The Startling Difference Between Feeding a Dog in the U.S. vs The Rest of the World

There’s no doubt that dog ownership is expensive. In fact, dog owners can spend up to $55,000 on a single pet throughout the animal’s life!

While your biggest bills will likely come from the vet, most of the money spent on a dog goes toward their food. And everyone knows just how pricey kibble and wet food can be. However–dog food in the United States isn’t nearly as expensive as in other places around the globe!

Difference Between Feeding a Dog in the U.S. and The World

Calculating and Comparing Global Prices of Dog Food

CashNetUSA recently completed a study that compared the costs of feeding a dog in nearly 100 countries. Researchers took on this monumental task by comparing the prices of “the cheapest dry dog food from local supermarkets” and determining how much of that food the average dog would go through in a year. 

For this study, they considered the ‘average’ dog to be a 40-pound, medium-sized pooch. Then, they used PetMD’s guidelines to determine how much food a dog of this size would eat in a year (540 grams). 

The United States Is Affordable Compared With Other Countries

Researchers found that the United States is one of the more affordable places to feed a dog. The average cost of feeding a dog for one year in the U.S. is $865.50, which puts America in the middle of the ranking. It’s quite a bit cheaper to feed a dog for a year in Canada ($558.92), but in Mexico, it’s more on the pricey side ($919.47). 

Difference Between Feeding a Dog in the U.S. and The World
This chart presents the affordability of dog food in various countries, adjusted according to the net income per capita. It reflects how easily an average person can afford dog food based on their typical salary.

And when looking at affordability based on a per capita basis, the US actually ranks #10 most affordable.

Most continents’ results are just as variable. Some areas where dog food is the cheapest are next to places where it’s most expensive. For example, it costs the most to feed a dog for a year in Japan ($2,056.88) but costs only $498.27 in South Korea. 

While Japan wins the title of the most expensive country to feed a dog, Botswana takes the crown as the least expensive country. There, it costs only $163.59 to feed a medium-sized dog for a year.

The Most and Least Affordable Countries to Feed a Dog

The next step was to compare those costs to each country’s national net income. This determines what percentage of a person’s annual income it takes to buy dog food for a year. In the United States, which ranks as the 10th most affordable nation to feed a dog, it only takes 1.62% of a person’s income to provide food for a year. 

Difference Between Feeding a Dog in the U.S. and The World
This chart displays the cost of dog food across different countries, measured in absolute dollars. It presents the prices without considering the average salary in each country, unlike the previous chart.

In nations like Afghanistan, where 133.47% of a person’s income is used to feed a dog, owning a canine can be next to impossible. It takes more money to feed a pet than the average person makes! 

As startling as these findings may be, it does put things in perspective. While owning and feeding a dog in the United States is by no means cheap, it isn’t nearly as pricey as it is in other areas of the world. 

Why Is Pet Food So Expensive in Japan?

This study left me wondering why is dog food so dang expensive in Japan?

There may be several reasons for this. First, a lot of dog food in Japan is imported, which means extra costs for shipping and taxes. This makes the price go up. Also, people in Japan really care about the quality of dog food. They often choose premium options, like organic or non-GMO food, which are more expensive.

Another reason is Japan’s strict rules for pet food. These rules make sure the food is safe and high quality, but they also make it more expensive to produce. The pet care market in Japan is big, and people are willing to spend more for good products for their pets. Economic factors like the cost of living in Japan and how much things generally cost there also affect dog food prices. Lastly, the way dog food is sold in Japan, often in smaller stores, can make it pricier compared to places with big, centralized stores. All these factors together make dog food more expensive in Japan.

Interestingly, according to, “Japan’s pet industry has its work cut out for it this year in anticipation of a further decline in pet ownership and higher pet food prices.” How high can they go

Why Is Pet Food So Cheap In Ireland

In Ireland, pet food is surprisingly affordable. The country’s strong agricultural sector may mean a lot of pet food ingredients are locally available, cutting down on import and transport costs. The reason why isn’t totally clear. But one thing we know is that Ireland is a great place for pet owners!

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