10 Best Cheap Dog Food In-depth Guide in 2019

10 Best Cheap Dog Food In-depth Guide in 2019

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.

Our Top Pick

Purina Beyond Wild Grain Free Dog Food

Best Cheap Dog FoodKey Features

  • Includes organs such as liver
  • No grain, soy, or corn
  • No animal by-products

A Glance

Coming from Purina’s organic specials, this our top pick because not only is it affordable, but it also has different flavor choices, such as beef, turkey, lamb, and duck, with most of them having options for the liver if your dog wants organs for their meals. Since it doesn’t contain soy or corn, it can be gentle on your dog’s tummy, especially if they have a sensitive stomach.

Their first ingredient is beef (or turkey, depending on the flavor you choose) so it doesn’t contain by-products of animals and this can mean a richer source of protein than most commercial foods. This dog food is also ideal for adult dogs so you can just feed it to them as a maintenance food.

Top 10 Best Cheap Dog Food Reviews

1. Canine Caviar Open Sky – Best Cheap Grain Free Dog Food

Best Cheap Grain Free Dog FoodIf 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.

Pros
  • No GMOs, gluten, grain, and the like
  • For all life stages
  • Good for dogs on an alkaline diet
  • Ideal for dogs with a sensitive stomach
Cons
  • Slightly inconvenient packaging

2. Wag Amazon Brand Dry Dog Food – Best Cheap Dry Dog Food

Best Cheap Dry Dog FoodThis 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. 

Pros
  • Made with real beef
  • Grain-free
  • Potato-free
  • Includes probiotics for healthy digestion
Cons
  • May not be ideal for gassy dogs

3. Rachael Ray Nutrish Real Chicken & Veggies Recipe – Best Cheap Dog Food For Pitbulls

Best Cheap Dog Food For PitbullsIf 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.

Pros
  • Gluten-free
  • Good size of kibble for small breeds
  • A balance between protein and fiber
  • Ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs
Cons
  • The bags aren’t resealable

4. Eukanuba Adult Maintenance – Best Cheap Dog Food For German Shepherd

Best Cheap Dog Food For German ShepherdAs 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). 

Pros
  • Great for sporting dogs
  • Has different bag sizes to choose from
  • Good for your dog’s skin, bones, and teeth
  • Rich in omega fatty acids
Cons
  • May contain a few grain products

5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe – Best Cheap Dog Food For Puppies

Best Cheap Dog Food For PuppiesA 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.

Pros
  • Gluten-free
  • No corn, soy, or wheat
  • A mix of different protein-rich meats
  • Doesn’t cause as much diarrhea as others
Cons
  • Some dogs may find the kibble too small

6. Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Natural – Best Cheap Wet Dog Food

Best Cheap Wet Dog FoodComing 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.

Pros
  • Grain-free
  • Contains high protein ingredients
  • Can be mixed with dry food
  • Ideal for dogs who can’t eat chicken
Cons
  • The containers can be a bit too small

7. Wellness Core Natural Grain Free – Best Cheap Dog Food For Small Dogs

Best Cheap Dog Food For Small DogsDo 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.

Pros
  • Grain-free
  • Doesn’t contain artificial flavorings
  • Good for dogs with hip problems
  • Has omega-3 fatty acids for their coat
Cons
  • Can be prone to getting a bad batch (depending on purchase)

8. Simply Perfection Super Premium – Best Cheap Canned Dog Food

Best Cheap Canned Dog FoodAlso 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).

Pros
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Grain-free
  • Soy-free and corn-free
  • Has bits of herbs and spices
  • No strong odor
Cons
  • Not ideal for dogs who don’t like too-watery foods

9. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula – Best Cheap Dog Food For Large Breed

Best Cheap Dog Food For Large BreedDo 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.

Pros
  • Ideal even for puppies
  • No animal by-products
  • Helps maintain softer coats (can keep dandruff at bay)
  • No random fillers
Cons
  • Some dogs may have a few tummy upsets

10. Purina Beyond Wild Grain Free Dog Food

Best Canned Dog Food For Picky EatersFor 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.

Pros
  • High in protein
  • Free from grain, corn, and soy
  • No animal by-products
  • Also contains liver and organs
Cons
  • The ingredient sources aren’t completely indicated

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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!
  3. 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. 
  4. 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!
  5. 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.

Best Cheap Dog Food

Recommended ingredients

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:

  1. Ground bones.
  2. Organs.
  3. Meat, specifically muscle meat.
  4. Yogurt or any dog-safe dairy product.
  5. Raw eggs.
  6. Certain veggies and fruits. 

For kibble or dry dog food:

  1. Eggs.
  2. Fish.
  3. Poultry. This may include chicken or turkey.
  4. Beef.
  5. Vitamins and minerals.

FAQs

What is the best inexpensive dog food?
Brands like Purina and Pedigree usually sell the most inexpensive dog food.

However, you should look for ones that are grain-free to make sure that it won’t cause allergies for your dog.

Which dry dog food is a cheap option?
To get more value of any kibble, you may want to consider one that’s filled with more meat, no by-products, has a few vegetable bits, and one without artificial flavorings.

You may consider brands like Taste of the Wild, Blue Buffalo, or Pedigree.

How do I know if the cheap dog food is a good buy?
Any dog food that fits well with your pet’s size, age, lifestyle, eating habits, and one that is organically-sourced with proteins is a good dog food to buy.

Purina Beyond and Taste of the Wild offer cheap dog food but with quality ingredients.

How do I switch dog foods?
Switching dog foods is not something you can do overnight. This is because your dog’s stomach might get shocked if you suddenly switch from one type of food to another!

Here’s how to easily make the switch from one brand to another without hurting your dog’s tummy:

The first day: prepare a 20:80 ratio. This means 20 percent of the new dog food you’re going to feed and 80 percent of the old one that your dog’s been feeding on previously. You are going to introduce the dog food bit by bit so that it will still taste like their old dog food but with a little bit of the new one mixed in.

The second day: prepare a 40:60 ratio. The old one will be lessened in quantity while you add up more for the new dog food.

The third day: prepare a 60:40 ratio. This time, add much more of the new dog food as compared to the old one.

The fourth day: prepare an 80:20 ratio. On this day, your dog may have already almost truly adjusted to the new dog food.

The fifth day: prepare the new dog food completely. You can now feed your dog with only the new food instead of the old one. Keep in mind that if there’s no digestive upset whatsoever, then you’re on the right track! Otherwise, call your vet for any advice!

Conclusion

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

Editor's Rating:
4.4

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