Top-15 Best Cheap Dog Foods (2021 Reviews)

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    Alina Andreeva
    Alina Andreeva

    Author: Alina Andreeva

    Alina A. is a professional writer, editor, and pet-lover. She has published over 50 articles on how to care for pets properly. Alina has been writing articles for 3 years, so she has considerable experience in this niche. Her natural curiosity helps her to expand her knowledge and learn new pet care life hacks, which will make your life much easier.

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    Dr. Michele King
    Dr. Michele King

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    by Dr. Michele King

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  • Updated on: 01/13/2021

Let’s drag to light one thing first: Inexpensive does not mean poor quality.

Dog parents should always buy premium kibble or canned dog food, but that doesn’t mean that it should cost an arm and a leg. There are many great options that will not put a dent in your bank balance.

So, let’s dive right in…

best cheap dog foodsFreepik

READ MORE: Wet vs Dry Dog Food (with Infographic)

Best Inexpensive Dog Food Reviews

Every dog ​​owner wants the best for his cuddly companion, and it is not surprising that food is No. 1 among all the conditions affecting the life of every pooch. What if you have a shoestring budget and forced to spend less on dog food – does this mean that your fluffy family member is destined for a poor diet? No worries! In this article, we offer you 15 best affordable dog food options.

Our Top Pick

Taste of The Wild

taste of the wild high prairie grain-free dry dog food

This dog food formula is nutritious and perfect for dogs of all sizes and breeds. This recipe includes fish, lamb and chicken meal, potato, and peas. It is an easily digestible source of protein that provides the necessary amount of energy for your pooch pal.

With fruits and vegetables, this kibble supplies vitamins and antioxidants to boost your pet’s immunity. Also, it comes with special protein compounds to round up your dog’s nutritional needs and sustain his well-being.

Features:

  • No corn, wheat, artificial preservatives or soy included
  • Natural ingredients with high health benefits
  • Omega 3 and Omega 6 help maintain a healthy coat and skin
  • Supports the healthy immune function

Pros

Cons

  • Perfect choice for dogs of all sizes and breeds
  • Provides well-balanced nutrition
  • Maintains a workable body mass
  • Expertly designed to support healthy skin and coat 
  • Easy to digest
  • None

Our Runner-Up Pick

Blue Life Protection Formula 

blue life protection formula

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food ensures complete and balanced nutrition for your cuddly companion. This recipe is a perfect option if your pup needs a grain-free diet or is allergic to grains. Since grain allergies are not actually very common, be sure to check with your veterinarian to ensure that this diet is appropriate for your dog.  This kibble helps maintain your dog’s weight and boosts energy so that he can play longer and also reinforces the immune system.

This product also includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which will support your pooch’s skin and coat. It is also contains vegetables that are rich in vitamins and contains apples, which provide an excellent source of vitamin C. This kibble comes with cranberries, which contain antioxidants and generate ideal health.

Features:

  • Well-balanced daily meal 
  • Designed to maintain a sustainable body weight
  • Contains glucosamine to support hip and joint health
  • Omega 3 and Omega 6 help maintain a healthy coat and skin
  • Free from corn and meat by-products

Pros

Cons

  • Well-balanced proportions of nutrients for optimal growth
  • Protects the immune system
  • Vitamins and minerals boost your pup’s natural immune defenses
  • Picky dogs need time to get used to this kibble

Best Dry Foods

Iams Proactive Health Kibble

iams proactive health kibble

Every dog needs to stick to a balanced diet to stay healthy and happy. This dog food is expertly designed to satisfy the nutritional needs of your pooch’s daily meal. The ideal balance of vitamins and minerals keep your fluffy buddy safe from various diseases.

This kibble contains various useful ingredients to support healthy body weight, proper digestive health, and healthy skin and coat. It contains an adequate level of fiber and prebiotics, which helps the pooch’s digestive system work properly.

Features:

  • Starts with farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient
  • No by-product meal
  • Designed with necessary vitamins and minerals 
  • Comes with a blend of prebiotics and fiber

Pros

Cons

  • Promotes muscle support 
  • Boosts energy
  • Reinforces the immune system 
  • Aids with digestion
  • Some dogs may not like the taste

Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Dog Food

pedigree adult complete nutrition dry dog food

Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition is one of the cheapest kibbles in this list. This dog food is suitable for any budget and contributes to prospering your pooch’s health with balanced nutrition. It is enriched with vitamins and minerals. It is expertly designed for dogs over one year old and is one of the best affordable dog food brands on the market for this age.

This kibble is formulated to provide dogs with the nutrition and energy they need to live a full life. This product contains omega-6 and zinc to help promote bladder health and keep skin and coat shiny and healthy.

Features:

  • Provides optimal nutrition and good taste
  • Full of useful nutrients 
  • Features fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Crafted with antioxidants to boost your pooch’s immunity
  • No artificial colors 

Pros

Cons

  • Works great for dogs over one year old
  • Easy to digest
  • Boosts energy
  • None

Whole Earth Farms Dry Dog Food 

whole earth farms dry dog food

This kibble includes high-quality protein as the first ingredient. It comes with some other natural elements that ensure complete and balanced nutrition for almost any dog’s needs. This formula also boosts the energy level, strengthens nails, and makes skin and coat healthier.

This dry dog food comes with vitamins, minerals, and multiple proteins to provide a complete and balanced diet. There is no corn, soy, wheat, artificial preservatives to ensure the complete balance at a budget-friendly price.

Features:

  • Comes with multiple proteins
  • A blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals keeps a healthy immune system
  • No by-product meal, wheat, corn, soy or artificial colors

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to digest
  • Great flavor to increase appetite
  • Grows shiny skin and fur
  • Strengthens joints and bones
  • None

Best Wet Foods

Nature’s Recipe Wet Dog Food

natures recipe wet dog food

If your dog needs a wet food diet, this product is a great choice. This canned formula is expertly designed to help your dog stay healthy. The primary ingredient is chicken, which provides protein and amino acids for your fluffy companion.

Nature’s Recipe Wet Dog Food comes with natural ingredients and contains no dairy, sugar, or soy products. Also, it features many vitamins, minerals, and beneficial antioxidants. Thus, this canned dog food rounds up almost any dog’s nutritional needs.

Features:

  • Starts with chicken as the first ingredient
  • High-quality protein helps your dog maintain healthy muscles
  • A blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals keeps a healthy immune system
  • No by-product meal, wheat, corn, soy or artificial colors

Pros

Cons

  • Highly digestible
  • Contains natural ingredients
  • Supports healthy metabolism
  • Helps maintain healthy muscles
  • None

Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food

hill’s science diet wet dog food

If your pooch pal prefers wet dog food, try this product from Hill’s Science. Crafted with nutritious ingredients that help promote better health and maintain healthy muscles of adult dogs, this dog food is well-priced for dog parents on a budget.

This wet dog food comes with chicken, pork, and beef by-products – these are the main sources of protein. The formula is also enriched with all the vitamins and minerals that an adult dog needs to stay healthy, so it fulfills the total nutrient-rich requirements of your dog’s daily meal.

Features:

  • Contains key nutrients that keep your dog healthy
  • Uses a blend of vitamins to keep your dog safe from various diseases
  • Provides complete and balanced nutrition for dogs
  • Contains Omega-6 fatty acids to keep your dog’s skin and coat noticeably shiny and healthy

Pros

Cons

  • Supports a healthy body weight
  • Promotes muscle support in dogs
  • Easily digestible 
  • None

Natural Balance Ultra Premium Wet Dog Food

natural balance ultra premium wet dog food

This recipe is called Ultra Premium, and the price makes it an affordable choice. This wet food contains 8% of protein and 5% of fat, which is the optimal ratio for this type of dog food. Also, the list of ingredients includes dried kelp, this is not an ordinary, but very useful element in regular canine food. It contains a blend of vitamins and minerals that helps digestion and tissue repair, reduces dental plaque, inflammation, and itching.

This formula is the best option for dogs that should avoid chicken. A good sign is that this canned food is highly recommended by pet parents for finicky dogs and pups with sensitive stomachs. Since this recipe is suitable for dogs of all sizes and breeds, it is ideal for people who have multi-dog homes and get tired by feeding each of them with different foods. 

Features:

  • Offers well-balanced nutrition
  • Includes dried kelp and carrots
  • Comes with Vitamin A and Vitamin B12
  • Suitable for dogs that should avoid chicken
  • Good choice for dogs of all sizes and breeds

Pros

Cons

  • Available in various sizes
  • A good option for finicky dogs
  • Great for dogs with sensitive stomachs 
  • Highly digestible
  • Promotes better immunity
  • Reduces odor in stool
  • The can can be opened only with the help of a can opener, which some buyers find not convenient
  • The smell is smoky, so some dogs may dislike it

Best Grain-Free Foods

Since grain allergies are not actually very common, be sure to check with your veterinarian to ensure that these diets are appropriate for your dog. 

Merrick Grain-Free Recipe for Dogs

merrick grain-free recipe for dogs

This dog food is another grain-free product for pups with sensitive stomachs. Its main ingredient is deboned buffalo, and it consists of 70% meat protein and 30% fresh produce. It comes with Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids to help grow healthy skin and shiny fur. Also, this kibble includes glucosamine and chondroitin to strengthen joints and hips. It not only meets the nutritional needs but also maintains healthy digestion.

This manufacturer knows how to make your dog happy, and therefore this dog food provides a balanced diet crafted with the best ingredients from local farmers the company knows and trusts. This kibble is a great choice for pups of all breeds and their stages of life, as its recipe concentrates on nutrient-rich elements that generate ideal health.

Features:

  • Grain-free recipe
  • The main ingredient is deboned buffalo
  • Includes Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids to help grow healthy skin and shiny coat
  • Comes with glucosamine and chondroitin to strengthen joints and hips
  • Suitable for dogs of all breeds and their stages of life

Pros

Cons

  • Suitable for pups with sensitive issues
  • Supports sturdy bones and joints
  • Ingredients sourced from verified farmers
  • None

Hill’s Ideal Balance Grain-Free Dog Food

Hill’s Ideal Balance Dog Food Line contains natural ingredients in balanced nutritional formulas. This kibble is crafted with chicken as the first ingredient. It also comes with chicken fat for energy and useful fatty acids to maintain your pup’s healthy skin and shiny coat.

The formula is gluten-free and contains no corn, wheat or soy. It is full of fresh fruits and veggies that provide vitamins and minerals to help boost the immune system. 

Features:

  • Grain-free formula
  • The main ingredient is chicken
  • Comes with key fatty acids for healthy skin and shiny coat
  • Gluten-free
  • No corn, wheat or soy
  • Fruits and veggies provide vitamins and minerals to help promote better immunity
  • No artificial preservatives

Pros

Cons

  • Provides well-balanced nutrition
  • Maintains a workable body mass
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • No probiotics

Rachael Ray Nutrish Grain-Free Kibble

rachael ray nutrish grain-free kibble

Rachael Ray kibble is crafted with natural and healthy ingredients. Real meat, fruits, and veggies, used as main ingredients, provide enough vitamins and minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition for your pooch’s needs. Antioxidants support healthy energy levels for overall health. L-carnitine helps to maintain weight and proper metabolism. The product does not include wheat gluten, and artificial additives. It boasts good taste, so your dog will like it for sure.

This kibble is one of the healthiest and cheapest dog foods on the market, and dog parents are comfortable enough to feed this dry dog food regularly.

Features:

  • Grain-free recipe
  • The main ingredient is farm-raised turkey
  • Includes Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids to help grow healthy skin and shiny coat
  • No corn, wheat or soy
  • No artificial additives
  • Fruits and veggies provide vitamins and minerals to help reinforce the immune system        
  • Antioxidants support healthy energy levels
  • L-carnitine helps to maintain weight and cardiac function

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to digest
  • Great flavor to increase appetite
  • Controls proper weight
  • Full of vitamins and nutrients
  • None

Best for Small Dogs

Natural Balance Limited Ingredients Diets Dry Dog Food

natural balance limited ingredients diets dry dog food

This kibble is made by a special combination of protein and carbohydrates with a limited amount of ingredients. Small crispy pieces help keep the teeth of small dog breeds clean, as their small mouths are prone to plaque and gum recession, which can lead to dental disease. This dry food is easy to digest, and it provides tremendous health benefits thanks to its high-quality nutrition. 

This perfect recipe contains Salmon that provides key amino acids to support sturdy muscles, and help grow shiny coat. It not only meets nutritional needs but also maintains healthy digestion.

Features:

  • The primary ingredient is salmon
  • Includes key amino acids to help maintain healthy skin and fur
  • No corn, wheat or soy
  • No artificial additives
  • Quality nutrition supports the health of your dog

Pros

Cons

  • Suitable for pups with sensitive issues
  • Aids with digestion
  • Specially designed to meet the needs of a small dog breed
  • Convenient kibble size 
  • None

Purina Beneful IncrediBites For Small Dogs Dry Dog Food

purina beneful incredibites for small dogs dry dog food

Cheap kibble does not have to be tasteless, full of additives and contains no useful nutrients, and Purina Beneful Dry Dog Food is ample proof. Made of real beef, this dog food has not only an affordable price tag but also contains good, tasty nutrients that will satisfy your pooch’s needs while ensuring a balanced diet.

If you are looking for a less expensive dog ​​food that will appeal to small breed dogs and help them stay away from health problems, you should choose the one that matches the size and breed of your dog. This perfect recipe contains farm-raised beef and vegetables for optimal digestion. Fill your pooch’s bowl with tasty food made from quality ingredients.

Features:

  • The first ingredient is farm-raised beef
  • Supports bone health with a balance of essential nutrients for your small breed dog
  • No soy, corn, wheat, and artificial colors 
  • Provides optimal nutrition and good taste
  • Full of useful nutrients 
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals

Pros

Cons

  • Some veterinarians recommend Purina
  • Aids with digestion
  • Made to satisfy the cravings of a small dog breed
  • Crunchy mini-bites
  • Supports sturdy muscles
  • Contains by-product meal

Best for Large Breeds

Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Dry Dog Food

wellness large breed complete health adult dry dog food

If you have a thing about a healthy lifestyle and don’t want to shell out a ton of money, this product from Wellness may be an excellent budget-friendly option for your large breed dog. The manufacturer’s mission is to fuel a pooch’s overall well-being through complete and balanced nutrition. 

Due to the good amount of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals that help large dogs support sturdy bones, this unique recipe provides your cuddly companion with good nutrition and keeps him in tip-top shape. Four protein sources maximize the absorption of nutrients and help your pup support healthy body weight. 

Features:

  • The first ingredient is chicken
  • Has four protein sources
  • No corn, wheat, artificial preservatives or soy included
  • Provides complete and balanced nutrition
  • Contains calcium, phosphorus and other minerals
  • Appropriate for adult large breed dogs

Pros

Cons

  • Helps large dogs support sturdy bones
  • Helps reduce odor in stool
  • None

Purina One SmartBlend Dry Dog Food 

purina one smartblend dry dog food

Purina ONE will not put a dent in your bank balance, and even dog parents with a shoestring budget can afford it. This kibble contains vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that will round up your large breed dog’s nutritional needs. It is a protein-rich dry dog food made from natural meat to give you fluffy family member a meaty taste and support its strong muscles. The manufacturing company strives to design well-balanced dog food choosing high-quality ingredients.

This kibble boasts an antioxidant blend of vitamins E and A from which your pooch pal will benefit health-wise. While many manufacturers use a by-product meal, this one avoids this practice.

Features:

  • No corn, wheat, artificial preservatives or soy included
  • Natural ingredients with high health benefits
  • Features Omega 3 and Omega 6 for a radiant coat 
  • Contains glucosamine to support hip and joint health

Pros

Cons

  • Perfect choice for large breed adult dogs 
  • Provides well-balanced nutrition
  • Supports the healthy immune function
  • Maintains a healthy heart and strong muscles
  • Expertly designed to support healthy skin and coat 
  • Great for dogs with sensitive stomachs 
  • Highly digestible
  • None
best inexpensive dog foodPhoto by Chris Johnstone on Unsplash

READ MORE: Can Dogs be Vegan?

FAQ

What are the best cheap dog food brands?

In this article, we dug deep into the budget-friendly dog food brands that have high quality and supply a wide range of products. Here, Taste of the Wild and Blue Buffalo occupy complete and balanced nutrition for your pooch pal and fuel your dog’s overall wellbeing. So now, you need to find the best option regarding your pup’s health issues, breed, stage of life, and size.

May dogs with health issues eat cheap food?

Every dog parent should select a kibble or canned food for his cuddly companion following the veterinarian’s recommendations. Some health problems, such as food allergies, do not always mean sticking to a strict diet, only several restrictions. You can find high-quality and well-priced dog food on the market that does not contain grains or chicken meat.[1] So even with a shoestring budget, it’s possible to buy a product with an affordable price tag for your pooch with special needs.

Is there any difference between expensive and cheap food brands for dogs?

Like high-priced dry and wet dog foods, cheaper options should also be well balanced and packed with the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. However, many dog parents differentiate the two products for a number of reasons, such as food brands, product promotions, and unusual descriptions. All kibbles and canned food are monitored by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure the optimal level of quality.[2] Thus, there is no reason to shell out a ton of money to buy quality food. While there are differences in the quality of ingredients in the more expensive foods, it is possible to provide good nutrition if those foods are out of budget.

What is unacceptable in the cheapest dog foods?

Again, low-priced doesn’t mean poor quality. Inexpensive dog food does not mean you should purchase a bag packed with various additives. Additives, however, are not the only thing you should run a mile from.[3][4] Here are a few more:

  • By-Products – Any dog ​​food with a by-product is never a good choice. It is because buyers never know where this by-product came from. It usually has low nutritional value.
  • Preservatives – Choose a kibble or canned food without fillers and preservatives. Such ingredients do not go well with sensitive stomachs. Pooches can often develop food allergies due to such ingredients.

The FDA carries out investigation concerning DCM in dogs eating grain-free food, which is loaded with large amounts of peas, lentils, and other seeds as primary ingredients. They understand concerns of dog parents: this disease can be serious, even fatal. The FDA is doing its best to learn more about DCM and its potential association with certain dog foods or ingredients.[5]

Article Sources:

  1. Llera, Ryan, and Cheryl Yuill. “Nutrition – General Feeding Guidelines for Dogs.” VCA Hospitals, vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/nutrition-general-feeding-guidelines-for-dogs.
  2. “Your Dog’s Diet.” The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/looking-after-your-pet/puppies-dogs/your-dogs-diet.
  3. “Dog Nutrition Tips.” ASPCA, aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/dog-nutrition-tips.
  4. Sanderson, Sherry Lynn. “Nutritional Requirements and Related Diseases of Small Animals.” MSD Veterinary Manual, Sept. 2013, msdvetmanual.com/management-and-nutrition/nutrition-small-animals/nutritional-requirements-and-related-diseases-of-small-animals.
  5. “FDA Investigates Potential Link Between Diet & Heart Disease in Dogs.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 3 Nov. 2020, fda.gov/animal-veterinary/outbreaks-and-advisories/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy#you.

ThePets is an informational website that features articles written by qualified veterinarians and professional writers. You can learn more about our editorial process. When selecting food for your pet, use Pet Food Finder, and search for the clinic to treat your pet using Vet Clinics Locator.

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