Whether you’re trying a new dog food to satisfy your pup’s tastes or his changing body, figuring out the best food for your four-footer can be a pain.
This is especially true if you get stuck with a full-sized bag of kibble your pup doesn’t like or that his tummy can’t handle. Of course, you can always donate these to a shelter in need, but over time, the process can get expensive.
But, if you want to cut down on waste and cost, you can try to find some free or low-cost samples. This isn’t a viable solution for feeding your dog over the long term, but it does mean you’ll get a small amount of kibble to try. This will prevent you from having to spend money needlessly or haul pounds of food home that your pooch might hate.
Learn more about free and low-cost dog food samples with us below!
Where to Get Free Dog Food Samples: Key Takeaways
- There are a handful of places for owners to get free or low-cost dog food samples. These sources will never provide enough free food to keep your dog well-fed, but they’re invaluable for trying new flavors before you buy a ton of money on a big bag.
- Manufacturers often offer free or low-cost food samples, but they aren’t the only game in town. You may also be able to get your hands on some free grub via retailers or even your vet.
- While free dog food samples are certainly helpful for owners, it’s important to avoid abusing these systems. Many manufacturers and retailers stop offering these programs when owner try to take advantage of their generosity.
Different Kinds of Free and Low-Cost Dog Food Samples
There are several types of free and low-cost dog food samples out there, but some are harder to find than others. But no matter which “free” opportunity you select, it’s important to read the fine print to avoid any hidden strings attached.
100% Free Dog Food Samples
Free dog food samples used to be far more common, but because of people gaming the system and increased manufacturing costs, these aren’t easy to find anymore. There are still a few out there, generally handed out at pet stores and boutiques.
Low-Cost Sample Dog Food Boxes
Today, low-cost dog food sample boxes are rising in popularity. Costing between $5 and $20 per box, these contain several sample packages of food for you to try.
The sample baggies may be all of the same protein type or they may offer an assortment of different meat proteins, making them an attractive choice for many pup parents, especially those who have finicky eaters and want to find a dog food their picky pup loves before committing to a full bag!
Companies That Offer Free Dog Food Samples
While it isn’t as common to find free dog food samples today, there are still a few manufacturers offering them. Some brands are more well-known than others, but it’s worth looking into each if you’re in the market for a new dog food.
It’s also worth noting that some companies may offer free samples in exchange for a survey that includes your contact information, which will add you to a marketing mailing list.
Opportunities to obtain free food will come and go, but these manufacturers have offered free dog food samples recently:
- Zignature: Free 4-ounce samples are available at authorized Zignature retailers. You can view the list on their site or request a free sample to be sent to you if no retailers are near you.
- Essence: Fill out an online form that includes your protein preferences and your dog’s sensitivities and receive a free sample. Make sure to also read our full review of Essence dog food for more info!
- The Pet Way: Complete a short questionnaire about your pup’s age, health, dietary restrictions, and more, and receive a free sample of the Pet Way food that may work best for him.
- Taste of the Wild: Call the hotline or visit your local Taste of the Wild retailer to obtain a sample.
- Pet Chef of GA: Fill out a contact form to get your free sample. Those who live outside of the metro Atlanta area may incur shipping charges.
- Barky’s Inn: Arizona residents can receive samples of premium pup foods by calling or texting their hotline number.
- The Pet Pantry: North Carolina residents only can receive free samples by filling out an online form. A $7 shipping charge may apply.
- Pawtree: This is more of a tasty dog food topper, but picky doggos may enjoy it to spice up mealtime. Just pay $2.95 for shipping and receive a sample.
- Happy Dog: Pup parents in the United Kingdom can request a free sample by filling out an online form and paying £2.99 in shipping.
- Trophy Pet Foods: Pawrents in the United Kingdom can get a free sample by filling out a short online form.
- PetOnly: This Canadian company offers an assortment of free dog food samples with pup parents only owing shipping fees.
- Sundays Food for Dogs: A boutique dog food manufacturer offering premium, air-dried kibble, Sundays Food for Dogs offers free 2-ounce samples — you simply need to pay a $5 flat shipping fee.
Companies That Have Formerly Offered Free Dog Food Samples
In the past, other manufacturers have offered free sample promotions. Check their websites and social media regularly to spot future sample offerings.
Manufacturers occasionally running free sample promos include:
Another tip is to look at retailers rather than manufacturers. Sometimes, businesses such as Petco or Tractor Supply run promotions for small, free bags of dog food with purchase. On occasion, sales representatives also visit big-box pet stores during peak times, such as weekends, during which they offer free samples of quality brands, including Instinct.
You can also ask your veterinarian during your next visit if the practice offers any free dog food samples.
Companies That Offer Cheap Sample Boxes
Although they may not offer free food for owners, some manufacturers have sample boxes available for very low prices. This allows your pooch to have a taste before you commit to a large order. These usually contain enough food for a few meals.
If you’re looking for affordable dog food sample boxes, check out these companies:
- Honest Kitchen: Offering five grain-free and grain-inclusive starter boxes, these kits make 8 pounds of food and cost between $22.99 and $24.99.
- Canidae: Purchase a trial bag for $9.99 at participating retailers.
- The Pet Purveyor: Browse a selection of samples available in several protein options, ranging from $1 to $4 each.
- Luke’s All Natural: For $19.99 or $29.99 for a jumbo pack, you’ll receive a box containing an assortment of food samples.
Do Not Abuse Companies Offering Free or Low-Cost Samples
While they are a great help, free and low-cost dog food samples aren’t something you should rely on to feed your pooch long term.
Not only can abusing these programs lead to manufacturers discontinuing them for other pup parents, but it can lead to stomach upset if you’re constantly switching your dog’s food. It can also make it difficult to pinpoint which food is causing the tummy troubles if you’re mixing kibbles. More seriously, it can mask potential underlying conditions if you’re blaming the new food for belly aches.
If you’re recently out of work and can’t afford to feed your dog, make sure to also check out our guide on how low-income families can get free dog food. We also have a list of organizations that help pay for vet bills too if you’re struggling to cover your dog’s medical care.
Have you ever gotten free or low-cost dog food samples for your dog? Where did you get them? What kind? Let us know in the comments!