Dog Food Value Calculator

Family Dogs deserve healthy food.

Dogs are carnivores that can get by on veggies for long periods.  Their bodies don’t require a strict diet.  However, puppies raised on junk food can develop health problems later in life.  Expensive vet bills are unpleasant even for a family that is prepared.  In families that are not prepared, medical emergencies can be very hard on the dog.

Bottom line: Family Dogs require a reasonable food budget.

We built a calculator to look at real world feeding costs for a 20-lb Alaskan Klee Kai so that we could start putting money away before we meet.  The results: Around $300 for the first year, and $300 – 600 each year after that.  Puppies eat a lot (but aren’t big all at once).  Orijen (a top end kibble) is about $500 per year, with Taste of the Wild about half of that, and Iams and Kirkland Signature Lamb, Rice and Vegetable about $150.

Enter your dog’s weight (in blue, at the top).  Then enter the Calories per Cup (often called “kcal per cup” if you have to Google for this), the weight of the bag in pounds, and the cost of the bag.  Include tax and shipping to estimate best.  For some brands like Steve’s Real Food, see if you can find a supplier near you so you can avoid the shipping.

We did this for a dozen different foods, from supermarket brands all the way to Orijen (a top-end kibble).  We went a little farther and used it for a few commercial BARF foods as well, including Natural Selections, Zoologics, and Steve’s Real Food.

Is Dog Food Brand X Healthy?

You get what you pay for, except when you don’t.  For help in this area we recommend spending quality time at Truth About Pet Food and at  Dog Food Advisor.

Dog food is regulated as “feed”, as in “feed for animals”.   You wouldn’t feed roadkill to your children, but in some ways what is allowed into commercial dog food is similar.  Heat processing kills off bacteria, but doesn’t remove toxins created in the food before it was heated. Some of the bad stuff remains, along with chemicals and preservatives that might have a cumulative effect over time.

What does Kitto Katsu eat?

We’d like to feed Allprovide, a frozen raw food that we need to stretch a bit to budget for.  It’s a bit of an increase to the dog budget and a decrease to discretional spending, so the family is involved in this decision together.

Alternate kibble plan:

1/2 Orijen or Acana, it’s sister company.
1/2 from other brands, rotating in with each new 15 lb bag.
We’ll supplement with training bait (bits of human food like cooked chicken).

We learned as ferret owners that it is useful to train your pet to eat mixed-source diets.  This way it’s not a problem if one food is temporarily unavailable, or even if it is taken off the market.  In the event of a recall (such as a famous one where food was adulterated with melamine, poisoning many dogs), the chances for trouble are less if the dog hasn’t been eating from just the one recalled source.