Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Dogs > 9 Best Inexpensive Dog Foods for Large Breeds in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

9 Best Inexpensive Dog Foods for Large Breeds in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

labrador retriever dog eating its food from a bowl

If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s the desire to feed our dogs the healthiest food there is. But this isn’t always possible, as high-quality dog food is less than budget-friendly. When it comes to large breeds, budgeting for the amount of food that they eat can especially feel like an insurmountable task.

Fortunately, the state of your wallet doesn’t mean you have to give your dog less than the best, as there are high-quality brands out there with affordable price tags.

We put together these reviews for the 9 best inexpensive dog foods for large breeds to help you and your wallet keep your dog happy and healthy.

divider-paw

A Glance at Our Winners in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult
  • Lamb avoids meat-protein allergies
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health
  • Prebiotics and probiotics promote digestive health
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Iams Lamb & Rice Large Breed Iams Lamb & Rice Large Breed
  • High in protein to support muscle health
  • Natural fiber and prebiotics
  • Made with real lamb
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Purina ONE Natural Large Breed +Plus Formula Purina ONE Natural Large Breed +Plus Formula
  • Healthy nutrition from real chicken
  • Four antioxidant sources
  • Omega fatty acids nourish skin and coat
  • Best for Puppies
    Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy
  • Natural ingredients for balanced nutrition
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • DHA supports brain and eye development
  • Merrick Healthy Grains Real Salmon & Brown Rice Merrick Healthy Grains Real Salmon & Brown Rice
  • Whole grains support digestive health
  • No legumes
  • Balanced nutrition from real ingredients
  • The 9 Best Inexpensive Dog Foods for Large Breeds

    1. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult — Best Overall

    Diamond Naturals Large Breed

    Main ingredients:
    Lamb meal, whole-grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, oatmeal
    Protein content: 22.00%
    Fat content: 12.00%
    Calories: 3,425 kcal/kg

    The best overall inexpensive dog food for large breeds is the Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Lamb Meal & Rice Formula. Nutritionally balanced to support the needs of large breed dogs, it’s made with real meat, fruits, and vegetables. Lamb is the first ingredient, to prevent protein allergies to chicken or beef.

    Antioxidant-rich blueberries and kale keep your dog’s immune system working as it should, while probiotics and prebiotics support their digestive system. The formula also includes glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega fatty acids to support joint health and protect their skin and coat.

    Some owners have found that their dogs have suffered from bad gas while eating this formula.

    Pros
    • Lamb avoids meat-protein allergies
    • Glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health
    • Prebiotics and probiotics promote digestive health
    • Nutritionally balanced for large breed dogs
    Cons
    • Has caused gassiness in some dogs

    2. Iams Lamb & Rice Recipe Large Breed — Best Value

    Iams Lamb & Rice

    Main ingredients:
    Lamb, chicken by-product meal, ground whole-grain barley, ground whole-grain corn
    Protein content: 22.50%
    Fat content: 12.50%
    Calories: 3,534 kcal/kg

    When it comes to high-quality dog food, even the budget-friendly options can be expensive, but there are affordable options, like the Iams Lamb & Rice Recipe Large Breed Dry Dog Food. Available in 15-, 30-, and 40-pound bags, it’s our choice for the best inexpensive dog food for large breeds for the money.

    Made with real lamb, this Iams recipe is high in protein to support muscle health and contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine to ensure that your large breed’s joints stay healthy. The recipe also has natural fiber and prebiotics to maintain your dog’s digestive system. The omega-6 fatty acids work to keep their skin and coat in good condition.

    Some users have found that the kibble is brittle and crumbles easily, leaving dust throughout the bag.

    Pros
    • High in protein to support muscle health
    • Natural fiber and prebiotics
    • Made with real lamb
    • Omega-6 promotes skin and coat health
    Cons
    • The kibble is brittle and crumbles easily

    3. Purina ONE Large Breed Dry Dog Food — Premium Choice

    Purina ONE Natural Large Breed +Plus Formula Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, rice flour, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal
    Protein content: 26.00%
    Fat content: 12.00%
    Calories: 3,474 kcal/kg

    If you don’t mind stretching your budget further, the Purina ONE Natural Large Breed +Plus Formula Dry Dog Food is our premium option. Formulated for large-breed dogs, the recipe uses nutrients from real chicken to provide dogs with a healthy, balanced diet.

    Four antioxidant sources protect your dog’s immune system, and glucosamine keeps their joints lubricated and in top shape for their adventures. It also uses a blend of omega oils, vitamins, and minerals to support their skin and coat health to keep them looking their best.

    There have been reports of the bags containing a strong, unpleasant odor that many owners and dogs might find off-putting.

    Pros
    • Healthy nutrition from real chicken
    • Four antioxidant sources
    • Omega fatty acids nourish skin and coat
    • Glucosamine promotes healthy joints
    Cons
    • Some bags have a strong, unpleasant smell

    4. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy — Best for Puppies

    Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients:
    Chicken, chicken meal, whole-grain sorghum, whole-grain brown rice
    Protein content: 26.00%
    Fat content: 14.00%
    Calories: 3,622 kcal/kg

    Large-breed puppies aren’t tiny for long, and they require extra nutrition to make sure their body is supported as they grow. These puppies can also go through a large amount of food, so an affordable option — like Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe — is important if you want to keep up with their food intake.

    Nutro Natural Choice uses non-GMO ingredients to create a balanced and nutritional diet. Made with real chicken as the first ingredient, it is formulated specifically for large-breed puppies. It contains DHA to support brain and eye development, along with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to promote joint health.

    This option has caused diarrhea and loose stools in some dogs.

    Pros
    • Natural ingredients for balanced nutrition
    • Chicken is the first ingredient
    • DHA supports brain and eye development
    • Formulated for large breed puppies
    Cons
    • Has caused loose stools or diarrhea in some dogs

    5. Merrick Healthy Grains Real Salmon & Brown Rice

    Merrick Healthy Grains Real Salmon & Brown Rice with Ancient Grains Dog Food Recipe

    Main ingredients: Deboned salmon, chicken meal, brown rice, barley
    Protein content: 25.00%
    Fat content: 16.00%
    Calories: 3,739 kcal/kg

    Packed with natural ingredients, the Merrick Healthy Grains Real Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is our grain salmon and brown rice dry dog food choice for the best dog food for large breeds. It doesn’t contain controversial ingredients like peas, lentils, or potatoes and provides a safe, healthy, and nutritionally balanced diet for your dog.

    Merrick also uses real salmon, which helps maintain muscle tissue and supply omega fatty acids to support skin, coat, and joint health. The whole grains included in the recipe promote digestive health to boost your dog’s overall well-being.

    This option can be on the expensive side, particularly if you buy large bags. If you only feed your dog kibble, the more affordable small bags won’t last long.

    Pros
    • Whole grains support digestive health
    • No legumes
    • Balanced nutrition from real ingredients
    • Omega oils from salmon promote skin and coat health
    Cons
    • Large 25-pound bags are expensive

    6. American Journey Active Life Formula Large Breed Recipe

    American Journey Active Life Formula Large Breed Recipe

    Main ingredients: Deboned salmon, menhaden fish meal, brown rice, peas
    Protein content: 24.00%
    Fat content: 12.00%
    Calories: 3,326 kcal/kg

    Recipes that contain natural ingredients are the best way to ensure that our dogs have a healthy diet. This is where recipes like the American Journey Active Life Formula Large Breed Recipe are ideal. Using real salmon and salmon oil, American Journey provides plenty of energy for active breeds and promotes their skin and coat health. It’s also filled with fruits and vegetables to support your dog’s immune system and digestive health.

    Some dog owners who have ordered this product have had issues with the bags arriving open or ripped. This American Journey recipe does contain peas as the fourth ingredient, which is a controversial ingredient due to a suspected link to heart disease.

    Pros
    • Real salmon is the first ingredient
    • Promotes skin and coat health
    • Formulated for active, large breeds
    • Nutrient-rich vegetables
    Cons
    • Contains peas
    • Bags sometimes arrive torn open

    7. Wholesomes Large Breed with Chicken Meal & Rice Formula

    Wholesomes Large Breed with Chicken Meal & Rice Formula

    Main ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, peas, rice
    Protein content: 23.00%
    Fat content: 13.00%
    Calories: 3,560 kcal/kg

    The Wholesomes Large Breed with Chicken Meal & Rice Formula is designed to provide a balanced diet for large breed adult dogs over 60 pounds in weight. To properly support the activity and energy levels of large dogs, it combines nutrition from real ingredients with essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids.

    Real fruits and vegetables are added to the formula to provide natural fiber for digestive health, while your dog’s joints are maintained with chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine. The omega fatty acids also protect your dog’s outer health by tending to their skin and coat, keeping them looking sleek and shiny.

    While this recipe isn’t grain free, it does contain legumes, which are an ingredient that has been linked with heart disease. Some of the bags have also been delivered ripped or open.

    Pros
    • Formulated for adult dogs over 60 pounds
    • Fortified with chondroitin and glucosamine
    • Omega fatty acids promote skin and coat health
    • Fiber from real vegetables supports digestion
    Cons
    • Contains legumes
    • The bags sometimes arrive torn open

    8. Nature’s Recipe Large Breed Grain-Free Recipe

    Nature's Recipe Large Breed Grain-Free Recipe

    Main ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, tapioca starch
    Protein content: 25.00%
    Fat content: 12.00%
    Calories: 3,540 kcal/kg

    Big dogs need a large amount of nutrition, and food formulated specifically for them is the best way to ensure that they receive a balanced diet. Nature’s Recipe Large Breed Grain-Free Recipe is designed to support large breeds with real, nutritional ingredients. The natural fiber and antioxidants in the included sweet potato and pumpkin ingredients promote digestive and immune health, while the protein from real chicken supports muscle health.

    The fiber content of this recipe might cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs that aren’t used to the amount of fiber in their diet. You should discuss grain-free diets with your veterinarian to ensure that it’s the best option for your dog’s food sensitivities.

    Pros
    • Made with real chicken
    • Pumpkin supports digestive health
    • Formulated for large breeds
    Cons
    • Grain-free formulas have been linked with heart disease
    • Some dogs and owners find the smell unpleasant

    9. Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed Recipe

    Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed Chicken, Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal
    Protein content: 23.00%
    Fat content: 12.00%
    Calories: 3,523 kcal/kg

    Made with real chicken and turkey, Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed Recipe relies on natural ingredients instead of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives to create a nutritional and tasty meal. It supports the energy levels of large dog breeds with protein from real meat. The formula also includes glucosamine and chondroitin to maintain their joints and keep your dog active.

    Along with supporting your dog’s internal organs with antioxidants and prebiotic fiber, this kibble keeps them looking their best with omega fatty acids.

    Chicken Soup for the Soul has caused stomach upset in some dogs, and there are a few, fussy canines that dislike the flavor and refuse to eat it. The bags aren’t resealable and need to be stored properly to retain their freshness.

    Pros
    • Contains protein from real chicken and turkey
    • No artificial additives
    • Antioxidants promote immune health
    Cons
    • Has caused stomach upset in some dogs
    • Not resealable
    • Some dogs dislike the flavor

    divider-dog

    Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Inexpensive Dog Food

    Not all brands are created equal, and unfortunately, high-quality formulas are always more expensive. Without knowing what makes a brand of dog food good quality, though, you’ll struggle to find a healthy budget option. Here are a few things to consider when you’re looking for healthy, budget-friendly, and nutritional dog food for your large breed dog.

    Bag Size

    As you would expect, the larger your dog is, the more it’ll eat. If you’re familiar with large breeds, you’re probably aware of how fast your best friend goes through a bag of dry food. Even the big bags don’t seem to last long. Unfortunately, the large bags are always the ones that make the biggest dent in your budget.

    If you’re struggling to find big bags of high-quality kibble that fit your budget, small bags are an option. They might not last as long, but they are cheaper in the short term. You can also mix the kibble with wet food to stretch out the meals.

    Budget

    It might seem counter-intuitive to consider the cost when looking for inexpensive dog food, but it can help if you plan and budget according to your finances. This means taking into account all the expenses that you need to meet, not just your dog food.

    By paying careful attention to how much you can afford to spend on dog food, you’ll be able to decide which brand to choose. You’ll also be better equipped to know just how far you can stretch your budget before you risk eating into funds for bills and your food.

    weimaraner dog eating food from metallic bowl
    Image By: Laura Beach, Shutterstock

    Ingredients

    Knowing what’s in the dog food that you buy is the most important step in deciding whether the brand is right for you. Most brands that use natural ingredients are often the most expensive, but they’ll also be higher quality and healthier for your dog than brands that rely on fillers and artificial additives.

    It’s the ingredient list that will also tell you whether the formula will set off any food sensitivities that your dog might have or if there are any controversial ingredients — like legumes — used in the recipe.

    Quality

    Going for the cheapest brand available might save time and effort, but you also get what you pay for. Low-quality food might be packaged similarly to high-end products — without the price tag — but the contents may not be as healthy for your dog.

    Even if it means stretching your budget to the limit or choosing small bags to mix with canned food, try to find an affordable high-quality brand. It’ll be more expensive but will also save you a great deal of money in vet expenses if your dog doesn’t get the nutrients that they need from cheaper brands.

    divider-paw

    Final Verdict

    These reviews covered our choices for the best inexpensive dog food for large breeds. The Diamond Naturals large breed formula is our overall best choice, with natural ingredients and balanced nutrition. For tighter budgets, Iams wins with its value for the money, but if you can afford to stretch your budget further, Purina One Natural is the next best option.

    Large breed puppies have their own nutritional needs, and Nutro Natural has a dedicated puppy formula. If you’d prefer to choose an option recommended by professionals, the Merrick Healthy Grain formula is our grain salmon and brown rice dry dog food choice.


    Featured Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

    Our vets

    Want to talk to a vet online?

    Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

    Our vets