Did you know that the average American dog owner spends over $400 a year on food? In fact, dog owners spend more on food every year than they do on other pet-related expenses such as vaccinations, grooming, pet insurance, training, and other non-food supplies.
We’re sure most dog owners can attest to the astronomical amount they have to spend on their dog’s food every year, especially if you have a larger breed or working dog that needs to eat a lot. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a small fortune to give your dog high-quality food.
Keep reading to find our reviews of the best affordable canned and wet dog food options this year.
A Glance at Our Top Picks (2023 Update)
|Best Overall||Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipes||
|Best Value||Pedigree Chopped Variety Pack||
|Premium Choice||American Journey Variety Pack||
|Best for Puppies||Iams ProActive Health Puppy||
|Vet’s Choice||Purina ONE SmartBlend||
The 10 Best Affordable Canned and Wet Dog Food
1. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipes – Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, carrots, peas|
This variety pack contains eight 12.5-ounce cans of high-quality food and is available at a very fair price considering the high-quality formulation of the recipes. There are no by-product meals, corn, soy, or preservatives used in either of the recipes, and they both include real meat as the first ingredient.
The recipes include wholesome whole grains and natural fruits and vegetables for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The inclusion of carrots in both recipes provides a great source of beta carotene and fiber, while grains like brown rice can provide a dose of the essential B vitamins your dog needs for energy metabolism and nervous system function. Blue Buffalo’s variety pack provides dog owners with the best overall affordable canned and wet dog food.
2. Pedigree Chopped Ground Dinner Variety Pack – Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, sufficient water for processing, meat by-products, animal liver, Brewers rice|
If your budget is extremely tight, you’re probably searching for the best affordable canned and wet dog food for the money. If that’s the case, this variety from Pedigree will fit the bill. This package contains 12 13.2-ounce cans of ground dog food with a hearty texture that appeals to most pups. There are two flavors included in this variety pack—filet mignon and beef. These recipes both provide 100% complete and balanced nutrition for adult dogs and feature oils and minerals that can help nourish your dog’s skin and coat. The soft texture is enticing and great for adding texture to your dog’s diet. Some people like serving this food alone, while others use it as a meal topper for their dog’s kibble to add extra flavor and nutrition.
3. American Journey Variety Pack – Premium Choice
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, chicken broth, beef broth, chicken liver, dried egg whites|
American Journey’s stew variety pack may be slightly more expensive than some of the other canned foods on our list, but it still rings in at an affordable price. This pack contains two flavors: Chicken & Vegetable Stew and Beef & Vegetable Stew. Both meals contain real meat as the first ingredient and are packed with vegetables like carrots for additional vitamins and minerals and omega-3s and 6 for skin and coat health. The ingredients are all simmered in a savory broth to give dogs a unique texture that will shake things up in their diet.
These meals are grain-free which may or may not be beneficial to your dog. We recommend talking with your vet before switching your dog to a grain-free diet.
4. Iams ProActive Health Puppy – Best for Puppies
|Main ingredients:||Sufficient water for processing, chicken, meat by-products, Brewers rice, meat protein isolate|
Puppies have different nutritional needs than an adult or senior dog, but just because your young pup needs a specialized diet doesn’t mean you need to pay an arm and a leg for his food. This canned food from Iams is an affordable answer to your puppy’s unique nutrient requirements.
This pate is made with high-quality animal proteins and is enriched with vitamins and minerals to boost your pup’s immune system and promote a healthy and shiny coat. The wholesome whole grains included in this food can boost cognitive development and give your pooch the energy he needs.
5. Purina ONE SmartBlend Lamb & Brown Rice – Vet’s Choice
|Main ingredients:||Lamb and chicken broth, liver, lamb, wheat gluten, pork lungs|
Our Vet’s Choice pick for the best affordable canned dog food comes from Purina ONE SmartBlend. This natural food is made with real lamb and brown rice and is formulated with vitamins and minerals your dog needs to thrive. It has twice the recommended levels of zinc and selenium. Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system, and selenium is necessary for metabolism function and normal thyroid activity. This canned food provides 100% complete and balanced nutrition for adult dogs in a palpable and easy-to-digest formula. This food is a great option to feed dogs who need to focus on maintaining a healthy weight.
6. Purina Beneful IncrediBites
|Main ingredients:||Beef broth, beef, wheat gluten, liver, meat by-products|
If you have a toy or small breed dog, Purina’s Beneful IncrediBites is a fantastic and affordable wet food option. It has a chunky texture with real ingredients that you can actually see, like beef chunks, carrots, tomatoes, and rice. The pieces are all bite-sized and have been formulated with the smaller teeth and mouths of small pups in mind. This recipe has been crafted with additional vitamins and minerals like vitamins E, A, and B-12 that can help your dog thrive. Purina also doesn’t use any potentially harmful additives like coloring or flavoring in the preparation of this product.
7. Dog Chow High Protein
|Main ingredients:||Water sufficient for processing, chicken, wheat gluten, meat by-products, liver|
Purina’s Dog Chow is a high-protein dog food made with real animal protein. It contains a whopping 40 grams of protein to help support your dog’s muscles. This formula is designed to provide 100% complete and balanced nutrition for adult dogs and it comes in an irresistible chunky texture that most dogs love. This recipe has absolutely no unnecessary or potentially problematic artificial flavoring or preservatives.
This variety pack consists of six cans of dog food in two different flavors: beef and chicken. The cans are large at 13-ounces each, so even though this product may be more expensive than some of the others we’re reviewing today, you’re still getting a lot of value for your buck.
8. Iams ProActive Health
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, sufficient water for processing, chicken by-products, lamb, brown rice|
Iams ProActive Health Lamb & Rice pate provides a vitamin-rich pate for adult dogs over the age of one. This food is made with natural ingredients and is cooked slowly in real meat broth, which leaves it with an enticing scent for pups. The formula is fortified with vitamins like vitamin E that can boost your dog’s immune system and thiamine for brain health.
This formula features high-quality chicken as the main ingredient, which is strange considering the flavor is Lamb and Rice.
9. Redbarn Naturals Beef Roll
|Main ingredients:||Beef, beef lung, beef liver, whole wheat flour, egg product|
When you think of canned or wet dog food, something like this beef roll from Redbarn probably doesn’t come to mind. But this is a viable wet food option for your pup that’s not only affordable but flexible in feeding options. You can use this recipe as your dog’s entire meal, a topper for his kibble, a training tool, or even as a way to sneakily hide a pill.
This recipe features a single-protein source (beef) and is made without any artificial flavoring, colors, or preservatives. The roll is made in the USA with high-quality and functional ingredients such as sunflower oil for omega 6 fatty acids and flaxseeds for better digestion.
10. Chicken Soup for the Soul Mature
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, chicken broth, turkey broth, turkey, chicken liver|
While Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Mature canned food for seniors is a bit on the pricier end, we still thought this high-quality food deserved a spot in our list of best affordable canned foods. This product is designed with senior dogs in mind. Each ingredient was thoughtfully chosen from the real chicken and turkey to help your aging dog maintain muscle mass to the Vitamin E supplement for boosting your dog’s immune system and heart health. This food is designed to provide a well-balanced base for your dog to thrive in his senior years.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Affordable Canned and Wet Dog Food
Now that you know some of the best budget-friendly wet dog food options on the market, you need to decide which will work best for your dog. It’s not as simple as picking the first product of the ten above and hoping for the best. There are some things you should factor into your decision-making process before clicking “Add to Cart”.
Your Dog’s Life Stage
The age of your dog should be a huge determining factor for the food that you buy. Puppies, adult dogs, and senior pooches all have very different nutritional needs, so the food that you ultimately settle on needs to be formulated for the life stage your dog is currently in.
Dogs are considered puppies until they’ve reached 12 months of age. The amount of food they’re fed and the number of times they’re offered food will depend on their age.
Pups between six to 12 weeks will need around four feedings a day, those between three and six months should have three to four meals, and puppies between six to 12 months often are okay with just two meals per day.
Any food you buy for your pup should have the AAFCO statement displayed on the label that says it provides 100% complete and balanced nutrition for puppies.
Puppies need food that will provide them with the nutrients they need to nourish their growing bodies. Proteins will build their muscle tissues while fats can boost skin and hair health. Carbohydrates are necessary for energy. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, puppies need 22–32% protein, 10–25% fat, and 20% carbohydrates on a dry matter basis.
A dog is typically considered to be an adult when it reaches 90% of its expected adult weight. Diets for adult dogs focus on maintenance as they are now past their growing stage.
Feeding requirements will depend on your dog’s age, breed, size, and activity level. A good place to start is by looking at the feeding chart on your dog’s food. Typically, low activity dogs will require less food than what the labeling requires, and working or highly active dogs will require more. If you’re ever unsure of how much you should be feeding, ask your vet as they can take your dog’s size and lifestyle into account.
According to Fetch by WebMD, adult dogs require 10% of their daily calories from protein and 5.5% (at minimum) from fats. Around 50% of their diet can come from carbohydrates.
The age at which a dog becomes a senior will depend on its breed and overall health. Small dog breeds, like chihuahuas or toy poodles, mature faster at a young age but will age slower and aren’t typically considered to be seniors until they’re 10 to 12 years old. Many giant breeds reach senior citizen status by the time they’re five or six.
Dogs that have reached their golden years often need a diet that focuses on prevention.
Seniors need protein in their diet to prevent muscle loss and lower sodium foods to stave off senior dog health conditions like heart or kidney disease. Some senior-specific dog foods contain glucosamine and chondroitin to try to prevent osteoarthritis.
Since you’re reading our article on the best affordable canned and wet dog food, we’re going to assume you’re a dog owner on a budget. Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean that you need to feed your pooch poor-quality food that does more harm than good.
All of the ten foods we reviewed above are priced fairly considering the size of the cans and the quality of the food. Don’t fall victim to discount brand dog food made with cheap fillers that offer no nutritional benefits.
As with human food labels, pet food labels list the ingredients in order of their inclusion by weight. The first few ingredients are the ones you’ll find in the highest concentration in your dog’s food. So, while you shouldn’t ignore the ingredients found lower in the list, pay closer attention to the ones that are listed first.
One of the first ingredients should be an animal protein source. Foods with whole animal protein sources such as “beef” rather than “meat” will provide a higher quality amino acid profile. Try to avoid foods that have unnamed meats like “meat” or “poultry” as an ingredient or generic fat sources such as “animal fat.”
Dog foods can contain fruits and vegetables as they can provide a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Veggies can also boost the fiber content of your pup’s food which can lead to better digestion.
Your Dog’s Weight
Your dog’s weight is another consideration to factor in. Dogs who are overweight will need a slightly different approach to nutrition and diet as even as few as five pounds of extra body weight can put your pooch at risk of developing serious health conditions.
The good news is that you’re making the right first step to helping your dog achieve a healthy weight by choosing to feed him a diet of wet or canned food. These foods are typically higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than similar portions of dry kibble. Another benefit of wet food is that you can offer them a larger volume of food for the same number of calories as kibble, which can make them feel fuller.
There isn’t one particular food type or diet plan that works for every dog. There are, however, some factors you can consider as you search for food that can help your dog maintain or lose weight.
Protein is an essential macronutrient for weight loss as it can help your dog lose fat without losing any muscle mass.
Foods with additional water or fiber can help your dog feel satiated on less food. More fiber and water change the volume of your pup’s food without adding on calories.
Foods lower in fat than the one you’re currently feeding your dog can result in weight loss, too.
Never put your pup on a diet without first consulting your vet, however, as there may be underlying conditions at play that could worsen with a weight loss diet.
In review, Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipes is the best overall affordable dog food that can support your dog’s lean muscle mass. Those on a stricter budget will appreciate the value in Pedigree’s Chopped Ground Dinner variety pack. American Journey Stews is the premium pick for its slightly higher price and highly nutritious formula. The best affordable pick for puppies comes from Iams ProActive Health, whose vitamin-rich pate is perfect for growing puppies’ needs. Finally, our Vet’s Choice is Purina ONE’s SmartBlend for its high-quality ingredients and vitamin-enriched formula.
We hope our reviews will make the task of choosing the best dog food a little simpler.
Featured Image Credit: chaoss, Shutterstock