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Our Top 5 Best Cheap Dog Foods

Pet parenting is a truly enriching experience. The unconditional love and quality time you spend with your dog are a testament to the unrivaled benefits of dog ownership.

However, pet owners can probably all agree on one negative aspect of the relationship: having a pet can be very EXPENSIVE!

Best Cheap Dog Foods Comparison

Pet accessories, such as leashes, cute bowls, and dog beds are pricey enough themselves. Boarding, training classes and vets fees can be steep. Some dog crates can literally cost you hundreds while behavioral classes can set you back thousands.

Although we all want what is best for our best buddies, certain high-quality dog foods and treats may even rival your own grocery bill for the week. So, what is a pet lover to do?

Well, that’s where we come in, with this review of the best affordable dog food. Believe it or not, cheap, quality dog food does actually exist, and we have found it for you!

Although we are conditioned to believe—especially when it comes to health products in general—that more expensive always equals better, this is not always true. Dog owners should not feel shame in wanting to find a less pricey alternative when it comes to feeding their pets.

So, why don’t we feed them that way? This article will explore the makeup of quality dog foods, as well as why cheap dog foods have become so stigmatized and will then profile the best inexpensive dog food for your precious pooch.

A Quick History Lesson

Pet owners are right to be wary of dog food and what companies are putting in it. Back in 2007, there was a widespread dog food and treats recall. Apparently, large companies in China were putting chemicals in their pet foods and treats to make them appear denser in protein than they actually were.

This chemical potentially caused kidney failure in dogs and, sadly, many dogs died because of this massive scandal. What was even more frightening was that some of the affected products and brands were staples in North America—brands which people knew and trusted.

Although this was obviously an extreme case, the 2007 pet food recall scandal is a reminder to us all that not all companies have your precious pup’s best interests at heart like you do. In this scenario, loving pet parents were unknowingly poisoning their animals so that these companies could make more money.

Several companies in this were accused of delaying the recall even after realizing their foods has been compromised and most of the families of the animals affected were denied compensation because their pets were simply considered property.

Besides epic blunders like this, many dog foods have been found to contain unnecessary and potentially harmful additives and fillers in their foods. In North America, most of us treat our dogs like family and we are lucky that there are standards in place to help protect our pets from dangerous products. However, just because a food meets a minimum standard doesn’t mean that it meets the best standard.

 

Despite this, it is possible to find inexpensive dog food without breaking the bank. To ensure you are buying a quality product, you can run it by your vet and should also research foods and read reviews of foods online.

It is also a good idea to ensure your pet products are made in your country (as a bonus, you will support local business) and to check the brand’s history of recalls.

Dog Food Facts

All dogs are carnivores and need to be fed accordingly. When selecting good, cheap dog food, it is first of all important to ensure there are not too many additives and fillers that dogs would never come into contact with in the wild. This includes grain, soy, and corn.

It is also important to consider your dog’s life stage when selecting food for them. Puppy and senior formulas are specially formulated for that life stage. Dry food for puppies is usually higher in fat to promote growth and may have smaller kibble sizes to accommodate their small baby teeth.

Dog food formulated for senior dogs may be higher in fatty acids and oils to help them age comfortably and gracefully. Some brands specially formulate food so that it can meet the needs of all life stages, which can make buying food significantly less of a hassle, especially if you have multiple dogs.

The next thing to do is check out the guaranteed analysis on the back of the dog food bag. The first ingredient should ALWAYS be crude protein, followed by crude fat and crude fiber. This is true of all dog food—expensive or not—as it mirrors the way dogs eat naturally.

When introducing any new food, you should make sure to work the new food in gradually. So, what does that mean exactly?

Start by replacing ¼ of your dog’s old food with new food. After a week or two, if he showing no signs of adverse effect, up the new food to 50% of his meals.

After another few weeks, your dog should be eating ¾ new food and ¼ old food. If he still seems to be enjoying the food and it is not showing any negative side effect, you can switch him completely onto his new food.

When switching dog food, it is important to note that dogs, especially purebreds are prone to allergies just like people are. Although often used in dog foods and fine for most pups, chicken is a common dog allergen, so if switching your dog on to a product containing chicken, make sure to watch carefully for excess scratching, stomach problems, and hair loss.

Top 5 Best Affordable Dog Foods – Reviews

 

1. Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food

This is a high fiber, inexpensive dry dog food for your pet. Although we know that dogs do not worry about these things like humans do, we really like the variety of flavors that this brand offers so you can switch things up for your dog.

This good, cheap dog food is made with real fruit and vegetables and real roasted meats. It is free of the harmful additives we mentioned in the introduction, so completely void of grain, soy and corn.

This dog kibble is appropriate for dogs with sensitive stomachs or picky pets. It also promotes a healthy immune system and is chock full of antioxidants.

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Some of the recipes do not specify exactly what type of fish is in the formula, which would be nice to know as some fish are better sources of minerals and vitamins than others and some fish are known to have higher levels of mercury.

The Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food can also improve the quality of your dog’s coat. Many users report that within a couple of weeks, skin conditions and bald spots cleared right up and that their dogs boasted a sleek and shiny coat.

Dogs eating this food may also show signs of increased energy levels, meaning they are getting the most of their meals.

Bottom Line? Taste of the Wild is cheap as well as soy, grain, and corn free. It tastes great and is high in fiber to keep your dog regular.

Pros Cons
  • Variety of flavors
  • Free of corn, soy, grain
  • Appropriate for sensitive stomachs
  • High fiber
  • Promotes a healthy immune system
  • In some of the flavors, the type of fish used is not specified

2. Evolve Maintenance Dry Dog Food

Triumph is a huge pet company that manufactures natural dog foods. Triumph products are widely available at large retailers as well as online.

This cheap, healthy dog food comes in one flavor. This dog food is all natural and contains no dyes or preservatives. The Evolve Maintenance formula contains high-quality sources of protein, as well as high-quality complex carbs (such as flaxseed), which provide fiber for your pooch.

Like the Taste of the Wild food, this food is free of corn, soy and wheat products. It contains super food and probiotics to help keep your dogs immune system and gut healthy.

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The main ingredients in this formula are chicken and chicken meal. You may want to avoid it if your dog suffers from severe allergies as chicken can be a common cause of stomach upsets and hair loss. This formula also contains canola oil, which can stem from genetically-modified rapeseed oil.

The bottom line? This brand offers fairly high-quality and performance dog food at an affordable price. This formula contains high-quality ingredients and is naturally grain, corn, and soy free.

Pros Cons
  • Inexpensive
  • High-quality ingredients
  • Grain, corn and soy free
  • If your dog has severe allergies, he may be sensitive to this food as chicken is a common canine allergen
  • A couple of ingredients considered questionable

3. Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

This dry dog food is an all-natural, grain free feast for dogs. It is high fiber and high protein. The Earthborn Holistic Great Plains feast promotes the growth of strong, lean muscle and encourages sustained energy levels.

The protein in this formula comes from red meat meal. This product contains no chicken, which is a common dog allergen. The proteins sources are bison, meal, and egg. This may be a great option for someone whose dog suffers from allergies or has undiagnosed skin problems.

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This inexpensive dog food also features natural antioxidants, such as blueberries and cranberries as well as high-quality sources of fiber, notably, flaxseed. Flaxseed is also a great source of plant-based protein and will help your dog to feel fuller, longer. The formula also contains canola oil.

This formula is corn, soy, and wheat free, so it contains none of the fillers and additives that can harm your dog.

This nourishing food is appropriate for dogs with sensitive stomachs and will promote a healthy gut and normal digestion. This food is made in America and Earthborn Holistics has no history of having their dog foods recalled.

Dogs love it and you can feel confident that while saving money you are providing a nutritious, high-quality product to your dog. We highly recommend this formula.

Pros Cons
  • Grain, soy, and corn free
  • Contains no chicken
  • High-quality sources of protein
  • High-quality sources of fiber
  • Contains canola oil

4. CANIDAE Life Stages Dry Dog Food for Puppies, Adults & Seniors

This cheap, healthy dog food contains no corn, wheat or soy. It is formulated by vets and is appropriate for dogs of all life stages. This is a great, handy feature, especially for owners of multiple dogs.

This dog food is full of protein, which is sourced from chicken, turkey, and fish. This may be an issue if your dog suffers from severe allergies, but otherwise is a fantastic source of lean protein.

It is also full of highly fibrous, quality ingredients such as peas and brown rice, which help your dog feel full and satisfied while promoting stomach health and digestion.

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This formula also features the HealthPLUS trio, which is a blend of probiotics, antioxidants, and omegas to help your dog achieve a long, silky and shiny coat.

Dogs simply love it. It is made in America and it is great for large breeds as it has more calories than the average dog food, sustaining them longer. We highly recommend this brand of dog food.

Pros Cons
  • Good for all ages, life stages and breeds
  • High-quality protein sources
  • High-quality fiber sources
  • Contains no canola oil
  • Contains a blend of antioxidants, probiotics, and omegas to promote immune system health
  • Main source of protein is chicken, which is a common dog allergen

5. Premium Edge Dry Food for Adult Dogs

This inexpensive dog food contains no wheat, corn or soy. It also comes in a variety of flavors, which is always a feature that we like.

The main source of protein in this dog food is fish (salmon) and ground fish meal, which are excellent sources of lean protein and provide important omegas for your pet. It also contains high-quality fiber sources, such as barley, peas, millet, and flaxseed. Adequate fiber is important for your dog as it helps with weight control, keeps his gut healthy and helps prevent painful anal gland problems.

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This formula contains canola oil. This formula is appropriate for dogs with sensitive stomachs and for dogs with allergies since it contains no chicken. It also contains antioxidants and extra glucosamine and chondroitin to help your dog age well and support joint health.

This formula also helps promote a thick, shiny, healthy coat and can be helpful in coat problems such as smelly fur or extreme shedding. We definitely recommend this premium, yet very affordable dog food.

Pros Cons
  • No wheat, corn or soy
  • Appropriate for dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs as it contains no chicken
  • High-quality sources of lean protein
  • High-quality sources of fiber
  • Promotes a healthy skin and coat
  • Promotes joint health
  • Contains canola oil


Although all of these inexpensive dog foods are great options, our top three picks and recommendations to buy are:

Although they are not the cheapest foods that exist in today’s dog food market, these dog foods are both inexpensive and high quality. All of these foods are free of wheat, soy, and grain—the fillers that are most typically found in dog food which offer no nutritional value and contribute to dog allergies.

They all have high-quality sources of protein and crude protein is the first ingredient in all of their guaranteed analysis. All of these dog foods remain affordable while providing your dog with high-quality sources of fiber like flaxseeds and pea meal.

These dog foods are also good sources of antioxidant foods and provide important omegas for your pet.

When selecting the right food for your dog you need to consider his specific needs. You also need to consider the possibility that it may take a few tries to get it right. Some dogs are fussy or just simply do not have a taste for certain foods.

If your dog suffers from undiagnosed skin problems that you suspect may be allergy related, we recommend trying one of the foods that contain no chicken or chicken by-products, as chicken is a surprisingly little known yet common dog allergy.

Some of these foods may be better in helping a dog age gracefully as they provide sources of sustainable energy, as well as contains extra vitamins and minerals to promote joint and coat health.