Source: National Post (Extract)
Posted: February 3, 2024

Worldwide rankings place Canada in the middle of the pack at $558 a year, versus more than $2,000 in Japan.

Canada ranks as one of the cheapest countries in North America when it comes to feeding a dog, with annual costs just two-thirds those in the United States, and lower than any other country except the Dominican Republic. But we rank among the middle of the pack when it comes to countries around the world.

Online lender and financial services company CashNetUSA commissioned the study, which looked at the cost of feeding a medium-sized dog 540 grams of dry food every day, based on the cheapest food they could find in local supermarkets or, if that couldn’t be calculated, from an international supermarket that would ship to that country.

The results: Japan is the most expensive country on Earth to feed a dog, with prices coming in at just over $2,000 a year. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) Other pricy locales included Andorra ($1,854), Uruguay ($1,444), Saudi Arabia ($1,252) and Switzerland ($1,185).

At the other end of the scale, Botswana came in as the cheapest country to keep a dog fed, at just $163 a year. Some other low-cost countries were Hungary ($246), France ($281) and Ireland ($299).

Canada fell in the middle of the rankings at $558.92 per year. But that was substantially below the U.S. figure of $865, and Mexico’s $919. In fact, every country in North America for which data was available came in higher than Canada, with the exception of the Dominican Republic, where the figure was just $409.

The study also noted that recent inflation in both human and pet foods has led to some people having to make a choice between feeding themselves and feeding their pets.

And it pointed out that cheapest doesn’t necessarily mean better. In Botswana, which came in as the cheapest country on Earth for feeding a dog, it quoted a local entrepreneur as saying: “Most retail brands in Botswana and around Africa use basic formulae often resulting in dogs suffering from inflamed skin, and increased scratching caused by (an) imbalance in levels of Omega 3 and 6 along with insufficient levels of essential fatty acids like DHA and FPA.”

Also, high pet food prices can drive dog owners to just feed their animals with scraps from the table. In Afghanistan, for instance, the annual cost of dog food compared to the average net income is 133 per cent, meaning that the average wage-earner there would be unable to afford to feed a dog.

But according to the Afghanistan German Shepherd Dogs Club (the only licensed dog food shop in the country) most locals “give raw meat, rice, bread, beans, nuts, bones and oily food to their dogs, which is not healthy.” The fact that dog food has to be imported from Europe and Turkey also contributes to the high costs there.

The researchers also asked the American Kennel Club for inexpensive non-dog-food supplements that can added (in moderation) to a dog’s diet. The group suggested carrots (for fiber and beta-carotene), blueberries (antioxidants), fish oil (essential omega-3 fatty acids) and plain green beans, raw or cooked, for their vitamin content. They recommend checking with a veterinarian before making any changes to a dog’s diet.