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Dogs as Economic Indicators

The market research firm Euromonitor International recently conducted a series of studies investigating dogs—as economic indicators—and what this says about greater global economic development. They looked at the growth of dog ownership, the size of dogs (i.e., small or large), pet products and care, plus the cost of feeding dogs. We haven’t been able to find out much about their methodology and how their measurements (like the number of dog households in the U.S.) were derived. But some of their findings were rather surprising including that India has posted the fastest population growth for dog ownership. As for dog sizes, countries like Brazil, Portugal and Mexico lead in favoring small dogs, and large dogs were mostly favored (in proportion to the dog population) in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, followed by the U.S. in fourth place.

Their analysts also charted monthly and annual cost for feeding dogs. These results were also surprising—many more countries like Austria, Switzerland, Australia, topped by Norway as number one, spend more than we do in the U.S.

I would be curious to know how much you think you spend per month on feeding your dogs (minus treats). If Norway tops out at $53.22 per month and the U.S. averages $13.89, where do you fit into this spectrum?

We’ve like to hear from you and learn more about how much Bark readers spend on dog food, and the factors involved in their purchases. We invite you to take part in a brief survey, and would appreciate if you would take a few moments to click on the following link: Start BARK Survey and respond to some questions.

In appreciation for your feedback, you will automatically be entered for a chance to win a personalized dog bowl.

Cameron Woo is The Bark's co-founder and publisher. thebark.com
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Submitted by Anonymous | November 21 2012 |

We have a 40 pound dog and spend about $30 a month on his food.

Submitted by Renee | November 21 2012 |

Aside from the kibble (Nutro small breed natural choice) my cairns and I overlap in eating habits. I estimated $30 per dog, though that's really only a guess. We all eat plain yoghurt,carrots and apples, snow pea pods, and green beans. We like meat and fish, so anything I consume, short of anchovies, is shared. I don't cook specifically for the dogs, though I keep them in mind when shopping and deciding what to cook. I always trying to end up with tasty leftovers for humans and canines.

Submitted by Dianne | November 21 2012 |

I found this article on dogs/feeding/economic indicators interesting/surprising. Just filled out your questionaire re: feeding our dogs. I do understand that surveys are tough to design; for me they are always tough to answer. For example, I feed dry/canned/dehydrated as well as homemade/fresh. Easy to answer that question. I purchase the dry/canned/dehydrated at my independent pet supply store. Also easy to answer. But I was reluctant to answer that I purchase food for my dogs at the supermarket as that implies cheap kibble/canned (which I do not buy), rather than the fresh meats and veggies that I DO buy at the grocery store. I was hoping to find a blank line to add more info, but there was none. So technically, I only half answered that question. Hence my dilemma with the survey. I'm probably over-thinking, as usual. Already looking forward to reading the survey results. As always, thanks for a wonderful publication.

Submitted by Renee | November 21 2012 |

About the design of the survey, an important factor in monthly cost of food is the size of the dog. I wished that this information had been asked for. And for those of us who feed variety, the only way to arrive at an accurate $ amount would be to track very carefully over at least a month; my estimate is at best an educated guess.

I suspect that the readers of the Bark are much more like Norwegians than Americans in their spending on their pets' food. Like you, I'm looking forward to the survey results

Submitted by Nicki | November 21 2012 |

I also cook for my dog due to medical conditions. I would have liked to see that question addressed in your survey. I shop at my grocery store and I do try to save money by purchasing on sale, but if push came to shove, I would spend whatever is necessary for my dog to have what she needs for a balanced diet and to address her medical issues.

Submitted by Karen | November 21 2012 |

I have a 66 pound dog and spend approximately $50 per month. I feed a combination of dry dog food and added raw foods - yogurt, fresh vegetables, fruit, egg, chicken legs. I fed totally raw with my former dogs because of their allergies, but switched to partial kibble and raw because I like to travel with my current dog since I'm retired. I purchase kibble based on reviews, ingredient sources, grain free and no preservatives or unknown chemical additives. My dogs have always received compliments because of their shiny coats, clean teeth and good health!

Submitted by Melissa | November 21 2012 |

We spend $150.00 per month for our 4-legged princess. She loves the Stella & Chewy's raw parties :)

Submitted by Rene | November 21 2012 |

My goodness, listening to the fresh veggie thing, I feel badly for my poor pooch! I figured if the dobie rescue place felt that the food in the orange bag was good enough for their dogs before I rescued them, it was good enough afterward. Add a fish oil cap for her coat and whatever I can't finish of my dinner, and the dog probably eats for $20 or so a month. She is a DOG after all . . .

Submitted by Pete | November 21 2012 |

I didn't do the survey because I really have no clue how much I spend. I'm inclined to say "whatever it takes", which wouldn't be completely true, but I really don't track what I'm spending on pet food. It would also be difficult to differentiate between food and treats, since whenever I get food, some treats also make it into the cart. I get premium kibble.

Submitted by Charity S. | November 21 2012 |

Wow, I guess I'm way outside the average. I spend $150 per 60 lb dog a month. They eat a raw, homemade diet.

Submitted by Pam | November 21 2012 |

I spend $100/month for one dog's food (and I have three dogs!)

That makes me exceptional? or a poor bargain hunter? Don't know which!

Submitted by Pam | November 21 2012 |

... forgot to say, my dogs are 100 lbs each. Maybe that's why it costs me quite a bit per dog.

Submitted by Mike | November 22 2012 |

$58.xx for a 30 pound bag. Taste of the Wild "Upland Game" but it lasts 6 months. so call it 10, 25/mo for biscuts and treats, 60 every 3mo for grooming so about 55 bucks a month.

He is my pal so I would gladly pay double that if I had to.

Submitted by Anonymous | November 30 2012 |

You might want to consider buying in a smaller quantity (and paying a little more). Even good food, like Taste of the Wild, begins losing nutritional value once it's opened. I'm told that you don't want an open bag to last more than two months. Talk to your local experts and see if they agree.

Submitted by Marla | November 22 2012 |

Renee and Diane, if I understand your comments, both of you raise the issue of how the money spent feeding our fur-children is actually spent on 'conventional' canine food. And that is a relevant component in the decision making of some, but not all, pet parents... Unfortunately, due to many factors, diet awareness, economic status, access to the certain brands or technology to access, some of us are not conscious of the options available... so the generality of the survey makes it more applicable to all of us.

However, I too am curious of how those of us who do have the ability to act on the options spend on prepackaged food, regardless of grade, versus what you or I buy at the groceries as part of our human meals WITH the intention of sharing with our 'kids'. As mentioned previously, there are items I will not purchase to put in my refrigerator or pantry because it can't serve the dual purpose of being part of my diet and theirs... I've replaced raisins with every other dried berry... Okay, I admit, chocolate still makes it in... I'm guilty, that one is hard to shake!

Additionally, buying fresh is an economic decision as I have found that we can cook, or prepare snacks, at a percentage of what we would spend on wet food (or snacks). We have a pack of 8 wonderful and hungry 'children' and keeping them healthy starts with an investment in their diet... Interestingly enough it as informed us of our human health as well!

In closing, we haven't taken the leap to make their kibble but for now there are plenty of good brands out their now that have the nutritional content and supplements they need, and that, combined with our wet food recipes should work for this family for a while. What is validating about your comments is that there's more of us out there trying to offer our fur-children fresh alternatives to pre-packaged. Thank you!

Submitted by Tom-The real Do... | November 22 2012 |

I currently have seven dogs and have been rescuing dogs for about 10 years.My pack consists of Sugar a 28lb.Jack Russel mix-Milo a 22lb Boston-Zoe a 16 year old Chihuahua-Nelson a 22 lb Carin -Tinker a 8lb Norwich-Willow a 11/lb mix Carin/Norwich(Nelson is the dad)and Lil Bit a 10lb Chihuahua.Currently feeding Nutro kibble $75.00-$85.00 a month.EN special dietary Kibble and canned food-$48.00 a month-turkey burgers $10.00 a month as well as good organic eggs @ $2.50 per dozen.
So my current monthly cost is $20.80 per dog.

I have also fed a completely raw diet.While feeding raw I had a Golden Retriever pup from 5 weeks old-until I placed him at 7 months.At seven months he was eating as much as the other 7 dogs were !

Submitted by Melissa | November 22 2012 |

Our little princess is about 55 lbs., and we spend an average of $150.00/mo on her food. She just loves the Stella & Chewy's raw patties!

Submitted by Sheila | November 22 2012 |

My four dogs eat as wide a variety of primarily fresh ingredients as possible. While I do rotate in limited amounts of commercial foods such as Orijen or Acana dry or Organix or Newman's Own Organic canned foods, those are primarily used as toppers. Their primary diet consists of beef or chicken purchased at my local Wegmans or Whole Foods, cooked with brown rice and/or barley and veggies. If I have lentils or split peas, I throw a bit into the mix as well. I serve that as the base, then top with whatever I have on hand - pumpkin, roasted veggies (we all love brussels sprouts!), winter squashes and sweet potatoes, carrots, yogurt, and berries. Trader Joe's frozen wild boreal blueberries are grown without pesticides, available year-round, and are very inexpensive - they go in my smoothies, and the dogs love 'em straight from the freezer. I approach feeding my dogs the same way I do feeding myself: I read labels, go for whole/fresh over processed and organics whenever I can. They love it, and they'll eat pretty much anything now, even salad veggies and cherry tomatoes. I now add in small amounts of olive and coconut oils, after reading an article in the latest issue of The Bark. Thanks for the great information!! :)

Submitted by Anonymous | November 22 2012 |

I have a 60 lbs dog. His basic food is 225.00. He is my service animal and he earns that food and the additional treats. The most important thing for me when feeding him is health. He is kept at 60-62 lbs for optimal health he eats as he does for optimal health. He takes supplements and is regularly vetted for optimal health thereby hopefully giving me as many years with one dog as possible. He defines "Dog is my co-pilot" without him I am lost to disability. Longevity is essential.

Submitted by Anonymous | November 24 2012 |

My dog is 55 pounds. I pay $10/month for dry food, which I mix with wet food, which costs about $60/month. So, about $70/month for food, not including treats and chews.

Submitted by Lisa Brown | November 26 2012 |

I have three dogs. One has allergies. I switch back and forth from cooking for them and buying the better food like Nature's Choice and Blue. We spend almost $200 a month for the three. Fortunately, all of our children are adults now. But even if they where still dependant on us we still would spend what was necessary for our dogs. Life throws curves and you just follow. Besides our dogs gives us so much happy and joy.

Submitted by Robin L. | November 30 2012 |

I feed Blue Buffalo and raw. Three dogs cost about $180 a month so around $60 per dog. The raw is sometimes Frankenprey, sometimes Oma's Pride.

Submitted by Jen, Dogthusiast.com | November 30 2012 |

We have two dogs that total about 70lbs. We feed them raw (bones and grind that has supplements, with additional bones for treats from time to time) that we have prepared, portioned, and delivered directly to our door on ice. It costs just under $200/month.

Submitted by Anonymous | November 30 2012 |

I stopped feeding my dogs commercial food about a year ago. That is not food, it is chemical crap. I don't care if it says all natural, made in USA. Well it might be made in USA but the ingredients to make it still come from CHINA! Rendered fat comes from animals that are euthanized at the vets office, shelters etc. How gross!! That would be like putting human fat in our food. Appetizing! I make a monthly trip to Costco for Beef, rice, eggs, oatmeal, beans etc. I follow the Pitcairn diet. They have never looked better. Their coats are super soft, no more tummy upset and my boys allergies aren't nearly as bad. It costs a little more and is time consuming, but my dogs are worth so worth it. I wouldn't want to eat cereal for every meal every day for the rest of my life.

Submitted by Anonymous | November 30 2012 |

We have 2 dogs. The grain free dog food is about 90.00 per month plus another 15 for treats, so just over 50.00 per month per dog. I can't imagine what people are feeding their dogs that costs so little!

Submitted by Sirena | November 30 2012 |

I spend aprx $50 a month.

Submitted by Gemma | December 6 2012 |

I see people leaving big box retailers with their giant bags of cheap food and guess those are the people spending just $13. Even if you took away the fact that they are feeding their dogs empty calories and who knows what type of toxins, what on earth are their vet costs? I will admit that before I learned about dog food I fed one of the higher ends of a mainstream brand.

Now that' I've learned so much about canine nutrition I am a devotee of Canine Caviar. I have a senior Basset Hound and a 20 month Labrador and I spend probably $100 on food a month...hard to figure out the exact cost since the pup has changing caloric needs as the seasons change and he grows up, but it is hands down worth it! I think the American dog owner population really needs to have an education on what their dogs need and the best foods for them!

Submitted by Jen Brighton | December 6 2012 |

We use a local pet food company, Doorstep Pet Supply, that delivers high end foods, treats, toys, etc. We have the owner switch brands each time, getting two different bags of food at once. My dogs apparently have guts of steel, so never a problem with this method, or maybe that's the difference when feeding a nutritious food vs. filler food. The bags run about $50 each for 30 lbs. and we go thru a bag every 3-4 weeks between the two dogs. Also 3 indoor cats that he delivers high end food for, along with dust-free kitty litter. Great service!

Of course, the dogs would probably prefer to eat Alpo or Gravy Train (do they even make those anymore?)!

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