A responsible dog owner should take the time to learn as much as possible about their dog’s dietary needs before deciding on the type of dog food they should buy for their furry friend. It is very important that you consider not only the ingredients of a batch of dog food but whether that particular brand meets your dog’s requirements. We say this because different dogs have different dietary needs based on breed, size, age, and eating habits.

To ensure that you’re getting the right stuff, you will need to ponder between dry, canned, or raw food, each with its own particularities. Bear in mind that all dog food needs to above all be tasty enough for the dog to eat it regularly, yet this doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. In fact, some of the best dog food on the market is also some of the cheapest. To give you a good idea of what’s out there, we put together a list of the ten best cheap dog foods money can buy.

Best Cheap Dog Foods – Reviews

10Health Extension Grain Free 95% Chicken

The Health Extension Grain Free 95% Chicken Dog food is the best way to add a good dose of protein to your pet’s diet. Formulated with premium grade real deboned chicken, this dog food features a natural flavor that is just as delicious as it is healthy. Made with high-quality ingredients, it does not contain any meat by-products and is 100% safe for your dog. Unlike other limited ingredient diet foods, this dog food provides high levels of moisture that helps in preventing dehydration alongside keeping your pet’s urinary tract healthy.

9Simply Perfection Super Premium Lamb Canned Dog Food

With real lamb meat as its primary ingredient, this pet food contains added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help in maintaining the growth and development of your dog. Free from corn, wheat, and soy, it does not contain artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. Thanks to its unique design, the can is recyclable and features an easy-to-remove lid that does not require a can opener. It is also one of the dog foods that you can store pretty much anywhere at room temperature, which is definitely something to look for.

8Natural Ultramix Grain Free Red Meat With Raw Bites

Formulated with 38% real beef, the Natural Ultramix Grain Free Red Meat Recipe dog food features delicious raw bites that enhance the flavor of the meal. Including high protein kibble blended with real pieces of vegetables and fruits, it is the ideal pet food for your adult dog. Crafted with added vitamins and minerals, it is free from corn, soy, and wheat and helps in easy digestion. This dog food is also rich in fatty acids and antioxidants that help in the nutritional development of your pet.

7Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food is a high-quality product that is specially formulated to energize large breed dogs. Thanks to its natural sources of glucosamine & chondroitin, it helps in boosting and maintaining your pet’s joint health. Featuring omega 6 fatty acids and vitamin E, it helps in nourishing your dog’s coat and skin, keeping it shiny and soft. Made from all-natural ingredients and elements, it is high in protein and enhances your dog’s lean muscle. Free from harmful chemicals and toxins, it does not contain any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives and is entirely safe for your pet.

6Nutro Wholesome Essentials Natural Adult Dry Dog Food

Featuring a delicious Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Recipe, the Nutro Wholesome Essentials Natural Adult Dry Dog Food is formulated to boost the muscle health and strength of your pet. Including vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, this pet food is rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that help in promoting healthy skin and a shiny coat. Thanks to the Vitamin E present in its formula, it helps in maintaining a healthy immune system. With chicken as the primary ingredient, this dog food is safe and free from non-GMO ingredients, artificial flavors, and colors and meat by-products.

5Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

With real salmon as the primary ingredient, Nature’S Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food contains premium quality protein content that is helpful in boosting your pets muscle health. Uniquely blended with all natural ingredients including sweet potatoes and pumpkin, it helps in providing energy and strength for all breeds. This dog food also comes with a mix of calcium and phosphorus that helps support bone development, while its omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and antioxidants help with supporting a rich, shiny coat and skin. Easy to digest and safe for your dog, this food is free from harmful chemicals and toxins and does not contain any corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or colors.

4Pedigree Adult Dry Dog Food

This Pedigree Adult Dry Dog Food features the unique flavor of roasted chicken, rice and delicious vegetables. Formulated and well balanced, this pet food contains high levels of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that help in nourishing the skin and boosting the health and shine of your dog’s coat. Thanks to its unique blend of ingredients including antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, it helps in maintaining the overall good health of your pet dog. It also includes a special mix of whole grains and fibers that support easy digestion. Including a variety of flavors, this pet food is free from fructose corn syrup, added sugar and artificial flavoring.

3Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Lamb Dry Dog Food

The Purina ONE SmartBlend Natural Lamb Formula Adult Dry Dog Food is a high-quality dog food that is formulated with delicious real lamb meat and rice. Along with its high protein primary ingredient, it also includes omega 6 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins that help in boosting and enhancing the coat and skin of your dog. It also features a dual-defense antioxidant that helps in promoting and supporting the immune system. Unlike most dog foods of its kind, this one also comes with glucosamine that is great in maintaining the overall health of your dog’s joints and bones.

2Iams Proactive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food

Uniquely blended with premium quality ingredients, the Iams Proactive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food is highly recommended by expert Veterinarians all across the globe. With real farm-raised chicken as its primary ingredient, this dog food aims at building and developing the strength and muscles of your pet dog. Thanks to its unique mix of fiber and prebiotics, it also helps in boosting healthy digestion, while its high content of antioxidants helps with enhancing the immune system. Formulated with real chicken, wholesome grains, and beet pulp, this dog food is healthy and safe for your pet and free from wheat, soy, and artificial preservatives.

1Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Real Meat Dry Dog Food

Blended with real roasted bison and venison meat, this delicious dry dog food by Taste of the Wild features a high amino acid content and uniquely put together to boost the strength and muscles of your dog. Including added vitamins and minerals, it contains fruits and vegetables, antioxidants and fatty acids, to give your dog the shiniest coat and the softest skin. Rich in various nutrients, it is easy to digest and free from corn, wheat, grain, artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors. Overall, it is one of the best dog foods the market has to offer at this point in time.

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Finding The Best Dog Food

Provided that you understand the fact that dog food can differ between brands and packaging, you shouldn’t have too many issues finding a decent version for your furry friend. Before you settle on a specific brand, however, you should try to understand whether your dog prefers dry, canned, or raw dog food, as each has its own strong points. At the same time, you need to understand that dog food can contain natural preservatives or none to speak of, a fact that may impact how long the food can be kept in storage before it goes bad. Interestingly enough, some types of dog food can last a whole lot longer than others just by their formulation.

Types Of Dog Food

  • Dry Dog Food – This is by far the most inexpensive of all types of dog food due to how easily it can be stored. It requires no special storage conditions, which means that it can be kept in a cupboard at room temperature. What you need to do with dry dog food, however, is to supplement it with wet or homemade food every once in a while for a healthy doggy diet. Not just that but you should perhaps avoid feeding your dog nothing but dry food for practical reasons.
  • Canned Dog Food – With canned dog food, you get a higher percentage of meat and lesser carbs. This type of food also contains fewer preservatives than dry food because of the canning process itself. What’s great about this type of food is that it allows dogs to get more moisture from food, which in turn helps them stay hydrated throughout the day. At the same time, this type of food is known to help with a dog’s urinary tract by virtue of how it’s made.
  • Raw Dog Food – This is the only type of dog food that resembles what dogs would otherwise eat in the wild. Alternatively, you could very well prepare a batch of ‘raw’ food yourself, but then again, it isn’t advised that you give your dog too much raw food for the sake of your doggy’s digestion. As you would imagine, this type of food needs to be stored either frozen or refrigerated, making it the least convenient storage-wise.

What To Look For

  • Whole meat – It is very important for dog food to have whole mear or a named meat meal among its ingredients. This ensures that your dog is getting the nutrients he/she requires without any health risks to speak of. One very important thing to remember is that sometimes lesser brands incorporate low-quality meat and even bones. As such, try to avoid dog food that does not specify the type of meat used in its making and dog food that contains a meat & bone formula.
  • Complete nutrition – Equally important is for a dog food product to incorporate all the necessary nutrients that a dog needs for a healthy diet. This is mostly aimed at dogs who eat roughly the same type of food on a daily basis but also for dogs who are transitioning between different types of food. While you’re at it, be on the lookout for AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements on the label of the product for a better insight on the ingredients.
  • No fillers – Another thing to pay attention to when buying dog food is whether the food has fillers or low-quality grains of any kind. This is because grains, if present, should always be whole grains and not processed products like gluten. On a related note, rice and barley are far better than corn or wheat as fillers for any type of food. Not just that but the quality of dog food rich in fillers is noticeably lower overall.
  • Natural preservatives – If possible, keep an eye out for dog food that uses natural preservatives or none whatsoever. As a general rule of thumb, most foods are better off without preservatives. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that quality dog food should also be subjected to the same standards as quality human food. The best foods tend to use natural preservatives like tocopherols or ascorbate and not BHT or BHA which are chemical in nature.

The Age Issue

Bear in mind that dogs of different ages require a slightly different diet. On average, puppy food tends to be very rich in calories and protein whereas food intended for adult dogs have a more diverse set of ingredients. It is also common for dog food to be marketed as having a surplus of one ingredient or another, which doesn’t mean that you can expect that to be the case unless the listed ingredients confirm it. What you want is a type of dog food that’s regulated by AAFCO, a standard imposed on all high-end dog foods and many of the cheaper versions. All in all, remember that products aimed at senior dogs aren’t usually regulated as thoroughly as puppy food.


While there isn’t a universally accepted formula for what constitutes a high standard dog food, you should check the FDA website for any banned or potentially dangerous ingredients. When buying dog food of any kind, pay close attention to the ingredients list and see whether the type of meat being used is specified explicitly and whether the food contains any bones. As a rule, you want dog food to have either poultry or beef meat and no bone traces whatsoever. Just because you’re buying cheap doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your best to avoid ingredients that might cause your dog any harm.