Calculating Cost of Food Per Day: How Much Does it Cost to Feed Your Dog?

Calculating Cost of Food Per Day: How Much Does it Cost to Feed Your Dog?

This is an extremely easy guide to factoring the costs of [commercial] diets, as food varieties and dietary choices vary tremendously in today’s market.

It is important to appreciate the factors that can influence an owner’s choice of food to feed their pet when making a nutritional recommendation; of which cost is one factor in making a dietary decision. Food expenses, and types of dietary choices, vary. The size and activity levels of the animal also dictate the amount of food consumed.

The quality of the food may also affect the price, but this often preys on the emotions of the consumer, rather than your dog, and it should be noted that “premiuminization”, which actually began in the beverage/alcohol industry as a marketing term, does not stem from nutrition or support scientific evidence.

  • Premium = 20% over cost, while
  • Super Premium” = those willing to pay 30% and above sticker price.
    • The product may be higher than average quality, but on the other hand, it may just be perceived to be that of higher quality.

To calculate cost per day:

While appreciating cost factor is important, as it is also helpful for the pet owner to budget, it also allows for one to decipher which diet to feed their pet. Comparing price tags is easy, unfortunately this is not accurate.

In order to provide an accurate estimate of feeding costs for your household, here is a step by step guide:

Figure out the cost per kilocalorie:

We want kcal per day, and not the cost per pound or can of the diet.

• Add up the total amount of each food that your pet eats.

•Multiply it by the calories per cup – or can or gram of the food.

Why is this important? This is important for several reasons. Knowing how much your pet consumes is an important aspect in keeping them at the optimal Body Conditioning Score for best health. Also, when comparing products, the range of portions on the back of the bag vary greatly, from 2 cups to 4 cups, as these are not tailored to be individualized to your pet’s specific needs.

Note that a cup is an appropriate measure, and should equate 8 oz, not a “scoop”, or a coffee mug, however, it is most accurate to weigh portions using a kitchen gram scale.


• Take the cost of the food and the size of the bag/can (kilograms, grams, lbs, etc.)

•Obtain the calorie content of the food – this is in kilocalorie/kilogram (kcal/kg) for dry food/ kcal/can for canned food


Riggs is a 13+ year old neutered male Old English Sheepdog. For this example let’s just say for simplicity he needs an even 1000 kcal per day. His food costs $55.92 for a 3.5 kg bag that is 3761 kcal/kg (or 323 kcal ME per cup on an as fed basis).

First, figure out how much food in kg he will need each day.

He needs 1000 calories, so we divide 1000 kcal by 3761 kcal/kg.

He will eat 0.266 kg each day (266 grams).

The food is $55.92 for 3.5 kg, so we divide and get $15.98/kg of food.

Now multiply the $15.98 by the 0.266 kg of food he’ll be eating each day.

This equals $4.25 each day to feed him.

Riggs’ overall feeding costs are about ~$131.25 for a [31 day] month or ~$1551.25 a year for this product.

Synergistically Yours,

Danielle & Sheepdog Riggs

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