The Best Affordable Dog Food for 2022 – Reviewed and Ranked

Written by Kirstin Opal
Updated: August 26, 2022

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Key Points:
  • There are many dog food brands that make quality dog food at an affordable price. For parents on a budget, refer to our list of some of the best affordable dog foods.
  • No matter the price, healthy dog foods should feature quality ingredients like meat, potatoes, and veggies. Avoid purchasing dog food that contains unnecessary preservatives, corn, wheat, or soy byproducts.
  • When choosing the best dog food for your dog, make sure that it provides the proper daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy.

Dogs may consume a lot of food, so it’s understandable that someone would attempt to locate a low-cost dog food to feed their companion vs a higher-priced one. Although high-end brands’ ingredients might vary significantly, it’s normal to be focused on the quality of a cheaper brand. 

We’ve picked four popular budget meals to review so you can understand how different each brand is from the others. We’ll tell you what we liked and didn’t like about each type, as well as some information on the ingredients and health advantages offered by each brand.

We’ve even included a brief buyer’s guide that explains what separates one brand from another and which elements each meal should include. 

Check out things like the kibble form, ingredients, health benefits, price, and more to assist you in making an informed decision. This year’s best low-cost dog food options are as follows.

A-Z-Animals Top Picks For Affordable Dog Food

  1. Rachael Ray Nutrish Real Chicken & Veggies Dry Dog Food
  2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Real Chicken & Veggies Dry Dog Food
    • Farm-raised chicken is the main ingredient
    • Contains plenty of fiber and prebiotics
    • Contains healthy Omega fats that are good for skin and nails
    • Doesn’t contain corn, chemicals, soy, or preservatives
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Real Salmon and Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
  4. Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Real Salmon and Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
    • Contains at least 25% crude protein from fish meal and salmon
    • Added healthy and beneficial ingredients such as spinach, blueberries
    • Hypoallergenic formula
    • Great for the brain and gastrointestinal health
    Check Amazon
  5. Bundle: Puppy Chow Tender & Crunchy Dry Food + Salmon Flavor Training Dog Treats
  6. Bundle: Puppy Chow Tender & Crunchy Dry Food + Salmon Flavor Training Dog Treats
    • Contains carbohydrates that provide your pup with plenty of energy
    • Has 27% protein to help with growing muscles and overall health
    • Contains added vitamin C
    • Easily digestible
    Check Chewy
  7. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior Chicken Dinner
  8. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior Chicken Dinner
    • Contains healthy ingredients like fish oil, carrots, flaxseed, potatoes, chicken liver
    • Help promote healthy skin, coat, and the entire immune system
    • Doesn’t contain wheat, corn, soy, artificial flavors, by-products, or preservatives
    • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health and mobility
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

#1 Overall Best: Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Dog Food 

If you’re trying to save money and still provide your dog with high-quality food that will fill his belly and is packed with nutrition, consider our winner, Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Dog Food. 

One of the reasons this one beat out the competition is because it has farm-raised chicken as the main ingredient. The other ingredients include things such as beet pulp and brown rice that give your pup plenty of fiber and prebiotics. Because this is a healthy option, it may take your pooch some getting used to before they enjoy it. 

This dog food is great for your dog’s digestive system, hair, vision, nails, and skin thanks to the healthy Omega fats found in the chicken. Many pet owners appreciate that Rachael Ray Nutrish doesn’t contain corn, chemicals, soy, or preservatives that are unnecessary and harmful to our pets. 

Overall Best
Rachael Ray Nutrish Real Chicken & Veggies Dry Dog Food
  • Farm-raised chicken is the main ingredient
  • Contains plenty of fiber and prebiotics
  • Contains healthy Omega fats that are good for skin and nails
  • Doesn’t contain corn, chemicals, soy, or preservatives
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#2 Best Affordable Dog Food for Skin and Coat : Diamond Naturals Real Salmon and Potato Recipe Dry Food

Dogs of all shapes and sizes just can’t get enough of Diamond Naturals Real Salmon and Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food. This food can be eaten at all ages and won’t break the bank. And it’s super power? It’s great for dogs with sensitive skin, designed to make your dog’s skin and coat healthy.

It has at least 25% crude protein from the fish meal and salmon as the top ingredients. This food is packed with healthy and beneficial ingredients such as spinach, blueberries, chia seeds, kale, and more!

You won’t find any corn, fillers, or wheat in Blue Diamond dog food. It has a hypoallergenic formula and is great for the brain and gastrointestinal health. We can hear the sound of your dog licking his chops now! 

Best for Skin and Coat
Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Real Salmon and Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • Contains at least 25% crude protein from fish meal and salmon
  • Added healthy and beneficial ingredients such as spinach, blueberries
  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Great for the brain and gastrointestinal health
Check Amazon

#3 Best Affordable Dog Food for Puppies: Purina Puppy Chow Dry Dog Food

Nothing beats the cuteness of an adorable new puppy. It’s essential to feed your dog healthy food and getting a new dog can be incredibly expensive. Our top budget option for puppies is the Purina Puppy Chow Dry Dog Food.

Purina has been around for several decades and used a specific recipe designed for puppies. These kibbles are packed with carbohydrates that provide your pup with plenty of energy. It has 27% protein to help with growing muscles and overall health. 

You won’t have to worry about your dog’s health as much thanks to the boost of vitamin C in this food. Purina made their puppy food to be easily digestible to allow your puppy to digest it without any issues. 

Best for Puppies
Bundle: Puppy Chow Tender & Crunchy Dry Food + Salmon Flavor Training Dog Treats
  • Contains carbohydrates that provide your pup with plenty of energy
  • Has 27% protein to help with growing muscles and overall health
  • Contains added vitamin C
  • Easily digestible
Check Chewy

#4 Best Affordable Dog Food for Seniors: Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior Chicken Dinner

If you have an older dog, what they eat is even more important. Many vets and pet owners will suggest transitioning into canned food for your senior dog. It’s a lot easier for them to eat, especially if your pooch has dental issues. 

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables Canned Dog Food is a great option, but it’s important to mention it only comes in this one flavor. You’ll find healthy ingredients like fish oil, carrots, flaxseed, potatoes, chicken liver, and more! 

These ingredients can help promote healthy skin, coat, and the entire immune system. Blue Buffalo wet food doesn’t contain wheat, corn, soy, artificial flavors, by-products, or preservatives. 

Best for Seniors
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior Chicken Dinner
  • Contains healthy ingredients like fish oil, carrots, flaxseed, potatoes, chicken liver
  • Help promote healthy skin, coat, and the entire immune system
  • Doesn’t contain wheat, corn, soy, artificial flavors, by-products, or preservatives
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health and mobility
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

Now that you know about the top budget dog foods for this year, how did these choices come to be? There are a few things you’ll want to look for when you’re comparing one type of food to another. Let’s talk about them! 

Dog’s Age 

As you can read about in the reviews above, not all dog food is created equally. While the majority of adult food is similar, you may want to compare things like the ingredients. You wouldn’t want to give a puppy adult dog food because pups need more protein and carbs than older dogs. 

Food Consistency

The two most common types of affordable dog food are dry and soft. Dry dog food is by far the most popular and common feeding choice. The dry kibble helps with dental health by rubbing away plaque and tartar.

Dry dog food tends to be more budget-friendly and won’t get stale easily. Wet dog food on the other hand is great for senior dogs and pups that are dehydrated or constipated. It’s also a handy way to serve your dog medication they wouldn’t otherwise swallow. 

Ingredients

Pet owners should care about what goes into their furry friends’ bodies just as much as they do on their own. You’ll want to avoid any food with unneeded preservatives, corn, wheat, or soy byproducts. Look for real food, such as meat, potatoes, and veggies. 

The Different Types of Affordable Dog Food: Pros and Cons Compared

Let’s talk a little bit about the advantages and disadvantages of the most common types of dog food. 

Dry Dog Food 

Pros Cons
Comes in bigger packagesCan mold if not used fast enough
Tends to be cheaper
More options on the market
Helps with dental health

Soft Canned Food

ProsCons
Easier for dogs to eatDoesn’t get rid of tartar or plaque
Great for hiding medications 
Tends to be tastier than dry food

Our Criteria and Experience: How We Chose the Best

As pet owners, we love our pets, and would not nothing more than to spoil them! But not everyone has the budget to splurge on pets. That’s why we at A-Z-Animals felt that it was important to compile a list of quality dog foods that you can trust will help your dogs grow up healthy and strong…without breaking the bank. When researching the best affordable dog foods on the market, we had certain criteria we referred to, ensuring that the food would do well for your puppy, adult, or senior dog. Those criteria are: nutrition, ingredient quality, flavor, and value for money.

  • Nutrition: We analyzed the vitamin and nutrient content of all the products we recommended to make sure your dog was receiving the proper daily allowance the essential ones, based on their age and weight.
  • Ingredient Quality: The dog foods we recommended had healthy percentages of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and other healthy ingredients. We looked for options that avoided fillers such as corn or wheat, and contained no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives (such as the Diamond Naturals brand).
  • Flavor: Of course, if your dog doesn’t like it’s food, there’s a problem. We made sure that the foods that made the cut were considered delicious by the majority of dog critics (their critiques relayed via their parents in the form of reviews). Flavors like chicken, beef, or salmon are popular with dogs, though every dog’s palate is unique.
  • Value for the Money: We strove to find good hearty foods that were affordable. Our wet food recommendation averages around $35 for a 12 can pack, but the cans are 12.5 ounces, so should cover at least two meals. With our choice for puppies, we found a great bundle where you can receive a pack of training treats with your purchase–a great value! Our other dry food options met our criteria for good value for the money.

Summary of the Best Affordable Dog Food

RankBest ForProduct
1OverallRachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Dog Food
2Pit BullsDiamond Naturals Real Salmon and Potato Recipe Dry Food
3PuppiesPurina Puppy Chow Dry Dog Food
4SeniorsBlue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Senior Chicken Dinner

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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs, her 14-year-old dog, or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.