Best Affordable Dog Food (2018 Edition) | Quality Food At Bargain Prices

I'm sure all dog lovers can agree...

We all want to buy the best possible food for our dogs, and many of the reviews here at Wiley Pup are focused on the top-of-the-line kibble for Fido.

However.

We all also have to work within our budgets to make sure we can still keep a roof over Rover’s head too!

Want to know the best part?

This review will look over our recommendations for high quality affordable dog food brands that also have a strong reputation for making overall dog health a priority.

We have organized this list from the least expensive per pound to the most, with our pick for best overall value appearing at the end of the list.


A Note on Pricing Information

We have included per pound prices for each of our featured selections to give you at-a-glance comparisons for value.

We kept our list between $1 and $2 a pound. Much lower and you really have to start worrying about nutritional quality in many cases.

These prices are valid as of December 13, 2017, and they may change at any time.

However, it will still give you a relative comparison which we thought would be helpful information for those looking for the best deal.

Our top 5 list of the best affordable dry dog food includes some links to similar foods by the same brand for special life stages, canned food, or breed size specific formulas so that you can find a product tailor made for your canine in a similar price range from the same trusted manufacturer.


Quality Considerations

We didn’t just go out and find the cheapest dog food out there. Frankly, we would not recommend feeding just any old kibble!

Instead we considered several quality factors when researching the best inexpensive dog foods:

  • Real meat must be the number one ingredient.
  • Cheap and nutritionally empty fillers corn, wheat and soy are not in any of these recipes.
  • You won’t find any artificial colors, preservatives or flavors in any of these products.
  • We focused on product lines that have a variety of breed size and life stage formulas so that you can find a match for your canine.
  • All brands on our list are time tested with a strong reputation for consistent manufacturing.
  • We prioritized foods that are manufactured in the U.S.A. for tighter quality controls.
  •  No poultry by-products. We avoid this cheap ingredient on our list because it has a bad reputation for being very loosely controlled with very little consistency as to what is in it.

Stay tuned after our review for some tips on how to safely change your dog’s food over to a new variety!

Here we go!


Best Affordable Dog Food | Quality Dog Food At Reasonable Prices

Product

Name

Rating

Price

IAMS Healthy Naturals
IAMS Healthy Naturals

$

Purina Beyond Superfood Blend
Purina Beyond Superfood Blend

$

BLUE Life Protection Formula
BLUE Life Protection Formula

$$

Taste of the Wild – High Prairie Formula
Taste of the Wild – High Prairie Formula

$$

Purina Pro Plan Focus
Purina Pro Plan Focus

$$


IAMS Healthy Naturals

IAMS Healthy Naturals

Nutritional Analysis:

  • Crude Protein (min): 25%
  • Crude Fat (min): 14%
  • Crude Fiber (max): 4%

A few decades ago, IAMS was one of the first brands to challenge the commercial dog food industry to up their game.

Delivering high quality ingredients without cheap fillers, IAMS was really one of the first high-end kibbles to hit grocery store shelves.

Today IAMS has several product lines, and this is one of the least expensive formulas they offer. It is still a good quality feed made with natural ingredients without excessive fillers and packed with nutrition. Real chicken (not poultry by-product) is the first ingredient.

Whole grain barley and vegetables also make the list for this recipe.

More IAMS Products

IAMS has a well-established reputation in the industry for making nutritious and delicious kibble. They also offer a wide range of tailored feed including breed size, life stage and special diets.

If you are looking for something in particular from IAMS, check out these formulas:

CONTAINS
  • Real chicken is the number one ingredient.
  • Manufactured in the U.S.A. from quality sourced ingredients.
  • Carrots, tomatoes, peas, spinach, whole grain barely for whole food nutrition.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • Corn, soy or wheat.
  • Meat by-products.
  • Artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.

Purina Beyond Superfood Blend

Purina Beyond Superfood Blend

Nutritional Analysis:

  • Crude Protein (min):  26%
  • Crude Fat (min): 16%
  • Crude Fiber (max): 4%

Beyond Superfood® is one of Purina’s higher end feeds, although it still rings up at a reasonable price.

This is what happens when major dog food manufacturers respond to the growing demand for canine kibble that is made from better ingredients!

One of the benefits of going with a huge national brand with a long history like Purina is that they have a large staff of veterinarians who are experts in the field of canine nutrition.

Tight quality controls and over a century in the dog food business doesn’t hurt either!

More Purina Beyond Products

Purina Beyond comes in a few varieties that may be better suited for your particular canine. In fact, it is one of the most reasonably priced in the grain-free and limited ingredient categories!

Have a look over these affordable dog food recipes from Purina Beyond:

There are also a variety of canned food formulas that offer affordable nutrition in the Purina Beyond line:

CONTAINS
  • Real salmon as the first ingredient.
  • Superfoods like pumpkin, egg, barley and oats for a nutrient dense recipe.
  • Chicken meal, a concentrated source of protein.
  • Beef fat, a good source of the dietary fat essential for active dogs.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • Corn, wheat or soy.
  • Poultry by-product.
  • Artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.

BLUE Life Protection Formula

BLUE Life Protection Formula

Nutritional Analysis:

  • Crude Protein (min): 24%
  • Crude Fat (min): 14%
  • Crude Fiber (max): 5%

One of the features that put BLUE (also known as BLUE Buffalo) on the map are their patented LifeSource Bits®.

These antioxidant-rich bites are processed using a cold temperature process which preserves their immunity boosting nutrients from being lost in preparation.

Ingredients include parsley, flaxseed, alfalfa, cranberries and a variety of vitamins and minerals. You will notice them as smaller and darker pieces of kibble in the blend.

In addition to a nutrient dense formula, BLUE is manufactured in the United States for a consistent high-quality product.

A full range of specialty diets is also available (covered in more detail below), making BLUE a nice choice for a tailored diet for almost any dog.

More BLUE products

The BLUE line includes a large variety of inexpensive choices tailored to your dog’s needs.

If the adult formula featured above is not what you need, take a look at the rest of the product line:

CONTAINS
  • Deboned chicken is the number one ingredient.
  • Chicken meal, a high-quality source of dense protein is the second ingredient.
  • Whole grain nutrition from brown rice, barley, and oatmeal.
  • Whole food ingredients such as sweet potatoes, carrots, blueberries, apples, and spinach.
  • Antioxidant rich LifeSource Bits®.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • Corn, wheat or soy.
  • Poultry by-product.
  • Artificial colors, preservatives or flavors

Taste of the Wild – High Prairie Formula

Taste of the Wild – High Prairie Formula

Nutritional Analysis:

  • Crude Protein (min): 32%
  • Crude Fat (min): 18%
  • Crude Fiber (max): 4%

The nutritional philosophy of this company is that the DNA of your domesticated canine is more or less the same as that of their wild ancestors.

The diet of wolves includes a ton of protein, and much less carbohydrate than modern day commercial food. As a result, all of their formulas are grain free and protein rich.

Another reason for their cult like following has to do with their commitment to U.S. manufacturing, quality sourced ingredients, and family owned business.

Since all of their formulas are grain free, many owners of dogs with grain intolerances appreciate the large variety of kibble and canned foods available from Taste of the Wild

Rated very highly for both quality of ingredients as well as palatability, Taste of the Wild is approaching the highest end commercial diet available for your dog, while still remaining inexpensive enough for most consumers.

If you want to explore some of the special diets available from this affordable dog food brand, read on for the list we have provided below.

More Taste of the Wild Products

Want to check out their canned food varieties?

Try the Variety Pack which includes Wetlands, Pacific Stream, High Prairie and Sierra Mountain formulas. They are all grain-free!

CONTAINS
  • Bison as the number one ingredient.
  • Lamb and chicken meal, both high quality protein sources, are the second ingredient.
  • Whole food ingredients such as potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, and chicory root.
  • Roasted meats for outstanding palatability.
  • Added probiotics to increase digestibility and immune system functioning.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • Grain Free!
  • Corn, wheat or soy.
  • Artificial flavors and preservatives.

Purina Pro Plan Focus

Purina Pro Plan Focus

Nutritional Analysis:

  • Crude Protein (min): 26%
  • Crude Fat (min): 16%
  • Crude Fiber (max): 4%

This is the second higher end Purina variety that has made our list for quality and affordability. We love it because of the huge variety of life stage and breed size as well as attention to great ingredients.

More Purina Pro Plan Focus Products

Looking for a more specific formula for your dog? Have a look at these varieties in this product line:

Looking for wet food? Try these formulas on for size:

CONTAINS
  • Lamb is the number one ingredient.
  • Prebiotic fiber aids in digestion and immune functioning.
  • Plenty of Omega 3’s for joint and mobility support.
DOESN'T CONTAIN
  • Corn, wheat or soy.
  • Artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.
  • Poultry-by products.

And the Winner for Affordable Dog Food is……

OUR PICK

BLUE Life Protection Formula

Although all of the products we have featured include an eye for overall nutrition, we think the best overall value is BLUE Life Protection Formula!

Coming in at just over $1.50 per pound this is the best of both worlds:

Great nutrition at a decent price.

The addition of the LifeSource bits® that are cold processed to preserve the highest levels of antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins and minerals really puts this line of products over the top in this price range.

The addition of the LifeSource bits® that are cold processed to preserve the highest levels of antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins and minerals really puts this line of products over the top in this price range.

In addition, a huge range of breed size and life stage specific formulas means that you can find nutrition that is in the sweet spot for almost every dog’s nutritional needs.

Whether you have a tiny toy or a gargantuan giant, there is something sure to please your canine’s taste buds and health needs.


How to Change Your Dog’s Food

While we are on the subject of diet, we wanted to save some room to give our readers some sound advice on how best to switch over a dog’s food once you find the perfect formula for your budget.


Transition Gradually

Rapid changes in your pup’s diet can cause gastrointestinal distress. Take at least 5 days to do the transition, substituting an additional 20% of the new food for the old each day.

For example:

If you feed 1 ¼ cups of kibble twice a day, then your new feeding regime would look like this:

  • Day 1: 1 cup old, ¼ cup new, morning and evening
  • Day 2: ¾ cup old, ½ cup new, morning and evening
  • Day 3: ½ cup old, ¾ cup new, morning and evening
  • Day 4: ¼ cup old, 1 cup new, morning and evening
  • Day 5: 1 ¼ cup new, morning and evening

Since calories and recommended feeding amounts can vary for different brands and formulas, you can use an estimate of whatever amount 20% of the old and new are in order to transition smoothly.

They won’t always be the same amount in terms of measurements.


Dangerous Symptoms

If you do a gradual transition with the new food, it is unlikely that you will encounter any problems.

Mild symptoms such as slight change in stool consistency, a little gas, or initial reluctance to try a new food are probably not worth worrying about.

If those symptoms disappear within a day or two you have successfully changed your canine’s diet!

If, on the other hand, any of the following symptoms suddenly appear or are severe when you try to change your pup’s diet, then consult with your vet before proceeding with the new food.

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Intense gas
  • Refusal to eat (for more than a day)
  • Excessive water drinking

Signs of a Food Intolerance or Allergy

In the weeks following any change in your pal’s diet you should keep an eye out for signs of food intolerance.

Since there are bound to be a few new ingredients in the new formula you are feeding, it is possible for your canine to have a negative reaction to something in the new recipe.  

It can take up to a few weeks to see more subtle signs such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Excessive itching or scratching
  • Licking at paws
  • Shaking ears
  • Deteriorating skin or coat condition

If these signs start to appear then consult your vet. It is prudent to save some of the old food just in case your buddy just doesn’t tolerate the new recipe.


Myth: Never Change Your Dog’s Food

This is really more of a myth than a medical truth.

While a rapid change in diet can create some gastrointestinal problems, as long as you are gradual with the change, most canines will do well with some variety, especially if you are sticking with the same brand with slightly different recipes.

Of course, if your pup is on a prescribed diet for a medical condition, then you should never make a change to their diet without consulting your vet.

However, in most other cases some different ingredients can provide a more varied diet. Common sense (and many vets) will agree!


We hope our guide to the best affordable dog food has been helpful to you and your beloved companion!

Feel free to leave some comments below to add to the conversation!

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