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
The 10 Best Cheap Puppy Foods
1. Purina ONE 57011 Puppy Food – Best Overall
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.
2. Pedigree 10189912 Dry Puppy Food – Best Value
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.
3. Hill’s Science Diet 9094 Dry Puppy Food
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.
4. Eukanuba 10144128 Dry Puppy Food
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.
5. Instinct Puppy Grain Free Dry Dog Food
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.
6. Purina Puppy Chow Dry Puppy Food
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.
7. Royal Canin Puppy Dry Dog Food
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.
8. AvoDerm 100064771 Puppy Food
AvoDerm Natural PuppyDry & 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.
9. Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Puppy Food
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.
10. NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Puppy Food
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Cheap Puppy Foods
- 1. Purina ONE 57011 Puppy Food – Best Overall
- 2. Pedigree 10189912 Dry Puppy Food – Best Value
- 3. Hill’s Science Diet 9094 Dry Puppy Food
- 4. Eukanuba 10144128 Dry Puppy Food
- 5. Instinct Puppy Grain Free Dry Dog Food
- 6. Purina Puppy Chow Dry Puppy Food
- 7. Royal Canin Puppy Dry Dog Food
- 8. AvoDerm 100064771 Puppy Food
- 9. Rachael Ray Nutrish Dry Puppy Food
- 10. NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Puppy Food
- Buyer’s Guide
- Extra Nutrition Needed
- Whole Meat
- No By-Products or Artificial Ingredients
- Large-Breed Puppies
- Trusted Pet Food Companies