Are you looking for the best affordable dog foods? Then let us help you with our complete guide to high-quality dog nutrition on a budget. You are going to learn the following:
- What makes this type of food different
- How to choose an excellent inexpensive dog food
- What are the best options on the market are
Be it that you are looking for the cheapest grain-free dog food or the best affordable wet dog food, we have included different options in our guide, so you can choose the one that better meets the needs of your pet.
What are Affordable Dog Foods?
As the name clearly suggests, they are dog foods where the price is more affordable than the market average. Especially in a niche where many brands pump up the real value of their products with marketing.
An important point to make is that some of these foods are fabricated by lesser-known brands. For example, in our ranking, you will find options like Diamond. Which although less well-known than Hill’s Science and Purina, is of just as high of quality. Furthermore, they do not contain hyped-up ingredients that drive up the perceived value of the product. In this sense, they are restricted from meeting precise dietary standards.
Following the same line, they frequently lack “superfoods” such as chia seeds, collagen, added vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Even though they certainly help your dog to be healthier, they are not strictly necessary. Even more, when you know you can add them in more affordable ways such as bone broth. They are more generic as they are not intended to treat specific conditions or illnesses. Therefore, they are more affordable. Their lack of specialty is another reason why they are more affordable.
How to Choose an Affordable Dog Food?
The price tag does not mean anything if it does not come accompanied by the actual value. Therefore, let us show you how to pick an affordable pet food that will actually nurture your pet.
Presence of Meat
Dogs get their main nutrition from animal protein. Therefore, the food you choose must contain real meat, be it beef, bison, lamb, salmon, chicken, or turkey. However, we would recommend you to take it easy on chicken, due to their disproportionate Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio.
Make sure that they are not including it as a by-product, because they could have used anything. Meat such as dead animal zoos, road kills, diseased animals may have been used in poor brands. Therefore, the best move here is to choose a food that places meat as the first ingredient and that they clearly specify the source. It is essential to read the ingredients list, to see how much meat they are really using in their product and what the source is.
Ideally, the dog food should contain at least 25% of protein, because it will help you to ensure that your pet is getting the nutrition it needs. Especially when it is young and still in developing phases. It makes even more sense when you see that old dogs need food that contains a minimum of 25% of protein to be healthy, as shown by this study. Therefore, make the presence of meat and the actual content the most important factor when you consider buying a specific dog food.
Even though protein ranks at the top, you also need to pay attention to what ingredients they use. Check the fat and carbohydrates on their ingredient list.
For fat, they should stick to high-quality animal fat and even better if they supplement it with Omega-3 fatty acids. Chicken is frequently used too, and it is not bad as long as it is not the only fat source they use. For carbohydrates, they should be complex and fiber-rich. The best examples are sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, kale, brown rice, and fruits like blueberries.
You also need to ensure that they are not including problematic ingredients. Soy, cornmeal, wheat, poultry meal, and artificial coloring/flavoring should all be monitored. Such ingredients tend to trigger allergies and other health problems. Even though they tend to drive down the price of the food, they will damage your pet.
As we have been saying, it is critical to read the label of ingredients. As we have seen in the previous section, many problematic ingredients could cause health issues for your pet.
When buying cheap dog food, it becomes even more important. As many brands tend to use more fillers and low-quality protein to cut corners, pump up the perceived nutritional value of the food,[ and then use such “facts” to advertise it.
Therefore, as we said at the beginning, here you are playing a game against hyped-up marketing. In consequence, your mission is to determine the real value of the food you are buying. The only way of doing so is by reading the ingredients label.
Once again, another tactic that brands use to pump up the real value of cheap dog food is to use cluttered front-cover designs. They often contain several claims. Which in fact, means nothing unless you verify them to be true after reading the ingredients list.
Therefore, now that you know the truth about affordable dog food. You have all the tools and knowledge to ensure that you are buying a product that will nurture your pet for real.
7 Best Affordable Dog Foods
Using the criteria from the previous section, we have selected the top seven affordable dog foods on the market, to bring your pet high-quality nutrition at a fair price. They have met all the nutritional standards we have described, and therefore, you can buy with confidence.
1. Hill's Science Diet Wet Dog Food
The Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food features high-quality beef protein, pork liver, and barley as the main ingredients. Furthermore, they use natural ingredients for the other macronutrients. They include plenty of nutrients in the form of vitamin E, omega-6s, and beta-carotene.
The most prominent benefit of this dog food is that it is one of the few affordable wet foods on the market. Furthermore, their content of real meat and antioxidant blend makes it a great choice for dogs of all ages.
According to reviews, this canned food has excellent flavor, and dogs do not experience issues at the hour of switching their regular food. Furthermore, the owners report that the texture is smooth and less processed, which makes it an even better choice. The only complaints are regarding the shipping because some owners have reported that some canned arrived dented.
2. Diamond Premium Recipe Maintenance
The Diamond Premium Recipe Maintenance affordable dog food features 22% of protein and 12% of fat, in a carefully determined composition. They use chicken as the main protein source, along with chicken fat and nutrients such as Vitamin E and added fiber. Furthermore, they use scientifically advanced protocols to ensure food safety.
The main advantage of the food is the low price and honest approach to marketing because they advertise what their food really contains. Nonetheless, their price is so low and the value of the food is solid enough that we had to include it here.
According to reviews, the dogs love the flavor of the food. They have also reported benefits such as shinier coat, improved digestion, and better mood. The only con of the product is that they base their product on chicken, which can be problematic for some dogs, and it is something we have verified in the reviews.
3. Hill's Science Diet Wet Dog Food Small Paws
The Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food Small Paws is an affordable option for small breeds. It features a balanced composition that is ideal for small dogs from 1 to 6 years old. This product uses real meat as the main protein source to ensure optimal body composition and healthy muscle mass.
It comes in two versions featuring real beef or chicken, along with gentle fibers, healthy vegetables, omega-6 fatty acids, and vitamins (E, B12, and D3) to promote a healthy and shinier coat.
According to reviews, the food has a great flavor and it actually improves digestion and makes the coat shinnier and healthy. Small dogs such as Yorkies love it, especially those that are very picky when it comes to food. Furthermore, the owners comment that it actually looks like real meat and vegetables. The only con that they report is regarding the packaging because the cans can be difficult to open at times.
4. Amazon Brand – Solimo Basic Dry Dog Food with Grains
The Solimo Basic Dry Dog food features a formula that combines American beef, corn, vitamins, and minerals. They are transparent about their offer, because as they state it, they use corn as the first ingredient, followed by meat and bone as the second ingredient.
The formula of the food is free from artificial flavors and it includes nutrients such as Vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, folic acid, along with minerals such as zinc. Furthermore, the main benefit of the food is the price and their transparent approach to marketing. You get exactly what they advertise.
According to reviews, the food has decent flavor and most dogs will eat it. Overall, the owners do not complain about the price, but they also report that other options are better, especially since it uses corn as the main ingredient, which can be problematic for many dogs. Therefore, we would recommend you to check out the other options from our list, because this option by Solimo is only good for those on a very tight budget.
5. V-Dog Vegan Kibble Dry Dog Food
Even though we do not recommend vegan foods, here you have an option in case you have decided to follow that path. On the other hand, it is a good and affordable choice to balance the diet of your dog, in case you are already feeding it animal protein from other sources.
The V-DOG Vegan Kibble Dry Dog Food is free from soy, corn, wheat, by-products, and fillers, which make it superior in quality to most cheap kibble options on the market. Furthermore, their formula meets all the AAFCO guidelines for adult dog nutrition.
According to reviews, this dog-favorite the flavor and it has improved them to alleviate allergies, even severe cases. Nonetheless, it is low in fat, which can be a problem. In addition, it is better used as a supplement rather than the only food you bring your dog because as we have stated, and many owners have done as well, animal protein is the name source of nutrition for your pet.
6. Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Shredded Blend with Probiotics
The Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Shredded Blend with Probiotics affordable kibble features real beef meat, easy-to-digest carbohydrates such as rice, and live probiotics to promote optimal digestion. It contains a shredded blend that combines crunchy kibble and tender meaty pieces.
The main benefit of this food is that it comes from a reputable brand, it uses beef as the #1 ingredient and it has a high content of protein (26%).
According to reviews, it offers excellent nutrition at a low price, in addition to great flavor and noticeable health benefits such as improved digestion, better mood, less allergies, more energy, and shinnier coat.
7. Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Natural Adult Dry Dog Food
The Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Natural Adult Dry Dog Food features a formula that uses turkey and venison as the first ingredients, bringing your dog top-notch protein sources, ranking at 30% of protein content. Furthermore, it is free from additives, preservatives, artificial flavoring, and poultry by-products.
It provides optimal nutrition on a budget for dogs all of ages, especially young dogs, thanks to its high content of animal protein. Furthermore, it also features a high concentration of tender, meaty morsels, which makes it even more likable for dogs.
According to reviews, the food has an exquisite taste, it has improved the skin and coat of several dogs, alleviated sensitive stomach problems, solved gas issues, and boosted vitality and energy. Furthermore, the owners comment that the food is free from dyes and that it has brought excellent results in a short time after switching to Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct.
Best Affordable Dog Foods – FAQs
Here we are going to answer the most frequently asked questions about this type of food. Below, find our concise answers to solve all of your doubts.
What is the Best Dog Food that is Inexpensive?
When it comes to canned wet food, the best and most affordable option is Hill’s Science Wet Dog Food. When we talk about kibble and dry food, the best option on the market is Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, because it contains real protein and a high content of it at 30%.
Both options contain excellent ingredients as they use real meat to elaborate their food. However, in our opinion, the superior option here is Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct, because it puts a special emphasis on top-quality protein, which is especially important for young dogs that are still developing.
What is the Best Affordable Dry Dog Food?
The market has excellent options for affordable dry dog foods and the best choices are Solimo Basic Dry Dog Food and Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct because they offer solid nutrition at a fair price.
They contain at least 25% of protein, they use real meat and include healthy carbohydrates and fats. Furthermore, they are fabricated by reputable brands in the industry, which hold high standards of quality.
However, we consider Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Natural Adult Dry Dog Food to be the best affordable kibble because it contains premium ingredients, and therefore, it will bring your dog high-quality nutrition. In addition, it is free from poultry by-products, additives, preservatives, and artificial flavoring.
Are There any Affordable Wet Dog Foods?
You can find affordable wet dog foods on the market and the best option nowadays is Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food because it uses real meat, no fillers, and no additives and contains high-quality ingredients for its content of fats and carbohydrates.
In the case of Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food, it includes real beef, an excellent antioxidant blend, and vitamin E, which are excellent add-ons that drive up the value of a real affordable wet dog food.
What is the Best Dog Food Recommended by Vets?
The best dog food recommended by vets depends on what you are looking for. In case you are looking for affordable options, then the best choices on the market are Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food and Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct, thanks to their real protein-rich formula that includes key nutrients, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
There is a wide variety of affordable dog foods for you to consider. From dry to wet dog food, these products don’t compromise on quality. Therefore, you don’t have to compromise on your dog’s health and happiness.