Ensuring your dog eats well can sometimes feel like resigning yourself to a bank balance that never reaches more than double digits at any one time.
While finding healthy dog food on the cheap is a challenge, it isn’t, despite what you may have experienced, impossible.
Today, we’re going to be looking at some of our favorite cheap dog foods so you’ll never again have to eat budget instant noodles for your dog to enjoy a five-star meal.
Best Cheap Dog Food Reviews
1. Ruffin’ It Smoked Pork Stuffies
Ruffin’ It’s punny name may not be palatable to all, but the brand’s Smoked Pork Stuffies are likely to go down a storm with your four-legged friend.
The Ruffin’ It Smoked Pork Stuffies are no substitute for a full meal, but they are the ideal snack for between feeding times.
A lot of dog foods, particularly post-meal treats, are made from synthetic ingredients, which will fill your dog’s stomach but may also contribute to digestive issues, particularly in older dogs.
Ruffin’ It’s Smoked Pork Stuffies achieve their flavor through an all-natural recipe, which includes a stuffing of real chicken liver for maximum protein.
As any experienced dog owner knows, dog food can be a challenge to keep fresh. Many budget brands save money by scrimping on the packaging, which causes their products to go stale in half the time of a more expensive alternative and ends up costing you more in the long run.
Despite the low price of Ruffin’ It Smoked Pork Stuffies, they come packaged in a reusable pouch that can be easily resealed, ensuring the snacks stay fresh for as long as it takes for your dog to polish them off.
- STUFFED WITH REAL CHICKEN LIVER: The chicken liver inside is a classic taste that dogs love, packed with the protein they need to maintain a healthy diet and a fit body.
- MADE OF PORKHIDE: On the exterior, the snack entices your pet with the twisted texture of pork hide. This innovative material is easier on their stomach that other rawhide products.
- ALL NATURAL: Each twisted shape is free of materials and fillers to deliver a healthy and safe snack for your dog.
- LONG-LASTING: As delicious as it is, the pork hide takes a while to chew through, keeping them occupied for hours and hours while your possessions and home remain unscathed by the need to chew.
- FEATURES A REUSABLE POUCH: After you tear open the top of the bag, the material allows you to wash and use it again, even allowing you to reseal it at the closing seam.
What's to like about the Ruffin’ It Smoked Pork Stuffies
Dogs don’t have any great ambitions beyond spending time with their owners, so keeping your dog busy while you work or study can be challenging. The good folks at Ruffin’ It understand this plight, which is why they surrounded the chicken liver filling of the Smoked Pork Stuffies with a sturdy porkhide outer shell.
The porkhide requires a whole lot of concentration and determination to chew through, so one of these things could conceivably keep your dog occupied for hours, giving you the freedom to go about your business in peace.
Ruffin’ It Smoked Pork Stuffies are made with all-natural ingredients, leaving them free of artificial colors and preservatives.
The recipe is also free of filler ingredients such as corn and wheat, so you can be certain your dog is getting the right nutrition from the right sources.
What's not to like about the Ruffin’ It Smoked Pork Stuffies
Despite their popularity with dogs and dog owners, the Ruffin’ It Smoked Pork Stuffies are not without their flaws, the most notable of which being that they are manufactured in China.
Food manufacturers in China aren’t held to the same strict health and safety standards as those in the United States, especially when it comes to pet food, so there is a possibility, however slight, that you will end up unknowingly feeding your beloved pet a tainted Stuffie and making them ill.
2. Pedigree Small Dog Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor
One of the most seasoned manufacturers of dog food in the industry, Pedigree continues to drive its competition face first into the mat to this day.
The brand’s unwavering success is far from without justification, as is the popularity of its Small Dog Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor formula.
Pedigree Small Dog Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor is high in omega-6 fatty acids, which are usually only seen in more expensive dog food formulas.
Omega-6 fatty acids will leave your dog’s coat shining its brightest while simultaneously preventing the development of skin conditions, making this the ideal formula if your dog spends a lot of time exploring the great outdoors.
Pedigree’s Small Dog Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor boasts the brand’s innovative oral care kibble, which promises to clean your dog’s teeth with every bite, eliminating the need for forced brushing.
- Contains one (1) 3.5 lb. bag of PEDIGREE Small Dog Complete Nutrition Adult Dry Dog Food Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor
- PEDIGREE Small Dog Food features a delicious roasted chicken, rice and vegetable flavor that provides antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to help maintain a healthy lifestyle
- PEDIGREE Food for Dogs features whole grains, protein, and accents of vegetables to help support digestion
- Complete and balanced nutrition provides optimal levels of omega-6 fatty acid to nourish skin, and help keep your small dogs coat shiny and healthy
- Proudly made in the USA with the world's finest ingredients, No High Fructose Corn Syrup, No Artificial Flavors, and No Added Sugar
What's to like about the Pedigree Small Dog Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor
Unlike the previous formula, Pedigree Small Dog Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor is manufactured in the United States, so you can be certain that it abides by contemporary health and safety standards.
Furthermore, with each purchase of this formula, you will help to stimulate the American economy, thereby putting more money into the pockets of dedicated workers just like yourself.
A lot of budget dog food formulas are produced with no particular breed of dog in mind, which means they can’t guarantee your dog will get the nutrients it needs.
This formula, however, is designed exclusively for small dogs and promises to give them the warmth and energy necessary for their overexcited day-to-day business.
What's not to like about the Pedigree Small Dog Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor
A common complaint about Pedigree Small Dog Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor is that the kibble is too hard for older dogs to chew.
If your small dog has a history of dental issues, this formula, even with its aforementioned oral care kibble, will likely only exasperate them.
3. Nutro Puppy Tender Lamb & Rice Recipe
A lot of dog owners tend to avoid wet food, which is understandable considering wet formulas are more likely to contain subpar and filler ingredients. That isn’t always the case, however.
One bowl of Nutro Puppy Tender Lamb & Rice Recipe can rival one bowl of almost any dry dog food you put it up against. Here’s why.
Wet foods generally contain more meat protein than dry alternatives and Nutro Puppy Tender Lamb & Rice Recipe is no exception to the rule. It is this high meat protein content that makes this formula perfect for puppies, particularly puppies who were born weaker than their siblings.
Wet formulas are also more palatable than dry ones, so you’ll likely have an easier time weaning a newborn pup off mom and onto hard food.
A lot of meat-rich dog foods contain high amounts of by-product meal, which is essentially the leftovers of whatever the meat factory didn’t use and could include anything from snouts to hooves.
Thankfully, Nutro Puppy Tender Lamb & Rice is made with real pieces of lamb and chicken, so you can be certain your dog isn’t eating anything that you wouldn’t want to eat yourself.
- Contains twelve (12) 12.5 oz. cans of NUTRO PUPPY Premium Loaf Tender Lamb & Potato Recipe Canned Natural Wet Dog Food; Natural Wet Dog Food Plus Vitiams, Minerals & Other Nutrients
- Farm-raised lamb is the first ingredient in this delicious puppy dog food
- Grain free dog food crafted with balanced protein and fat for optimal growth
- Made with non-GMO ingredients*
- NO corn, wheat, or soy, NO chicken by-product meal, NO artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors
What's to like about the Nutro Puppy Tender Lamb & Rice Recipe
This food is specially formulated for puppies and boasts a near-perfect balance of protein and fat to promote healthy development of bones and muscles.
Another pro of wet food that is often glossed over by dry food devotees is that wet food is easier for dogs to digest.
Constipation and diarrhea are both common issues with puppies, particularly as they adjust to hard food, so any formula that has the potential to ease such digestive problems should be high on your shopping list.
What's not to like about the Nutro Puppy Tender Lamb & Rice Recipe
Despite having many benefits and advantages over dry food, wet food has a couple of drawbacks of which you should be aware before purchasing Nutro Puppy Tender Lamb & Rice Recipe.
Wet food is significantly more taxing on the teeth than its dry counterpart, so if you are going to feed this formula to your four-legged friend, you should be prepared to pay for regular doggy dental treatment.
4. Bodhi Dog Doggie Jerky Bites
If you’re already committed to one brand of dog food and aren’t looking to completely overhaul your dog’s diet, perhaps you could improve it with the introduction of a healthy snack, namely, Doggie Jerky Bites from Bodhi Dog.
Bodhi Dog’s Doggie Jerky Bites feature one of the most versatile and nutrient-rich recipes in the entire dog food industry.
In a single Jerky Bite, you will find turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and even chickpeas, ensuring your dog gets a balanced dose of meat and vegetable protein with every mouthful.
What really makes Bodhi Dog Doggie Jerky Bites stand out from the competition is not the recipe – or, at least, it is not the recipe alone – but the container in which each batch comes packaged.
Bodhi Dog Doggie Jerky Bites boast eco-friendly packaging that can be easily reused or recycled when empty.
- NATURAL RECIPE WITH POULTY, FRUITS & VEGGIES: Our healthy and holistic treats are delicious AND nutritious! When you want to give your pup a treat, don't feed them chemical laden junk food - reach for our jerky instead! Its packed with nutrients and minerals essential for building strong bones, teeth, skin, coat, and muscle. Made with Turkey, Pea Flour, Chickpeas, Cane Molasses, Chicken Fat, Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, Zinc Sulfate, Copper, Manganese & Calcium.
- NATURAL & GRAIN FREE: Our recipe contains NO Grains, Corn, Wheat or Soy. Dog stomaches are not not intended to digest the grains and fillers found in lesser quality treats, which can cause obesity and allergy problems. Our grain free chews are made with whole foods packed with protein, antioxidants, healthy fats and are great for dogs with allergies and other food sensitivities. You can feel good about giving your pooch these healthy, nutrient rich free snacks that are free of fillers and junk.
- PREMIUM GRADE QUALITY - MADE IN USA: Our healthy dog treats offers safe professional quality for dogs and puppies of all ages - young, adult, mature, aging and old. Our treats made with nature's finest ingredients can be fed to all breeds and sizes including small, medium, big and large sized dogs. Instead of a bag or pouch, we package our jerky bite-sized treats in a stay fresh canister with a resealable lid that keeps them moist and delicious. 100% SATISFACTION MONEY BACK GUARANTEE
- GREAT TASTE DOGS LOVE: Dogs will do just about anything for our soft, chewy, tender, gourmet dehydrated turkey strips which makes them an excellent training aid. Dogs are highly motivated by smell and they think or treats smell GREAT making them a highly effective and rewarding treat. Other brands need to be broken or cut up but our treats are already the perfect size to be used training treats making them more convenient, cost effective and easy to chew.
- OUR ETHICAL FAMILY COMMITMENT: Proudly made in the USA with premium quality ingredients. Our socially responsible packaging is eco-friendly and recyclable. 100% Money Back Guarantee! If you don't love our Doggie Treats, let us know and receive a full, no questions asked refund. We are a small family owned business of pet lovers committed to making great products that are safe for you, your pets and the planet!
What's to like about the Bodhi Dog Doggie Jerky Bites
Bodhi Dog Doggie Jerky Bites are backed by the brand’s 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you have a problem with your purchase or if your dog just doesn’t take to the food, Bodhi Dog will refund every penny of your money, so there really isn’t any reason for you not to try this formula.
You’ve just got to give Bodhi Dog a couple of extra points for being a family-owned business.
When you purchase the Bodhi Dog Doggie Jerky Bites instead of the chemical-laden jerky offered by some more well-known brands, you are helping the owners to pay their bills, buy their children Christmas presents, and, of course, feed their dogs.
What's not to like about the Bodhi Dog Doggie Jerky Bites
The eco-friendly container in which these treats come packaged is little more than a thin sheet of plastic molded into a cylinder and won’t pose much of a challenge to your dog if they try to open it when you’re not around.
It’s a small price to pay for saving the environment, but it is nonetheless something to be mindful of if you don’t have a lot of storage space to play around with.
5. Raw Paws Sweet Potato Training Treats
Sweet potato is an increasingly common component of dog food formulas. As well as being high in fiber and low in fat, sweet potatoes contain both vitamins B6 and C.
Raw Paws Sweet Potato Training Treats are one of the few dog foods on the market to utilize sweet potato as an anchor ingredient, but if the popularity of these treats is anything to go by, they won’t be the last.
Raw Paws Sweet Potato Training Treats are arguably the best snack for dogs who are prone to suffering from digestive issues. They boast a grain-free formula, so there is virtually no risk of them contributing to problems in your dog’s digestive system.
In fact, sweet potatoes are high in fiber, so Raw Paws Sweet Potato Training Treats may very well prove to be the cure for whatever is ailing your poor bloated puppy.
Each Raw Paws Sweet Potato Training Treat boasts an easy-to-crack outer shell and an easy-to-chew filling and can be enjoyed by puppies and older dogs alike without risk of choking or dental issues.
- TRAINING DOG TREATS: Delicious and nutritious, excellent for puppy training and dogs of all sizes! Bite sized and only 2 calories, making these dog snacks perfect for frequent rewarding. Dogs love the sweet taste!
- SWEET POTATO DOG TREATS: Sweet potato training treats for dogs are made with sweet potatoes, a complex carbohydrate and a natural energy source rich in vitamins and minerals. An excellent source of vitamin A, which promotes healthy skin, coat, eyes, nerves, and muscles in dogs.
- EASY TO DIGEST: Sweet potato treats for dogs are high in dietary fiber benefiting dog and puppy digestive health. Grain and gluten free, these easily digestible treats are perfect for sensitive stomachs and dog with food allergies.
- MADE IN THE USA: 100% real, dehydrated sweet potatoes grown, dried, and packaged right here in the USA. Natural sweet potato dog treats are slowly dried to tasty perfection.
- 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED: We stand behind our brand and value our customers satisfaction on every single order. If you're not completely satisfied we will provide a Full Refund - Guaranteed - no questions asked.
What's to like about the Raw Paws Sweet Potato Training Treats
Raw Paws Sweet Potato Training Treats come packaged in a re-sealable bag, which allows them to stay fresh in your press or on your counter, eliminating the need for refrigeration, which you’ll no doubt appreciate if you don’t like the idea of storing dog food next to your lunch.
Raw Paws Sweet Potato Training Treats are manufactured in the USA and are made using US-sourced sweet potatoes.
According to the brand, each potato used in the production of these treats is grown naturally, with no chemicals or additives.
What's not to like about the Raw Paws Sweet Potato Training Treats
Raw Paws Sweet Potato Training Treats are great, but they are vegetarian and therefore should not be used as the cornerstone of your dog’s diet.
We understand that some pet owners may not like the idea of feeding their dogs meat while they themselves abstain from it, but if your four-legged friend is going to get the nutrition they need, you’ll have to formulate their diet around a food that is high in meat protein.
As with the health of a human, the health of a dog depends almost entirely on their diet. Of course, your dog isn’t capable of deciding what food is good for them and what food is not, so it’s up to you to provide them with the most nutritious meal options within your price range.
When you’re searching for the best cheap dog food for your dog, it is advisable to consult your vet to determine if your pet has any conditions which should be taken into account before you make a purchase.
Some dogs have trouble digesting grain and if your dog is among them you should opt for one of the grain-free formulas featured on this list.
The age of your dog should also play a factor in your final decision, as puppies and older dogs generally require smaller kibble - if you go with a dry food formula – so as to minimize the risk of them choking or damaging their teeth. Small kibble is also preferable for small breed dogs.
Many dog owners hold the mistaken belief that “best cheap dog food” is an oxymoron. While it is true that many brands of budget dog food use subpar ingredients and fillers in the manufacturing of their foods, it is not the case across the board.
The budget brands that are enthusiastic about what they do generally have no problem dropping a little bit of extra cash to bring their customers something they can be proud to feed their dogs.
When searching for such brands, avoid foods that contain rice, corn syrup, or by-product meal in large amounts.
Country of Origin
Almost as important as the ingredients in your chosen dog food is the country from which they are sourced.
Dog foods that are manufactured in China and other Asian countries generally feature lesser-quality ingredients, although the level of that inferiority varies from formula to formula.
Furthermore, China’s health and safety laws are a lot less strict than those of America or the United Kingdom, which allows dog food manufacturers to mass produce while paying minimal attention to quality control.
We’re not saying that all dog foods produced in China should be avoided, some are actually quite beneficial, but you should be aware that many Chinese manufacturers have a reputation for being duplicitous and Janus-faced.
Should I buy in bulk?
Most budget dog food brands sell their formulas in bulk, but if possible you should purchase just one or two boxes or cans to begin with.
Despite contrary belief, dogs won’t eat just anything, so it’s best to test your dog’s reaction to a couple of different recipes before you spend money on a month’s supply of any one formula.
Should I choose wet or dry food?
To tell you the truth, there is no set answer to this question. Both wet and dry formulas have their pros and their cons, but it will ultimately come down to what you feel suits your dog best.
As mentioned earlier on, dogs generally enjoy the taste of wet dog food more, but it often contributes to unhealthy weight gain and dental problems.
Once opened, dry dog food stays fresh for quite a bit longer than wet dog food and is less likely to cause a mess, so you’ll be able to feed your dog indoors.
What’s so bad about filler ingredients?
If you come across a can or box of dog food that is selling for an unusually low price, even for a budget formula, you can be certain that the recipe is loaded with filler ingredients.
Filler ingredients, such as corn syrup and wheat, are ingredients thrown in by dog food manufacturers in an attempt to pad out their formulas.
Such ingredients have virtually no nutritional value, cause unhealthy weight gain, and have even been known to cause damage to the intestinal walls.
Can I feed two dogs with the same formula?
If you have two dogs of the same age and size, you should be able to feed them using the same formula without any issues (unless one likes the taste and the other does not).
However, if you have an adult dog and a puppy, you’ll have to buy both an adult formula and a puppy formula. Similarly, a large dog and a small dog will require different formulas tailored to their size.
Am I better off buying a more expensive formula?
Finding a brand of cheap dog food without filler ingredients or additives can be a bit of a challenge, so it is understandable that you might be tempted to just spend the money on a more expensive brand of dog food and be done with it.
If you don’t have the room in your budget to do that, however, you can rest safe in the knowledge that there isn’t all that much of a difference between a quality brand of budget dog food and a $50 formula from a supposedly superior manufacturer.
Many of the higher-end brands of dog food are geared towards canines with conditions that require specialized diets, which is really the only notable advantage they have over their less expensive counterparts.
If you have a healthy and active dog, there is no reason he or she cannot be kept healthy and active with an affordable formula from the likes Pedigree or Bodhi Dog.
The best cheap dog food is not the dog food that is going to cost you the least amount of money, but the dog food that is going to benefit both your dog and your wallet in nearly equal measure (edging on the side of your dog).
Pedigree has long been one of the world’s leading manufacturers of dog food and yet its Small Dog Roasted Chicken, Rice and Vegetable Flavor formula can be purchased for less than $5, making it the pick of this litter.
Snacks such as Bodhi Dog Jerky Bites or Ruffin’ It Smoked Pork Stuffies should not be used as the foundation of your dog’s diet, but can act as affordable ways of keeping your dog entertained between mealtimes.
View each as an investment, saving you money on overpriced dog toys and leaving you with more time to work in peace.