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The Best Priced Grain Free Dog Food

If you’re new to the grain free scene or just looking for a more affordable option, this best priced grain free dog food guide is your cheat-sheet to going grain free without breaking the bank!

CC Image “Suspicious.” via Alex “Khaki” Vance on Flickr – thx Alex!

Impatient (like me)?  🙂

Jump directly to current prices & more info about the best priced grain free dog food:

  1. Taste of the Wild, Canine Formula (Overall Winner)
  2. Diamond Grain Free Pet Food
  3. Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog Food
  4. Zignature Grain Free Trout Dry Dog Food (Best for Multiple Allergies)
  5. Nutro Max Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food (Best Bargain)

Hint: Some links have coupons.

When we first brought our dog home from the shelter he was itchy, had loose stool, and kept throwing up.

Sound familiar?

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re looking for a solution to your dog’s allergy problems.

Maybe you were like me, and attempted to go out and buy some grain-free dog food, only to be overwhelmed by the number of choices and the prices.

If so, you’re in the right place.

I did some research and found five dry grain-free dog foods that will provide your pooch with quality nutrition without breaking the bank.

Need a quick answer of what to buy because you’re currently standing in the dog food aisle?

Feel free to scroll/click to the Overall Winner and Runners-Up sections.

If you’re still trying to decide whether wet food or dry food is best for your dog, Veterinarian Ted Morris gives a quick overview of the pros and cons of each:

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Why Choose Grain-Free Dog Food?

Although allergies to meat are more common, some dogs are allergic to or intolerant of grain in their diet. (Check out this link for more information about food allergies in dogs).

Signs of a food allergy can include:

  • Excessive itchiness
  • Vomiting
  • Chronic ear inflammation

However, these symptoms can also be a sign of health problems unrelated to food, so it’s best to check with your vet before assuming the problem is a food allergy.

That being said, some dogs really are allergic to or intolerant of grain in their diet, and will benefit from a grain-free diet. Although corn often gets a bad rap, it is actually wheat that is most often the culprit.

Switching to a quality grain-free food can decrease or eliminate problems such as constant scratching and excessive flatulence.

Both you and your dog will appreciate the change!

What to Look for in a Grain-Free Dog Food

Ingredients

So, now that you’ve decided to give grain-free a try, what should you look for?

The main sign of a quality food is an ingredient list that is filled with good protein sources. The first 5 ingredients of a dog food should have at least two protein sources.

The first 5 ingredients of a dog food should have at least two protein sources. Click To Tweet

Avoid foods that have vague ingredients like “meat” or “animal fat”.

Instead, look for specific types of meat, such as beef, chicken, or lamb meal.

Wait, “meal”?!

That doesn’t sound very appetizing…Despite its dubious name, meal is actually a good source of protein (as long as it specifies what type of meat it is).

For example:

  • Beef meal= good
  • Meat meal= bad

Meat meal contains little water, making it a very concentrated source of protein.

The ingredients that you do want to avoid include:

  • Vague meat and fat sources
  • Artificial flavors, sweeteners, and colors

These ingredients are generally a sign of a low-quality food.

For a more in-depth discussion of why certain ingredients are desirable or undesirable, check out this article by the Whole Dog Journal.

Guaranteed Analysis

Still with me?

Great!

Let’s move on to what to look for in the “guaranteed analysis” section of a dog food bag.

The following guidelines are meant for healthy adult dogs, and are based on dry food.

  • Dry dog food should have around 18% protein. A range of 15-30% is acceptable.
  • Fat should be between 10-20%.
  • Fiber should be no higher than 9-10%.

Best Priced Grain Free Dog Food


Okay, now that you’ve had a crash course in dog nutrition, it’s time to get to the point:

What are the best grain-free foods that won’t break the bank?

The following foods are those that combined quality ingredients with affordable pricing. These foods were chosen based on their ingredients, guaranteed analysis, price, and reviews.

Overall Winner


Taste of the Wild, Canine Formula

First 5 Ingredients:

  1. Buffalo
  2. Lamb meal
  3. Chicken meal
  4. Sweet potatoes
  5. Peas

This food is impressive in every way.

The ingredients list is filled with quality protein sources, fruits, and vegetables. The guaranteed analysis is more than adequate.

In fact, some people might actually be worried that it has too much protein.

Although the myth that excessive protein in a dog’s diet will lead to kidney problems has been around for years, extra protein will simply pass through healthy dogs and be excreted through their urine.

So while the whopping 32% protein in Taste of the Wild’s food more than meets your dog’s need for protein, it won’t be harmful (unless your dog already has kidney problems).

Okay, back to why this food is so great:

  • Fellow dog owners rave about how much their dogs love this food and how it has solved their dogs’ skin issues.
  • Many owners report that their dogs’ coats are now healthy and shiny thanks to this food.

Even though Taste of the Wild is made with high quality ingredients, it is still in the same price range as many of the “cheap” grain-free foods.

So, the bottom line is that you can stay within your budget without sacrificing quality…Win-win!

Check Price

The Runners-Up


In addition to Taste of the Wild, the following two dog foods rose to the top of the pack. Both combine quality ingredients with an affordable price tag.

1. Diamond Grain Free Pet Food

First 5 Ingredients:

  1. Chicken
  2. Chicken meal
  3. Sweet potatoes
  4. Peas
  5. Garbanzo beans

The ingredients list is a nutritious mixture of protein sources, fruits, and vegetables. This food has the lowest protein level of the three, but it is still more than enough to meet the needs of a healthy adult dog.

Many dog owners who use this food report that even their “food snob” dogs love it. This food worked great for my dog and solved his gastrointestinal issues right away.

Check Price

2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

First 5 Ingredients:

  1. Turkey
  2. Turkey Meal
  3. Chicken Meal
  4. Dried Peas
  5. Tapioca

Although I was originally skeptical of this dog food because of its celebrity branding, it soon won me over with its quality ingredients and surprisingly reasonable price.

An ingredient list that starts with three specific meat protein sources is always a good sign. If you continue reading the ingredients you will find even more protein sources, and a plethora of vitamins and minerals.

The guaranteed analysis is more than adequate.

This food has a four star rating on dogfoodadvisor.com, meaning it has been deemed an “above-average” product.

Check Price

Best Grain Free Dog Food for Dogs with Multiple Allergies


Zignature Grain Free Trout and Salmon Formula Dog Food

First 5 Ingredients:

  1. Trout
  2. Salmon Meal
  3. Peas
  4. Pea Flour
  5. Pea Protein

This dog food is more expensive than those in the top three, but it has good reason to be.

Zignature dog food is made specifically for dogs with allergies.

Their formulas are free of grain, potatoes, beef, and chicken. This, combined with their limited ingredients, makes Zignature food perfect for dogs with multiple allergies.

Dog owners whose dogs had severe skin and ear issues proclaim this food to be a miracle worker.

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Best Bargain Option


Nutro Max Grain Free Pasture Fed Lamb

First 5 Ingredients:

  1. Chicken Meal
  2. Dried Potatoes
  3. Chickpeas
  4. Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols)
  5. Peas

Although I would like to see a second meat protein source in the First 5 Ingredients, this food still has a guaranteed analysis that will easily meet the needs of the average adult dog.

This food is significantly cheaper than most grain-free dog foods, but based on its ingredients, reviews, and 4-star rating on dogfoodadvisor.com, it is still a quality food.

Check Price

Conclusion


Any of these foods will give your dog quality nutrition without a hefty price tag.

If you would like to chime in (please do) about your own experience with these foods, suggest foods I missed, or ask a question, please leave a comment below!

For more information about grain-free dog food, check out this article by PetMD.

Best Priced Grain Free Dog Food

Taste of the Wild, Canine Formula
Diamond Grain Free Pet Food
Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Dry Dog Food
Zignature Grain Free Trout Dry Dog Food
Nutro Max Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food

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