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January 31, 2024

It's 48 days until Spring. We got a full tank of gas, half a pack of M&Ms. It's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses. Bonus points, if you get that movie reference (edited a little to match our situation). I'm in a mood after spending nearly $100 for one bag of dog food last weekend. 

100 dollar bag of dog food main graphic (pile of US money, with text on top)

Thanks to Mr. Champion of My Heart's "retirement job" at our local animal shelter (same one for which we foster puppies), we get access to good discounts on dog food via an online Purina store for pet professionals. It saves us a LOT on the high-calorie, high-protein, high-fat dog food we feed our dogs (called Pro Plan Sport). Unfortunately, due to some apparent supply chain issues, we cannot get the dog food via that site. It's out of stock ... with no estimates on when it might be available again. I asked. I wish I'd asked sooner. They're sending me some FREE BAG coupons for the hassle.

So, I went to our nearest pet supply store (independently owned franchise) and bought 1 bag of dog food to tide us over. I got the biggest bag I could (50 pounds), which is the close to the size we usually get anyway. It cost nearly $100 dollars. Insert swear words of choice here. 


  • $37 more than the pro site now
  • $11 more than an online order from one of the major pet stuff sites
  • $52 more than we paid for the same food in 2014-2015 (when I kept detailed spreadsheets on all our dog care costs)
expensive dog food graphic

Expensive Dog Food and Other Rising Pet Care Costs

This is just one example of rising pet care costs. Having monitored and written about pet topics for most of my career, I often get cranky when news outlets talk about topics in my wheelhouse since they tend to miss important things. HOWEVER, The Colorado Sun did an exceptional job on this investigative article about how expensive it is now to keep pets.

According to their research (just a few examples):

  • The 100 top dry dog food prices rose 62% (highest historically on Amazon even)
  • A small bag of Purina ONE puppy food now costs 143% more than it did in 2020. 
  • Wet dog food costs rose 50% on average, with 44% of brands hitting historical highs 
expensive dog food news article headline -- Colorado pet owners bark about the high — and rising — cost of caring for their companions

The article looks at other rising pet care costs and issues with veterinary access and veterinary shortages and all that too. All thing's we've written about here for years now. It's a long piece, but I recommend you make time to read it.

Dog Food Budget and Beyond

So, I'm looking at ways to squeeze my budget even more to allow for the dog food, veterinary care, and meds our dogs need in the coming years. For example, the veterinary team at the shelter will also do our dogs' vaccines for less. I'll look at our own food budget to see where I can trim costs. I'm already pretty frugal, so we'll see how it goes. No matter what, the weirdly high costs would bother me, but it's more worrisome since my income fell (by like half) since the dog attack in late 2022 ... so $$ is tighter around here than usual. But, so far so good. We're getting by even in Colorado where the cost of everything is crazy, crazy high. 

Colorado Differences?

I always say that people don't understand how different my home state of Colorado is when it comes to dogs and the veterinary market, including rampant veterinary consolidation. 

Still, The Colorado Sun's team found one major difference between dog lovers here and elsewhere. The article says, "...while much of their Colorado survey results mirrored national findings, there was one area of wide discrepancy: pet insurance. For instance, one national study found 4% of dogs are covered, while in the CSU study 25% of Colorado respondents said they carried pet insurance."

I think that makes sense because it sure feels like veterinary costs in Colorado remain higher than other places. If you look at the article, let me know how you think it compares to costs in your areas. 

And, thanks for letting me rant a little. Onward, pals!

About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

  1. I totally get it!! I take in dogs lol my house gets little crazy and I do it souly out of my own pocket! I could use some advice cuz dog foods killing my pocket!!

    Movie is it "The lost boys"?
    Thanks God bless

  2. We love our dogs and we are lucky that they like the Costco brand which is made by Diamond. The price has only risen a couple of bucks in the last year. But of course we supplement with all sorts of "goodies" like yogurt, chicken, veggies and toppers so its a little pricier than just kibble.

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