One of my cats has been on a special diet for a number of years due to a minor health issue that caused more than a few trips to the vet back in the day. The special food contains higher fiber content which he needs to supplement his diet and keep his inner workings in tune.
The vet prescribed a food that fits the bill for what he needs. At the time, I did some research and found that the price they wanted to charge me was significantly higher than what I could get it for online, through a web site called ‘Pet Food Direct'.
My vet (grudgingly) wrote a prescription for the food, and I commenced purchasing it through Pet Food Direct. They were great, and even with shipping costs added in, the price was significantly cheaper.
Over the years, the price kept increasing steadily. I typically bought the food by the case, and the price per case would seem to increase a dollar here, two bucks there.
Recently, the other cat also developed a health issue of her own (she's fourteen and a half) and she also needed to go on a special diet. I got the price that the vet wanted to charge and logged into Pet Food Direct to see if it was cheaper. Much to my surprise, it wasn't. The vet was able to provide the food at a cheaper price.
I asked the vet what their cost was on the first cat's food, and lo and behold, they are now cheaper than Pet Food Direct. The actual cost of the food is technically cheaper with Pet Food Direct, but the shipping costs push it to now be a higher price point than the vet.
I contacted Pet Food Direct and politely inquired if they would be willing to either reduce the price or shipping to match what I would pay at the vet. They politely e-mailed me back and said that they could not.
So, it's back to using the vet for purchasing the food, though I will be more adept at shopping around and making sure that, whenever I need to stock up, I do so via the cheaper option.
Lesson learned: Always make sure that what you think is the cheaper option remains the cheaper option.