another way. For those that do allow one-time or non-subscription purchases, there can be delivery fees of $5 or more—though this is often waived if you spend $30 or $50 or more, depending on the brand.
Discounts for Subscribing
Most dog food delivery brands will offer a discounted starter box, bag, or food kit, with two to four weeks of food in an introductory package at an introductory price: For some brands, this is 50 percent off the price you’ll eventually pay each week. These starter boxes include multiple flavors of the brand’s foods, so you can see which ones your dogs enjoy, and alter your future deliveries accordingly.
Brands that offer non-subscription purchasing also give subscribers discounts for setting up automatic re-orders. These can be 10 percent or more.
Can I Buy Dog Food with Food Stamps or SNAP?
Unfortunately, pet food is not on the list of approved items that can be purchased with benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. While many delivery dog foods use “human-grade” ingredients, they are still pet food.
A list of approved items that can be purchased with SNAP can be found on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) website.
Interested in a dog food subscription service but need a little more information? Check out our ultimate Dog Food Delivery Buyer’s Guide for everything you need to know.