Top 12 Best Dog Food Brands on a Budget in 2020

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Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot own a pet when you are low on funds. Everyone has the capability to own and take care of a pet, all it takes is careful planning and budgeting. It is possible to find the best dog food brands on a budget without sacrificing the quality of ingredients.

The more expensive dog food brands you see at your local pet store are sometimes not even of the highest quality you can purchase, rather, you are buying the brand name instead. Stray away from those brands and look at the lower priced foods with confidence, you will most likely find better quality foods that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. But just in case you are still a little overwhelmed on which dog food brand to use we’ve put together a list of quality, low budget dog food brands you can buy for your dog.

1. Grain Free Seafood Select Dry Dog Food

Grain Free Seafood Select Dry Dog Food

If you are looking for the best dog food for the money, then Nutri Source is the brand for you.

Key Features

  • Animal protein is the first ingredients
  • Good for all life stages
  • Grain-Free recipe

An animal protein is always the first ingredient in any of the Nutri source flavors. This provides your dog with a direct protein source for an optimal energy intake.

Only the best, high-quality natural ingredients are used in this brand to provide the best mineral, vitamin, and nutritional intake.

If your dog loves this brand you won’t have to worry about switching brands down the line as this food is fit for all life stages, which makes budgeting for your dog’s food easier. And since it is grain free you can give this food to dogs who have allergies or tend to have sensitive stomachs.

Pros

  • Only uses ingredients sourced in the USA
  • The larger bag can last longer as you don’t need to feed as much of this food to your dog

Cons

  • While still an affordable dog food, it can range in higher prices depending on where it is being sold

Your dog will be able to have the essential nutrients that they need with Nutri Source without costing you an arm and a leg to get.

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2. Zignature Zssential Formula Dog Food

Zignature Zssential Formula Dog Food

Zignature is one of the best affordable grain free dog food brands you can buy that won’t make you groan each time you buy it.

Key Features

  • Comes in a variety of flavors
  • Bag sizes range from 4lbs, 13.5lbs, and 27lbs
  • Grain-Free Recipe
  • Good for all life stages

You will only find high-grade protein and quality fruits and vegetables in this food, no corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or by-products.

Zignature takes care to make sure that their recipes are high in protein, low in saturated fat and is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants.

If your dog happens to have allergies then this is the prime brand for you. They take care to make allergy safe recipes by eliminating grains and don’t use chicken as a protein, since chicken is the most common protein dogs can become allergic to. Once your dog loves this brand, stick with it as it is good for all life stages.

Pros

  • High source of protein
  • Only uses quality ingredients, no by-products or meals

Cons

  • Some flavors have a strong odor dog may not enjoy

Whatever flavor Zignature you decide to go with you can be sure your dog will never grow bored of it and be excited to eat.

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3. Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Dry Dog Food

Taste of the Wild gives your dog a food that mimics what their wilder relatives eat without costing you too much for the quality.

Key Features

  • Grain-Free formula
  • Comes in three sizes: 5lbs, 15lbs, and 30lbs
  • Variety of proteins available

Taste of the Wild only uses the highest quality ingredients gathered all around the USA. With budget foods, you might worry about there being artificial ingredients or filler ingredients, but Taste of the Wild is grain free, corn free, wheat free, and has no artificial ingredients or preservatives.

Since it is grain free, this brand is ideal for dogs that have allergies. There are a variety of protein flavors available and whichever protein you chose to go with it will always be the first ingredient.

This food also contains an ideal level of nutrients and probiotics to support a healthy mind and body.

Pros

  • Ingredients are resourced from trusted sources in the USA
  • A low-cost superfood for your dog

Cons

  • Some customers gave feedback that their dogs developed stomach issues

Your dog will love the flavors of Taste of the Wild dog food and you will love knowing they are getting all the essentials that they need.

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4. Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food

Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Merrick is one of the best affordable dog food brands you can buy that also gives your dog the essential nutrients they need, not filler ingredients that just fill the stomach.

Key Features

  • Grain-Free
  • Protein the first ingredient
  • Comes in a variety of flavors
  • Comes in three sizes: 4lbs, 12lbs, and 25lbs

Merrick’s dog food recipes are grain-free, gluten-free, and uses sweet potatoes instead of the allergy-triggering white potatoes.

The ratio for this brand of food is 70% protein and 30% produce, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. This ratio gives you dog the ideal balance of Omegas and fatty acids to promote a healthy body, immune system, joints, skin, and fur.

Merrick has your dog covered all around without making you work hard to afford their formulas. They have both a puppy centered formula and adult dog formulas so, if your dog loves the food and you love the price, you can stay in the Merrick family throughout your dog’s lifespan.

Pros

  • All ingredients harvested in the USA
  • Ideal for dogs with allergies

Cons

  • Protein content may be high for some breeds of dogs

Your dog will be licking their lips before and after each meal of Merrick and you will know that they are satisfied each time.

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5. Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Recipe Dry Dog Food

Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Recipe Dry Dog Food

Whole Earth Farms is amongst one of the cheapest, budget-friendly dog food brands you can buy that doesn’t skip out of quality.

Key Features

  • Grain-Free
  • High protein source
  • Ingredients sourced from the USA
  • Comes in three sizes: 4lbs, 12lbs, and 25lbs

While Whole Earth Farms is one of the cheapest dog food brands on this list, don’t let the low price deter you away.

All of the ingredients used in this dog food are sourced from all over the USA from high quality, reputable sources.

The first ingredient is always some form of animal protein, no by-products or low-quality meals, in order to provide the best protein source for your dog.

The grain-free recipe is easy on your dog’s stomach while also being less of a trigger for allergies. The added vitamins and minerals help support a better body, shinier coat, and healthier skin.

Pros

  • Good for all breeds of dogs
  • One of the lowest cost brands of dog food

Cons

  • The new formula has been reported to upsetting some dog’s stomachs

For one of the best cheap dog food brands available your dog will only care about the taste, not the price which is great if you buy Whole Earth Farms. 

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6. Purina Beneful Originals Adult Dry Dog Food

Purina Beneful Originals Adult Dry Dog Food

Purina Beneful Originals has been around for many years and remains a popular, budget brand that still provides the essential nutrients to your dog.

Key Features

  • Protein is the first ingredient
  • Comes in three flavors: beef, chicken, and salmon
  • Packed with essential nutrients

If you know that your dog is not allergic to grains and doesn’t have a sensitive stomach, then you can give them Purina Beneful without worry.

The whole grains and a blend of vegetables provide 23 essential vitamins and minerals to help support your dog’s overall health. An animal protein is the first ingredient to provide 22 grams of protein per cup for stronger muscles and a better energy source.

All of the ingredients are locally grown and harvested in the USA for an optimal quality level.

Pros

  • The fun shapes and textures provide an irresistible taste for dogs
  • Crunchy pieces are easier to eat and digest

Cons

  • Not ideal for dogs with allergies as grains are used in this brand
  • Some customers reported upset stomachs in their dogs after consumption

Don’t fret over the price of your dog’s food when you know you are still giving them a high-quality brand of food like Purina Beneful Originals.

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7. Nutro MAX Adult Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Nutro MAX Adult Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Nutro MAX lives up to its name; providing your dog with max quality ingredients without being a max strain on your wallet.

Key Features

  • Grain-Free
  • Comes in two sizes: 4lbs and 25lbs
  • Comes in four flavors: chicken, chicken-mini chunks, lamb, and salmon

Nutro MAX only uses high-quality chicken in their recipe, no by-products or questionable meals to better support a healthy weight and proper energy level.

Since it is a grain-free recipe you can easily give this brand to dogs with allergies. The ingredients are all non-GMO and are locally resourced in the USA in their own facilities.

There are no added artificial ingredients, colors, or preservatives. The only added ingredients are essential vitamins and minerals to promote a healthy body. You will be sure to find the ideal flavor and kibble size for your dog when using Nutro MAX.

Pros

  • Ideal for all life stages
  • Has different kibble sizes for all dog sizes

Cons

  • Some customers reported that their dog had an upset stomach after consumption
  • Potatoes are the second ingredient which can cause a yeast infection in some dog breeds

Scoop with confidence and feed your dog knowing that they are having a nutrient-packed food for a well affordable price with Nutro MAX.

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8. Iams Healthy Naturals Adult Dry Dog Food

Iams Healthy Naturals Adult Dry Dog Food

IAMS Healthy Naturals proves that price doesn’t mean everything when it comes to making high-quality dog foods.

Key Features

  • Comes in four flavors: chicken & barley, healthy weight, ocean fish & rice, and lamb & rice
  • Comes in five sizes: 5.5lbs, 10.3lbs, 13.8lbs, 19lbs, and 25.6lbs
  • Added nutrients, minerals, and vitamins

The first ingredient of IAMS Healthy Naturals is always the animal protein, no by-product or low-quality meals.

The blend of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids gives your dog the ultimate nutrient source for a healthier body, mind, and immune system.

Even though this food uses grains it does not use corn, wheat, or soy to avoid making a food that is just full of filler ingredients.

The grains used are all natural and provide a delicious flavor and easy digestion. You will not find any artificial ingredients, preservatives, colors, or flavors in this food that could potentially harm your dog.

Pros

  • Made from wholesome, high-quality ingredients
  • Use whole grains to provide a natural nutrient source

Cons

  • Some customers have reported their dog vomiting after consumption
  • The changing recipes could discourage dogs from eating

Each cup of IAMS Healthy Naturals is sure to give your dog the all-natural nutrient intake.

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9. Nulo Grain Free Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Nulo Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Nulo is best known for providing a grain-free recipe with no wheat, soy, white potatoes, tapioca, or artificial ingredients. Nulo is one of the better quality budget foods that is well worth the price.

Key Features

  • Grain-Free recipe
  • Packed with essential nutrients
  • Comes in various flavors
  • Comes in three sizes: 4.5lbs, 11lbs, and 24lbs

Its recipe is 74% animal-based protein for more amino acids, protein, and a better tasting flavor. To help with weight management their formula is low in carbohydrates, contains an optimal source of L-carnitine for fatty acids, and has been infused with their patented BC30 probiotic that aids in digestion and their metabolism.

All the ingredients are sourced and cooked in their USA base in Texas so you know that their quality control goes beyond in how they make the food to how the ingredients raised for the food are taken care of.

Pros

  • May reduce food sensitivities and allergies
  • Helps promote a healthy weight even for less active dogs

Cons

  • While it is a low budget food the price can raise depending on where it is being sold

Your dogs are everything, so show them how much they mean to you with a high-quality food such as Nulo that won’t cost you a pretty penny.

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10. Weruva Caloric Harmony Dry Dog Food

Weruva Caloric Harmony Dry Dog Food

Weruva is best known for their wet foods, but they have also expanded their lines of dog foods to include an amazing dry food formula.

Key Features

  • Comes in three sizes: 4lbs, 12lbs, and 24lbs
  • Comes in three flavors: chicken dinner with pumpkin, chicken & turkey & salmon dinner with pumpkin, and venison & salmon meal dinner with pumpkin
  • Grain-Free recipe
  • Packed with essential nutrients

Each of the dry food formulas includes pumpkin in order to aid in digestive health. The first ingredient is an animal protein to provide a high protein source to develop stronger muscles.

All the ingredients are GMO-free and grain-free to avoid triggering allergies. Taurine is used in all of the recipes to support a healthy heart in your dog.

Weruva also uses salmon oil and linoleic acid to promote healthier skin and a shinier coat. You won’t have to worry about switching brands either as this brand is ideal for all life stages young and old.

Pros

  • Family owned company to ensure optimal customer satisfaction
  • Made in a BRC/USDA approved facility in Canada that follows the strict food safety standards

Cons

  • Some dogs may prefer the wet food of this brand over the dry food, so might cause picky eaters

If your dog loves Weruva wet food, why not let them enjoy the dry food as well?

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11. Nature’s Recipe Dry Dog Food

Nature's Recipe Dry Dog Food

Nature’s Recipe makes sure that every ingredient used in their recipe is top quality and gives something to your dog other than a full stomach.

Key Features

  • Comes in a variety of flavors
  • Comes in three sizes: 4.5lbs, 15lbs, and 30lbs
  • Protein the first ingredient
  • Packed with essential nutrients

All of the proteins used in this brand are not only the first ingredients but are also supplied by high-quality sources for optimal muscle strength and endurance.

The rice used provides a source of carbohydrate for a better energy source. Barley supplies a prime fiber source to support digestive and immune system health.

The included omegas and fatty acids maintain a healthy skin, coat, and overall body system.

Pros

  • Recipe blend provides an optimal nutrient source
  • Only natural ingredients are used

Cons

  • Made with grains so not ideal for dogs with allergies

All the ingredients in Nature’s Recipe will not only supply essential nutrients but also an amazing flavor your dog will love.

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12. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Dog Food

Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Dog Food

Professional cooks don’t just cook for people, but for dogs as well, which Rachel Ray Nutrish goes out to prove.

Key Features

  • All natural ingredients
  • Comes in four sizes: 6lbs, 14lbs, 28lbs, and 40lbs
  • Comes in a variety of flavors

USA farm raised proteins are the first ingredients of the many recipes available for an optimal protein source. Added vitamins and minerals provide an easy to digest nutritional intake that promotes a healthy body.

Natural prebiotics sourced from the vegetables and other ingredients help to support a healthy digestion.

No artificial flavors or preservatives means you will not be giving your dog any harmful chemicals, only the best and most nutritional ingredients.

Pros

  • No filler ingredients used
  • No by-products used

Cons

  • Made with grains so not ideal for dogs with allergies

You can provide your dog with a gourmet quality meal that won’t strain your wallet with Rachel Ray Nutrish.

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Key Information

Cheap dog food does not have to give up being a healthy food source. When you look at the ingredients and see what the food has to offer, then you can pick out the best inexpensive dog food amongst the cheaper brands available.

Features to Look For

There are five key features that you need to look out for before buying a cheaper dog food. If the dog food you are considering matches up with all of these features then you can give it the green light and go ahead and buy it for your dog.

Nutrition & Ingredients

Dogs have a specific nutrient need in order to stay healthy. They need a high protein source for a growing body and a carbohydrate source for energy. See if the first ingredient in the food you are considering is an animal protein source, not a by-product or meal. If a protein source is the first ingredient then you know the majority of the dog food is that protein.

Wheat isn’t always bad for dogs, if they are not prone to food allergies, as they provide the carbohydrates that your dog needs. But if your dog is allergic to wheat, corn, or rice, you can find the carbohydrate sources elsewhere, such as in beet pulp.

Taste

If the dog food you are considering is not appealing to your dog’s taste, then you will end up wasting money. The flavor comes mainly from the animal protein source, so if you know your dog loves chicken or if they don’t like fish you can seek out the cheap foods that use those proteins to either buy them or avoid them.

Fatty Acids

Fatty acids are essential for your dog to have a prime energy source and to promote healthy cell growth, hormone production, and in helping to absorb certain vitamins. You want to make sure that the food you are considering has an adequate source of fatty acids or your dog will not be able to develop a strong and healthy body.

Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins are important to add to your dog’s diet as their bodies cannot naturally be synthesized in their body. But you don’t want to overwhelm their bodies with too many vitamins as it can cause negative effects on their bodies. If the vitamins are listed in the middle of the ingredient list then you have a good balance of the vitamins.

Like vitamins, minerals need to be added to the dog’s food. Minerals are essential for maintaining their metabolism and keeping their teeth and bones strong. This is another nutrient that should not be given excessively and should be listed in the middle of the ingredient list ideally for a good balance.

Packaging & Safety

You wouldn’t think that the food’s packaging would be important, but it gives you an idea of how safely the food is processed. The neater and cleaner the packaging is the more you can be confident that the company took care when making the food.

Bottom Line

The best budget dog food does not have to budget your dog’s health. Cheap dog foods may be less of a strain on your wallet, but they can still keep up with the high-quality sources of the more expensive dog food brands.

The main things you have to look out for in whatever dog food you are considering is that there are no by-product meals and that the food is not just filler ingredients, like corn and white potatoes. If you go for the filler ingredient foods the most you are going to give your dog is a full stomach, no nutritional intake what-so-ever.

But if you are careful and look at the ingredients in the dog food for the best quality for your buck, then you will still be able to provide a healthy food source to your dog. Your dog will not care about the cost, just the quality.

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