Keeping a dog means you also have to keep up with all the expenses. This is why you may want to look for the best cheap dog food if you have a lot of dogs in the house or if you just want to cut down on your budget a little bit. There are many brands out there that could be a choice for much cheaper dog food, such as Purina and Pedigree.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re also going to cut your dog’s nutrition short! There are many affordable dog foods out there that you can buy, and in this article, we’re going to help you on how to choose one.
Keep in mind that dog food doesn’t necessarily have to be pricey to be quality – just make sure you know where the ingredients are coming from and your dog will be fine. Reading the label to make sure it doesn’t contain grains or any dog allergens can help you narrow down items.
Top 10 Best Cheap Dog Food Reviews
1. Canine Caviar Open Sky – Best Cheap Grain Free Dog Food
If you want a dog food that has no grains, no potato, no tapioca, and no by-products, this can be a good option for you. It has complex carbohydrates such as split peas and a good source of protein due to the wild-caught herring, but you can also choose from various flavors, such as lamb, duck, millet, and others. It also contains no GMOs so you’re feeding your dog only with natural ingredients.
Aside from that, it also contains no gluten or wheat. You can purchase this dog food at 4.4, 11, and 22 lbs. in size. The wild herring is rich with omega fatty acids, which can be good for your dog’s coat health, especially for dogs with long coats.
2. Wag Amazon Brand Dry Dog Food – Best Cheap Dry Dog Food
This Amazon brand of dog food can be a nice choice if your dog needs a beef diet (they also have choices on lamb, turkey, and salmon). Coming in a 30-lb. bag, this one has good amounts of protein (35%) without the added grain. Since it is a family-owned business, it has a decent list of ingredients without artificial colors or preservatives.
Added to the meal is a pack of veggies such as flaxseed, lentils, and others, to help with your dog’s balanced meal. It also has salmon oil which can provide omega-3 fatty acids for your dog’s coat health. Since the beef mix has wild boar in it, the dog food can be a great source of protein that you can be sure isn’t by-product at all.
3. Rachael Ray Nutrish Real Chicken & Veggies Recipe – Best Cheap Dog Food For Pitbulls
If you’ve seen most of Rachel Ray’s products and liked it, you may find this one a good pick for a cheap dog food that doesn’t sacrifice quality. You can choose the bag size (from 6 to 40 lbs.) and you can also choose the recipe, whether it’s real chicken and veggies or turkey, brown rice, and venison recipe. They have dog food variations for small, medium, and large breeds, as well.
Containing no preservatives or artificial flavorings, this one uses farm-raised chicken so you can be sure that it only gives your dog a healthy protein source. It also doesn’t contain wheat, fillers, and gluten stuff that may make your dog’s tummy suffer. Added to the mix are carrots and peas, which can be your dog’s source of vitamins in veggie form.
4. Eukanuba Adult Maintenance – Best Cheap Dog Food For German Shepherd
As an adult dog food, this one contains chicken as the first ingredient without artificial fillers or preservatives. You can order from any of the 5 sizes of bags depending on your needs and it can be helpful for sporting dogs due to its content of DHA and vitamin E (good for their skin and coat). Another good news is that it contains probiotics, which can be good for dogs who need fiber in their diet for digestion.
It also contains omega fatty acids, which can be useful for dogs who want to keep their coat nice and shiny, especially for contest dogs. Calcium is also included so that your dog’s bones stay strong in the midst of the competition (or even just running around catching a Frisbee).
5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe – Best Cheap Dog Food For Puppies
A mix of different protein sources, such as deboned beef, venison, lamb, bison, and much more, this beef mix is probably ideal for puppies due to the amount of protein that they need. It also contains no corn, wheat, or soy, so it can be ideal for puppies who have sensitive stomachs towards grain products.
Coming in a 22-lb. Bag, this pack of beef dog food also has a bit of pea protein, as well as dried tomato pomace on its list of ingredients. Adding to that is dehydrated alfalfa meal, which can add to the balanced diet of your dog who also need a bit of vegetable other than raw meat. It may be a little pricier than other cheap dog foods out there, but it can be a good investment for young pups who need more nutrition at first.
6. Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Natural – Best Cheap Wet Dog Food
Coming in a pack of 18, this dog food can be ideal for those who are often outside on a trip with their buddy and needed to give them the right nutrition even when away from home. It’s grain-free so it’s good for dogs with allergies. It’s also free from artificial flavorings, preservatives, and even poultry products (should your vet advise your dog to stay away from chicken). Since it is wet dog food, you can make it as your dog’s lunch or dinner food even while in the camp.
There are three recipes to choose from with this brand and all of them contain good amounts of protein without fillers. The recipe includes duck, beef, and lamb, so it can be ideal even for puppies.
7. Wellness Core Natural Grain Free – Best Cheap Dog Food For Small Dogs
Do you have a small dog breed at home? This one could be the one for your buddy since it has just the right amount of protein in its mix, which includes turkey and chicken (deboned). As with most of our picks, it doesn’t contain soy, meat by-products, artificial flavors, corn, and the like, so it’s less likely going to cause your dog to poop horribly.
The dog food even contains glucosamine hydrochloride as well as chondroitin sulfate – two ingredients that are needed by dogs who have hip dysplasia or are prone to it, since it helps with joint and hip health. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can be good for dogs who are maintaining luxurious coats. This can significantly reduce the “dog smell” that your dog may have.
8. Simply Perfection Super Premium – Best Cheap Canned Dog Food
Also made without fillers or preservatives, this canned dog food can be good for those who are keeping long coats due to the inclusion of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Each can is at 13 ounces and has chicken as the first ingredient (no by-products!) for your dog’s basic protein needs, especially for adult dogs.
It also doesn’t contain corn or soy so it’s free from the basic carbohydrates that may not be necessary for your dog’s diet. Also, it’s worth noting that it also has traces of some herbs and spices, such as parsley, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and sage, which can enhance the flavor and also provide a bit more nutritional value for your dog’s food (and can also balance the meat-veggie ratio).
9. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula – Best Cheap Dog Food For Large Breed
Do you have a large breed at home? This one can be a decent choice since it has chicken and brown recipe, which can be ideal in terms of their usual protein needs. Brown rice is a good source of carbohydrates that aren’t as simple as white rice, corn, or soy. The bag is at 30 lbs. but you can also order a smaller bag at 15 lbs. for convenience. It also has other choices, such as oatmeal, lamb, and fish, for the ingredient choices.
It does not contain any by-product so you only get whole meat of whatever (e.g. lamb, chicken, or fish) for your dog. It has DHA for their brain development and it is also good for dogs with hip problems due to the glucosamine content.
For most pet owners, Purina is the way to go when they want to just buy an affordable but still quality dog food. This one is Purina’s grain-free product, which contains no soy, by-product meal, artificial colors, and the like. You have a choice of flavors: beef, liver, and lamb, or turkey, liver, and duck.
Each can contains 13 ounces of dog food, which can be enough for most adult dogs as a maintenance food. It’s high in protein and has organ meat as well, which can help with their muscles and coat. The first ingredient is beef so it can be a trustworthy dog food mix. If your dog needs a lot of protein in their daily diet (e.g. if they are working dogs or are usually active), this one can be a choice for you.
Do you want to know more about how to choose cheap dog food? Here’s a list of things you may need to know beforehand:
When to choose cheaper dog food?
Most pet owners don’t have a lot of budgets but they want to get the best nutrition for their dogs. This is why many people would want a cheap dog food that’s still good for their health( and will fill their tummies)
How to choose a cheap dog food that’s still organic?
Many marketing strategies nowadays have been done to make most commercial brand dog foods look natural and organic, but in fact, they aren’t, and it’s just a fancy label! Therefore, it pays to look for specific labels, such as these:
- Grain-free. By nature, dogs don’t need grain in their stomachs because it’s a simple carbohydrate, which their tummies aren’t designed to digest, anyway.
- Potato-free or starch-free. Much like with grain, potatoes can be excess fillers that your dog may not need. You can go for potato-free options much like with grain-free dog foods. Most of these even offer sweet potato as an alternative to regular potatoes.
- Includes vegetables and fruits. The most common veggie you’ll see in most dog foods are carrots and peas. They are simple, easy to pack, and can provide good amounts of nutrients. A few other veggies can be included depending on your vet’s recommendation.
- Quality protein content (no animal by-products). You have to find the “chicken (or whatever animal) is the first ingredient” label for this one, which means it has no by-products – meat that has questionable origins.
- Good levels of DHA. This is important to look for when you are choosing puppy food or even senior dog food. DHA is good for mental development, much like with human-grade food.
Meanwhile, the following labels could be a bit questionable, so read the ingredient list carefully:
- Whole grain. While whole grain is okay for humans, it may not be so okay for dogs, since, as we mentioned earlier, dogs’ stomachs aren’t designed for grains due to them being a simple carbohydrate.
- Low fat. You have to look beyond this tag and find out the actual fat content. Just because something is low in fat doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy – it could still be brimming with starch and fillers!
- Natural and holistic. These flowery words aren’t exactly the definition of a real natural and holistic dog food – you still need to look at the ingredients list for it to suit your dog’s needs. By all means, “natural” is a word that’s too broad.
- Weight loss. This is also a misleading label, so you should look for the fat and carb content of the dog food instead of just reading this one and grabbing the food off the shelf. When in doubt, consider asking your vet or a fellow pet owner on which dog foods do help with weight loss. A lot of lost weight can also make your dog unhealthy!
- Purely organic. Like with “natural and holistic”, “purely organic” is kind of a general and umbrella term as well. So what if it’s organic? Is it applicable to your dog who has pancreatitis? Is it okay for senior dogs? Does it have this and that (e.g. specific vitamins) as recommended by your vet? Sure, organic is good, but it’s still important to read the good old label first.
That depends on whether you’re going to feed your dog raw (wet) dog food or dry (kibble) ones. Here’s a list of must-haves or recommended ingredients for both types:
For raw or wet dog food:
- Ground bones.
- Meat, specifically muscle meat.
- Yogurt or any dog-safe dairy product.
- Raw eggs.
- Certain veggies and fruits.
For kibble or dry dog food:
- Poultry. This may include chicken or turkey.
- Vitamins and minerals.
In the long run, having a dog can be a bit of an expense, but like with keeping a child, feeding a dog with nutrients is still important, but it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your budget along the way! There are many options out there just for you, and we’ve rounded them up in this article to help you find the best cheap dog food.
If this is your first time buying dog food, then it’s okay to stick with name brands like Pedigree and Purina but do try out bigger brands like Taste of the Wild and Blue Buffalo if you have additional budget, since they have good ingredients and raw mixes that may be more ideal if you have a dog with a sensitive stomach.
Going cheap doesn’t mean you should compromise your dog’s health. Just make sure that you pick one that has the right amount of ingredients, protein, vitamins, and the like – and make sure it’s grain-free and organic as much as possible!
10 Best Cheap Dog Food In-depth Guide in 2019
Written by Dr. Alex Boyum