Top 10 Best Affordable Dog Foods brand

Top 10 Best Affordable Dog Foods

Dogs may consume a lot of food, so it’s understandable that someone would attempt to locate a low-cost dog food to feed their companion vs a higher-priced one. Although high-end brands’ ingredients might vary significantly, it’s normal to be focused on the quality of a cheaper brand.

We’ve picked four popular budget meals to review so you can understand how different each brand is from the others. We’ll tell you what we liked and didn’t like about each type, as well as some information on the ingredients and health advantages offered by each brand.

We’ve even included a brief buyer’s guide that explains what separates one brand from another and which elements each meal should include.

Tips for picking the best cheap dog food

Being familiar with what ingredients are good and bad is only half of the story. You should also consider factors like age and size, which will help you choose the right food for your specific dog. Here’s a list of some of those factors:

  • Health Complications: Cheaper dog foods are rarely designed for canines with special needs. If your dog suffers from sensitivity, allergies, or any other health complication, discuss your shortlisted options with your vet and make sure that the food will not aggravate the issue.
  • Breed Size and Age: The caloric requirements of a small breed dog are very different from those of a giant breed. The same is the case for pups of different ages that have varying needs for certain nutrients. That’s why, you should always confirm from your vet whether the dog food you’ve chosen is appropriate for your dog’s breed size, age, and activity level.
  • Price: Although your goal is to choose the cheapest dog food available, make sure you don’t compromise on quality or your dog’s needs. Picking a lower-priced option just for the sake of saving money can affect your pup’s health and will level your savings in veterinary bills.

What to Look for in Cheap Quality Dog Food?

To be honest, look for exactly what you would look for in any dog food. The lower price should not be a reason to compromise on the quality. So, no matter how cheap the product, you should always look for the following.

  • Animal-based Proteins – The primary source of protein should always be real animal meat. I’d recommend avoiding any product that has a meal or by-product as the primary source of protein.
  • Fatty Acids – Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are essential for a lot of things, including coat, skin, and joints. While they are abundant in fish-based recipes, look for other sources such as flaxseed and canola oil.
  • Mineral and Vitamins – These micronutrients do a lot for your dog. From keeping their vision sharp to helping their cognition, micronutrients are what your baby needs.
  • Antioxidants – I recommend food with antioxidants because it is part of the preventative care for your pet. Antioxidants play a vital role in strengthening your pal’s immune system.

The Best Affordable Dog Food

Best Affordable Dog Food For Sensitive Stomachs: Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural

It is always great to find an affordable dog food that has all the quality that your pet needs – but even more so when they have specific requirements for diet, such as a sensitive stomach or issues with skin and coat. With lean, quality salmon as the number one ingredient, Purina SmartBlend combines quality meat full of protein with some healthy carbs, fiber from fruits and veggies, and a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. With no by-product meals, no corn, gluten, soy, or wheat, and no artificial preservatives or flavors, this classic dog food is a reliable and quality choice for every dog owner. But most importantly, it is light on calories, has a gentle ingredient blend, and will be beneficial for that sensitive tummy.


  • Supports healthy, itch-free skin and coat
  • Easy to digest
  • A balanced set of nutrients
  • Great for sensitive stomachs


  • Might not suit picky eaters

Runner Up: Iams Adult Dry Dog Food

IAMS is a reputable brand that offers a quality recipe ideal for dogs of medium and large breeds. The recipe boasts all the essential nutrients packed inside the bag, making it ideal for a quality regular diet. Of course, it is based on quality, protein-rich chicken meat as the main ingredient, which provides your pet with all the nutrients which are essential for maintaining both energy and lean muscle. Besides the important protein, there are also added vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, all of which are crucial for maintaining healthy joints, digestion, a shiny coat, and a solid immune system. Made with only the highest quality chicken meat, this special dog food is vet recommended and does not contain any artificial ingredients, such as colorings, preservatives, or flavors. All this makes IAMS’ dog food ideal for dogs of all sizes and breeds – and owners who want a more affordable solution as well.


  • Quality source of protein
  • Added veggies
  • Maintains a healthy weight
  • Vet recommended


  • Taste bland to some dogs

Editor’s Choice: Amazon Brand – Wag Dry Dog Food

Wag dog food is Amazon’s brand that is designed for everyone’s budget – without compromising on the quality. This is a reliable dog food that contains a balanced set of essential nutrients ideal for all dogs. Based on quality beef, salmon, or chicken meat as its primary ingredient, it is packed full of lean animal proteins that will keep your pet strong and in top form. This recipe is further supplemented with veggies – specifically sweet potatoes – and there is an added bit of vitamins, fibers, and healthy carbs. Wag also included those all-important antioxidants, phytonutrients, minerals, DHA, and Omega 3 fatty acids in their formula. All your dog needs at an affordable price!


  • Three flavor/meat options
  • Great value for money
  • Complete and balanced formula


  • Not for dogs with a sensitive tummy

Customer’s Choice: NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Dog Food

Every doggo needs a certain set of nutrients in their diet on a daily basis. This ensures that they are always happy and healthy. Of course, this comes directly from the dog food of your choice. But can that dog food be healthy and still affordable? NUTRO natural dog food is just the proof we need. It is based on either chicken or lamb, where healthy, quality meat is the primary source of protein and nutrients. Whichever one you choose, the quality will remain the same. Furthermore, this recipe is supplemented with brown rice for some added healthy carbs, and other ingredients that make up the nutritional value chart. Also included are those very important fatty acids, such as Omega 3 oils. These guarantee a slew of added benefits, all of which are essential for dogs. And best of all? The price is not that steep.


  • Two versions, chicken or lamb
  • Contains a balanced set of nutrients
  • Great source of protein


  • Can cause soft or runny stool

Best Affordable Dog Food for Small Breeds: CESAR Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Made with quality beef meat as the chief ingredient, and supplemented with peas, carrots, and other veggies, this dog food contains a balanced set of nutrients formulated to support the dietary needs of small dogs. And, as small dogs tend to be little divas and picky eaters, CESAR put special care into crafting a tantalizing flavor – you can count on the attractive filet mignon taste to attract your tiny pet to the food bowl. Of course, the ideal amounts of protein in each meal are guaranteed, as are the fibers, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Everything that your doggo needs – at a reasonable price!


  • 26 nutrients specifically needed by small breed dogs
  • Lean beef meat as the primary ingredient
  • Rich flavor and meaty chunks – ideal for picky eaters


  • Contains artificial ingredients

Best Affordable Dog Food for Seniors: Diamond Naturals Dry Senior Dog Food

This special recipe is created for seniors specifically and can be beneficial in so many ways to a dog in their golden years, and all without breaking the bank. It is made with chicken, eggs, and oatmeal, and thus combines the very best of the nutritional chart – into one single meal. Furthermore, it contains all the added vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibers, as well as the important probiotics and prebiotics which ensure good digestion. All of these are crucial for a healthy and smooth running immune system and good overall health in senior dogs. With the included essential fatty acids and probiotics, your senior will have improved digestion and strong and healthy joints.


  • Gentle on the stomach and easy to digest
  • Made in the USA
  • Great for senior dogs
  • Supports healthy joints


  • Perhaps too crunchy for some seniors

Best Affordable Dog Food for Large Breeds: Eukanuba Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Eukanuba is a brand that offers nutritious, high-quality food for large breeds, without skimping on tastiness or quality nutrition. With chicken as the primary ingredient, your pet’s daily needs for protein are definitely covered. But that’s not all: also included are vitamins, minerals, fibers, and other important goodies. The brand takes its meat only from healthy, high-quality chicken, uses DHA and added vitamins, and prides itself on the Activ Advantage concept. And best of all, it does not use any artificial ingredients such as preservatives, flavors, or colorings. With all this, your big doggo can finally benefit from a tailor-made diet to suit their unique needs.


  • For all life stages
  • Ideally suited to large breed dogs
  • A balanced set of nutrients
  • Natural ingredients


  • Not for dogs on a weight maintenance regime

Best Affordable Dog Food for Puppies: Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy

These tiny bites are packed with rich meat-based flavor that no puppy will resist and contain all the nutrients your pooch needs to grow big and strong. This recipe is based on real chicken and brown rice and contains no poultry by-product meal, artificial flavors, colors, or artificial preservatives. Of course, the recipe ensures an ample intake of high-quality protein, as well as EPA and DHA which support the cognitive development of puppies. One great advantage of this dog food is its size: the kibble is bite-sized so all puppies can easily eat as much as they can. This is an affordable, balanced daily diet, fantastic for puppies in their first, formative years.


  • Bite-sized for easy eating
  • Great for puppies
  • Nutritionally complete


  • Not for puppies with sensitive stomachs or allergies to grains

Best High-Protein Affordable Dog Food: Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dog Food

A high protein percentage in food is very important for all dogs – and that protein has to come from real meat to be truly nourishing for your four-legged bestie. Blue Buffalo Wilderness dog food offers the best meat-based source of protein for your pupper without ramping up the price in the process. This unique dog food recipe is jam-packed with protein and other essential nutrients that are needed for your pet to thrive. Choose from either chicken or salmon, two high-quality meats that are rich in protein and also supplemented with the brand’s trademark Life Source Bits. These bits include all the added goodies a dog might need – antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, glucosamine, fatty acids, and Omega oils. The recipe also contains healthy fruits and veggies that will add the all-important fibers and vitamins to your pet’s daily diet. These essential nutrients ensure a healthy immune system, strong joints, and smooth digestion as well.


  • Contains all the important nutrients
  • No by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives
  • High in protein
  • Two flavor options available


  • Might take some getting used to

Best Affordable Dog Food for Picky Eaters: Whole Earth Farms Dry Dog Food

For a healthy dog, it is important to establish a balanced diet that contains all the important nutrients, from protein all the way down to vitamins. And it is up to you, as a responsible owner, to find suitable dog food to provide all these nutrients. But what do you do when you have a picky dog? Here’s an easy choice: this Whole Earth Farms dog food is perfectly balanced and covers all the key bases but it also boasts a rich flavor that most dogs can’t resist. Of course, it is based on quality meats: pork, beef, and lamb, which gives it a high protein level that all dogs require. Furthermore, the food is supplemented with real veggies, such as sweet potato, to ensure a healthy balance of nutrients. What is more, you can opt for other versions, such as salmon and whitefish, or chicken and turkey to suit your pet’s picky preferences.


  • Natural, well-balanced ingredients
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or other fillers
  • Yummy enough for most picky eaters
  • 3 recipes to choose from


  • Inconsistent batches

American Journey Grain-Free Formula

American Journey’s salmon and sweet potato formula starts with deboned salmon, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas, along with wholesome fruits and vegetables. Salmon oil and flaxseed provide omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

With chicken for protein and brown rice, barley, and oatmeal for easily digestible carbohydrates, this Blue Buffalo blend offers four-star nutrition at a reasonable price. Want to give a grain-free food a try for your pup? Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection formula is available in 3-pound bags so you aren’t risking a big investment testing it out.

FAQs: Best High Quality Cheap Dog Food

What is the cheapest dog food in the market?

There are a lot of dog foods out there that will barely cost you $10 for a huge bag, but hardly any of those cheap dog foods are right for your dog. Most of those foods are full of filler ingredients that can cause allergies or sensitivities and have very little nutritional value. Dog food that is both cheap and nutritionally sound will cost you at least $30 for a 30lb bag.

What if $60 doesn’t seem affordable to me?

Well, there are cheaper ones out there. But before I move on to the list of dog foods under $50 and $40, let’s stick to the tradition get all the frequently asked questions out of the way.

Is all cheap dog food bad for dogs?

There is a lot of research being conducted on commercial dog foods, and many of them turn out to be of low quality or lower nutritional value. Some products branded as premium are premium in name only. But many brands offer quality dog food at low prices.

Which dog food brands are cheap but good?

Good question. Many brands offer affordable dog foods at a lower cost. Some examples include Taste of the Wild, Blue Buffalo, Purina, and Victor. Almost all of these brands have different products with different price points, but overall, they are affordable.

Is dry dog food cheaper than wet dog food?

Yes, dry dog food is much cheaper than wet dog food. It can last much longer than canned dog food because of longer shelf life. Also, because wet food is usually tastier, dogs tend to eat more of it in one meal.

Which cheap dog foods are the healthiest?

Cheap dog foods from trusted brands such as Taste of the Wild, Blue Buffalo, and American Journey are suitable for your dog, but what’s healthy for your dog depends largely on the individual dog’s breed, state of life, and lifestyle. Understanding these is the key to finding the right dog food for your baby.

Why is dry dog food cheaper than wet dog food?

Canned food is generally better for dogs because it has more moisture and more proteins. Plus, it has a lower amount of preservatives in it. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that quality is one of the reasons behind the price difference.

Why are some dog foods cheaper than others?

The quality of ingredients is generally the main reason behind the difference in price. Premium products usually include natural ingredients that can be traced back to the source. However, many brands are managing to cut down the cost without compromising quality.

Which cheap dog food should I avoid?

The number one reason to avoid any dog food is the absence of real meat in the first five ingredients. Do not buy any dog food that has too many filler ingredients such as corn bran, rice hull, wheat mill run, etc. Preservatives and additives are another reason to put the product back on the shelf.


Is homemade dog food cheaper than commercial dog foods?

If you were to try it for a week, you’d see that it isn’t. High-quality ingredients can never be cheap when bought from groceries. The reason dog food manufacturers can offer the same ingredients at a lower price is that they tend to source ingredients in bulk quantity. Many manufacturers even have farms where they raise animals.

Edward Hollon is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Edward has been writing for petdii for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Edward has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Edward knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.


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