The Top 5 Best Cheap Dog Food

Finding the best dog food formula can be quite intimidating. Not only are there literally hundreds of different dog foods in the market, but some of them can also be crazy expensive. With the many options on what to feed our dogs, it is understandable that dog owners seem to be on a constant hunt for the best cheap dog food.

Choosing The Best For Your Dog And Your Budget

In theory, all dog food formula is supposed to be the same, but because of the many options available with thousands of different claims, it 's hard to narrow down which one is best for your dog. There are several significant considerations a dog owner must take into account when choosing the best dog food

  • Does it offer complete nutrition?
  • Does your dog like it?
  • Does it give you the value for your money?

These questions are crucial, thus, the perfect dog food for your pet should be positive on all three.

Complete Dog Nutrition

Each dog is unique and so are his or her nutritional needs. Breed, age, physical activity, and general health all contribute to your dog's dietary requirements. As dog owners, it is our responsibility to provide a balanced and complete nutrition to our beloved pets. In choosing the best dog food, consider the following contents:


Dogs typically require a good amount of protein in their daily diet. While there is no absolute recommendation on how much protein a dog should have every day, you and your veterinarian can decide on what you think is the best protein diet for your dog.

Protein is the most important component of a high-quality dog food, and it can be derived from the meat of beef, chicken, lamb, or turkey. Their by-products, such as heart, liver, lungs, or kidneys, can also be a great source of protein. Protein from these sources is ideal because once digested, they are easily broken down into simpler substances called amino acids.

Dogs are unable to make their own essential amino acids. Hence, the protein in their diet is important. The amino acids from the protein content are needed for various metabolic activities, including energy production and maintenance of muscle function and integrity.

Best Cheap Dog Food


Fats, just like proteins, are necessary for many biologic activities, such as keeping the cells healthy and functional. They also aid in vitamin transportation and absorption. They also improve the texture and palatability of the dog food. They keep the dog’s skin pliable and their coat shiny and healthy.

Fats in a dog's diet are normally from animal fats and plant-based oils. Thus, it is necessary for a good dog food formula to contain a variety of these sources. Dogs who have insufficient fat in their diet typically present with a dry coat, and skin that is susceptible to lesions and infections.

If the essential fatty acid called the omega-3 oil is deficient, it can lead to visual problems and reduced learning skill. Fats also act as a secondary energy source when carbohydrate sources become depleted.


Sugars and fibers in the diet are great sources of carbohydrates for dogs; this includes food items such as cereals and legumes. Carbohydrates are the initial energy source as they are easily broken down into glucose, which is the primary requirement for energy production.

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and minerals in a dog's diet are usually present in daily food sources like meat, vegetables, and grains. They work together for the dog’s general health and biologic processes, such as neural transmission, energy production, bone and teeth formation, and immune system regulation.

Essential vitamins that dogs require in the diet include vitamins A, D, E, K, C, and B complex, while macrominerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and chlorine. Microminerals include iron, copper, zinc, and iodine, among others.

Choosing What’s Best

While most dog foods contain the essential nutrients that your dog needs, not all of them are created equal. That’s why it is important that as pet parents, we form the habit of reading the label before buying the food. But how do you read and analyze a dog food label?

What’s in the package?

It is important to understand that even the most ordinary word on a dog food package means something. For example, when the package says "Beef Dog Food," it means that 95% of the content should be beef protein, apart from water. With the water content included, the beef content can be diluted down to only around 70%.

The protein content of a "Chicken Dinner for Dogs" is different from just "Chicken Dog Food," because the word dinner' on the label actually means that the protein content is only 25%. This is also the case for labels with the words "entrée," "nugget," or "formula."

If a package label says "Beef for Dogs with Cheese," it means that it contains 70% beef and only 3% cheese because anything that says "with" something is required to have only 3% of that ingredient. Additionally, if a label says "beef flavor," it means that there is a minimal amount of that ingredient just to identify the taste.

Best Cheap Dog Food

Understanding the ingredients

The ingredients at the back of the dog food packaging are listed based on weight, thus, if a package lists "chicken" as its primary content, it means that chicken and its water content comprises the majority of the product. Because of the dog's need for essential proteins, it is essential to choose a dog food that lists meat as its dominant ingredient. This ensures that it contains enough protein for your dog's dietary requirement.

The Best Inexpensive Dog Food

Knowing what our dogs need for a balanced and healthy nutrition is the crucial step. Now that we know what to look for in a food package to ensure that our canines only get the best, it is just wise to consider their price point so you can get a good value for your money. Below is a list of the five best cheap dog foods in the market that you can consider to narrow down your options:

Taste of the Wild, Canine Formula

The Taste of Wild Canine Formula is grain-free. Thus, it contains more protein and fats that are easily digestible by the body. It is composed of roasted meats of bison, venison, lamb meal, and chicken meal, which constitute about 32% protein. Dogs love the blend of these protein sources, as well as its fruits and vegetable contents, because they are delectable and flavorful, satisfying their omnivorous nature.

It also contains significant amounts of sweet potatoes, peas, and eggs, which are excellent sources of various nutrients. It also has folic acid content, which is beneficial for canines with intestinal and digestive issues. Folic acid is also necessary for gestating bitches to keep a healthy neural development for the fetus.

best cheap dog food


  • The fusion of flavors from its meat and plant sources gives it an enticing taste that dogs love.
  • It contains at least 32% protein.
  • It is grain-free. Thus, its nutritional content is quickly absorbed and used by the body.
  • It does contain significant amounts of essential vitamins and minerals.


  • Depending on the breed, some dogs may find the flavor too intense.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Advanced Fitness Dry Dog Food

The phrase “advanced fitness” is what this dog food is. It is ideal for adult dogs to maintain their muscle function at peak, as well as improve their skin and boost their immune system from its Vitamins C and E contents. It is made predominantly of chicken, whole grain wheat, barley, and corn, among others.

Because of its vitamin content, it is highly recommended for dogs with issues in digestion, as well as skin problems. It contains a good amount of Omega-6 fatty acid which addresses various types of skin conditions and improves dry and coarse coat. It is flavorful, easy to digest and absorb, and highly nutritious.

best cheap dog food


  • It contains high levels of vitamins and minerals which help improve your dog's overall health.
  • It has a high protein content that keeps and maintains health and muscle activity.
  • It is manufactured in the US, with high-quality ingredients from New Zealand and Europe.
  • It is all-natural, containing no artificial flavors and preservatives.


  • Some dogs may have an untoward reaction to its high grain content.
  • It is not suitable for dogs with sensitivity to grains or starch.

Hill’s Ideal Balance Grain Free Adult Dog Dry Food

Relative to the Hill’s Advanced Fitness variant, the Ideal Balance is grain free yet complete with necessary nutrients for your dog. It is also gluten-free, which helps in maintaining a healthy weight while still providing enough stamina. Its source of protein is chicken, which most dogs find delicious and easy to chew and digest.

Potatoes are also a predominant ingredient that helps in better digestion and absorption of nutrients. Thus, the Ideal Balance Grain Free is usually recommended for dogs that require gluten-free diets or are allergic to grains or starch.

It contains at least 24.9% protein from chicken. Additionally, it is also enriched with essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 and 6 that help enhance the dog’s skin, coat, and even bladder health. It is a significant source of vitamin C that improves your pet’s energy and immune system. It also contains natural fibers in the form of brown rice for better digestion, as well as cranberries that act as antioxidants.

best cheap dog food


  • Dogs love chicken because it is easy to eat and chew.
  • The blend of flavors from chicken, fruits, and vegetables makes it flavorful.
  • It contains a good amount of protein and fatty acids.
  • It has no wheat, corn, or soy.
  • It does not have any artificial flavors or colors.


  • While it is recommended for adult dogs, it is not typically given to senior ones.
  • It is also not ideal for dogs who are gestating or lactating.

Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Made from Deboned Buffalo, the Merrick Grain Free dog food is absolutely high in protein content with at least 38%. It is recommended for dogs who have grain allergies, or who are prone to develop sensitivity to any type of grain. Being grain-free also ensures easier digestion and nutrient absorption. It also contains about 4% of Omega-6 fatty acid and 0.4% of Omega-3, which aids in maintaining a healthy skin and coat condition. These fatty acids also keep their joints well-lubricated.

Apart from Buffalo, it also contains essential amounts of chicken meal, sweet potatoes, turkey meal, and salmon meal. It contains a variety of fruits such as apples and cranberries, making it high in important vitamins and minerals. It has no soy, corn, wheat, and gluten. The unification of these ingredients results in a savory taste that is appetizing for most dogs.

best cheap dog food


  • It has high protein content.
  • It is composed of 70% protein, and 30% fresh produce.
  • It has a mix of flavor and scent that dogs love.
  • It is ideal for dogs of all ages.


  • Dogs may present with pungent gas with this formula.
  • Some dogs and dog owners may find the smell too strong.

Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Dog Food

For the price point, Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition is definitely worth the buck. It provides complete and balanced nutrition with 21% protein, 10% fat, and significant amounts of vitamins and minerals. Its primary ingredient is whole grain corn, meat, and bone meal, as well as animal fat. Flavor variations of chicken, steak, or lamb, are available, depending on what is appealing to your dog.

High grain content ensures better digestion. It is also recommended for overweight dogs, as it will keep them full for a longer time while still getting the nutrients their bodies need. Additionally, it contains Omega-6 to improve skin conditions, especially for older dogs. Enriched with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, this dog food nourishes the immune system, maintains the heart function at peak, and promotes overall health.

best cheap dog food


  • It is available in different flavors, so you can choose which one is most delectable to your dog.
  • It is packed with vitamins and minerals.
  • It is high in protein.
  • It is one of the most inexpensive high-quality dog food in the market.


  • Its grain and gluten content may not be suitable for those with sensitivity to those ingredients.


We treat our dogs like family, and like that, we only want what is best for them especially in terms of nutrition. Choosing among the available dog foods in the market can be a little confusing, but with enough knowledge on your dog's needs, you surely can find the one that will work best for him or her.

As for the above list of the best inexpensive dog food in the market, it can be concluded that the Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food takes the cake. It may be the priciest among the cheap ones, but with its high protein and fresh produce content, you sure will get the best and complete nutrition for your dog. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, enriched with protein and fats, appealing and savory, it sure can be the best choice for a dog food.

Emma Thompson

Hi, I'm Emma Thompson. Welcome to The Pet Town! I'm a Pet lovers like you and please feel free to get in touch with any questions. Enjoy your stay!

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