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8 Best Budget-Friendly Dog Foods in 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks

labrador with its food close up

Feeding our dogs can be a monumental task. Sometimes it does seem like they never stop eating! The cost of food and treats can add up quickly and leave pet parents scouring the recesses of the internet and ad booklets for a way to cut down on the cost of care.

Luckily, plenty of budget foods are out there that can give great nutrition at an affordable price! Here are our favorites!

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites – 2022 Update

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dog Food Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dog Food
  • Meat is the first ingredient
  • Grain-free options
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Rachel Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food Rachel Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food
  • Grain-free
  • Huge flavor selection
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Health Extension Grain Free Dog Food Health Extension Grain Free Dog Food
  • Grain, corn, and soy-free
  • Good flavor selection
  • True Acre Large Breed Dog Food True Acre Large Breed Dog Food
  • Grain and Corn-free
  • Excellent for pet parents who want to bulk buy their food
  • Pro Pac Dry Dog Food Pro Pac Dry Dog Food
  • Grain-free
  • Kibble fortified with Vitamins A and C
  • The 8 Best Budget-Friendly Dog Foods

    1.  Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dog Food – Best Overall

    Nature's Recipe Grain-Free Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Bag Size: 4, 12, 24 lbs
    Flavors: Chicken, Salmon, Lamb
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-Free

    Our choice for the best overall budget-friendly dog food is Nature’s Recipe Grain-free. This dog food packs a lot of nutrients into its foods and uses high-quality ingredients. The first ingredient of each bag of food is real meat!

    Nature’s Recipe is a popular budget food because of its high-quality ingredients and comprehensive options! You’ll be able to find something your dog loves in their lineup!

    Pros
    • Meat is the first ingredient
    • Grain-free options

    Cons
    • Some low-quality filler ingredients like meat meals


    2. Rachel Ray Nutrish Dog Food – Best Value

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Bag Size: 5.5, 13, 26 lbs
    Flavors: Chicken, Salmon, Bison, Venison, Beef, Turkey
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

    Rachel Ray Nutrish is a popular TV personality who has broken into the pet food scene to deliver high-quality and affordable pet nutrition to homes across the country! Nutrish is grain-free, gluten-free, and soy-free for pet parents who have dogs with allergies.

    Nutrish has an astounding amount of flavor varieties to choose from. It also comes in a bag with a hefty 26 lbs of food for an affordable price, and that’s why it’s our choice for the best budget-friendly dog food for the money!

    Pros
    • Grain-free
    • Huge flavor selection

    Cons
    • Not pea-free


    3. Health Extension Dry Dog Food – Premium Choice

    Health Extension Grain-Free Venison Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Bag Size: 4, 10, 23.5 lbs
    Flavors: Chicken & Turkey, Duck, Salmon, Buffalo & Whitefish, Venison
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-Free

    Health Extension Grain-free is our choice for the best premium budget-friendly dog food. Their foods have real meats as their first ingredients for all their recipes! They’re also free of preservatives, colors, grain, corn, and soy, making them one of the best choices you can make for your dog.

    Health Extension has a wide variety of flavors that your dog can sample. There’s no doubt that pet parents who like to rotate food flavors will find that their dogs are never bored of this brand!

    Pros
    • Grain, corn, and soy-free
    • Good flavor selection

    Cons
    • A little more expensive than some of the brands on this list


    4. True Acre Foods Chicken & Vegetable Dog Food

    True Acre Foods Large Breed Chicken & Vegetables Recipes Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Bag Size: 30, 40 lbs
    Flavors: Chicken, Beef
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-Free, Corn-Free

    True Acre is truly amazing when it comes to budget dog foods. They provide excellent nutrition with natural sources of fiber, glucosamine, and chondroitin to support healthy growth and aging.

    The one downside of True Acre is that they do not have any options for small bags. Pet parents who like to buy smaller bags of food will have to look elsewhere since the smallest bag True Acre offers 30 lbs.

    Pros
    • Grain and Corn-free
    • Excellent for pet parents who want to bulk buy their food

    Cons
    • No small size options for pet parents with limited storage


    5. Pro Pac Ultimates Grain-free Overland Red Dog Food

    Pro Pac Ultimates Overland Grain-Free Red Beef & Potato Dry Dog Food

    Bag Size: 5, 28 lbs
    Flavors: Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Fish
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-Free

    Pro Pac is a great option for pet parents on a budget. They feature real meat as the first ingredient in their recipes which is a great starting place for any pet food. They also have a wide variety of flavors that you can choose from for your pup!

    Pro Pac also packs in essential nutrients like fiber from vegetables and fruit that your dog needs to thrive. Additionally, they fortify the kibble with Vitamins A and C to keep your dog healthy and happy!

    Pros
    • Grain-free
    • Kibble fortified with Vitamins A and C

    Cons
    • Not listed as corn-free

    6. Purina Beyond Simply Grain-free Dog Food

    Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Bag Size: 3, 13, 23 lbs
    Flavors: Chicken, Salmon
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-Free

    Purina’s Beyond Line was their first foray into the grain-free market. Explicitly designed as a budget grain-free food, Beyond features many of the health benefits of pricier foods at an affordable rate.

    However, to keep the cost low, they use higher concentrations of low-quality ingredients like meat meals, which may turn off some pet parents. While the first ingredient is real meat, the second ingredient is a meat meal with a higher concentration than some pet parents like.

    Pros
    • Grain-free
    • Affordable

    Cons
    • High concentrations of low-quality ingredients


    7. Purina Beneful Grain-Free Dog Food

    Purina Beneful Natural Grain Free With Real Farm Raised Chicken Dry Dog Food

    Bag Size: 4.5, 12.5, 23
    Flavors: Chicken
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-Free

    Purina Beneful is often considered scraping the bottom of the barrel in some cases. However, when it comes to budget pet food, it’s hard to have a list without it! Purina Beneful has a grain-free option that uses higher quality ingredients than typical recipes.

    Beneful Grain-Free’s biggest downside is that there is only one food flavor. If your dog is allergic to or doesn’t like chicken, you’re up the creek with this brand, unfortunately. However, if your dog likes chicken, this could be an excellent food for you to try.

    Pros
    • Grain-free

    Cons
    • Only comes in chicken flavor


    8. Supreme Source Super-Premium Dog Food

    Supreme Source Grain-Free Pork, Peas & Wild Boar Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Bag Size: 5, 11, 22 lbs
    Flavors: Pork, Salmon, Lamb, Turkey
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-Free, Corn-Free

    Supreme Source is a great budget-friendly grain-free food. Their recipes are made without grain, corn, and soy. So, pet parents of dogs with sensitive stomachs can rest assured that there will be something that their dog can eat!

    One notable downside of Supreme Source is their use of low-quality ingredients like Turkey and Salmon meal which are the primary ingredients of their Turkey and Salmon Meal flavors. While the nutritional information checks out numerically, these protein sources are not recommended as a primary food source for dogs.

    Pros
    • Corn and grain-free
    • Good variety of flavors

    Cons
    • Uses low-quality ingredients, namely meat meals

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    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Budget-Friendly Dog Food

    Feeding your dog is an essential part of owning a dog. However, not everyone can afford the fanciest dog food on the market. Leaving them wondering if there is good food that is friendly to their budget and provides the same nutritional values as the big market darlings.

    When choosing what foods to feed your dog, you must consider many things. Dietary restrictions, nutritional profiles, and prices are critical to dog parents everywhere. There is no shame in feeding your dog a less expensive food if the food you choose fits your dog’s correct nutritional profile.

    Dog Food Ingredients

    The ingredients are the first factor you want to look at when choosing a good for your dog. Well, dogs are omnivorous, not carnivorous; they do need a relatively high amount of protein, and the best way to get that is through it. Animal proteins. The first ingredient of any dog for the purchase should be a real, named meat.

    Avoid low-quality filler ingredients like meat by-products and corn. These ingredients do not deliver the same nutritional value that real meat does.

    While many people mistakenly believe dogs are carnivores, they are omnivorous. Dogs need a certain amount of nutrients that is best gained through consuming plant matter. Nutrients like fiber and specific vitamins are best served in the form of plant matter, and it’s essential to choose foods with the correct vegetables and fruits as part of their ingredient profile.

    Kibble or Canned?

    Many pet parents feed their dogs a mixture of kibble and canned foods. Dogs get their moisture from their food sources, so providing them canned food with a higher moisture content helps stave off dehydration and keep your dog healthy. However, kibble is also very important for their health because the rough texture of kibble cleans the teeth while eating.

    Kibble also has the property of helping screen for dental problems. If your dog is having trouble chewing their kibble when they didn’t before, it’s probably time to visit the vet to see if their teeth are fixed. If your dog is eating primarily canned food, you won’t notice this because it is softer and doesn’t require as much chewing.

     

    Grain-Free?

    Nowadays, a big question is whether the dog’s feet should be grain-free. While dogs are omnivorous, that doesn’t mean they should be eating a large portion of grains.

    While grains may not be toxic to dogs, they’re not nutritionally dense. Grains and carbohydrates are often closer to empty calories, and a dog eating many grains may be deficient in other essential nutrients.

    This is especially true of corn. Corn is terrible and even toxic for dogs in high amounts. Your dog’s food should not contain any corn.

    While all the options on this list are grain-free, there is a lot of debate on whether grains are suitable for dog consumption. Use your best judgment and let your dog lead the way within reason. When it comes to their health, they know what they need.

    Ginger dog eating
    Image Credit: Anastasiya Tsiasemnikava, Shutterstock

    Other Dietary Concerns

    Also, you’ll want to consider your dog has any other dietary needs. Some dogs have food allergies that require them to be fed diets. One of the most common food allergies for dogs is chicken, one of the most common ingredients in dog feet. If your dog is allergic to chicken, you’ll need to find a food that fits your budget that also contains chicken.

    If possible, dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs should be placed on a limited ingredient diet. Additionally, some dogs need to be on a low-protein diet for health issues. If your dog has special needs, you’ll have to find a way to accommodate them to the best of your ability.

    Overall, you want to use your best judgment when determining what foods your dog should be eating. If you have trouble deciding what to do with your dog, consult your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will help you determine what foods best suit your dog’s specific needs.

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    Conclusion

    Our dogs’ nutrition is important to us for a good reason. We take great pride in what we feed our family members. Our choice for the best overall budget-friendly dog food was Nature’s Recipe. Pet parents looking to get the most bang for their buck will love Rachel Ray Nutrish. Lastly, pet parents with a little more spending flexibility can try out Health Extension!


    Featured Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

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