Best Cheap Puppy Foods 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks 

NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dry Dog Food

Puppies don’t stay small long. They grow up so fast, but while they’re growing, they eat a great deal of food. It makes sense, then, to want to find nutritious but cheap food for them, especially since they’ll only eat puppy food for the first year.

There are countless choices for cheap puppy foods out there, including ones that you don’t want to be feeding your little pup. We’ve done the hard work for you and made a list of reviews of the best cheap puppy foods. We’ve also included a buying guide so you can know what makes a quality puppy food.

Read on for our recommendations.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Purina ONE Purina ONE
  • Easily digestible
  • Contains DHA
  • Dual-defense antioxidant blend
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Pedigree Pedigree
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • No artificial flavors or added sugar
  • Calcium and phosphorus
  • Third place
    Hill's Science Diet Hill's Science Diet
  • High-quality protein
  • Balance of minerals
  • Antioxidant blend
  • Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Complete and balanced nutrition
  • High-quality protein
  • Contains healthy fats and oils
  • Instinct Instinct
  • Contains freeze-dried, raw, cage-free chicken
  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • Natural DHA
  • The 10 Best Cheap Puppy Foods

    1. Purina ONE Puppy Food – Best Overall

    Purina ONE

    Purina ONE SmartBlend Puppy Premium Dog Food is our best overall choice because it’s made of quality ingredients. It’s protein-rich, with the number-one ingredient being chicken. It has easily digestible oatmeal and rice for sensitive puppy stomachs. It contains DHA, which will support your pup’s vision and brain development. It also has a dual-defense antioxidant blend to support your puppy’s immune system. There are no fillers in this food, and it’s vet recommended.

    In some sensitive puppies, this formula might cause digestive issues. Be sure to start with a small amount of food to test your puppy’s tolerance.

    Pros
    • Easily digestible oatmeal and rice
    • Contains DHA, which supports vision and brain development
    • Dual-defense antioxidant blend supports the immune system
    • Protein rich
    • Real chicken is the number-one ingredient
    • 0% fillers
    • Vet recommended
    Cons
    • Can cause digestive problems

    2. Pedigree Dry Puppy Food – Best Value

    Pedigree

    The best cheap puppy food for the money is Pedigree Complete Nutrition Puppy Dry Dog Food. It contains no high fructose corn syrup, added sugars, or artificial flavors. It comes in a variety of flavors and includes meat and vegetables. It has DHA added for your puppy’s healthy brain development. It also has calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth.

    In some puppies, it can cause digestive issues, so be sure to let your puppy taste a small amount first. This puppy food also contains by-products instead of whole meat.

    Pros
    • No high fructose corn syrup
    • No artificial flavors or added sugar
    • A variety of flavors
    • Has meat and vegetables
    • DHA for healthy brain development
    • Calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and healthy teeth
    Cons
    • Can cause digestive problems
    • Has by-products

    3. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Puppy Food

    Hills Science Diet

    Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food is a trusted brand with high-quality ingredients. It has DHA from fish oil to support your puppy’s healthy brain and eye development. Chicken is the number-one ingredient to help build lean muscle. It also has a balance of minerals to promote strong bones and healthy teeth. This antioxidant blend gives your puppy lifelong immune support. This particular food is for small breeds.

    This is one of the more expensive food choices on our list due to the high-quality ingredients. Some puppies refuse to eat this formula because of the taste.

    Pros
    • DHA from fish oil to support healthy brain and eye development
    • High-quality protein for building lean muscle
    • Balance of minerals to promote strong bones and healthy teeth
    • Antioxidant blend for lifelong immune support
    • For small breeds
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Some puppies refuse to eat this formula

    4. Eukanuba Dry Puppy Food

    Eukanuba

    This Eukanuba Puppy Dry Dog Food is for small breed puppies. It has complete and balanced nutrition up to 12 months of age, so you don’t have to worry about switching foods after only a few months. It has chicken as the number-one ingredient to support muscle growth and bone health, DHA to support your puppy’s healthy brain development, and healthy fats and oils to support your puppy’s growth.

    This option is one of the more pricier ones. In some sensitive pups, it can cause digestive issues.

    Pros
    • For small breed puppies
    • Complete and balanced nutrition up to 12 months of age
    • High-quality protein supports muscle growth and bone health
    • DHA supports healthy brain development
    • Contains healthy fats and oils
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Can cause digestive problems

    5. Instinct Puppy Grain Free Dry Dog Food

    Instinct

    Instinct Puppy Grain Free Dog Food contains freeze-dried, raw, cage-free chicken, so you can be sure that there are no by-products to worry about. There are also no artificial colors or preservatives that might be hard on your puppy’s delicate system. It contains calcium and phosphorus for your puppy’s brain and eye development, as well as probiotics and omegas to support your puppy’s growth and development.

    This is a pricier dog food option that can cause digestive issues in some sensitive pups. The FDA has issued a caution about grain-free dog foods, as there could be a link between these foods and dilated cardio myopathy.

    Pros
    • Contains freeze-dried, raw, cage-free chicken
    • No artificial colors or preservatives
    • Calcium and phosphorus for strong teeth and bones
    • Natural DHA for brain and eye development
    • Also includes probiotics and omegas
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Can cause digestive problems
    • Grain-free foods can be problematic

    6. Purina Puppy Chow Dry Puppy Food

    Purina Puppy Chow

    Purina Puppy Chow Dry Puppy Food contains American-raised chicken, so you can be sure your pup is eating quality ingredients. It has DHA from fish oil for your puppy’s healthy brain development. It also has antioxidants to support your pup’s healthy immune system. This food has the ideal amount of protein for lean, strong muscle development.

    This food does contain artificial ingredients, such as food coloring. The chicken in the food is a by-product instead of whole meat. Corn is the first ingredient listed.

    Pros
    • Contains American-raised real chicken
    • DHA from fish oil for healthy brain development
    • Antioxidants for a healthy immune system
    • Protein for lean, strong muscle development
    Cons
    • Contains food coloring
    • Contains chicken by-product
    • Corn is the first ingredient

    7. Royal Canin Puppy Dry Dog Food

    Royal Canin

    If you have a wrinkly little French Bulldog pup at home, then the Royal Canin Puppy Dry Dog Food is an ideal choice. It’s manufactured specifically for purebred French Bulldogs. The specially-made kibbles help a French Bulldog easily pick up and chew their food. It has an exclusive complex of antioxidants, including Vitamin E, to keep your puppy healthy and strong. It also contains essential nutrients to support healthy skin and wrinkles. It helps reduce gas and stool odor, which can be a problem with Frenchies.

    This is another pricey dog food on our list. It also contains chicken by-products instead of whole meat. Brewers rice is the number-one ingredient instead of chicken.

    Pros
    • Manufactured specially for purebred French Bulldogs
    • Tailor-made kibble helps a French Bulldog easily pick up and chew their food
    • Exclusive complex of antioxidants, including Vitamin E
    • Essential nutrients to support healthy skin and wrinkles
    • Helps reduce gas and stool odor
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Contains chicken by-product
    • Brewers rice is number-one ingredient

    8. AvoDerm Puppy Food

    AvoDerm

    AvoDerm Natural Puppy Dry & Wet Dog Food contains DHA for healthy brain and eye development. It also has antioxidant nutrients to help support your puppy’s healthy immune system. One of the ingredients is omega-rich avocado for healthy skin and coat. It has no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, so you can feel confident in its quality ingredients.

    It can cause digestive problems in some sensitive pups. Picky puppies might also refuse to eat this formula. It’s made with chicken meal instead of whole chicken.

    Pros
    • Contains DHA for healthy brain and eye development
    • Antioxidant nutrients help support a healthy immune system
    • Omega-rich avocado for healthy skin and coat
    • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
    Cons
    • Can cause digestive problems
    • Some puppies refuse to eat this formula
    • Made with chicken meal

    9. Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Puppy Food

    Rachael Ray Nutrish

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Bright Puppy Dry Dog Food has U.S. farm-raised chicken as its number-one ingredient. It contains chicken fat and whole flaxseed to support healthy skin and coat. It has DHA for healthy brain and eye development. It also contains antioxidants for a healthy immune system.

    This formula has been known to interfere with good bowel movements in puppies. It can also cause allergic reactions. The FDA has mentioned this brand as one possibly linked to heart disease in dogs. This is also not a brand that performs scientific research on its ingredients.

    Pros
    • S. farm-raised chicken is number-one ingredient
    • Chicken fat and whole flaxseed support healthy skin and coat
    • DHA for healthy brain and eye development
    • Antioxidants for a healthy immune system
    Cons
    • Can interfere with good bowel movements
    • Can cause an allergic reaction in some puppies
    • Brand mentioned by FDA as possibly being linked to heart disease
    • Not a well-researched brand

    10. NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Puppy Food

    Nutro Core Dry Dog

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dry Dog Food contains wholesome ingredients, including farm-raised chicken as its number-one ingredient. This is tailored nutrition for small breed puppies. It contains DHA for healthy growth and development.

    It can cause digestive problems in some puppies. It also can cause loose or soft stools. Some puppies refuse to eat this formula. This shouldn’t be used for large breed puppies, as it contains too much calcium. It’s also one of the foods mentioned by the FDA as being possibly linked to heart disease in dogs.

    Pros
    • Contains farm-raised chicken
    • Tailored nutrition for small breed puppies
    • DHA for healthy growth and development
    Cons
    • Can cause digestive problems
    • Can cause soft stools
    • Some puppies refuse to eat this formula
    • Not suitable for large breed dogs
    • Brand mentioned by FDA as possibly being linked to heart disease

    Buyer’s Guide

    Nutrition during a puppy’s first year of life is essential. There are important things to look for when shopping for the best food for your little pup.

    Extra Nutrition Needed

    Puppies need more fats, calories, and proteins than adult dogs. This keeps them growing at a healthy, steady rate. The puppy food you choose must be high in protein, natural fats, and oils, which will help your puppy stay strong and healthy.

    Whole Meat

    Puppy food should not come from meat meal or meat by-products. It should be derived from animal proteins such as chicken, beef, or another animal, like lamb.

    No By-Products or Artificial Ingredients

    You don’t want to see the words “by-products” in the puppy food you choose. Whole meat such as chicken, beef, or lamb should be the first ingredient. The puppy food you choose should also have no preservatives, dyes, or artificial ingredients. Puppies are still developing, and their little systems are especially sensitive to artificial additives.

    Large-Breed Puppies

    If you have a large-breed puppy, then you need to be sure the food is specifically made with them in mind. In particular, you don’t want food with high levels of calcium. This is because too much calcium in a large-breed puppy’s diet doesn’t allow their bones to strengthen naturally. Later in life, this can lead to hip or joint problems.

    Trusted Pet Food Companies

    You want a pet food company that puts a great deal of effort into its research and development. Puppies require a specific combination of vitamins and minerals, and big pet food companies who conduct plenty of research make sure to have these combinations down to a science.

    DHA

    DHA is important for puppy brain development and vision. Sources of DHA include salmon, sardines, other seafood, eggs, and organ meat. In puppy food, you’ll most likely find the DHA sourced from fish or fish oil.

    Divider 2

    Conclusion

    Our best overall choice is Purina ONE 57011 SmartBlend Puppy Premium Dog Food because it’s vet recommended and made of quality ingredients. It’s protein rich and easily digestible and contains DHA to support your pup’s vision and brain development.

    Our best value choice is Pedigree 10189912 Complete Nutrition Puppy Dry Dog Food because it has ingredients that your puppy needs to grow, like DHA and calcium. It contains no artificial flavors, sugars, or high fructose corn syrup.

    We hope our reviews and buying guide have helped you find the best cheap food for your new puppy.


    Featured image credit: NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Puppy Dry Dog Food, Amazon