6 Best Affordable Dog Food Products For Dog Parents on a Budget

Dog food can be expensive, which is why many dog parents are in search of the best affordable dog food. Oftentimes, more expensive brands are better quality, but not every family has the time and money for a fancier brand. Luckily, there are still ways to keep your dog healthy without spending all your money on high quality food. There are some more affordable brands that still provide an ideal amount of nutrition for your dog.

What Does Your Dog Need in Their Diet?

Affordable dog food doesn’t have to mean an unhealthy diet. You can still find some healthy foods within your price range. It’s recommended that you feed your dog the highest quality food you can afford. For some dog parents, this might be an elaborate fresh diet, but for others, a regular dry food brand might suffice. Every family has different lifestyles, which means different pet products too. As long as your dog is getting all the nutrients they need, then that’s what matters most.

There are six basic items that you will find in your dog’s food: protein, fat, water, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. All dog foods should have these, but the amount and quality of these ingredients will vary. The most important part of the food is the protein. Dog food should be packed with real animal protein, no by-products or fillers. Check the ingredient label to make sure a quality animal meat is listed for the first few ingredients. Quality fat is also something to look out for.

As for carbs, dogs can do without them. Most dog foods are packed with carbs, and they don’t need to disclose the amount on their labels. However, dogs actually don’t need any carbs in their diet. After all, most carbs in dog food are cheap filler ingredients. So, the less carbs in your dog’s food, the better. In fact, try to avoid controversial ingredients altogether. Instead, look for beneficial vitamins and minerals that can improve various health aspects for your dog. That’s how you’ll know if dog food is good quality or not.

Best Affordable Dog Food

There is so much more to consider for the best affordable dog food than just price. So, we’ve selected six great choices and analyzed them each based on features, pros, and cons.

#1 – Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice Formula 

This affordable dog food comes in three sizes, ranging from 6 pounds to 40 pounds. It’s a lamb and rice recipe that’s created for adult dogs of all sizes and breeds. Lamb meal is listed as the first ingredient, which is a meat concentrate that contains about 300% more protein than fresh meat. Then, it’s followed by some grain products, some of which are considered controversial. It has a total of 23% protein and 14% fat, which are about average for dry dog food.

In addition to the protein and grains, there are some other beneficial items to improve your dog’s health. First, it contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to improve your dog’s skin and coat. It also has fruits and vegetables with antioxidants to benefit your dog’s immune system, along with probiotics to aid digestion. While it does have grains in it, it avoids other filler ingredients, such as corn, wheat, and artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Pros:

  • It comes in multiple sizes.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It aids digestion.
  • It benefits your dog’s immune system.
  • It avoids certain filler ingredients.

Cons:

  • This brand has had multiple recalls.
  • It has some controversial ingredients.
  • It could arrive expired.

#2 – Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Salmon Sensitive Skin & Stomach

Purina is one of the most popular dog food brands out there, which is why it’s also one of the most affordable. This is a salmon formula that’s ideal for dogs with lots of sensitivities. It comes in four different sizes, ranging from 5 pounds to 41 pounds. It has 26% protein and 16% fat, which are a little above average for dry dog food. It lists salmon as the first ingredient, but then it’s followed by grains and other controversial filler ingredients.

Since this is a salmon recipe, it’s packed with fish oil, which is a great source of omega fatty acids. This will keep your dog’s skin and coat extra healthy. It also contains prebiotic fiber to ensure that it’s easily digestible for your dog, which is why it’s recommended for dogs with sensitive stomachs. It even includes ingredients to benefit your dog’s joints and mobility.

Pros:

  • It comes in multiple sizes.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It promotes healthy joints.
  • It’s ideal for sensitive dogs.

Cons:

  • It has many controversial ingredients.
  • The brand has had multiple recalls.
  • It could make some dogs sick.

#3 – Nutro Wholesome Essentials Small Breed Senior Chicken

This is a chicken and rice flavor, but it’s designed specifically for small senior dogs, which is a much narrower category than the other options. It comes in multiple sizes, with 5 pounds being the smallest option. In total, it contains 25% protein and 13% fat, which are a bit higher than average. Plus, it lists animal protein as the first two ingredients with chicken and chicken meal. It has a few controversial ingredients, but much less than the above dog foods.

This dry food contains plenty of healthy antioxidants to help support your pup’s aging immune system. It’s also packed with natural fiber to make digestion easier on older pups. It specifically avoids certain filler ingredients like chicken by-products, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Pros:

  • It lists animal protein as the first two ingredients.
  • It comes in multiple sizes.
  • It promotes a healthy immune system.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It avoids certain filler ingredients.

Cons:

  • It’s only for small senior dogs.
  • It has a few controversial ingredients.

#4 – Blue Buffalo Life Protection Adult Chicken & Brown Rice

Blue Buffalo is another popular dog food brand that’s known for being affordable. This particular option is the Adult Chicken and Brown Rice formula, but all their recipes are reasonably priced. This recipe also comes in five different sizes, ranging from 3 pounds to 30 pounds. The first two ingredients are deboned chicken and chicken meal, followed by some grains and some controversial ingredients further down the list. In total, it has 24% protein and 14% fat.

This food claims to be packed with real meat, garden veggies and fruits, and whole grains. It also has LifeSource Bits, which are a blend of antioxidant-rich ingredients, which help support your dog’s immune system. The recipe also includes plenty of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins to promote healthy bones. Additionally, it has glucosamine to assist with your pup’s joint health.

Pros:

  • It lists animal protein as the first two ingredients.
  • It comes in multiple sizes.
  • It promotes a healthy immune system.
  • It promotes healthy bones.
  • It promotes healthy joints.

Cons:

  • The brand has had multiple recalls.
  • It has some controversial ingredients.
  • It might make some dogs sick.

#5 – Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken & Veggies Recipe

Rachael Ray Nutrish is by far the most affordable dog food on this list. This specific recipe is a chicken formula that can be purchased in four different sizes. In total, this food contains 26% protein and 14% fat, which are a little above average for dry dog food. When looking at the ingredients, animal protein is listed as the first two ingredients. However, there are a few controversial ingredients that come immediately after it.

All the chicken used for this food was raised on farms in the United States. Additionally, it has plenty of wholesome vegetables, such as peas and carrots. There are some sources that provide prebiotics for healthy digestion, but they might not be the best ingredients for the job. It also has omega fatty acids to help keep your dog’s skin and coat extra healthy.

Pros:

  • It’s the most affordable option.
  • It lists animal protein as the first two ingredients.
  • It comes in multiple sizes.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.

Cons:

  • It has many controversial ingredients.
  • The kibble pieces might be too large for small dogs.
  • The quality of the food could vary.

#6 – Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Food

Taste of the Wild is a brand that’s known for making their formulas closely resemble a dog’s ancestral diet. This is a high prairie diet, which includes meats like bison, venison, chicken, and lamb. In fact, this formula has much more protein than other affordable dog foods, with 32% protein and 18% fat. It also lists animal protein as the first three ingredients, which is more than similar foods. Additionally, it has very few controversial ingredients.

This is a grain-free dog food, which makes it a great choice for dogs with common allergies. This also means that it can avoid many common filler ingredients. All the ingredients it uses are highly digestible, and it contains omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coats. It also has plenty of antioxidants to promote a healthy immune system for your pup. It can be purchased in three different sizes, ranging from 5 pounds to 28 pounds.

Pros:

  • It’s grain-free for dogs with allergies.
  • It lists animal protein as the first three ingredients.
  • It comes in multiple sizes.
  • It’s high in protein.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It promotes a healthy immune system.

Cons:

  • The quality could vary.
  • Your dog could get sick if not transitioned properly.

How to Choose the Right Food for Your Dog

Some dog foods are certainly better quality than others, but choosing the right food ultimately comes down to your dog’s needs and preferences. Make sure you take your dog’s allergies, sensitivities, and taste into account when choosing a food. A high quality food means nothing if it makes your dog sick. So, consider how your dog has reacted to different foods so far and use that to help you make a decision. Always look closely at the ingredient list before settling on a food.

Also, if your dog is currently eating a different kibble brand, then you might want to use a slow transition when switching foods. If your dog has a high quality diet, then they should be able to switch foods with no problem, but most kibble brands might cause upset stomachs. So, mix a little bit of your dog’s new food with their old food at first. Then, slowly add more each meal until your dog is only eating their new food. With enough caution and consideration, you should be able to choose the perfect food for your dog.

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