Top 10 Best Inexpensive Dog Food for Large Breeds

Top 10 Best Inexpensive Dog Food for Large Breeds

If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s the desire to feed our dogs the healthiest food there is. But this isn’t always possible, as high-quality dog food is less than budget friendly. When it comes to large breeds, budgeting for the amount of food that they eat can especially feel like an insurmountable task.

Fortunately, the state of your wallet doesn’t mean you have to give your dog less than the best, as there are high-quality brands out there with affordable price tags.

We put together these reviews for the 10 best inexpensive dog foods for large breeds to help you and your wallet keep your dog happy and healthy.

The 10 Best Inexpensive Dog Foods for Large Breeds

Iams Lamb & Rice Recipe Large Breed — Best Value

Iams Lamb & Rice
Main ingredients:
Lamb, chicken by-product meal, ground whole-grain barley, ground whole-grain corn
Protein content: 22.50%
Fat content: 12.50%
Calories: 3,534 kcal/kg

When it comes to high-quality dog food, even the budget-friendly options can be expensive, but there are affordable options, like the Iams Lamb & Rice Recipe Large Breed Dry Dog Food. Available in 15-, 30-, and 40-pound bags, it’s our choice for the best inexpensive dog food for large breeds for the money.

Made with real lamb, this Iams recipe is high in protein to support muscle health and contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine to ensure that your large breed’s joints stay healthy. The recipe also has natural fiber and prebiotics to maintain your dog’s digestive system. The omega-6 fatty acids work to keep their skin and coat in good condition.

Some users have found that the kibble is brittle and crumbles easily, leaving dust throughout the bag.

Cons
  • The kibble is brittle and crumbles easily
Pros
  • High in protein to support muscle health
  • Natural fiber and prebiotics
  • Made with real lamb
  • Omega-6 promotes skin and coat health

Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult — Best Overall

Diamond Naturals Large Breed

Main ingredients:
Lamb meal, whole-grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, oatmeal
Protein content: 22.00%
Fat content: 12.00%
Calories: 3,425 kcal/kg

The best overall inexpensive dog food for large breeds is the Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Lamb Meal & Rice Formula. Nutritionally balanced to support the needs of large breed dogs, it’s made with real meat, fruits, and vegetables. Lamb is the first ingredient, to prevent protein allergies to chicken or beef.

Antioxidant-rich blueberries and kale keep your dog’s immune system working as it should, while probiotics and prebiotics support their digestive system. The formula also includes glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega fatty acids to support joint health and protect their skin and coat.

Some owners have found that their dogs have suffered from bad gas while eating this formula.

Cons
  • Has caused gassiness in some dogs
Pros
  • Lamb avoids meat-protein allergies
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health
  • Prebiotics and probiotics promote digestive health
  • Nutritionally balanced for large breed dogs

Purina ONE Large Breed Dry Dog Food — Premium Choice

Purina ONE Natural Large Breed +Plus Formula Dry Dog Food
Main ingredients: Chicken, rice flour, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal
Protein content: 26.00%
Fat content: 12.00%
Calories: 3,474 kcal/kg

If you don’t mind stretching your budget further, the Purina ONE Natural Large Breed +Plus Formula Dry Dog Food is our premium option. Formulated for large breed dogs, the recipe uses nutrients from real chicken to provide dogs with a healthy, balanced diet.

Four antioxidant sources protect your dog’s immune system, and glucosamine keeps their joints lubricated and in top shape for their adventures. It also uses a blend of omega oils, vitamins, and minerals to support their skin and coat health to keep them looking their best.

There have been reports of the bags containing a strong, unpleasant odor that many owners and dogs might find off-putting.

Cons
  • Some bags have a strong, unpleasant smell
Pros
  • Healthy nutrition from real chicken
  • Four antioxidant sources
  • Omega fatty acids nourish skin and coat
  • Glucosamine promotes healthy joints

Merrick Healthy Grains Real Salmon & Brown Rice — Vet’s Choice

Merrick Healthy Grains Real Salmon & Brown Rice with Ancient Grains Dog Food Recipe
Main ingredients: Deboned salmon, chicken meal, brown rice, barley
Protein content: 25.00%
Fat content: 16.00%
Calories: 3,739 kcal/kg

Packed with natural ingredients, the Merrick Healthy Grains Real Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is our vet’s choice for the best dog food for large breeds. It doesn’t contain controversial ingredients like peas, lentils, or potatoes and provides a safe, healthy, and nutritionally balanced diet for your dog.

Merrick also uses real salmon, which helps maintain muscle tissue and supply omega fatty acids to support skin, coat, and joint health. The whole grains included in the recipe promote digestive health to boost your dog’s overall wellbeing.

This option can be on the expensive side, particularly if you buy large bags. If you only feed your dog kibble, the more affordable small bags won’t last long.

Cons
  • Large 25-pound bags are expensive
Pros
  • Whole grains support digestive health
  • No legumes
  • Balanced nutrition from real ingredients
  • Omega oils from salmon promote skin and coat health

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy — Best for Puppies

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Main ingredients:
Chicken, chicken meal, whole-grain sorghum, whole-grain brown rice
Protein content: 26.00%
Fat content: 14.00%
Calories: 3,622 kcal/kg

Large breed puppies aren’t tiny for long, and they require extra nutrition to make sure their body is supported as they grow. These puppies can also go through a large amount of food, so an affordable option — like Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe — is important if you want to keep up with their food intake.

Nutro Natural Choice uses non-GMO ingredients to create a balanced and nutritional diet. Made with real chicken as the first ingredient, it is formulated specifically for large breed puppies. It contains DHA to support brain and eye development, along with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to promote joint health.

This option has caused diarrhea and loose stools in some dogs.

Cons
  • Has caused loose stools or diarrhea in some dogs
Pros
  • Natural ingredients for balanced nutrition
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • DHA supports brain and eye development
  • Formulated for large breed puppies

American Journey Active Life Formula Large Breed Recipe

American Journey Active Life Formula Large Breed Recipe
Main ingredients: Deboned salmon, menhaden fish meal, brown rice, peas
Protein content: 24.00%
Fat content: 12.00%
Calories: 3,326 kcal/kg

Recipes that contain natural ingredients are the best way to ensure that our dogs have a healthy diet. This is where recipes like the American Journey Active Life Formula Large Breed Recipe are ideal. Using real salmon and salmon oil, American Journey provides plenty of energy for active breeds and promotes their skin and coat health. It’s also filled with fruits and vegetables to support your dog’s immune system and digestive health.

Some dog owners who have ordered this product have had issues with the bags arriving open or ripped. This American Journey recipe does contain peas as the fourth ingredient, which is a controversial ingredient due to a suspected link to heart disease.

Cons
  • Contains peas
  • Bags sometimes arrive torn open
Pros
  • Real salmon is the first ingredient
  • Promotes skin and coat health
  • Formulated for active, large breeds
  • Nutrient-rich vegetables

Nature’s Recipe Large Breed Grain-Free Recipe

Nature's Recipe Large Breed Grain-Free Recipe
Main ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, tapioca starch
Protein content: 25.00%
Fat content: 12.00%
Calories: 3,540 kcal/kg

Big dogs need a large amount of nutrition, and food formulated specifically for them is the best way to ensure that they receive a balanced diet. Nature’s Recipe Large Breed Grain-Free Recipe is designed to support large breeds with real, nutritional ingredients. The natural fiber and antioxidants in the included sweet potato and pumpkin ingredients promote digestive and immune health, while the protein from real chicken supports muscle health.

The fiber content of this recipe might cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs that aren’t used to the amount of fiber in their diet. You should discuss grain-free diets with your veterinarian to ensure that it’s the best option for your dog’s food sensitivities.

Cons
  • Grain-free formulas have been linked with heart disease
  • Some dogs and owners find the smell unpleasant
Pros
  • Made with real chicken
  • Pumpkin supports digestive health
  • Formulated for large breeds

Wholesomes Large Breed with Chicken Meal & Rice Formula

Wholesomes Large Breed with Chicken Meal & Rice Formula
Main ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, peas, rice
Protein content: 23.00%
Fat content: 13.00%
Calories: 3,560 kcal/kg

The Wholesomes Large Breed with Chicken Meal & Rice Formula is designed to provide a balanced diet for large breed adult dogs over 60 pounds in weight. To properly support the activity and energy levels of large dogs, it combines nutrition from real ingredients with essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids.

Real fruits and vegetables are added to the formula to provide natural fiber for digestive health, while your dog’s joints are maintained with chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine. The omega fatty acids also protect your dog’s outer health by tending to their skin and coat, keeping them looking sleek and shiny.

While this recipe isn’t grain free, it does contain legumes, which are an ingredient that has been linked with heart disease. Some of the bags have also been delivered ripped or open.

Cons
  • Contains legumes
  • The bags sometimes arrive torn open
Pros
  • Formulated for adult dogs over 60 pounds
  • Fortified with chondroitin and glucosamine
  • Omega fatty acids promote skin and coat health
  • Fiber from real vegetables supports digestion

True Acre Foods Farmhouse Blend Large Breed

True Acre Foods Farmhouse Blend Large Breed
Main ingredients: Chicken, corn, wheat, chicken by-product meal
Protein content: 26.00%
Fat content: 13.00%
Calories: 3,580 kcal/kg

If your dog gets bored with simple biscuits, the True Acre Foods Farmhouse Blend Large Breed formula contains tender pieces of chicken along with the normal kibble to provide texture and extra flavor. It’s designed to provide balanced nutrition for large breeds.

High in protein from real chicken, it supports muscle health, along with bone development with the additional calcium and phosphorus. It’s also designed to be easy to digest with prebiotics and fibrous ingredients.

Some people have found the smell of this food unpleasant and noticed that the number of chicken pieces varies from bag to bag. It’s also caused stomach upset in some dogs.

Cons
  • The number of chicken chunks varies
  • Has caused stomach upset in some dogs
  • A few people have found the smell unpleasant
Pros
  • Formulated for large breeds
  • Calcium and phosphorus support bone health
  • Fiber and prebiotics promote digestion
  • High protein to support muscles

Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed Recipe

Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed Chicken, Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Main ingredients: Chicken, turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal
Protein content: 23.00%
Fat content: 12.00%
Calories: 3,523 kcal/kg

Made with real chicken and turkey, Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed Recipe relies on natural ingredients instead of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives to create a nutritional and tasty meal. It supports the energy levels of large dog breeds with protein from real meat. The formula also includes glucosamine and chondroitin to maintain their joints and keep your dog active.

Along with supporting your dog’s internal organs with antioxidants and prebiotic fiber, this kibble keeps them looking their best with omega fatty acids.

Chicken Soup for the Soul has caused stomach upset in some dogs, and there are a few, fussy canines that dislike the flavor and refuse to eat it. The bags aren’t resealable and need to be stored properly to retain their freshness.

Cons
  • Has caused stomach upset in some dogs
  • Not resealable
  • Some dogs dislike the flavor
Pros
  • Contains protein from real chicken and turkey
  • No artificial additives
  • Antioxidants promote immune health

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Inexpensive Dog Food

Not all brands are created equal, and unfortunately, the high-quality formulas are always more expensive. Without knowing what makes a brand of dog food good quality, though, you’ll struggle to find a healthy budget option. Here are a few things to consider when you’re looking for a healthy, budget-friendly, and nutritional dog food for your large breed dog.

Budget

  • It might seem counter-intuitive to consider the cost when looking for inexpensive dog food, but it can help if you plan ahead and budget according to your finances. This means taking into account all the expenses that you need to meet, not just your dog food.
  • By paying careful attention to how much you can afford to spend on dog food, you’ll be able to decide which brand to choose. You’ll also be better equipped to know just how far you can stretch your budget before you risk eating into funds for bills and your own food.

Bag Size

  • As you would expect, the larger your dog is, the more they’ll eat. If you’re familiar with large breeds, you’re probably aware of how fast your best friend goes through a bag of dry food. Even the big bags don’t seem to last long. Unfortunately, the large bags are always the ones that make the biggest dent in your budget.
  • If you’re struggling to find big bags of high-quality kibble that fit your budget, small bags are an option. They might not last as long, but they are cheaper in the short term. You can also mix the kibble with wet food to stretch out the meals.

Ingredients

  • Knowing what’s in the dog food that you buy is the most important step in deciding whether the brand is right for you. Most brands that use natural ingredients are often the most expensive, but they’ll also be higher quality and healthier for your dog than brands that rely on fillers and artificial additives.
  • It’s the ingredient list that will also tell you whether the formula will set off any food sensitivities that your dog might have or if there are any controversial ingredients — like legumes — used in the recipe.

Quality

  • Going for the cheapest brand available might save time and effort, but you also get what you pay for. Low-quality food might be packaged similarly to the high-end products — without the price tag — but the contents may not be as healthy for your dog.
  • Even if it means stretching your budget to the limit or choosing small bags to mix with canned food, try to find an affordable high-quality brand. It’ll be more expensive but will also save you a great deal of money in vet expenses if your dog doesn’t get the nutrients that they need from cheaper brands.

Final Thoughts

These reviews covered our choices for the best inexpensive dog food for large breeds. The Diamond Naturals large breed formula is our overall best choice, with natural ingredients and balanced nutrition. For tighter budgets, Iams wins with its value for the money, but if you can afford to stretch your budget further, Purina One Natural is the next best option.

Large breed puppies have their own nutritional needs, and Nutro Natural has a dedicated puppy formula. If you’d prefer to choose an option recommended by professionals, the Merrick Healthy Grain formula is our vet’s choice.

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