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Ways to trim what you spend on pet food

June 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Kristen Carollo loves her four dogs, but not the high prices she pays for pet food.

"I buy four 25-pound bags a month and they're $38 a bag," she said.

Consumer Reports Shop Smart checked out prices at supermarkets and at stores like Target, Wal-Mart, Petco, and PetSmart in its quest to find where to buy pet food for less.

"We sent a team of our secret shoppers to find the best prices on 23 pet products, including dog food, cat food, kitty litter and treats," said Mandy Walker of Consumer Reports.

Shop smart also checked pet food prices online, including petfooddirect.com, one of the biggest pet food online retailers.

"We found it usually charged 50 percent more than the lowest prices we paid," Walker said.

Specialty pet food stores weren't the cheapest places to shop either.

For example, a bag of Meow Mix Original Choice at Petco cost nearly $7. At Target, it cost just under $4. Also, Milk-Bone Dog Treats at Petco were $6.50, but at Wal-Mart they cost $2.50.

"In our search, we found Target and Wal-Mart were much cheaper than anywhere else and their prices were usually just pennies apart," Walker said.

With savings like those, Carollo won't have to skimp when it comes to feeding her furry family.

For those who do need to grab some pet food at the supermarket, Consumer Reports Shop Smart found supermarket prices to be in the middle of the pack.

Additionally, PetSmart is best for specialty pet food. Shop Smart found PetSmart's prices averaged 13 percent cheaper than Petco's.

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