Top 4 Best Cheap Dog Food Products

by | Apr 28, 2019 | 0 comments

Finding good dog food is not easy, especially if you’re on a budget. That is why, in this article, we will assist you in finding the best solution for your case. We will also discuss the foods that are of good quality. Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you should use very low-quality goods just to save some money. After all, this is for your canine. Your pet, a beloved family member, should also eat food with quality ingredients.

These are our top 5 picks for the best cheap dog food. In addition, we will include recipes that are available at Walmart.

What makes the best cheap dog food product?

When choosing food for your dog, you need to decide based on what is right for your pet. As dog owners, we are presented with an array of different options. Most, if not all, of these dog foods claim to be the best. So how do we discern the good ones from the bad ones?

In the current world that we are living in, we usually do not have time to invest in going through brand after brand and making a list of potentially good foods. However, someone has to do it, and that would be us.

Before we review the products that we picked, we’re going to tell you how we decided on the dog foods that can be considered among the best. First, we need to understand that a dog’s diet consists mostly out of meat. However, domestic dogs also take nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables, and while these ingredients might seem to be a simple filler, they actually contain a lot of valuable minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

Therefore, we started looking for dog foods that contain meat, vegetables, grains, and fruits. Moreover, we did as much research as possible to verify that these brands are using high-quality versions of these ingredients.

A word of caution before we proceed. You have to remember that not every dog has the same needs. That is why you will still need to observe your pet as much as possible to be able to identify whether the food is suitable or not. If you have a puppy instead, you should be getting puppy food instead of one for adults, or at least you could get “all life stages” food for your younger dogs. Finally, given that most of us are on a budget, we also took into account the price per pound.

Many of the products that we list will also be available at Walmart. That is why we decided to include the best cheap dog food at Walmart as well. However, do remember that what we want to achieve is to be on a budget and still be able to buy the best the market has to offer.

Best Cheap Foods for Dogs

Rachael Ray Nutrish
  • Beef as a base provides high-quality protein that is essential in supporting the work of healthy organs
  • The company used natural ingredients combined with brown rice and vegetables to provide a perfectly balanced food
  • Rich in iron that increases your pet’s energy levels
Check Price on Walmart.com
Instinct by Nature's Variety Original
  • Aims to bring your canine closer to nature again
  • Around 70% of ingredients come from real animals
  • Instinct stays away from any artificial flavors, preservatives or by-product meals
Check Price on Amazon.com
Petcurean Go! Fit + Free
  • Grain free, gluten-free, and has no corn, wheat, or soy in the recipe
  • The recipe includes fresh chicken, turkey, trout, duck, and salmon
  • Provides essential Omega-3 fatty acids - supports joint health
Check Price on Amazon.com
Purina: Dog Chow Complete Adult
  • Very reasonable price
  • Some users say that this recipe is superior to most others on the market
  • Based on whole-grain corn
Check Price on Walmart.com

Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Dog Food
The best cheap dog food at Walmart?

Nutrish by Rachael Ray is a company with the sole purpose of nourishing and nurturing pets. With its experience and track record, which spans 85 years, the company is in the perfect position to assist you to live your life more happily and healthily with your canine pets. They specialize in providing a great blend of meat and plant-based dry food. There’s a moderate amount of high-quality meat as a main source of animal protein, mixed with peas and brown rice to provide carbs balanced with the necessary vitamins. Now, we will review this particular product and explain why we decided to pick it for our best cheap dog food at Walmart collection.

The most important thing to do is to review the ingredients that go into the Nutrish Real Beef and Brown Rice recipe. What we can definitely see is that the company used natural ingredients combined with brown rice and vegetables to provide a perfectly balanced food. What The people at Rachel Ray is so proud of is that U.S. farm-raised beef is the number one ingredient, and no artificial flavors or artificial preservatives were used. This is why we decided to include them on our best dog food collection. So, what are the ingredients of this product?

The first six ingredients are:

Beef – Rich in B vitamins and iron, which are important throughout all ages.

Beef Meal – Packed with protein, it will increase your dog’s longevity with its nutrient content.

Dried Peas – Full of lutein, an antioxidant which assists in normal heart functioning.

Soybean Meal – Provides essential amino acids and is rich in protein.

Whole Grain Corn – Packs linoleic acid and Omega-6 fatty acids.

Brown Rice – Excellent source of magnesium and selenium that is also rich in antioxidants.

As we can see, the first two ingredients are beef and beef meal. As the majority of a dog’s diet is based on protein, this is a great introduction and a great base to build your recipe on. Having beef as a base for this recipe is significant because it contains high-quality protein that is essential in supporting the work of healthy organs and in maintaining lean muscle mass. To supplement this, beef meal, which is rich in iron that increases your pet’s energy levels and contains amino acids, also works in favor of maintaining proper organ functions.

So why do we have dried peas on third place and not something else? The answer is actually quite simple; dried peas are a natural gluten-free alternative source of carbs, and they contain essential vitamins and dietary fiber. Thus, dried peas provide excellent support for digestion while also boosting your pet’s energy.

Checking the reviews from the customers, we can clearly see that dogs absolutely love the taste! Dog owners even claim that this is the best dog food with a perfect mix of quality and being budget friendly, which is exactly what many pet owners are looking for. So, what are you waiting for? Clink on the link above to find out more.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Dog Food

A perfect mix of quality and being budget friendly. Also, dogs absolutely love the taste!

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Dry Dog Food

Instinct is a company based in Lincoln, Nebraska. The company has this idea, which all started from raw food. In the beginning, Instinct made food in small batches only, but eventually, it they decided to keep the food minimally processed. If that wasn’t enough, the company subjected the product to the strictest quality standards. The company believes that the true best dog food should use real ingredients and whole ingredients. Therefore, Instinct said no to artificial flavoring and preservatives.

Instinct’s goal is to bring your canine closer to nature again, particularly their natural state before pet foods became an industry. The people at Instinct believe that the power of raw nutrition would not only amplify the lives of your pets but make them happier and livelier as well. So, what can this small company from Nebraska that wears its stripes with pride do to challenge such big brands? Thanks to the company’s mission and the ingredients used, it was able to carve out a piece of the market. In this section, we are going to explore why raw pet food by Instinct could be the best choice you ever made for your pet, and why it could be the cheapest dog food for you.

The first thing that you will notice about Instinct food is that it uses cage-free chicken. This is high in animal protein and will support those strong lean muscles your dog needs to have. Around 70% of ingredients come from real animals, and everything is natural.

On top of that, the company added plenty of nutritious oils in the mix, along with meat, and the remaining 30% is made up of fruits, vegetables, and other wholesome goodies. Instinct provides the best raw food your dog needs, and the company abstains from using any kind of corn or potato in its recipes.

As mentioned previously, Instinct stays away from any artificial flavors or preservatives. On top of that, the company’s forbidden list includes any by-product meals. The reason why Instinct put these severe restrictions in place is because it wants to guarantee that it provides the highest possible quality of raw meat for your pet. After all, Instinct is aiming to be the best cheap dog food provider for you.

What’s more is that Instinct claimed to process the only kibble that’s made with pure, real nutrition from raw meat that is made in the USA. Armed with the finest ingredients from around the world to keep your dog healthy while letting your pet eat raw, Instinct’s commitment to pet health shines.

The first six ingredients are:

Chicken – Being rich in protein, retinol, and alpha and beta carotene, it improves health.

Turkey Meal – Dried and grounded concentrate of meat, which is natural food for dogs.

Chicken Meal – Composed of 65% protein, this low-moisture ingredient is an excellent protein source.

Peas – Excellent source of A, K, and B complex vitamins, not to mention other minerals like iron.

Chickpeas – Provides B and C complex vitamins, which can be a great source of antioxidants.

Chicken Fat – Rich in animal protein and improves the palatability of the recipe.

Pros:

  • High-quality raw meat
  • All life stages product
  • No artificial ingredients

Cons:

  • Odd bag sizes

Instinct by Nature's Variety Original

The best raw food your dog needs, with plenty of nutritious oils, meat, fruits, vegetables, and other wholesome goodies.

Petcurean Go! Fit + Free Grain-Free Chicken, Turkey & Trout Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food

This line of products comes from Petcurean. The company creates premium quality, nutrient-rich food for dogs. Petcurean is an independent, family-operated company based in British Columbia, Canada. The idea behind the company is that it provides what is best for pets. They’re not just business owners, they’re pet owners, and they are also a bit obsessed with nutrition.

The company aimed to create food that is not just good for your pet but one that would also make them happy and healthy. The primary drive behind these products is thinking about pets first and everything else second. This determination has put the company on our radar for the best dog food.

This product by Petcurean is a food intended for adult dogs. It is grain free, gluten-free, and has no corn, wheat, or soy in the recipe. This means that it is perfect for dogs with very sensitive digestive systems as will help them stabilize their stools.

It is made with high-quality meat, which is 100% fresh. The company is proud to be using only the highest quality meats in its products. This recipe also has fresh chicken, turkey, trout, duck, and salmon. Apart from high-quality meat, Petcurean also included fruits and vegetables to increase the number of antioxidants that support your dog’s immune system.

Petcurean is known to stay away from growth hormones and artificial preservatives so you can be confident that the food you feed your dog is of the best quality and will be suited for even the most sensitive canines out there. This dedication and high quality, coupled with price, is exactly why Petcurean is a cheap dog food contender.

The first six ingredients are:

Chicken Meal – With 65% protein, this low-moisture ingredient is an excellent protein source.

Turkey Meal – Dried and ground concentrate of meat, which is natural food for dogs.

Salmon Meal – Contains a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids to support your dog’s immune system.

Deboned Chicken – Dogs love healthy skin, too! That’s why Omega-6 fatty acids are here.

Deboned Turkey – Highly digestible protein, which helps in building lean muscle.

Deboned Trout – Has a natural anti-inflammatory effect and is easily digestible.

As you can see, there is high fish content in this product. The main reason why Petcurean included so many fish ingredients is because these provide essential Omega-3 fatty acids as listed above. These are essential for dogs’ growth and early development, plus they enhance brain and vision development. However, their benefit is not only tied to the development phase; they are also quite important later in life as they support joint health. It is also worth mentioning that dogs absolutely love fish.

The fatty flavor that fish adds to the recipe is sometimes enough to completely turn the dogs’ opinion of the food. Another thing worth mentioning that if your dog is not used to a high-protein diet, you should introduce this food slowly. This recipe is a real punch! It is extremely healthy and created from fresh and natural ingredients, but it might be a bit heavy for dogs not used to more protein-rich diets. To regulate this, you can either introduce this recipe slowly or minimize the amount your serve overall.

So, let’s review the pros and cons of this best dog food from Petcurean:

Pros:

Cons:

  • Falling a bit out of the “budget” range

Petcurean Go! Fit + Free

Made with high-quality meat, which is 100% fresh. No growth hormones and artificial preservatives. Perfect for dogs with very sensitive digestive systems.

Purina: Dog Chow Complete Adult with Real Chicken

Purina is a well-established company that has been in existence for over 90 years. Its primary motto is “nourishing pets and enriching lives.” For over 90 years, Purina has been guided by the belief that people and pets are better together. There a couple of reasons why they invest in such high-quality foods, and the first one is because the company love pets as much as we do. What Purina is looking to accomplish is not only helping take care of our pets but also forging partnerships with us. Purina is creating pet welfare and raising awareness of what our dogs’ true needs are. Bonding with the canine is not something simple; you pet is part of your family and is there to strengthen you and support you when you need it. This is what drives Purina forward. It is that belief that they can help you create that connection easily through food. Purina’s true status as a producer of the best dog food was not an easy one to achieve. Let’s see why you should get this product for your dog.

Dog Chow is a member of the Purina family that started back in the middle of the last century. Purina has its operations all over the world, and 99% of its products are made in the United States. So, how good is it? Well, it depends because it certainly falls well within the range of a budget recipe. In order to determine whether this is truly the best cheap dog food at Walmart, let’s look at the pros and cons.

The first six ingredients are:

Whole Grain Corn – Contains linoleic acid, an Omega-6 fatty acid, which is an important energy source.

Meat and Bone Meal (MBM) – Widely used in the past but now shunned and replaced by better defined and more quality variants (such as salmon and turkey meal).

Corn Gluten Meal – While being a protein source, it must be used in moderation as it poses health concerns.

Beef Fat Naturally Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols – Rich in fat and proteins.

Soybean Meal – Provides essential amino acids and is rich in protein.

Poultry By-Product Meal – While being a high-protein ingredient, it is not consistent, and the quality varies from batch to batch.

The biggest problem with Dog Chow is that its ingredients are corn-based, which is not the best base ingredient. Comparing this to any other product we listed previously, you will see a striking difference in quality among top ingredients. Now, that doesn’t mean that whole grains are considered low-quality food for dogs, but corn is one of the most common food allergens for dogs. Compared to other whole grains, it is also more taxing on the digestive tract. This already doesn’t sound like the best cheap dog food, right?

The other problem is, as we mentioned, your canines need to have a very good protein base on which you can add other plant-related ingredients. However, all is not lost because it also includes MBM, which is a highly concentrated source of protein. On the other hand, Purina does not list the named meat. The rest of the recipe is, unfortunately, full of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

To us, it is clear that this is may be one of the best cheap dog foods at Walmart. However, it is also our duty to point to the bad and the ugly. We can’t guarantee the consistency of this product and can clearly see that it is of lower quality compared to recipes presented before it.

So, why did we include this food on the list of the best and cheapest dog food? There are two reasons. First is because of its reviews. If you ask people around, you will see that a lot of them use this food without any issues. Heck, some even say that this recipe is superior to most others on the market (not to mention far cheaper). Couple that with the price, and voila! Dog Chow got on the list.

The second reason is to show you the clear distinction between top and mid-tier foods. When you are aiming for the best cheap dog food, we look at two things: quality and price. While the price for this one is suitable, quality, as seen in the beginning of the article, could be far better.

Purina: Dog Chow Complete Adult

Good budget friendly option that satisfies many dog owners.

Conclusion

In this review, you have seen a lot of different recipes, and depending on your budget, you will be able to choose the one which most closely meets your pet’s needs. However, we would encourage you to experiment. The best cheap dog food for you and your companion might differ from that of the neighbor or even your other dog. With that in mind, our last advice is to take one small packet of each. Test it, and see how it goes. The one that sticks the best will stay and claim the day!

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Greg Holmes
Greg Holmes resides in Portland, OR with his wife and two daughters, as well as three Havanese dogs. Being an AKC-certified CGC Evaluator and a certified dog trainer, taking care of dogs has been a big part of his life ever since he was young. His love for dogs started when his father took him to the state dog shelter to find his first puppy, which he named Einstein because the dog presented with a very unruly coat when he saw it for the first time. From this experience, he has become a very strong advocate of "adopt don't shop" for aspiring pet parents.

Greg joined the Pupped.com team because he believes that every dog, regardless of breed or age, deserves critical attention and the best dog-related products in the market because man's best friend only deserves, well, the best. Being an active member of the American Kennel Club, he aims to provide up-to-date information to his readers and present factual data about the products available in the market.