Best dog food to feed on a Budget
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Thread: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

  1. #1
    Junior Member Shilos_mom's Avatar
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    Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    Long story short we are in a rough patch.

    We have a 3 year old dog and a almost 4 month old puppy.

    We want to feed the the best food we can on a very low budget.

    Any info would be helpful.

    ETA: We have been on a store brand for a while bc we were really hurting and Luka (puppy) has lost some weight. We are starting him on Satin balls to re gain some weight but we would like the food to pack on the lbs for both are dogs. They could both stand to gain some weight.
    Last edited by Shilos_mom; 01-22-2011 at 01:56 PM. Reason: ETA:
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    Luka

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  3. #2
    Senior Member philovance's Avatar
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    Our favorite value priced kibble is Merrick's Whole Earth Farms. It runs slightly more than $1/lb and I should think that any store that sells Merrick can order it if they don't carry it. It may be that $1/1b sounds a bit high, but I don't know how a food can contain any meat and cost much less. I think Canidae, Chicken Soup and Natural Balance are also good values but more expensive. Around here the price/performance consensus is Taste of the Wild.

    Whole Earth Farms is an all life stages food so you can feed it to your puppy. It will not by itself help your dogs to gain weight because the calories are moderate at about 350 a cup. Because it is inexpensive it has a higher percentage of carbs to protein than a top of the line food like Orijen.

    That said, I would feed it unhesitatingly and we have in rotation for the past year. I think it is healthier, and can be cheaper, to supplement a "value" kibble with real or canned foods than to pay more for a "better" kibble. No matter what you feed, you should try to find several commercial foods your dogs enjoy and do well on. Feeding the same food over a long period of time is asking for trouble.

    Whenever this question is asked people also recommend Diamond Naturals and the Tractor Supply house brand. Since I live in the heart of New York City, we don't usually see foods that are sold in feed stores but which might be perfectly fine. Avoid any food that doesn't list a named meat or meat meal as the first ingredient and/or which has several types of grain in the first five ingredients.

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    Senior Member Shandwill's Avatar
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    I have heard good things about Merrick, too. Not sure where you're from, but if you have a Tractor Supply nearby, they sell 4 Health, which is a very affordable, quality food. You could also order it from their website, I'm sure. Costco is said to have an affordable, quality brand called Kirkland, I think. Their have been several threads on this topic, so if you run a search, I'm sure you'll find lots of info and suggestions. Best of luck!
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    Senior Member Selah Cowgirl's Avatar
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    Chicken Soup is a good brand and Costco has a grain free that is cheep called Natures Domain.
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    Senior Member kafkabeetle's Avatar
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    I second both Whole Earth Farms from the pet store (like Petco) and 4Health from the feed store (like Tractor Supply). Both are really good quality for the prices they are asking.

    I will say though, that someone said WEF was an all-life stages food, but it's not actually. It comes in puppy, adult and senior formulas. That doesn't affect the quality in my mind, though, and I believe all three formulas cost the same. Sydney does well on the adult formula as part of a rotation of foods.

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    Senior Member philovance's Avatar
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by kafkabeetle View Post
    I will say though, that someone said WEF was an all-life stages food, but it's not actually. It comes in puppy, adult and senior formulas. That doesn't affect the quality in my mind, though, and I believe all three formulas cost the same. Sydney does well on the adult formula as part of a rotation of foods.
    You know, after I said WEF was ALS I remembered they make Senior and Puppy formulas so I went to the Merrick website to look at the "labels." All three varieties are ALS. The puppy food has very slightly more calories, the senior slightly less. All three varieties list chicken meal and turkey meal as the first two ingredients. The guaranteed analysis differs as to protein and fat percentages.

    BTW, the canned foods are grainless and very good values at a little more than $1 per can.

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    Senior Member kafkabeetle's Avatar
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by philovance View Post
    You know, after I said WEF was ALS I remembered they make Senior and Puppy formulas so I went to the Merrick website to look at the "labels." All three varieties are ALS. The puppy food has very slightly more calories, the senior slightly less. All three varieties list chicken meal and turkey meal as the first two ingredients. The guaranteed analysis differs as to protein and fat percentages.

    BTW, the canned foods are grainless and very good values at a little more than $1 per can.
    Interesting. Seems like the puppy formula would be the best value, then. If I wasn't about the switch to TOTW I would go with the puppy formula.

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    Senior Member philovance's Avatar
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by kafkabeetle View Post
    Interesting. Seems like the puppy formula would be the best value, then. If I wasn't about the switch to TOTW I would go with the puppy formula.
    Agreed, particularly as regards the OP who wants her dogs to gain weight.

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    Senior Member FilleBelle's Avatar
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    I was pretty pleased with the Costco brand when I had a membership there. I also use Natural Balance in my rotation and am always very happy with it. When it's on sale (which it frequently is at my pet store), I can get the 30lb lamb and rice version for $35.


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    Senior Member philovance's Avatar
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by FilleBelle View Post
    I was pretty pleased with the Costco brand when I had a membership there. I also use Natural Balance in my rotation and am always very happy with it. When it's on sale (which it frequently is at my pet store), I can get the 30lb lamb and rice version for $35.
    Lately NB seems to have gotten a bad rap, I guess because it definitely doesn't have as much protein as the grainless foods that are very popular. But I think it is a very well thought out food from a manufacturer that genuinely seems to care about quality and value.

    IMO, kibble should *always* be like a foundation food and not the whole enchilada. My mantra is better to feed middle of the road kibble supplemented with real or canned foods than the best kibble exclusively and relentlessly.

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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    I guess the question is, what kind of budget are we talking about? I know lots of people who would not consider $1 a pound to be a "budget" food. Considering the OP was feeding store brand, I suspect the budget isn't that high.

    But yeah, in that range would be:
    Diamond Naturals
    Chicken Soup
    Kirkland Premium (Costco brand)
    Whole Earth Farms
    4Health

    Worst case scenario, I would never feed anything cheaper than Purina Dog/Puppy Chow. It's nothing special, but it shouldn't cause a severe loss of condition like you'll see with store brands/generics. It only costs a little bit more than store brand anyway. I would supplement with fresh meat, if possible. Purina ONE would be a step up, but at that price range you could find something better (Diamond Naturals is cheaper). I wouldn't feed Pedigree because of the BHA/BHT.

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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    For an informational video on dog food reviews

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cyefkd9vR4o

  14. #13
    Senior Member philovance's Avatar
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Willowy View Post
    I guess the question is, what kind of budget are we talking about? I know lots of people who would not consider $1 a pound to be a "budget" food. Considering the OP was feeding store brand, I suspect the budget isn't that high.

    <snip>

    Worst case scenario, I would never feed anything cheaper than Purina Dog/Puppy Chow. It's nothing special, but it shouldn't cause a severe loss of condition like you'll see with store brands/generics.
    The price of Dog Chow at Petfooddirect.com is $.89 per pound and these are the first five ingredients:

    Whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), corn gluten meal, meat and bone meal

    Whole Earth Farms is $1.11 a pound. First five ingredients:

    Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Oat Meal, Pearled Barley, Ground Rice, Ground Millet

    Sure, lots of grain but two named meat meals.

    Maybe it's because I only have *one* *small* dog and not a pack but for a difference of $.22 a pound I couldn't bring myself to feed Dog Chow.

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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    I was also going to suggest Purina ONE, or Diamond Naturals. Both would, I assume, fall into your price category, and while not the best, I have seen these two products work fine on Labradors who are out in the ring showing, and working in the field.

  16. #15
    Senior Member philovance's Avatar
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by 3Lab View Post
    I was also going to suggest Purina ONE, or Diamond Naturals. Both would, I assume, fall into your price category, and while not the best, I have seen these two products work fine on Labradors who are out in the ring showing, and working in the field.
    This thread got me very curious about the price of the recommended foods per pound. Diamond Naturals is about $1.11 a pound but Purina One Adult Chicken and Rice is $1.68 a pound! First five ingredients: Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Oat Meal, Pearled Barley, Ground Rice, Ground Millet. Not terrible but isn't it expensive for what it is?

    Confirms my belief that the "better" Purina, Iams, Eukanuba foods are expensive for what they offer (and you're paying for advertising). That's why I'll always recommend Canidae, TOTW, NB, Diamond Naturals, Whole Earth Farms, etc. to folks on a budget.

    BTW, there's a new kid on the block that never gets mentioned: Dave's Pet Food. I've only tried their reasonably priced cat food so far but I think they may be a contender in the lower end of better foods.

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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    Petfooddirect charges a LOT for the lower-end foods, you can't go by their pricing to determine real-life costs. In "real life", say, at Wal-Mart, Dog Chow is about 40 a pound (if you buy the largest bag. The small bags can cost over twice as much per pound). I don't know which formula of Purina ONE you looked at (those ingredients you listed aren't half bad); the regular Chicken and Rice formula has these for the first 5 ingredients: "Chicken, brewers rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal", and costs about 85 a pound. So, no, it's not great, but a lot of people don't have a Tractor Supply or decent feed store in their area, and you can get Purina products at any grocery store or discount store. And that price difference can really be a deal-maker/breaker if you have a large dog or multiple dogs. Dog Chow won't kill your dog (unless he has bad allergies). Store brand might. I've seen some terrible results from store brands, whereas all the dogs I know who eat Dog Chow look pretty good.

    I personally wouldn't feed anything lesser-quality than Diamond Naturals, given my current situation, but if I couldn't drive, or couldn't afford to drive a half-hour away to buy dog food, my choices would be severely limited. Small towns don't have much available. I pay about 70 a pound for Diamond Naturals, but I know that not everybody has a good feed store like I do (a half-hour away).

    How much do they charge for Dave's, and where do they sell it?

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    Senior Member philovance's Avatar
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Willowy View Post
    How much do they charge for Dave's, and where do they sell it?
    There are a limited number of online store's selling Dave's so it's hard to price shop. Waggintails.com has it at $1.28/lb: Lamb, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Ground White Rice, Chicken Fat.

    I've been using the medium sized (20 lb) bags for the prices I'm quoting but if petfooddirect is not representative of typical prices then I'm not a good person to be providing them. Everything in New York City is overpriced by 25% and I have a small dog. If I can find a kibble I like for $2.50 a pound locally I'm lucky (cheapest are $11-13 for a small bag) which I agree is a ridiculous price to pay for dry food. As it happens I have over a year's worth of kibble in the house between samples, freebies and sale bags so my interest in dry food is pretty academic at this point.

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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by philovance View Post
    I've been using the medium sized (20 lb) bags for the prices I'm quoting but if petfooddirect is not representative of typical prices then I'm not a good person to be providing them.
    They seem to have decent prices on the high-end foods (sometimes better than local places), but they really jack up the prices on the low-end foods. Like they're saying "any moron who orders Dog Chow from us instead of going to their local grocery store deserves to pay more!", LOL. Or maybe that's actually what cheap dog food costs in places like New York, so that's what they charge. Idk.

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    Senior Member Pareeeee's Avatar
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    I feed Fidget Actr1um Holistic Diet. I noticed her fur got shinier when we started feeding it. You buy it at wal-mart...it has no wheat and no corn, rice is the filler.
    -Pareeeee
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    Re: Best dog food to feed on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Pareeeee View Post
    I feed Fidget Actr1um Holistic Diet. I noticed her fur got shinier when we started feeding it. You buy it at wal-mart...it has no wheat and no corn, rice is the filler.
    I've never seen that brand at Wal-Mart. I wonder if it's regional. I found the ingredient list on another forum (there's no website with that info), and all the posters there who had heard of it were Canadian. It looks pretty good.

    Is it under $1 a pound?

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