Best Cheap Dog Food [Inexpensive] 2018 – #5 Good & Affordable Brands

Most pet owners are afraid of buying cheap, affordable dog food because we’re led to believe that only expensive brands are good for our pets. This belief isn’t always true, and it’s possible to find a less expensive dog food that’s made with quality ingredients.

Sadly, feeding your pooch with premium quality dog food can put a strain on your budget quickly. Still, you shouldn’t make compromises when it comes to the quality of ingredients your dog eats.

We’ve done extensive research to help you find the best cheap dog food that will provide your dog with quality nutrients at a budget-friendly cost. Keep in mind that feeding your dog with low-quality food can cost you more money on vet bills in the long run.

Read More: Top 10 Best Dog Food Brands

Cheapest Grain Free Dog Food

  • Brand Name: Purina Beyond
  • Calorie: 468 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 27%
  • Fat: 16%
  • Main Indgredient: Tuna

In our opinion, this tuna and egg recipe by Purina is the best inexpensive grain free dry dog food. This formula consists of real and easily recognizable ingredients to deliver optimal nutrition and health.

The main ingredient is tuna, followed by chicken meal for a variety of meaty flavors. They make up a minimum of 27% crude protein to support healthy muscles and tissue.

Pea starch and cassava root flour are the primary sources of easily digestible carbohydrates. This grain-free formula has 5% crude fibers that are suitable for sensitive stomachs.

The primary source of fat is beef fat that will give your dog enough energy and keep their coat/skin healthy. This food contains a minimum of 16% crude fat for optimal energy levels of active adult dogs.

All the necessary vitamins and minerals are included, with glucosamine for joint and omega 6 fatty acids for skin and coat health. This dog food provides a nutritious and balanced diet suitable for daily feeding.


  • Grain free
  • Affordable
  • For food allergies
  • Easy to digest


  • Some dogs don’t like it

Best Budget Dog Food

  • Brand Name: IAMS
  • Calorie: 369 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 26%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Main Indgredient: Chicken

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Senior Plus is our pick for the best cheap good dog food that will provide all the nutrients your dog needs. This formula’s designed for older dogs and has all the nutrients they need for a happy and active life.

The main ingredient is chicken, which provides a tasty poultry flavor many dogs enjoy. This formula contains a minimum of 26% crude protein, that is sufficient in keeping your older dog’s muscles toned and healthy.

Ground whole grain corn and ground whole grain sorghum are the primary sources of carbohydrates. They make up a maximum of 6% crude fibers that are gluten free and suitable for digestion.

The primary source of fat in this senior formula is chicken fat that is easier to digest animal-based fat. As the primary source of energy, it creates a minimum of 14% crude fats that will keep your pooch active and playful.

IAMS included calcium and phosphorus and vitamins E, B12, B2, and D3 to promote proper organ function and strong immune system. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are also included as skin and coat support.


  • Meat as the first ingredient
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Complete and balanced
  • For older dogs


  • Some dogs don’t like it

A Good Cheap Dog Food

  • Brand Name: Rachael Ray Nutrish
  • Calorie: 325 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 26%
  • Fat: 14%
  • Main Indgredient: Chicken

This dog food is a U.S based brand that only uses high-quality ingredients to provide only the best for your dog. Without artificial flavors and preservatives, this is a well-balanced and nutritious formula suitable for daily feeding.

The main ingredient is farm-raised chicken that supports healthy organs and muscles. Combined with chicken meal they provide a minimum of 26% crude protein, which is a sufficient amount for adult dogs.

Whole grain corn, dried peas, and brown rice are easily digestible carbohydrates. They provide a maximum of 4% crude fiber that will keep your dog’s tummy full.

The primary source of fat is chicken fat as a natural source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. This affordable dry food contains a minimum of 14% crude fat, as the primary source of energy.

Additionally, beet pulp’s in the mix as the natural source of prebiotics for healthy digestion. All the necessary vitamins and minerals are included to make sure that your dog stays healthy eating right nutrients


  • Easy to digest
  • Chicken as main ingredient
  • Good for skin and coat
  • Contains prebiotics


  • Can cause stomach problems
  • Some dog’s don’t like it

Best Dog Food For The Money

  • Brand Name: Hill’s Science Diet
  • Calorie: 363 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 24.5%
  • Fat: 15%
  • Main Indgredient: Chicken

Hill’s Science is a pet food brand that is most recommended by vets and our choice for the best cheap dry dog food. This cheap dry dog food uses a well-balanced formula created explicitly for small breed adult dogs and has easy to chew smaller kibble.

The main ingredient in this formula is chicken to support healthy muscles and tissue. This dry food contains 24.5% crude protein, which is a suitable amount for adult dogs.

Whole grain wheat and cracked pearled barley are the primary sources of carbohydrates. This formula has 2.2% of crude fibers, and it isn’t a good choice if your dog is allergic to grains.

Pork fat is the primary source of energy, followed by flaxseed and they provide 15% of crude fat. With omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, this formula supports healthy skin and shiny coat in just 30 days.

Vitamins A, C, and D3 are present amongst other and with all the necessary minerals make sure that your dog is healthy and strong. This dog food is a well-priced and well-balanced formula suitable for daily feeding and dogs with skin problems.


  • For healthy skin and coat
  • For smaller breeds
  • Chicken as the main ingredient


  • Some dogs don’t like it
  • Can be damaged during transport

Cheap Healthy Dog Food

  • Brand Name: Diamond Naturals
  • Calorie: 329 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 15%
  • Main Indgredient: Beef meal

This is a reasonably priced adult formula of dry dog food. Made from high-quality ingredients that will fulfill the nutritional needs of your pooch.

The primary source of protein is beef meal, which contains higher levels of protein. This formula has a minimum of 25% crude protein that supports toned muscles.

Ground white rice and rice bran are the primary sources of carbohydrates that make a maximum of 4.5% crude fiber. This dog food isn’t the best choice if your dog is suffering from food allergies caused by grains.

The primary source of fat is chicken fat that will provide your dog with enough energy and keep his skin/coat healthy. This formula contains a minimum of 15% crude fat, to support the needs of active adult dogs.

Kale, pumpkin, oranges, quinoa, spinach, and other vegetables are natural sources of vitamins and minerals that will keep your dog healthy.


  • Fruits and vegetables
  • For active dogs
  • Complete and balanced


  • Can cause stomach problems
  • Some dogs don’t like this flavor

How To Find The Best Cheap Dog Food?

It can be hard to find the best dog food at an affordable price because there are too many options available. Not all of them are made to meet the nutritional requirements of your dog, and we will tell you how to find the food that is right for your pooch at a comfortable price.

Are There Any Differences Between Pricey And Cheap Pet Food?

All dog foods need to be complete and balanced, that means that even cheap puppy food is made to provide all the necessary nutrients your dog needs. So, why do many owners perceive more affordable foods as not good enough?

Some of the reasons include:

You probably noticed that premium brands advertise their food as “human-grade,” “made from natural ingredients”, etc. These are not official definitions demanded from FDA or AAFCO and are merely a marketing trick.

These are meat products that are not appealing to people, and they include pig liver, chicken feet or anything that isn’t appetizing to us. But this ingredients are flavorful and entirely safe for dogs and usually found only in reasonably priced formulas.

To attract more buyers, expensive brands will add fancy ingredients that are gluten-free, contain prebiotics, or are just novelty ingredients not usually seen in dog foods. But most of them are present only in trace amounts and don’t have any impact on your dog’s overall state.

Best Cheap Dog Food

There isn’t any reason why you should spend half of your salary on your dog’s food. The only thing you should take into account is the overall state of your dog: if he is happy, healthy, playful and his coat shiny, there are no reasons why he shouldn’t eat cheaper food.

How To Identify High Quality Dog Food?

A high price isn’t always a sign of premium quality. If you are willing to spend some time researching and reading labels, you will see that it’s possible to find cheap dog food online made with high-quality ingredients.

Signs of high quality dog food are:

  • Named meat as main ingredients
  • Grain free or wholesome grains
  • Contains healthy supplements
  • Has fruits and vegetables
  • Has AAFCO certificate

What You Don’t Want To See?

Even when you are on a tight budget, you shouldn’t settle for formulas made from lower quality ingredients that can’t meet the nutritional needs of your pooch. This type of diet can cause nutritional deficiencies and cost you more on vet bills.

Look for the best low cost dog food that doesn’t contain any of the following:

  • Wheat or soy
  • Additives
  • Artificial colors
  • Artificial flavors

Are There Cases When You Need A Pricier Food?

As we said before, if a dog food’s labeled complete and balanced that means it’s okay for your pooch to eat. But not all dogs are the same, and you need to be aware of the individual needs of your pooch and find the best dog food for the price you are willing to spend.

It’s essential to take your dog to the vet if you notice that they behave or looks differently because some of his issues could be food related.

  • Allergies are not so commonly seen in dogs as many owners believe and are in most cases related to meats and not grains. If this is the case with your dog, your vet may recommend a pricier food than your current choice.
  • Digestive problems are not so uncommon, but there is no need to transition your dog to a higher priced grain free brand when there are plenty of good or even better cheaper options.
  • Different life stages require different amounts of specific ingredients, but you can choose an age-friendly cheaper formula that will meet your dog needs.
  • Greasy skin and coat are the signs that your dog isn’t getting enough nutrients. In this case, you should talk to your vet and see if he has any recommendations for a new diet.


Even when you are on a tight budget, there’s no need to make compromises when it comes to your dog’s health. Your dog needs high-quality food made from natural ingredients, and our best cheap dog food choices have just that.

With so many options sometimes it can be hard finding the right fit, but remember that settling for low quality food will cost you and your pooch more in the long run.

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