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Best Affordable Dog Food That Will Keep Your Pup Happy and Healthy

Because we all want what's best for our pets.

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We all want the best for our pets, from the toys and bedding we give them to the treats and bones we feed them. But perhaps the biggest investment you can make into your dog's health is with their food. Your pup likely chows down multiple times a day—so you want to ensure they're noshing on something high-quality. To do that, you don't need to break the bank. Ahead, find veterinarians' recommendations for the best affordable dog food, whether your pup prefers dry kibble or wet food. These brands might sell for less, but they have all the nutrients your dog needs to live their healthiest life.

Prices are current at the time of publication but are subject to change.

RELATED: What Human Foods Can Dogs Eat? 9 Treats You Can Safely Share With Your Pet.

What to Look for in a Budget-Friendly Dog Food

Just like with human food, choosing quality, affordable dog food starts with looking at the label. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), great food will contain meat, veggies, grains, and fruits unless your dog has an allergy (like us, some pups have trouble with grains!).

The organization also suggests checking if the label mentions that the food meets the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which has strict requirements for balanced nutrition.

Finally, you'll want to get the correct food for your specific pet. If you have a small or large breed, choose a brand's designated food for that size dog. If you have a puppy, buy a puppy formula. You can direct any questions toward your vet!

RELATED: The Best Diets for Senior Dogs, According to Veterinarians.

The Best Affordable Dog Food

1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Bag of Blue Buffalo dog food

This budget-friendly dry food meets the nutritional standards outlined by the AAFCO and has the stamp of approval from veterinarians.

"It's designed for balanced nutrition with real meat as the first ingredient, which is crucial for maintaining dog health," says Stacie Atria, DVM, a veterinarian with holistic dietary expertise. "What's notable is its inclusion of wholesome grains like brown rice, along with fruits and vegetables, which provide essential fibers, antioxidants, and vitamins that support overall health and reduce inflammation, particularly beneficial in cases like joint pain management."

She says that after transitioning clients' dogs to this food, they often see improved digestive health and coat quality, two things we can all get behind.

$61.73 at Amazon
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2. Hill's Science Diet Adult

Can of Hill's Science Diet Adult dog food

You can buy this wet food in a few variations, depending on your dog's age and flavor preferences.

"This brand stands out due to its balanced nutritional profile, which includes high-quality protein, essential vitamins, and minerals that support overall health," says Kathryn Dench, MA VetMB, chief veterinary advisor at Paws Origins. "It is particularly beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs and those requiring a highly digestible formula, and in my clinical experience, approximately 70 percent of dogs with dietary sensitivities show significant improvement when switched to this food."

Hill's Science also meets the AAFCO's nutritional requirements to ensure your pup gets all the essentials they need.

$39.79 at Amazon
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RELATED: 5 Foods That Can Cure Your Dog's Bad Breath.

3. Wellness Natural Pet Food CORE Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Wellness Natural Pet Food CORE Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

This wet dog food boosts digestive and immune health, as well as dogs' coats and skin and meets the required AAFCO nutritional levels.

"It's high in protein and devoid of meat by-products, fillers, and artificial preservatives," says Atria. "Holistically, it's important that dog food contains quality protein sources like turkey, chicken, and whitefish, which support muscle health without the negative effects of saturated fats found in less healthy options."

She says the food is especially great for dogs with allergies since this formulation is grain-free. You should consult with your pup's veterinarian to ensure that suits his or her needs.

$49.93 at Amazon
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4. Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend

bag of Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend dog food

This is one of the most affordable dog foods out there, and it offers a combination of crunchy kibble and shredded bits. According to Iram Gladan, DVM, contributor to Breed Atlas, this mix improves palatability for dogs—so picky eaters, listen up!

"The Pro Plan Savor provides high-quality protein from real chicken as the first ingredient to support strong muscles and overall health," Gladan adds. "It also includes prebiotic fiber to promote digestive health, along with a balanced mix of vitamins and minerals to support the immune system, skin, and coat."

The food is available for dogs in small and large sizes and for ones on weight management plans.

$66 at Amazon
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5. Royal Canin Adult Dry Dog Food

bag of Royal Canin Adult Dry Dog Food

Find options for extra-small, small, medium, large, and giant pups, all in an AAFCO-approved kibble.

"This product is specifically formulated to meet the unique dietary needs of dogs according to their breed and size, offering precise nutrient levels to maintain optimal health," says Dench. "The small dog kibble size is perfect for smaller mouths, and the formula includes a blend of antioxidants and prebiotics to support digestive health and a strong immune system."

$56.99 at Amazon
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RELATED: 10 Household Items You Didn't Know Were Toxic to Dogs, Vets Say.

6. Merrick Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

can of Merrick Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Wet food can cost a pretty penny, but Merrick's is quite reasonable—especially if you mix it with dry kibble to make the can go further.

"The inclusion of real meat as the leading ingredient ensures the right nutrients are available for muscle maintenance and health," says Bricks Coggin, DVM, owner of ABCs Puppy Zs. "Further, the inclusion of vegetables and fruits offers the necessary vitamins and minerals to promote a healthy coat and a robust immune system."

The food is also free from fillers and artificial preservatives and meets all of the standards laid out by the AAFCO.

$43.09 at Amazon
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7. Diamond Naturals Real Meat Recipe

bag of Diamond Naturals Real Meat Recipe dog food

The first ingredient in this dry food is lamb meal, which is a protein-packed meat. However, it doesn't stop there. The food also includes grains like rice, barley, quinoa, and oatmeal, which boost the protein content even more. And it gives your pup a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables with ingredients like kale, pumpkin, blueberries, oranges, papaya, and spinach. Add-ins like chia and flaxseed bolster the nutritional content even more.

"My breeder recommended this dog food and my veterinarian also approved," wrote one happy customer on Amazon. "The dog loves the food and has had zero digestive problems."

$18.99 at Amazon
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Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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