We all know how much we all love our pets, each and every single one of 'em, and always try to give them the best we can in life.
Besides things that can't be bought, such as a healthy environment to live in and all the love and care we can offer in the world, come things that can be bought, such as entertainment tools (toys), veterinary care and the best food we can get our hands on.
Speaking of dog food, this issue can become a problem for many people real fast.
In the search for the best dog food, we often find ourselves overwhelmed with a limited number of options that cost way more than we could ever afford. Where did all the cheap, yet of good quality, dog food go?
Our List Of The Best Cheap Dog Food Of Today
(Updated List For 2018)
Top Pick: Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Adult Dogs
Pick #2: Natural Balance Ultra Premium Beef Canned Dog Formula
Pick #3: CANIDAE All Life Stages Dog Food
Pick #4: Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dog Food
*Note: The links in the table above, as well as several links in the remainder of the article below, will take you to over to Chewy.com where you can find out more information about the products, such as current prices and customer reviews.
*Note: Prices of dog food on the market may change rapidly from day to day, so this list does NOT necessarily state the cheapest dog food in descending order. This list is just our top 5 recommendations for high quality dog food brands that are more affordable than others. Check prices on your own before making a purchase.
Best Inexpensive Dog Food Of 2018
Pick #1 - Diamond Naturals Dry Food
First off, to make sure that this formula is of high-quality, we have to take a look at the ingredient list. And what do we see as the #1 ingredient? An animal-based meat meal, depending on which formula you go with.
So, if you go with their beef recipe, beef meal will be the #1 ingredient. Or, if you go with their chicken recipe, chicken meal will be the #1 ingredient. And so the list goes on.
This is a good first impression, as this means that your pooch will be getting adequate amounts of protein and from high-quality sources.
One thing we also like about this specific formula is that it also contains flaxseed, which is an excellent source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids that greatly boost your dog's health and help maintain their coat health.
Although this food is free from any useless filler such as corn, wheat and soy, its #2, #3, #4 and #5 ingredient spots on the list are dominated with the following carbohydrate sources: peas, cracked pearled barley, ground white rice and rice bran.
Compared to some other brands out there that usually have their first 3 ingredient spots on the list dominated by protein sources, Diamond Naturals falls a little bit short in this category.
But, this brand nonetheless remains our top choice for a dog food brand if you're looking for both affordability and a high-quality nutritional profile.
The first 3 ingredients on the list are Beef, Beef Broth and Beef Liver, which provide your canine with a good mix of high-quality protein and fat that they need in their diet.
We're not going to get into the argument about whether dry food is better than canned food or vice versa, as this topic is beyond the scope of this article.
So, we'll leave that decision for you to make yourself depending on what you're comfortable with and depending on what your pup prefers as well.
Some canines thrive on dry dog food, while others thrive on wet food. Remember, no two dogs are alike.
Pick #3 - CANIDAE All Life Stages Dog Food
This formula contains an impressive 4 meat meals, all of which are very high-quality sources of protein that will ensure your fella gets all the protein content they need for the day.
These meat meals are chicken, lamb, turkey and fish.
Besides from being free from useless filler, artificial additives and preservatives, CANIDAE made sure this formula of theirs comes packed with probiotics to greatly aid with your pooch's digestion.
In addition, they include vitamins and minerals to help improve your dog's health markers, essential fatty acids to make sure they preserve their coat condition and antioxidants that greatly boost their immunity system.
However, it must be noted that some lower quality ingredients such as rice bran and white rice did make their way onto the list, both of which may cause some digestive problems in canines that have sensitive stomachs.
Last but not least on our list of the best cheap dog food brands is a Pacific Stream dry dog food from Taste of the Wild.
This brand is highly praised by pet owners as one of the best foods when it comes to improving their buddy's coat and skin conditions.
With its top 2 ingredients being salmon and ocean fish meal, this formula offers abundant levels of protein for your canine as well as essential fatty acids (such as Omega 3 fatty acids) from these 2 ingredients alone.
Also, you don't have to worry about allergies or digestion issues since this food is made under highest production standards and contains no grains.
The Problem With Cheap Dog Food In The Pet Food Industry
The problem in the pet food industry is that there's often a correlation between price and quality. It's generally deemed among the pet owners community that the more expensive the food in hand is, the higher-quality it is, and the less expensive the food in hand is, the lower-quality it is.
Thankfully though, that's not always the case. In the dog food industry, we often notice 2 patterns.
- Some manufacturers aggressively market what is an average dog food to make it out to be the be-all-end-all when it comes to food.
- Some manufacturers that don't have the budget other larger dog food manufacturers have to aggressively market their products end up not getting nearly half the exposure, despite the fact that they have a much higher-quality food in store.
The dog food industry is just like any other industry out there, and marketing and all the hype that comes with it plays a very big role in how popular a certain brand is, regardless of whether or not it indeed is the best dog food out there or not.
Right now from the top of my head I can name a few brands that are constantly advertised as the best (and the money they're charging for their products sure does make you believe that), but if you take a close look at their ingredients list and understand what's going on, you'd be surprised how they're getting by with what they're doing!
Despite the fact that these brands are constantly touted around online, offline and by word of mouth as being the best dog food, these brands have the lowest-quality ingredients list with things like meat by-products, unknown meat source, corn, soy and wheat and come packed with all the artificial additives and preservatives that will surely cause allergy-havoc in your pooch's system.
And, you'd be surprised to see how certain brands that often go under the radar because they don't have nearly as much advertising budget these other big brands have much higher-quality ingredients lists, all while charging significantly lower fees for their products.
The moral of the story here is that it's not always the case that the most expensive dog food is the best option, and it's not always the case that the cheap dog food is the worst option.
Our List Of Best Dog Food For The Money
The following list is, at best, a general recommendation of affordable dog foods that have maintained relatively high standards when it comes to their nutritional profiles.
These foods may or may not be adequate to YOUR canine, since many factors come into play in these cases, such as specific breed, age and life stage, weight, activity levels, specific allergies, digestive problems and a whole host of other factors we won't be getting into in this article.
For example, young puppies need specific formulas that are MUCH higher in protein than what mature and fully developed adult dogs need in their diets, and young, growing puppies don't need as much fat in their food compared to seniors.
These are just two small examples of the differences in nutritional and dietary needs between dogs in different stages of life.
So, and even though this is a list of the best cheap dog food brands that are available on the market today, this doesn't necessarily mean these are best for YOUR pooch. We have to take these issues one case at a time and understand that no two canines are alike when looking for the best dog food.
With that being said, we've scoured the market and have come back to you with this list of the best inexpensive dog foods that have maintained their high-quality nutritional profile despite their affordable price.
The last thing we want is to buy cheap food at the expense of our buddy's health, which will only lead to digestive trouble, the weakening of their immune system, a whole lot of allergies and a world of health problems.
Cheap Dog Food Brands And Dog Health Problems
While all the options mentioned in the list above offer decent nutritional benefits to your canine for a relatively low price compared to other brands on the market, a word of caution must be issued.
If your dog is known to suffer from some health problems, such as a sensitive stomach, allergies (including skin allergies), hip & elbow dysplasia, arthritis, dental problems or any other health problems such as the ones just mentioned, please talk to your veterinarian before deciding on which food you're going to be feeding them.
Check out what this vet has to say about it:
Without proper research and expert advice on this issue, for all you know you could be harming your dog's health if you feed them something that could worsen their situation.
Other Tips To Find The Best Budget Dog Food
Besides searching for brands that have a lower price-tag on them than other dog food brands that are known to charge significantly more for their products, there are a few tricks you can use to your advantage to save even more.
- Buy In Bulk: As you already know, dog food brands manufacture their products in different weight-bags, such as 5 lbs bags, 12 lbs bags, 24 lbs bags and 30 lbs bags, just as a few examples. Generally, the more you go with the higher weighted bags, the more you'll be significantly saving on the actual price you're paying per pound of food.
- Special Sales: This one goes without saying. Often times, you'll find some big brands, or even smaller brands that have high quality food to its name but they're not marketed as heavily, having sales, discounts and promotions, in which case you should take total advantage of that situation.
- Subscription: If you're like me (and millions of other pet owners around the world as well for that matter) and you like to buy your dog food from online retailers, then you're in for a treat. Many online retailers have subscription services available on the majority of their foods in stock which will save you tremendous amounts of money down the road. They get to keep you as a customer for a longer time period, and you get special rates in return because of that.