Readers compare generic dog food brands

Good Cheap Dog Food?

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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Our family includes two large dogs. We love them, but their premium dog food is getting really expensive. Feels like I'm spending more on dog food than people food! Are any of the lower cost generic dog food brands good? Naturally I don't want to compromise their health, but I really need to find a good cheaper generic dog food.

Change Where You Buy the Food

Look to your local farm and ranch supply store. Often times, they have pet food cheaper.
Brenda (via Facebook)

Costco Offers a Great Dog Food

I have used Costco's brand (Kirkland Chicken and Rice) dog food since the early 90s. It has been rated as one of the best dog foods on the market. I am a member of a very large, local greyhound rescue group in my area and many of the people in the group also use this brand of dog food.

My Dog Loves Rachel Ray

My dog loves Rachael Ray's food. It's quite a bit cheaper than premium brands, and it's rated the same as many of them. Here's a great list from
Jill (via Facebook)

Stay Away from Generic Dog Food

If you choose to use generic dog food, you will most likely end up paying more in vet bills for skin conditions, stomach issues, etc. You may pay a little more for the premium dog food, but it pays off in the long run. I worked for a groomer, and it was amazing when people would change their pet's food to a cheaper version. The pet would have major skin issues and stomach issues and the owner would end up spending more money on vet bills. Also the dogs would end up eating more of the cheaper dog food because of the fillers used with the generic version. A lot of premium dog foods offer specials on their brands. With Fromm, if you buy eleven bags, you get the twelfth free. Check with your local pet store and find out if your brand offers anything like this.

A Healthy and Inexpensive Alternative

I had both my cat and dog on premium foods. I was paying $1.79/can for dog food and $1.19/can for cat food. My dog has food allergies, so my veterinarian recommended a lamb food instead of beef. I did some research and found that Tractor Supply Company is now carrying their own brand of premium food called 4Health. Protein is the first ingredient and it also does not contain a lot of grains. I am now paying $.99/can for dog food and only $.46/can for cat food. 4Health comes in bags and cans and in several varieties. Both of my pets like it and have done well on it, and we have saved money.

Visit Feed Store for Good Generic Dog Food

There are good, cheaper alternatives at the local feed store, such as Agway. I get a wheat- and corn-free dog food that my dog loves, and it costs much less than the premium dog foods from the pet stores.

Write for Coupons

I, too, had this problem. After just one bag of generic dog food, the coats of my dogs were less shiny, which can be an indication of health deficiency. So, I asked the vet and she made a good point. If you make one vet trip due to a pet getting ill from switching food, then you're losing any money saved on food.

I wrote the company who makes my dogs' food, and I received a bunch of coupons in various amounts.
Judy M. in NY

Can't afford a pro? Give do-it-yourself dog grooming a try.

Feed a Raw or Semi-Raw Diet

As a general rule, generic dog food is pretty horrible. They are made primarily of grain and low-quality protein. Dogs are omnivores, and grain is really not the right food for them. Top that off with low-quality protein and you've got a recipe for health problems. (If you think dog food is expensive, veterinary bills will blow your mind!)

One solution is to feed your dog a raw or semi-raw diet. This will consist of a mixture primarily of meaty bones, organ meats and lean proteins, mixed with some vegetables.

On the surface, this might seem like it would be more expensive than quality dog food, but the better-quality dog foods that can be found at grocery stores sell for an average of $1 pound. Premium dog foods and specialty dog foods sell for quite a bit more.

If you check with your local butcher, you'll find that many of the pieces suitable for dogs are quite cheap. Contrary to cooked bones, which are dangerous, raw bones are okay for dogs to eat.

In some cases, since the butchers can't sell these pieces in the store, they are thrown away; depending on the store, you may be able to get much of this for free.

There are websites and books written which explain the ins and outs of this type of diet, as well as the health benefits for your dog. They cover the appropriate mixture of each type of food, the quantities, and all the details you'll need to make an informed choice.
Valerie C in Chesapeake, VA

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