(WHTM) — Have a dog or cat? The price of feeding your loved one keeps getting more and more expensive, so here are some ways to lower those costs.

Jeannette Burdsall is a dog lover who manages a dog grooming and boarding center. She brings her dog to work with her, but the Shephard Mix is one hungry dog.

“I mean I spend at least $50 a month on a big bag of food, and that will last me 2-3 weeks,” Burdsall said.

Daryl Meyerrenke owns a pet supply store and hears from families struggling to afford $50 bags of food. But he said to beware of cheap food, which can mostly be filler.

“You can buy the cheapest food out there, but your dog may consume 50% more of it than the better food,” Meyerrenke said.

Meyerrenke said a lot of people look at the price of a large bag of dog food these days and get a case of sticker shock. They then purchase a smaller bag, but he says you need to focus on the price per serving.

Meyerrenke says to also talk with your pet food store to see what type of deals — or reward plans — they have for loyal customers.

“We have coupons and special deals for our best customers,” Meyerrenke said.

But what if you are struggling to afford food?

The pet blog “K9 of Mine” suggests you:

  • Contact local pet shelters — some provide pet food to needy families
  • Ask a vet if they know of any charity programs
  • Check the American Kennel Club for local breed groups that may help
  • Post on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace that you are looking for food

Finally, think hard before adding a second or third pet to your family right now. Those food costs could triple quickly.