10 Best Cheap Dog Foods for People on a Budget!

For people who keep pets, they know that these domesticated creatures are more than just animals. A unique personality to each, these companions can be emotionally connected to their owners (and vice versa) to a level that can make other family members jealous.

Keeping a pet such as dogs require great responsibility. Taking great care of these humble animals is essential for their physical and mental health. Pack predators from an evolutionary point of view, these domesticated creatures used to hunt for food. This meant a lot of exercise and lesser amount of food than they are consuming now.

Modern dogs as pets get food from us and don’t have to hunt. As such, they require a very balanced diet, or end up fat and unhealthy. There are many companies in the United States that cater to dogs and selecting the right one can be a tedious task. We have compiled the top ten best cheap dog foods so that your life can become a bit easier and so you can save money on your dogs food without skimping on the quality in the process.


Whole Earth Farms is a brand that you should know about. If you don’t, go and buy one. Available in kibble and canned, the company behind this brand claims their dog food is made from natural ingredients, is high in protein and none of the ingredients are sourced from China and does not contain soy, corn or wheat. The brand has a wide selection of flavors, ranging from beef to duck meat and caters to all kinds of breeds and ages. The brand gives a complete guide on the amount of foodd to be fed to all ranges of dogs (by weight and age) and how many times a day.

There have been little to no negative reviews about this food from dog owners and they report that their pets love this food. The high quality of ingredients lead to a healthier, active dog and a shiny coat

Owners do report that food has a bit of a strong smell, so if you are living in tight quarters, make sure you and your family are ok with it, or have a strong ventilation system.

Price range starts from $7 for a 5oz treat pack, $21 for a dozen 12oz can and $27 for a 12lb bag; reaching up to $50 for a 25 pound bag. The manufacturer’s website has a complete list of online stores that sell their products. You can also input your address or zip code to find the nearest store that stocks their products.




Making dry and wet food for dogs, this dog food company started as a storybook publishing company that printed soul-inspiring stories for children and adults. Describing its products as food for the mind, the company has been in business for 23 years. As it diversified, it was inspired to start making quality foods for pets since it received thousands of submission stories regarding pets and their owners.

Blending a fine balance of nutrition, their products are made from high quality quality ingredients and are filled with vitamins and antioxidants. Their food comes in grain free, dry and wet forms. There is also a specialized line of dog food that is dedicated to large breed puppies and adults. Dog food in this category is designed for heavy muscular dogs and for dogs with stronger bones.

Treats start from $5 for a 60z bag, $8 & $9 for 5 pound bag of dry adult and puppy food respectively, $27 for a 15 pound dry food bag and  $24 for 13oz wet canned food

NOTE: Chicken Soup For Soul has different kinds of meats added in each blend. Read the ingredients carefully to see if your pet is allergic to certain formulas.




The Zero Grain line is one of the best dog foods Rachael Ray has to offer. As a cook with her own successful TV show, Rachael Ray started the dog food line after she realized that although many brands of dog food exist, none is offering a gourmet style high quality good food that a man’s best friend needs and deserves. Her carefully blended food for dogs is not only delicious (for dogs, of course), but as a trained chef, Rachael made sure that the food is perfectly balanced having the right quantity of vitamins and other nutrition required by canines. The recipes she has made are based on what her pit-bull, Isaboo ate.

Low quality dog foods contain grains such as soy and wheat as fillers. Although, speaking biologically, dogs can digest fruits and vegetables, but years of inbreeding have caused the immune and digestive systems to be compromised and weakened. In modern times, some dogs’ digestive system have troubles with grains. That is why Rachael Ray has a no grain line of products for dogs. The products are made with real turkey, beef, chicken and seafood. Possessing no grains and having natural ingredients, the food is allergy friendly. The fresh fruits and vegetables give the food a perfect balance that your pet requires. The Zero Grain line comes in many different flavors flavors: Turkey and potato; beef, potato and bison; salmon and sweet potato, chicken and sweet potato.

Available in 12 pound and 28 pounds, the dry dog food is available for $34 and $46 respectively. The price is a bit high compared to other foods, but remember, this range consists of specialized blends and Rachael has made the same effort to make it as good and nutritious as she would in any of her cooking for us humans.




Billed as for dogs with food sensitivities, manufacturers of California Natural have a strict quality control program. They are one of the few dog food manufacturers that claim their processes of manufacturing is not only ISO 9001 compliant (quality management), but also ISO 22000 (Food Safety Management), American Institute of Baking Superior Rating and USDA APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service registered).

Not convinced yet? They claim to even conduct a sensory assessment by an experienced technician for product characteristics such as color and aroma. That’s right, there is a person who actually checks if the dog food smells good! Does your current dog food manufacturer do that?

The food produced is not made in a gourmet style and is pretty plain. Compared to other high-end foods on the market, this line of food does not offer much variety in taste for your pet, but each has its ingredients carefully selected to match the flavor and dietary requirements of our canine companions. Another social responsibility the company shows is that it explicitly labels each and every ingredient that goes into making their product so that owners know what they are feeding their pets.

California Natural offers you two types of foods: With grain and without grain. The food comes in three package sizes, 4.5lb, 13lb and 26lb. depending on the flavor, the bags cost can range from $18 to $70.




AvoDerm is a line of all natural dog food by Breeder’s Choice- a brand that has been in the canine business since 1947. The AvoDerm products were launched back in 1982 and in the 36 years, AvoDerm has made a unique place in the canine pet community. The ingredient promoted in this food is avocado which is full of vitamin A, C and E, it also contains folate, potassium, niacin and essential fatty acids. This fruit has all the right ingredients for making fur bright, silky and shiny.

The company has dedicated foods for puppies, small breeds and large breeds. There are special dedicated foods for dogs who are in their later stages of life, requiring chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine to maintain aging joints. There is also a weight control food for those dogs who get little exercise and are overweight.

A unique product offered by Breeder’s Choice is a vegetarian variant of dog food. Believe it or not, there are dogs out there who are allergic to meat proteins. The vegetarian formula uses specific plants to deliver the perfect balance of protein, vitamins and essential fats to your dog.

Their formulas do not contain any wheat, corn or artificial flavors. The power of the super fruit avocado is incorporated, delivering the best of nutrition to your pet.

Canned food starts from $24.50 and go up to $33.50. Bagged ones will cost you $14 for a 3.5 pound bag, going up to $45 for a 24 pound bag.




If there is ever a one a kind dog food, I will be surprised if it would not be from Earthborn. This dog food company has a vast selection of dog foods, dry and wet. The company strictly believes that a good dog food is more than the sum of its ingredients. With extensive research and development behind it, the manufacturer has found the ultimate balance of taste and nutrition any kind of dog might need. The company makes two brands of dog food, each with a unique features and designed for a specific needs:

  • Holistic: this range has everything a dog needs during its life cycle. The puppy formula is designed to have lots of DHA, a type of omega 3 fatty acid that promotes healthy brain and eye development, proper levels of calcium and phosphorous for those growing bones. There is a special formulated food for small breeds that require high energy levels, yet weight control; a regular adult feed and a special fish and potato for those dogs who have trouble digesting regular meat. Other formulas include weight control and grain free versions.
  • Venture: For the adventurous, the Venture line has some pretty unique meats and formulations. All variants are grain free, full of essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids and have a great taste. The six formulas are: Alaska Pollock and pumpkin; duck and pumpkin, pork and butternut squash, rabbit and pumpkin, squid and chickpeas, turkey and butternut squash.

Dry foods start from $15.31 and go for up to $70 a bag. Wet food starts from $18.32 and reach $32.38




A small food company for pets, Nature’s Variety makes the Prairie brand which is holistic, high in animal proteins and comes in a variety of flavors to suit the individual dog’s needs. Prairie has five basic ingredients in all of its variants:

  • Meat: Proteins are the cornerstone for any good dog meal. Proteins helps to give lean muscle and the energy required by the dog.
  • Whole Grains: Barley, oatmeal and rice are a rich source of fiber that are essential for a good digestive system.
  • Fruits and vegetables: these are the source of vitamins and minerals that give coats a shiny look and make the bones strong.
  • Omegas: Fish and flaxseeds are the best source of healthy omegas, another reason that your dog will have a shiny coat and healthy skin
  • Power of raw: Freeze dried raw food is coated on the kibble to ensure that your dog gets the best of food, as nature intended.

The Prairie kibble comes in flavors of chicken, beef, lamb and salmon. Wet food comes in chicken, beef, salmon, lamb, turkey and duck, beef and bison, pork and sweet potato.

There are also treats that are unique in flavor: pumpkin and cranberries, peanut butter and banana, chicken and cheddar cheese, bacon and apples.

Prices start from $13.24 for a 4.5 pound kibble, reaching up to a $66.23 for a 27 pound bag. The stew cans cost on average $4 to $5.




Another premium dog food company, Nature’s recipe has been in the business of giving the best of nutrition to pets for the last 35 years. The firm knows the worth of meat and vegetables that are essential for a dog’s health. It selects the best of meats for protein and vegetables for those vitamins and minerals that help your dog grow strong. Many plain dog food manufacturers use wheat and barley to provide sustenance and it is a great source of plant protein. But some dogs (like us humans) can develop allergies and sensitivities to specific grains. To cater to this, Nature’s Recipe makes special grain free products.

The dry flavors, at first glance, do not seem to have much variation. Sweet potato, for antioxidant source and pumpkin minerals and vitamins are present in all, with mostly chicken as meat and just one salmon flavor. One may wonder that such an established manufacturer is making the same kinds of flavor, but on closer inspection, you will find that each variety is catered for a special need. There is an Easy To Digest version, which has chicken and is designed for all stages of a dog life, from puppies to adults. The Adult version has lamb to provide all the protein, but also maintain lean muscle mass at the same time. Similarly, the wet food also has limited flavors, mostly of chicken, but catered for those specific needs your dog may have.

Dry food ranges from $9 for a 4lb bag for puppies and goes up to $37 for the 24lb bag for large breed dogs. Wet food cans (pack of 12) are for $30 while a dozen of plastic pack broth ones will cost you $15.50.




What do you do when you want a good high quality food for your dog but don’t have the budget for those expensive ones? Well, you head over to Walmart!

Walmart collaborated with Ainsworth, the company behind Rachael Ray’s line of pet food, to make meals for the quality conscious, yet on a budget. This brand has everything your pet needs to eat. The base is actual meat and chicken. There are no byproducts used as replacement. The line is grain free and does not contain wheat or corn that are usually in foods that are priced so low. The brand also claims that it does not contain any artificial colors and flavors- and definitely no preservatives.

Normally, food without preservatives go bad quickly, but considering that this is Walmart and has a very high turnover volume, you can rest easy since that means your canine friend is getting fresh meals.

The product line gives you five flavors:

  • Chicken and Brown Rice: This is for those who want their pets to have good eye development and a healhy hearing.
  • Lamb and Brown Rice: For those canines who have sensitive stomachs and skin.
  • Salmon and Pea: A perfect combination for dogs with certain meat allergies and requiring optimal vision.
  • Bison and Pea: For the wild and tough ones- providing excellent digestive properties.

Apart from this, Walmart also claims that there are added vitamins and minerals to boost the dog’s digestive and immune system. A downside of all the added energy is that this food is designed for active pets. If your dog is in its later stages of life or does not get much exercise, this may not be for it.

A 4lb pack costs $7 and goes up to nearly $33 for a 24lb bag.




Knowing exactly what your pet is eating is the most important thing a pet owner can ever do. Simply 9 is a flavor of dog food by Purina’s line of Beyond that takes away your worries in this regard. The Simply 9 brand comes in two flavors:

  • White Meat Chicken and Whole Barley: A dog food that has is made from real chicken- no poultry by products are in it; does not contain corn or wheat and no artificial preservatives, it is good. Some people find it confusing that the manufacturers claim that there are no poultry byproducts and yet, chicken meal is written on the ingredient list. Chicken meal is different from byproducts as it contains no bone, cartilage or skin. You can breathe a sigh of relief now that you know your pet is getting the best.
  • Lamb and Whole Barley: Similar to the chicken variant, the manufacturer claims it is made from real lamb and does not have any poultry byproduct, artificial flavors, colors, no wheat and corn.

Although when you look at its ingredients, you will find that there is brewer’s rice and whole barley in it. These grains do not upset stomachs of sensitive dogs, but are a high source of carbs and you will need to watch your pet’s weight if it is not getting much in the form of exercise. The food also has dried eggs to give that protein boost for proper muscular growth and spinach gives the required vitamins.

The Chicken variety comes in sizes of 4, 15.5, 24 and 32 pound bags, ranging from $8 to $40. The lamb version is available in 3.7 and 14.5 pound bags, having a price tag of $6 and $25



There you go folks! Ten different dog foods that are good for your four pawed friends and are widely available.

Shopping for dogs can be difficult, especially if you are not satisfied with the food you are giving them. A dog, like humans, has a personality and its own food that it likes. It cannot speak to let you know that it prefers the lamb to the chicken. Even if you are unsure of what your dog likes, always buy a small bag of a new brand or flavor and introduce it slowly. We suggest that you mix 25% of the new food with the old one for a couple of weeks.

This will help the dog in adjusting to the new type of food. If there are any issues, such as upset stomach or appetite loss, you will know it and you can safely discontinue the new food. This also helps you in knowing if there are other issues such as rough coat or skin.

If the dog is adjusting well, increase the new food by 25% every second week until it is 100% what your canine friend eats.


What do you think? Have we missed anything? Let us know.


Vanessa is a Certified Vet Tech in the state of Colorado and has over 10 years of experience in animal nutrition. She owns two dogs: a Siberian Husky mix and a Beagle Black Lab mix.

6 thoughts on “10 Best Cheap Dog Foods for People on a Budget!

  • February 15, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    I really like the fact that although your title says “cheap dog foods”, they aren’t the crap that you think of when being super cheap! I’m glad knowing that more natural dog food products are available as inexpensive options. I also really enjoyed reading your Merrick review. That’s the brand I feed my dog and seeing the breakdown of what’s in it, and the 9/10 review, it gives me peace of mind!

    • February 15, 2018 at 7:46 pm

      I’m glad you found this article and my review on Merrick enjoyable. It’s nice showing people that even though most healthy dog foods tend to be on the pricer side, most healthy foods can fit into practically anybody’s budget

  • February 17, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    I think I’ve only heard of half of these products. It nice to find dog food that is healthy for them, but also reasonably priced. I like the method you suggested using in order to get the dog to like the new dog food. I remember we fed our dog the same product for the longest time. I don’t think she would had tried the new food, but maybe this way, she would have. Thanks for the information!

  • February 19, 2018 at 2:56 am

    Thank you for your review of multiple types of dog food. I don’t have t otell you that dogs certainly know the difference between quality and garbage ingredients. I once bought my Golden Retriever some very cheap food at a local Food Town because I had forgotten my wallet and only had a $10 on me, and he wouldn’t even eat one bite of it

    He sniffed it once and walked away. I basically had to throw it all away while he stared at me, get back in the car and get his normal brand.

    It is nice to see there are some products with natural ingredients that aren’t insanely overpriced out there.

  • February 19, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Variety is the Spice of Life.

    I really like the idea of having so many quality choices. Really nice to have so many choices that are quality. Many of these I have never had the privilege of knowing.

    I have a Golden Retriever that is picky and I am glad that she is.

    Not sure which has hit my fancy so far but I now know where to go.

    Thanks for all the choices. Much appreicated.

  • February 21, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    Hi Vanessa, I see that you have quite a few varieties of dog food to choose from and some of them are pretty expensive. I know they are costly because they have really good quality ingredients.

    Out of all the varieties you have listed which one is your personal favorite, and which one do you think is the best choice for the price?


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