How to Feed Your Dog on a Budget (Yes, it’s Possible!)

Updated: February 23, 2019 at 3:40 pm, Author: Alice

The way some pet owners talk about dog food, you’d assume that owning a pet is for the rich and elite. Statements like, “I buy my pet nothing but the best dog food” and “Oh, I would never buy my dog Purina!” can make even us comfortable folks think twice about purchasing a canine. After all, while we’re capable of footing the annual vet bill and providing our dogs with all the creature comforts they need to live a happy and healthy life, many of us aren’t capable of dropping $50 on a five pound bag of dog food that will last our pooch a week. For many, that’s a car payment each month, a cell phone bill or a utility bill. So, what are the alternatives? Don’t own a dog at all?


Fortunately, not all good dog food that comes is that expensive. Today, we’re going to share with you the best ways to feed your dog on a budget, as well as a list of the best inexpensive dog foods on the market.


Tips for Feeding Your Pooch on a Budget

hungry dog close up

Before we delve into our list of good cheap dog foods, keep some of these tips in mind when shopping for food for your pet:

  • Use coupons. There are hundreds of printable pet care coupons on the web these days, so before heading to the store, Google your chosen brand’s coupons to see what their latest offerings are. (Do not shop dog food by deal, however. It is not healthy to continuously switch up your pooch’s food, and doing so can cause digestive issues and other health problems.)
  • Shop on Wednesdays and Sundays, and it is proven that those are the two days of the week on which you’re likely to find the most discounts on groceries.
  • Shop in bulk. The bigger the bag you get, the more bang you’ll get for your buck.
  • Make your own dog food. Like most things in life, if you DIY it, you’re much more likely to end up with a better finished product and more cost savings.


The great thing about making your own dog food for your pooch is that it requires almost the same ingredients as you would use in your own meal. Feel like having chicken and rice for dinner? Spread the love and make it for your pet too. Throw in an egg, some yogurt, fish oil and calcium. Visit the WholeDog Journal for more information on how to make whole and healthy dog food for your canine pal.


Ingredients & Labels to Look Out For

When shopping for your pet’s food, shop as if you were to put it into your own system. Check the labels and ingredients to make sure that the food has a healthy balance of nutrients and there aren’t any “artificial” ingredients. For instance, your pooch needs fruits, veggies, protein and herbs. Don’t buy a dog food that is 100% mystery meat with artificial fruit and vegetable flavoring. While protein is an essential part of any canine’s diet, so are veggies, fruits and herbs, and without them, your dog won’t be able to obtain balanced health. Moreover, don’t buy your pup a food with a mix of meats, as there is no telling just what type of animal or part of an animal is used.


With all that in mind, check out the bag for the following ingredients and labels:

  • If the bag claims that the food is holistic or organic, check the back just to make sure.
  • Check for a nutritional advocacy statement from the AAFCO, which ensures that a dog food meets nutrient standards.
  • Check the ingredients for fillers. While potatoes and corn have some nutritional, they won’t keep your dog satisfied for long, and they certainly don’t contain the rich nutrients found in other ingredients, such as chicken, legumes and real meats. Make sure that if there are any filler ingredients that they only make up a small portion of the food.
  • Check for real, high quality proteins, and avoid brands that offer chicken meal or meat by-products.


9 Best Inexpensive & Healthy Dog Foods

  1. Hill’s Ideal Balance Grain Free Adult Dog Dry Food ($2.36 per pound)

Hill’s is a great brand all around, but their Ideal Balance Grain Free blend is ideal for weight management and maintenance and increased energy. The gluten free blend contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which will greatly improve the condition of your pet’s coat and skin. Vitamin C and other included veggies will do wonders his immune system, and cranberries, which contain antioxidants, help to promote bladder health. ($49.49 for 21 lbs)


  1. Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog Food ($1.69 per pound)

Made by Rachel Ray herself, this dog food is not only nutritious, but it’s also delicious. Made of all the best, natural ingredients found in your local supermarket, Ray’s Nutrish brand is high quality and easy to find. It contains grain free formulas that are especially healthy and ideal for older and glutton intolerant pups. ($38.98 for 23 lbs with coupon)


  1. Taste of the Wild, High Prairie Formula ($1.67 per pound)

Dogs and owners alike LOVE Taste of the Wild, and for good reason: it’s just as tasty as it is nutritional. With nothing but the best ingredients Mother Nature has to offer, including roasted meats like bison, lamb and chicken and sweet potatoes, peas and potatoes, this food is truly as balanced as any dinner plate should be. (48.99 for 30 lbs.)


  1. Whole Earth Farm’s Grain Free Recipe ($1.59 per pound)

Whole Earth’s guarantee is that none of their dog foods contain wheat, corn, soy, poultry by-products, artificial flavoring, artificial preservatives or artificial coloring, making that as close to au natural and wholly healthy as you can get. ($39.98 for 25 lbs)


  1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula ($1.53 per pound)

Despite its name, Blue Buffalo doesn’t make their food with bison, but it does use farm fresh chicken. They pair the poultry with brown rice, oatmeal and barley for a delicious and easy to digest meal. ($45.99 for 30 lbs)


  1. Diamond Naturals Grain Free ($1.49 per pound)

Ask any dog owner and they’ll tell you that Diamond is by far the best “middle of the road” dog food option. They offer a choice of three whole animals for protein and sweet potatoes for carbohydrates. Feed this to your pooch and they’ll fell like it’s Thanksgiving all the time. ($41.99 for 28 lbs.)


  1. Iams Grain Free Naturals ($1.45 per pound)

Iams has been around for forever, and for good reason—they’re cheap and they’re healthy. While Iams offers several different foods at several different price points for dogs and cats alike, opt for their grain free offerings, which contain proteins such as farm-raised chickens and salmon and vegetables like lentils and peas. ($24.99 for 17.2 lbs)


  1. Sport Dog Food Elite Formula ($1.32 per pound)

If you have a large dog that eats a lot and that doesn’t mind beef for protein, this blend is an unbeatable price. Though the brand does offer other protein choices at different price points, beef is by far the cheapest. ($65.66 for 50 lbs)


  1. Purina Beneful Healthy Weight ($.87 per pound)

Purina is one of the most well known dog foods on the market, likely because it is one of the least expensive yet still nutritional options. Their Beneful varieties are great if you’re working on a tight budget as Purina makes sure that your dog’s unique nutritional needs are met with its nutrient profile. They also add 23 essential vitamins and minerals to each blend to support your dog’s overall health. Chicken is typically the number one ingredient in all Purina blends, though most do contain some meat by-product, corn and soybean. Also, keep in mind that at $.87 per pound, this food isn’t are hearty as some of the other options, and offers 10% fewer calories per serving than the recommended dosage. ($26.98 for 31.1 lbs.)


Affordable Treats for Dogs

Your pooch deserves more than just healthy dog food – he deserves healthy treats too! At the Bully Stick Shoppe, we sell 100% natural, made in the U.S.A. bully sticks and chicken treats that dogs everywhere love. None of our products are made with hormones or preservatives, and each of our bully sticks is made with all natural beef from grass fed, free range cattle. Our chicken treats are 100% chicken breast, with no meat by-products. Treat your dog to good food and good treats – he deserves it – and shop at the Bully Stick Shoppe today. Buy in bulk for greater discounts!

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