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6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020

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Many people assume that dogs are carnivores. While this may be partially true, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Dogs are not strict carnivores, though they do require a diet rich in meat.

They are, however, able to digest a limited amount of plant material which technically makes them omnivores. It is important to realize, however, that some dogs have difficulty digesting grains and grain allergies are fairly common.

If your dog fits either of these categories, you might consider switching to a grain-free dog food.

Most Affordable
6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 1
American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 2
  • High-protein dog food
  • With omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
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Best Overall
6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 3
True Acre Foods Chicken & Vegetable Recipe6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 4
  • Complete and balanced grain-free dog food
  • Crafted with farm-grown fruits and veggies
  • USA-raised chicken is #1 ingredient
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Most Popular
6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 5
Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 2
  • Grain-free recipe
  • Made in the USA
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What are the Benefits of Grain-Free Food?

For many dogs, whole grains are a digestible source of carbohydrate that provide energy, fiber, and essential nutrients. Unfortunately, many dogs are allergic or sensitive to grains. A dog that can’t properly digest grains needs to be fed a diet free from those ingredients – a grain-free diet.

A grain-free dog food doesn’t contain any grains, whole grains or otherwise. This doesn’t mean, however, that the recipe is free from carbohydrates altogether. There are plenty of digestible carbohydrates that don’t come from grains.

The main benefit of a grain-free diet for dogs is that it may be easier for some dogs to digest and it has a lower risk for triggering food allergies and sensitivities.

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6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 7
True Acre Foods Chicken & Vegetable Recipe
  • USA-raised chicken is #1 ingredient
  • Crafted with farm-grown fruits and veggies
  • Complete and balanced grain-free dog food
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 8
American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • High-protein dog food
  • With omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
  • Grain-free dog food
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 9
Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream
  • Grain-free recipe
  • Made in the USA
  • Features novel proteins including real smoked salmon
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 10
Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Formula
  • Made with wild-caught salmon
  • Grain-free kibble
  • With essential hypoallergenic ingredients
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6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 11
Nature's Recipe Chicken, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • This tasty formula doesn’t contain any corn, wheat or artificial colors
  • Oatmeal and barley are natural sources of fiber
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6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 12
Whole Earth Farms Pork, Beef & Lamb Recipe
  • With high quality, natural ingredients
  • No corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-products
  • Multiple proteins including pork meal, beef and lamb
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Most Affordable Grain-Free Dog Foods

You may want to consider our Top 6 Cheapest Grain-free dog foods:

  1. True Acre Foods Chicken & Vegetable Recipe
  2. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe
  3. Taste of the Wild Pacific StreamFormula
  4. Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Formula
  5. Nature's Recipe Chicken, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe
  6. Whole Earth Farms Pork, Beef & Lamb Recipe

1. True Acre Foods Chicken & Vegetable Recipe

First five ingredients: Chicken, Peas, Pea Starch, Canola Meal, Poultry By-Product Meal

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6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 13
Using chicken as its main protein source, True Acre Foods have created a reasonable dog food formula that gives quite a lot of value for money. This make this a great dog food if your pooch has a weak stomach.

Using chicken as its main protein source, True Acre Foods have created a reasonable dog food formula that gives quite a lot of value for money. Whilst it only contains an average amount of protein and fat at 24% and 13% respectively, this is all from animal protein sources.

This (along with the good sources of fiber present) make this a great dog food if your pooch has a weak stomach. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids present within the formula will also work to ensure your dog's coat and skin remain healthy and vibrant.

All of True Acre's dog foods are made with ingredients sourced from trusted farms, and without grains, wheat, corn or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Whilst peas are listed as one of the ingredients, it will be difficult to escape this ingredient within this price bracket.

At $39.99 for a 40-lb bag, this formula is quite reasonably priced and represents a good buy for the dog owner on a budget.

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Made from USA-raised chicken
  • Crafted with farm-grown fruits and veggies
  • Free of any grains, wheat, corn or artificial colors or flavors
  • Contains natural fibers

Cons:

  • Has Peas (may trigger sensitive dogs)

2. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe

First five ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes

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6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 14
Our pick for the best budget dog food option. It has a great nutrient profile for its price-point, and also uses a range of high quality, well-sourced ingredients to provide a meal that your dog will love.

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry is our pick for the best budget dog food option. It has a great nutrient profile for its price-point, and also uses a range of high quality, well-sourced ingredients to provide a meal that your dog will love.

American Journey has produced an affordable dry dog food that contains an above-average amount of protein, a near-average amount of fat, and a below-average amount of carbohydrates. On the surface, these stats are pretty great for a budget brand of dog food and should provide a good base for the development of healthy bones and joints.

The use of chickpeas in the formula is great for both protein and fiber. This means that this dog food will help aid digestion. The use of sweet potatoes in the formula also provides Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Calcium which are all needed for the healthy development of your pet.

American Journey does, however, use Pea Protein as a way of increasing the overall proportion of protein. This is bad because Pea Protein is considered a ‘low-quality ingredient' that contains far less amino acids when compared to protein from meat.

Amino Acids are incredibly important to a dog's development as they help muscle, hair, and nail development, immune system function, and hormone production.

Unfortunately, pea protein is very common in dry dog foods and can only really be avoided by paying substantially more money for a gourmet brand.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • High-quality meat
  • Easy storage
  • High levels of protein
  • Grain Free

Cons:

  • Use of pea protein
  • A higher level of carbohydrates than more expensive brands
  • The fishy flavor might be problematic for fussy dogs

grain-free dog food

3. Taste Of The Wild Taste Of The Wild Pacific Stream

First 5 Ingredients : Salmon, Ocean Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas

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6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 15
Formulated with novel proteins including real smoked salmon, this grain-free recipe includes peas and sweet potatoes that deliver the highly-digestible energy your active pup needs.

Sometimes it can be difficult to choose a dog food because there are so many options out there. When you just can’t make a choice, consider a trusted brand like Taste of the Wild.

Formulated with novel proteins including real smoked salmon, this grain-free recipe includes peas and sweet potatoes that deliver the highly-digestible energy your active pup needs, along with natural antioxidant support from real fruits and vegetables and dried chicory root for prebiotic support and healthy digestion.

This brand doesn’t have the largest selection (especially compared to big names like Blue Buffalo), but their recipes are complete and balanced and loaded with premium roasted meats and other whole-food ingredients.

Overall, this recipe is an excellent source of natural nutrition and is highly digestible thanks to the inclusion of prebiotic fibers. If this recipe doesn’t seem like the right fit, Taste of the Wild has several more to offer, including wet food recipes.

Pros:

  • Grain-free recipe
  • Made with ingredients from trusted and sustainable sources
  • Support healthy skin and a shiny coat
  • Made in USA

Cons:

  • Salmon pieces are visibly larger
  • Strong smell

4. Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Formula

First five ingredients: Salmon, Fish Meal, Potatoes, Lentils, Peas

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 16
If you’re looking for a recipe formulated to resolve your dog’s hair loss, consider this formula. Features wild-caught salmon as the main ingredient supplemented with fish meal as a concentrated source of animal protein.

High-quality nutrition doesn’t always have to come with a high price tag. If you’re looking for a recipe formulated to resolve your dog’s hair loss but you don’t want to spend a fortune, consider this Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Formula Grain-Free Dry Food.

This formula features wild-caught salmon as the main ingredient supplemented with fish meal as a concentrated source of animal protein. It contains a rich blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as digestible carbohydrates.

You’ll find that this formula contains supplemental fiber as well as naturally occurring microorganisms to support healthy and regular digestion and it is supplemented with prebiotics. Overall, this formula is a rich source of high-quality animal protein, healthy fats, and fiber but still low in calories at 337 calories per cup.

Pros: 

  • Caught salmon first ingredient
  • More affordable than many recipes
  • Low in calories
  • Blend of omega fatty acids
  • Highly digestible ingredients
  • Supplemented with fiber and probiotics

Cons: 

  • Contains an unnamed source of protein (fish meal)
  • Not all dogs need grain-free diets
  • Contains Peas (may trigger allergies)

5. Nature's Recipe Chicken, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe

First five ingredients:  Chicken, Chicken Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Pea Starch

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 17
High-energy blend that is specially designed to be easy on your dog’s stomach and digestive system. Made with high-quality chicken protein and grain-free carbohydrates, this formula is complete and balanced for all life stages.

This Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Easy to Digest Chicken, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe is a high-energy blend that is specially designed to be easy on your dog’s stomach and digestive system. Made with high-quality chicken protein and grain-free carbohydrates, this formula is complete and balanced for all life stages.

Whether you have a growing puppy or an active adult dog, this formula will provide plenty of meat-rich protein, healthy fats, and digestible carbohydrates. It is also made with beneficial supplements to ensure nutritional balance.

The first ingredient in this formula is fresh chicken. One thing you should know is that fresh meats like chicken contain up to 80% moisture by volume. When the dog food is cooked and much of that moisture is lost, the final volume of protein contributed by that ingredient could be less.

Pros: 

  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Tasty formula
  • Grain free
  • With added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
  • With Oatmeal and barley as natural sources of fiber
  • Great for pets with grain allergies

Cons: 

  • Contains Peas (may trigger allergy)
  • Picky eaters may not like it

6. Whole Earth Farms Pork, Beef & Lamb Recipe

First five ingredients: Pork Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Pea Protein

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 18
Each formula begins with a premium animal protein then followed by wholesome carbohydrates, which provide maximum energy and dietary fiber for aiding with digestion. Contains no corn, wheat, soy, or gluten meal.

Whole Earth Farms thrives on one principal belief, which is “Goodness from the Earth.” Simply put, all of the company pet foods are made using wholesome, all-natural ingredients. It is for this reason that many pet lovers swear by this brand.

Each formula begins with a premium animal protein then followed by wholesome carbohydrates, which provide maximum energy and dietary fiber for aiding with digestion.

Whole Earth Farms has made it its goal to guarantee that each product boosts your dog’s digestion and skin health. The company utilizes only the premium elements that Mother Nature has to offer.

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Pros: 

  • Multiple proteins including pork meal, beef and lamb
  • Contains no corn, wheat, soy, or gluten meal
  • Improved digestion
  • Healthy skin & coat

Cons: 

  • Not a hit with picky eaters
  • Funny smell

What Kind of Carbohydrates are Grain-Free?

The ideal diet for a dog is rich in protein and healthy fats but limited in carbohydrate. If your dog can’t tolerate grains, you may need to switch to a dog food that is made with an alternative source of carbohydrate. Some of the most commonly used carbohydrates in grain-free dog foods include the following foods:

  • Beans6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 19
  • Chickpeas
  • Green peas
  • Lentils
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tapioca
  • Yellow peas

You may also be wondering about the distinction between grain-free and gluten-free when it comes to carbohydrates for your dog. Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

There are, however, gluten-free grains like brown rice and oatmeal. If you want to feed your dog a grain-free diet, however, you’ll have to avoid these grains as well as other popular grains such as barley, wheat, corn, millet, sorghum, and quinoa.

Here are some more brands to look at…

The best advice you can follow in regard to your dog’s diet is to feed him the highest quality pet food you can afford on a weekly or monthly basis. When it comes to pet food pricing, however, there are a number of factors to take into account.

Foods made with high-quality ingredients are going to be more expensive than foods made with low-quality ingredients and fillers. Just because a pet food is grain-free doesn’t mean that it will be expensive, but it doesn’t mean it will be cheap either.

It varies from one dog food brand to another. If you’re looking for a grain-free dog food at a low price, here are the sixteen cheapest dog food brands that offer grain-free recipes:

Though the brands listed above may be inexpensive, they aren’t necessarily the highest quality brands on the market. Price isn’t always directly correlated with quality when it comes to pet food, but in most cases, it is.

Some of these brands – like Under the Sun and Whole Earth Farms – are made by some of the top pet food brands on the market but designed specifically to offer pet parents a more affordable product that is still of decent quality.

In the end, you still need to know what your dog’s nutritional needs are and how to evaluate the quality of a pet food product for yourself. That is the only way to make sure that your dog gets the high-quality diet and the nutrition he deserves.

6 Best (Cheapest) Grain Free Dog Foods in 2020 20

Is grain free dog food better for dogs?

Grain-free has become a label that we tend to associate with healthy or high quality. Dog food that's free of grains can be a healthy choice for your dog, but Dr. So, if a dog food is labeled grain-free but the grains are replaced with other ingredients, it's not necessarily a healthier option for your dog.

What is the benefit of grain free dog food?

Pet parents may find this diet beneficial for their dogs who have food allergies, digestive issues, and difficulties with weight management. But it's also important to understand these formulas will not eliminate carbohydrates out of your dog's diet.

Do dogs really need grain free?

Most dogs do not actually require a grain free or a gluten free diet. That includes grains. So, while most dogs do very well eating a grain free diet, these diets are not required in terms of metabolization

Do dogs need grains in their diet?

Dr. Venator says: Grains are actually an excellent nutrient source. Grains are packed with nutrients and provide carbohydrate, fat, and antioxidants. That means, the grains in dog food can support healthy, skin, and hair, plus support healthy immune systems and more.

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