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Recent trends have resulted in many more dog owners making their dog food purchases online. Such a practice not only lends to more responsible pet ownership, but also more cost savings for dog owners. Below we will take a look at some of the benefits of online dog food shopping and online auto-shipping programs.
Picking a Reputable Dog Food Provider Online
There are so many online dog food providers these days that it is difficult to decide which provider is right for your needs. The most important consideration when picking your online dog food resource however is always going to be their reputation.
Companies like PetFoodDirect.com and the Subscribe and Save service from Amazon are not only large corporations that have been around for a lengthy period of time, but they also have plenty of consumer reviews available as well. Customer reviews are one of the most important factors in finding a reputable company. While companies often inflate their own reputation and ability to serve, consumers do not. Scanning through customer reviews is the easiest way to see the best and the worst of what people are saying about a company.
Other Considerations When Buying Dog Food Online
Aside from researching a company’s reputation online, there are other considerations that should be made when buying dog food online.
Pricing is another big factor for many dog owners looking to purchase their dog’s food online. Each online dog food vendor sets their own price point and depending upon the size of the establishment and their relationship with vendors, the difference in pricing can be remarkable. Large companies like Pet Food Direct and Amazon have such a significant stock capability that they are able to purchase in bulk and pass their savings on to consumers. This type of discounting cannot be offered by smaller privately owned pet food delivery companies since it is just not economical.
Shipping costs are one of the bigger factors when it comes to determining which dog food vendor suits your needs. Many companies that offer extremely discounted products on their dog foods make up for this discount by inflating shipping costs. Inflated shipping costs may not always be a significant factor if product costs are discounted enough to make up for the difference. If, however, dog food costs are average or above average, combining them with inflated shipping costs is simply not a sound financial choice.
PetFoodDirect.com bases their shipping costs on location, using shipping addresses to determine exact shipping costs. Many of the Subscribe and Save service from Amazon come with Free Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25.00 and a savings of up to 15% per item! Other online dog food delivery companies offer flat rate shipping services; however, these generally require minimum purchase amounts or maximum weight restrictions.
Coupons and Specials
Depending upon a number of factors, the online pet food delivery service that you select may or may not offer coupons and specials on their dog foods. There are a couple of ways that you can stay informed about these methods of savings. Many online dog food providers offer email newsletters and this is how they keep consumers informed of their most recent sales and savings. Additionally, a simple search engine search for “coupon codes” and the name of the store you are looking for should pull up a number of online promotional codes. The majority of online stores that offer these savings options run holiday related specials such as Labor Day savings, Independence Day sales and Christmas shopping specials.
When purchasing dog food online it is also important to consider the product selection available. The majority of online stores have a wide array of dog foods to choose from; however, if your dog’s food is not one of them then all the price saving in the world is pointless. Before shopping with an online store always ensure that they carry your dog’s food. If you are on a very tight budget and find a great deal with an online store that does not carry your dog’s food, find a comparable food that has the same ingredients as your dog’s usual food. Keep in mind that dogs also require a slow transition when their food is changed, replacing ¼ of your dog’s old food with new food for one week and gradually increasing this amount until the transition is complete.
What Is Auto-Shipping?
A newer feature that many online dog food providers now offer is “auto-shipping.” Auto-shipping is a service that allows pet owners to set up delivery of their preferred dog food brand on a regular schedule. Setting up auto-shipping with a like Pet Foods Direct is as easy as making your first purchase and selecting repeat delivery!
What are the Benefits of Auto Ship Dog Food?
There are a number of benefits to using auto-shipping.
Auto-Shipping Means Better Pricing
When selecting auto-shipping online, dog food purchasers not only get the discount prices of online purchasing but they frequently get additional discounts. The perfect example of this is auto-shipping with Pet Food Direct. When signing up for auto-shipping with Pet Food Direct, purchasers receive a 15% discount on every order they receive. In addition to this, Pet Food Direct customers receive an additional 5%, 10% or 15% discount on “bonus brands” of dog food. This means that in total auto-shipping customers can receive a total of 30% off their order every time their dog food ships! Current dog foods included in this bonus brands program include: Avoderm Natural, Back to Basics, Blue Buffalo, Darford, Eagle Pack, Eukanuba, Enhance, EVO, HealthWise, Hill’s Rx Diet, Hill’s Science Diet, Holistic Select, IAMS Vet, Kibbles ‘n Bits, Lotus Natural, Natural Balance, Natural Planet, Nature’s Recipe, Newman’s Own, Nootie, Nutro, Nutrisource, Precise, Purevita, Purina, Triumph, Wellness and Whole Earth Farms.
Auto-Shipping Means Regular Dog Food Delivery
As a dog owner it doesn’t take long to figure out how much food your dog goes through on the average week. Auto-shipping allows for you to set up a delivery schedule that works based on your dog’s eating schedule. Most dog owners begin with a large bag of food (around 30 to 33lbs) for their first delivery; this allows them to determine just how long it takes for their dog to finish the bag. Once that large bag is almost finished it is possible to determine how far apart to set deliveries. After that the dog food delivery schedule is set and automatically dispatched and charged to the credit card on file.
Auto-Shipping Means less Lugging Heavy Dog Food Around
One major concern for some dog owners is the weight of dog food bags, particularly when purchasing large bags or multiple bags at once. In some instances dog owners need to purchase multiple foods to cater to multiple dogs, in other instances it is simply more convenient to stock up by purchasing multiple bags of food at once. Whatever the reason for “bulk purchasing” dog food, auto-shipping and online shopping makes the process much less of a hassle by delivering food right to your front door. This is particularly helpful for the elderly or those with compromised strength. In some instances delivery services may even place the delivery inside your home for you if requested. This means no more lifting heavy dog food bags off shelves and in to shopping carts and out of shopping carts and in to car trunks…only to have to lift it out of the car and in to the house afterwards!
Auto-Shipping means Less Gas Expense
With the current cost of gasoline and what seems like its ever increasing cost, auto-shipping can also be a big saver for families that do not live in close proximity to a pet food store. Rather than driving to the store, now anyone on a delivery route can have their dog food delivered right to their home! It is important to note here that once in a while even online pet food delivery suppliers must increase their cost to cover increased shipping charges; however, these increases are far less often and far less significant than those seen in gasoline prices.
Auto-Shipping Means No More Forgetting to Buy Dog Food
Most dog owners at one point or another have neglected to notice that their current bag of dog food was running low. In fact it usually happens more than once and while. This may not be a significant concern if your dog eats a food carried by a local store, but it is a significant problem if they do not. Sure, running out of food means paying higher prices at local stores but we do what we must to ensure that our dogs have enough to eat. The problem is that not all local stores carry specialty foods or even lesser known dog food brands and this means that if these owners forget to re-order their dog’s food then their dog is going to suffer. With auto-shipping, deliveries arrive like clockwork based on a delivery schedule that you set which means you will never have to worry about overpaying or your dog missing a meal again.
It should be noted that it is not recommended to skip a dog’s meal if their brand of kibble runs out and is unavailable locally. In these instances dogs should be fed a similar kibble until their brand is delivered or they should be fed a homemade diet that caters to their allergies until a kibble delivery is set up.
Auto-Shipping Allows You to Set Your Flexible Delivery Schedule
One reason that many people avoid setting up auto-delivery of their dog’s food is because they don’t always go through a single bag of kibble at the same rate as they did in previous months. While most pet owners go through their dog food on a fairly consistent basis, if this is a concern for you, you should be aware that services like auto-delivery from Pet Food Direct allow for delivery schedule adjustment. After setting up a delivery schedule, you will be able to log in to your online account at any time prior to your next shipment and adjust when the next bag of dog food will be sent. Dog owners find this most helpful when they leave town for vacations and find a bag of kibble lasts a few weeks longer than it usually would.
Auto-Shipping Allows Delivery Flexibility
Auto-shipping is also a good choice for those who travel frequently. In this day and age many people have frequent business trips or even two homes that they bounce between. If you find yourself living out of two locations most of the time, auto-delivery can be helpful because it allows for you to have your delivery sent to whichever address you need it sent to at the time. For example, if your next delivery is set to be delivered to your home in Albuquerque, New Mexico but you will be staying in your New York apartment during that week, you can simply have your delivery re-routed there. Additionally, if you want to plan ahead for vacations where you will be staying with family, you can have your dogs food shipped directly to their home in order to save a little room when packing up the car!
Some Frequently Asked Questions about Auto-Shipping
Auto-shipping details vary based upon the dog food provider you are shopping with. For the purpose of this article we will take a look at Pet Food Direct.
- How do sale prices work with auto-shipping? When you shop with Pet Food Direct ,if your usual dog food is on sale you will not only receive the auto-shipping discount but that discount will be taken from the sale price.
- Can auto-ship be canceled? Auto-shipping can be canceled at any time. If you cancel your auto-shipment before your next shipment is sent out then that shipment will not be sent. If you cancel after your next shipment has shipped out then your account will be canceled after that shipment has been sent.
- What if my food is out of stock? If your dog food is out of stock at the time when your auto-shipment is supposed to be shipped, you will receive an e-mail notification and Pet Food Direct will continue to try to send out your shipment unless you notify them otherwise by changing your shipment date.
- Can auto-ship items be changed? At any point before your shipment is sent out you can add any item to your existing auto-shipment or change the quantity of items already in your auto-shipment.
- If I set up auto-ship on an item that is on sale at the time of purchase, will I always get that price with my auto-shipped item? Unfortunately not, however, at Pet Food Direct you will always get the lowest price guaranteed on your shipment so if an item is on sale at the time of shipment you will get that sale price.
Is Auto-Shipping Right For You?
There are many cases where auto-shipping is a good option but in a few cases it may not be the best option for you.
Auto-Shipping is Right for you if…
- If you have a reliable dog food that your dog enjoys and has been eating for a while then auto-shipping is a good choice for you.
- If you have a special needs dog that relies on a hard to find ingredient combination then auto-shipping could be a good choice for you.
- If you have a busy lifestyle that prohibits you from heading to a pet food store regularly then auto-shipping could be right for you.
- If you frequently forget to re-order dog food or frequently run out of dog food then auto-shipping could be for you.
- If you want to lock in a regular discount on your favorite brand of dog food then auto-shipping could be for you.
Auto-Shipping May Not Be Right For You If…
- If you have a picky dog that likes variety in kibble “flavor” then auto-shipping may not be for you.
- If you frequently receive coupons offering better discounts than offered by auto-shipping then you may not want to use auto-shipping.
- If your dog requires a special type of dog food that is not available online then auto-shipping is probably not the best choice for you.