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Best Budget-Friendly Dog Foods

Mike Sagman  Julia Ogden

By

Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

Founder

Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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&
Julia Ogden
Julia Ogden

Julia Ogden

Content Director

Julia is the content director at the Dog Food Advisor and responsible for the overall strategy of the website.

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Updated: July 16, 2024

Verified by Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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Laura Ward

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What’s the Best Affordable Dog Food on the Market?

Looking for a good, cheap dog food?

Although the best budget-friendly brands are not always the cheapest…eu

You can still find many 4 and 5-star dog foods selling for as much as 40% below the cost of premium recipes.

These are quality brands offering inexpensive product lines designed to meet the needs of those who love their pets…

But who also want to avoid foods made with cheap fillers… and plant-based protein boosters.

Are Cheap Dog Foods Safe?

Sure. Low-priced dog foods CAN be safe.

However…

As long as a low-priced food is made by a company that performs regular safety testing… and then holds the finished food at its facility until test results are confirmed.

Then you can consider it safe.

However…

Stay away from products rated 2 stars or lower by The Dog Food Advisor.

Many of these cheap, low-rated recipes contain BHA or other cancer-causing chemical preservatives.

Instead…

Favor brands rated 4 stars or higher… like the super-safe, budget-friendly dog foods listed below. These recipes have been screened by The Dog Food Advisor to be sure they don’t contain any risky chemical additives… commonly found in so many low-priced recipes.

Look for Quality at an Affordable Price

Recipes made with cheap fillers and plant-based protein boosters are of little nutritional value to your dog.

So…

Look for value.

Top-rated brands… selling at budget-friendly prices.

To help you find these money-saving gems

The Dog Food Advisor searched its vast database of over 5700 recipes… and uncovered the following 4 and 5-star budget-friendly brands.

Each offers exceptional quality at an affordable price.

Since our research team is always discovering new budget-friendly brands, be sure to bookmark this page so you can return for future savings.

The Dog Food Advisor - Editor's choice

Best Budget-Friendly Dog Foods July 2024

Here are The Dog Food Advisor's best budget-friendly dog food brands for July 2024

  • 1. Diamond Naturals Dry Dog Food

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    Diamond Naturals Adult Lamb Meal and Rice is one of 13 recipes included in our review of the Diamond Naturals dry product line.

    Diamond Naturals Adult derives the bulk of its meat protein from lamb meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 26% protein, 16% fat and 51% estimated carbs… which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.

    Read our review of the full Diamond Naturals Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Lamb meal, ground white rice, cracked pearled barley, sorghum, egg product
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 26%
    Best For Adult dogs

    Sample buyer review...

    "I've never seen my dogs so excited to eat. They fight over who gets the first bowl. It's also cheaper than what we were buying before for the same size bag! And with 3 big dogs we were struggling between price and quality. This is the best of both worlds."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 2. Taste of the Wild

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    Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream is one of 9 recipes included in our review of the Taste of the Wild dry product line.

    Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream attributes the bulk of its meat protein to salmon and ocean fish meal. Our dry matter label study reveals the recipe contains 28% protein, 17% fat and 48% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.

    A quality, low-cost product line with lots of recipe options. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Taste of the Wild Dog Food range here

    Main Ingredients Salmon, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 28%
    Best For Adult dogs

    Sample buyer review...

    "My dog has a sensitive stomach and had issues with keeping previous food down. I made the switch to Taste of the Wild and all his problems disappeared! Great option for dogs with stomach issues. I will always buy this brand!"

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 3. American Journey Canned Dog Food

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    American Journey Grain-Free Chicken and Turkey Recipe is one of 4 recipes included in our review of the American Journey wet product line.

    This American Journey formula derives most of its animal protein from chicken. Our dry matter label evaluation reveals the recipe contains 41% protein, 27% fat and 24% estimated carbs… which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

    A great price for a solid wet option. Contains no cheap fillers. Makes a nice “topper” to enhance the flavor of any kibble. Easy to recommend.

    Read our review of the full American Journey Grain-Free Dog Food (Canned) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken broth, turkey, chicken liver, potatoes
    Texture Wet
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 41%
    Best For Adults and small/medium breed puppies

    Sample buyer review...

    "I am a label reader and I found good, common ingredients in the food. I use the food as a topper for their dry kibble. My four rescues: 3 terrier mixes, and 1 Labrador Retriever, readily eat this food. Coats are shiny, no allergic reactions, no bloating or stomach upsets and they are thriving."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 4. Dr Tim's Dry Dog Food

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    Dr. Tim’s Pursuit Active Dog is one of 8 recipes included in our review of the Dr. Tim’s dry product line.

    Dr. Tim’s Pursuit gains the majority of its animal protein from chicken meal. Our dry matter label study reveals the recipe contains 33% protein, 22% fat and 36% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

    A reasonably priced, quality dog food. Contains no wheat shorts or other cheap grain by-products. Enthusiastically recommended.

    Read our review of the full Dr. Tim’s Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat, whole oat groats, dried beet pulp
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 33%
    Best For Adults and small/medium breed puppies

    Sample buyer review...

    "I poured some in her bowl and she ate it IMMEDIATELY! This is a dog that I believed just wasn't into food. I have given her raw foods, very expensive foods, bougie brand dry foods and she expressed little to no interest. Dr. Tim's food is quality at a fair price! Great, thoughtful ingredients that my dog can't get enough of!"

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 5. Eagle Pack Dry Dog Food

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    Eagle Pack Original is one of 7 recipes included in our review of the Eagle Pack dry product line.

    Eagle Pack Original gets most of its meat protein from chicken and pork meals. Our dry matter label report reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 16% fat and 48% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

    Contains no controversial chemical preservatives or cheap plant-based fillers. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Eagle Pack Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken meal, pork meal, ground brown rice, de-hulled barley, oatmeal
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 29%
    Best For Adults and small/medium breed puppies

    Sample buyer review...

    "My golden retriever is very sensitive. I’m so glad I found this one right away. It’s great food, made in the USA, has healthy grains, and a great price. I think this brand is underrated because people don’t know about it!"

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 6. Eukanuba Dry Dog Food

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    Eukanuba Small Bites is one of 14 recipes included in our review of the Eukanuba dry product line.

    Eukanuba Small Bites takes the majority of its animal protein portion from chicken. Our dry matter label study reveals the recipe contains 28% protein, 18% fat and 46% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.

    A low-cost dog food with a wide range of recipe options. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Eukanuba Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, chicken fat
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 28%
    Best For Adult dogs

    Sample buyer review...

    "My dogs are super picky, but love all the eukanuba foods. It's cheaper than what we were purchasing before and the dogs don't mind at all"

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 7. Whole Earth Farms Wet Dog Food

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    Whole Earth Farms Red Meat Recipe is one of 2 recipes included in our review of the Whole Earth Farms wet product line.

    Whole Earth Farms Red Meat obtains most of its animal protein from beef. Our dry matter label report reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 23% fat and 33% estimated carbs… which yields a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

    A budget-friendly, wet food option produced by Merrick, a company known for its high-quality recipes. Confidently recommended.

    Read our review of the full Whole Earth Farms Dog Food (Canned) range here

    Main Ingredients Beef, beef broth, beef liver, lamb, pork liver
    Texture Wet
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 36%
    Best For All adults and puppies

    Sample buyer review...

    "This food is less expensive than other brands with the same ingredients and nutrition. My dog seems to like it better, too."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 8. American Journey Grain-Free

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    Salmon and Sweet Potato is one of 17 recipes included in our review of the American Journey dry product line.

    American Journey Grain-Free gets most of its animal protein from fresh salmon as well as chicken and turkey meals. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 36% protein, 16% fat and 41% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.

    We note the inclusion of salmon oil, which is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. Compared to plant based oils, these two top-quality fats provide the highest bio-availability to dogs.

    Reasonably priced and recommended with confidence.

    Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

    Read our review of the full American Journey Grain Free Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Deboned salmon, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, sweet potatoes
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 36%
    Best For Adults and small/medium breed puppies

    Sample buyer review...

    "For dogs with sensitivities, especially to grain and chicken, this is hands down the best and most affordable option on the market. We’ve shopped around and tried other limited ingredient foods, including pro plan, and this has been the only food we can trust for our dog. Wouldn’t know what to do without american journey!"

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 9. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Dog Food

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    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken and Brown Rice is one of 21 recipes included in our review of the Blue Buffalo Life Protection dry product line.

    This particular Blue Buffalo Life Protection gets the bulk of its meat protein from chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label study reveals the recipe contains 27% protein, 16% fat and 50% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

    A quality product at an affordable price. Easily recommended.

    Read our review of the full Blue Buffalo Dog Food range here

    Main Ingredients Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 27%
    Best For Adult dogs

    Sample buyer review...

    "Bertie was losing weight and lots of loose stools. The vet put him on Rx diet which worked but was a bit expensive. We ordered the Life Protection and it appears to work fine at a lesser cost! I tried a few different foods with him but this seemed to give me the best results with him."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 10. Canidae All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

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    Canidae All Life Stages Chicken Meal and Rice is one of 5 recipes included in our review of the Canidae All Life Stages dry product line.Chicken meal, barley, peas, chicken fat, brown rice

    This Canidae All Life Stages formula takes the bulk of its animal protein from chicken meal. Our dry matter label report reveals the recipe contains 29% protein, 15% fat and 48% estimated carbs… which produces a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

    A classic, budget-friendly option. No cheap fillers. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Canidae All Life Stages Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken meal, barley, peas, chicken fat, brown rice
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 29%
    Best For All adults and puppies

    Sample buyer review...

    "I have tried dog food after dog food. I have a 30lb basset with a sensitive tummy, a 50lb pit with skin issues and allergies, and a 7lb chihuahua that eats everything and seems to always be under weight. This food works for the whole gang!"

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 11. Chicken Soup for the Soul

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    Chicken Soup for the Soul Classic Adult is one of 9 recipes included in our review of the Chicken Soup for the Soul dry product line.

    Chicken Soup for the Soul Classic Adult derives the majority of its meat protein from poultry and poultry meal. Our dry matter label evaluation reveals the recipe contains 28% protein, 14% fat and 50% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

    A superior recipe at a reasonable price. No cheap protein boosters. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Chicken Soup for the Soul Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, cracked pearled barley
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 28%
    Best For Adult dogs

    Sample buyer review...

    "We have 4 dogs ranging from a puggle to a great dane and all four have thrived on Chicken Soup. They enjoy it and two of them have exceeded their expected life span and are still vibrant happy campers. The two younger dogs have done well on it as well. Read the ingredients, it's top shelf dog food at a reasonable price. I'm a customer for life."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 12. Nutro Ultra Dry Dog Food

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    Nutro Ultra Adult is one of 9 recipes included in our review of the Nutro Ultra dry product line.

    This specific Nutro Ultra Adult formula gains most of its meat protein content from chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label study reveals the recipe contains 27% protein, 17% fat and 49% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

    A classic design at an affordable price. Contains no cheap agricultural by-products. Enthusiastically recommended.

    Read our review of the full Nutro Ultra Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain sorghum, whole grain barley, whole grain oats
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 27%
    Best For Adult dogs

    Sample buyer review...

    "I tried another brand before this and it made my dog sick. He refused to eat it. My vet recommended Nutro and in my research I came across Nutro Ultra. The ingredients are what sold me. We've been using this brand for over a year. Both dogs have the shiniest coats (people comment on their coats all the time), are in great shape, and are happy campers."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 13. American Journey Active Life

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    Chicken and Brown Rice is one of 16 recipes included in our review of the American Journey dry product line.

    This American Journey recipe gains the majority of its animal protein from chicken. Our dry matter label study reveals the recipe contains 28% protein, 17% fat and 48% estimated carbs… which results in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.

    A classic, balanced, grain-inclusive dry kibble at a budget price. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full American Journey Protein & Grains Dry Dog Food range here

    Main Ingredients Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, rice bran, peas
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 28%
    Best For Adults and small/medium breed puppies

    Sample buyer review...

    "10/10 recommend this dog food for my 6 year old blue heeler. She is extremely picky. We tried about 5 different brands for her, including the very expensive Blue Buffalo. She would only eat every other day. Once we switched to American Journey, she gobbles it all up every day and never misses a meal. Her coat started to become softer and softer a few weeks later. She is now filling out and her coat is soft, shiny, and beautiful! We also give this to our one year old Aussie, and he loves it as well. His coat and skin are so healthy! If you have a picky heeler, please give this a try! It saved our girl."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 14. Nature's Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

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    Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin Recipe is one of 6 recipes included in our review of the Nature’s Recipe dry product line.

    Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin Recipe derives the bulk of its meat protein from fresh chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 28% protein, 13% fat and 51% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.

    A quality, inexpensive brand made by a trusted manufacturer. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, tapioca starch, canola meal
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 28%
    Best For Adult dogs

    Sample buyer review...

    "I was feeding my puppy Canidae Pure chicken and pea for his first 6 months... Honestly, it was becoming cost prohibitive at $65 a month... My boy is fast approaching 80lbs. I found this blend specifically, the first five ingredients were good, available in the grocery store, price is less than half what I was paying and my fella is liking it and his tummy is doing fine...I mean, with pumpkin as an ingredient I kinda thought it would be mild."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 15. Avoderm Dry Dog Food

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    Avoderm Triple Protein Formula is one of 9 recipes included in our review of the Avoderm dry product line.

    Avoderm Triple Protein obtains the majority of its meat protein from chicken, lamb and turkey meals. Our dry matter label report reveals the recipe contains 30% protein, 14% fat and 48% estimated carbs… which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.

    A complete and balanced, all life stages formula at a budget-friendly price. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full AvoDerm Natural Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken meal, brown rice, lamb meal, turkey meal, white rice
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 30%
    Best For All adults and puppies

    Sample buyer review...

    "I run a rescue so I needed a food that was good for all life stages. When I came across the Triple Protein Meal All Life Stages I was happy. All my dogs love it and I know I'm feeding them something healthy."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 16. IAMS Minichunks Dry Dog Food

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    Iams Minichunks Lamb and Rice is one of 16 recipes  analyzed in our review of the Iams dry product line.

    Iams Minichunks Lamb and Rice derives the majority of its meat protein from fresh lamb. Our dry matter label report reveals the recipe contains 28% protein, 16% fat and 49% estimated carbs… resulting a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

    Iams kibble is one of the most budget-friendly dog foods on this list. Best of all, it’s also one of the most quality-controlled brands available. A classic grain-based recipe. Easily recommended.

    Read our review of the full Iams Proactive Health Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 28%
    Best For Adult dogs

    Sample buyer review...

    "I have very picky fur babies, but they truly love their Iams! It's a quality food and I really do get a lot of bang for my bucks. They have shiny coats, and for their ages they are very active. You just can't go wrong with Iams!Lamb, brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, ground whole grain barley, ground whole grain corn"

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 17. Merrick Classic Healthy Grains

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    Classic Healthy Grains with Salmon is one of 13 recipes covered in our review of the Merrick dry product line.

    This Merrick formula gets most of its meat protein from salmon, and chicken meal. Our dry matter label report reveals the recipe contains 28% protein, 46% fat and 48% estimated carbs… delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.

    Unlike most of Merrick’s other offerings, this product line is made with grain. Yes, it’s a bit pricier than other options on this page. But if you’re able to afford it, it’s worth the extra cost. Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Deboned salmon, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 28%
    Best For Adult dogs

    Sample buyer review...

    "We feel good about feeding Toby this healthy food, and our vet agrees. Important for dogs to have grains in their diet. He eats it with gusto, especially with a little bit of chicken added. We will continue to feed him this food as well as the other flavors of Merrick dry food."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com
  • 18. IAMS Healthy Aging Dry Dog Food

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    Iams Healthy Aging Mature is one of 16 recipes rated in our review of the Iams dry product line.

    Iams Healthy Aging obtains the majority of its meat protein from fresh chicken. Our dry matter label report reveals the recipe contains 27% protein, 12% fat and 54% estimated carbs… which produces a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.

    A classic, grain-inclusive design is fully balanced and represents one the most reliable, budget-friendly picks on this list. Recommended with confidence.

    Read our review of the full Iams Proactive Health Dog Food (Dry) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken by-product meal, barley, corn, sorghum
    Texture Dry
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 27%
    Best For Adult dogs

    Sample buyer review...

    "My 13 year old hound dog suddenly stopped liking his previous food so I tried this. He loves it and his energy and coat are both good. He's excited at feeding time again which makes me happy and an added bonus is this food is much less expensive than what he was eating before."

    Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Final word

The Dog Food Advisor does not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

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