If you’ve come here from the best-rated dog food page then sorry, I know those brands are expensive.
Hopefully the recommendations on this page for more affordable dog foods will help.
There’s no reason to feel bad. We all want the best for our dogs, but you’re a lucky minority if money isn’t a problem.
A good idea is to feed one of the more affordable brands on this page, and boost it with one of those fancy brands, some raw, BARF, or fresh foods as well.
This is exactly what I do.
Try not to limit your dog’s diet to one particular brand of dog food. Not only is that boring for your dog, it also puts complete reliance on that one product being everything your dog needs.
Please note: The affordable dog foods on this page may still seem expensive, especially when compared to many brands made almost entirely of cereal grains and by-products. Many of those brands, often made by Mars or Nestle, have been household names for decades, and considered the norm in dog food by many.
But are they healthy?
Let’s take a look at more affordable dog foods in Australia:
- Affordable dog food recommendations
- Be careful of cost cutting with big bags of dog food!
- What should you pay per kilo for a dog food?
- Quick-fire feeding tips
Affordable dog food recommendations
2023 has sadly seen Healthy Everyday Pets close up shop, and Meals for Mutts run into similar issues – both as a result of rising costs and manufacturer issues. If you’re looking for an alternative to those brands, you should find the below recommendations very similar in price and quality.
Without further ado, here are recommendations for affordable dog foods in Australia. Let me know in the comments which one you feed, and why:
Open Farm are very transparent with their ingredients, which is a rarity. Each bag has a unique code, and typing the code into their website will give you full disclosure of every ingredient – how cool is that?
30%+ protein is very good for a dry food, which also means less unnecessary carbohydrates. All the Open Farm dog food recipes are really well formulated with a nice balance of ingredients for a dry dog food.
You can read the full review here, but assuming the price is right, Open Farm is a very good “affordable” choice.
Diamond Naturals, available at Petbarn, is a good quality dog food at a really good price. It’s cheaper than Open Farm, especially with the 15kg bags.
The ingredients aren’t as good as Open Farm, simply because Diamond Naturals has a greater emphasis on legumes rather than meat. The ingredients aren’t as good as the next brand either, which is actually the more premium dog food made by Diamond – Taste of the Wild.
Taste of the Wild
Taste of the Wild is very popular in Australia for two reasons – (1) excellent reputation and feedback from dog owners worldwide, and (2) the price is very affordable considering the ingredients and quality.
I find Taste of the Wild very easy to recommend for those two reasons. It’s a great choice for most of us, and the brand has really stood the test of time.
It’s worth mentioning Taste of the Wild PREY as well. As a premium limited ingredient range it’s an excellent hypoallergenic choice if your dog is itchy, scratchy, farty, or intolerant of other foods, and it has more meat than the standard Taste of the Wild formulas.
The 18.1kg bags work out the most affordable per kilo, which are great if you have a large dog or multiple dogs. Recommended!
I’ve come to like Petzyo dog food as a decent and affordable Australian brand.
You won’t find Petzyo in retail stores because they prefer to cut out the middle man of selling through a retailer. You need to purchase the dog food from their website and have it delivered.
Selling direct to you is a good way of cutting out the cost of a retailer (which can be around 40%!). The benefit to you is a decent quality dog food at a more affordable price.
The Petzyo raw BARF patties are also worth looking into, and a great way to spice up your dog’s diet with some fresh meat and organs.
If you want to try Petzyo, they offer 10% off to readers of Pet Food Reviews with this link and the coupon code PETREVIEW.
SavourLife are a good Australian brand of dog food, and they’ve stood the test of time.
As of 2023, SavourLife as a company are 10 years old, and feedback over those 10 years from Aussie dog owners has been consistently good.
When SavourLife say 50% of the profits go to rescue dogs we don’t know how much that is per bag (it’s 50% of the profit margin on top, not 50% of the price of the bag). Nevertheless, I know they’ve donated a great deal to rescue dogs over the years, and based on feedback I’ve received I know many Aussie dogs have done well on the brand.
Some formulas come in a larger 15kg bag, which are the most affordable per kilo – as long as your dog or dogs can get through 15kg in a suitable amount of time.
I really feel SavourLife is a good and affordable dog food.
Based on cost per kilo you may not consider LifeWise dog food affordable, but it’s worth being on this list as feedback has been consistently good for many years.
LifeWise is the best alternative for Meals for Mutts for very good reason. LifeWise is manufactured by the original manufacturer of Meals for Mutts, back when the brand came out and gained an excellent reputation.
Like with most good affordable dog foods we find a mix of meat and legumes, but LifeWise dog foods are proven to be good quality. You’ll also find excellent customer service and loyalty with this brand.
Canidae All Life Stages (ALS)
Like Taste of the Wild, Canidae dog foods are both affordable and come with an excellent reputation worldwide.
The Canidae All Life Stages formula is the most affordable option, coming in big bags. The emphasis is more on grains than meat, which is the tradeoff you make for affordability, but Canidae is proven as a reliable brand and shouldn’t cause your dog any issues.
The All Life Stages formula has become harder to get hold of in Australia (2023), but the more premium Canidae PURE range is also worth looking into – another winner for dogs with sensitivities as it’s limited ingredient.
[Australian] Hypro Premium
If you’re looking for an alternative to Meals for Mutts, then Hypro Premium is the closest option you can buy. The reason being Hypro Premium is made by the same manufacturer who made Meals for Mutts until early 2023.
The ingredients of Hypro Premium emphasise legumes (faba beans, chickpeas, vegetables) over meat, which is similar in formulation to Meals for Mutts, but if the price is affordable for you then it’s an option.
Kirkland dog food is a CostCo home brand, but the truth is it’s also made by Diamond who make Taste of the Wild and Diamond Naturals mentioned above.
If you shop at CostCo then Kirkland is a good choice. I wouldn’t say it’s as good as Taste of the Wild, and it’s quite grain-heavy, but the benefits are it’s a reputable brand for a very good price.
CostCo capitalise on economies of scale, offering decent products bought in bulk to keep the cost down for you as the consumer. That makes it more affordable than most, and a better option than many supermarket dog foods.
The cheapest formula per kilo comes in an 18kg bag, which at the time of writing costs around $70. That’s under $4/kilo so one of the cheapest on this page.
[Australian] Vetalogica Naturals
Vetalogica dog foods aren’t the most affordable on this list, but as an Australian brand with a decent reputation might be a good choice.
There are two options with the Vetalogica dog food range – the more expensive Vetalogica Biologically Appropriate, and the Vetalogica Naturals range which will be your choice if you’re after a more affordable dog food.
The 13kg bags are the best bang-for-buck as a meat/peas/potato formula.
Wellness Complete Health
Last but not least, Wellness Complete Health is worth mentioning as an affordable dog food.
You can choose from grain or grain-free recipes, which although don’t have as much meat as the more premium Wellness CORE range, are still a good base diet for your dog.
Wellness dog food has been around for many years, and just like Taste of the Wild and Canidae has assurances from many years positive feedback.
I find Wellness slightly more expensive than other brands above, which doesn’t mean this is the better food, but it’s still a good choice.
For all dog food reviews click here.
Be careful of cost cutting with big bags of dog food!
The larger the bag of dog food, the less you pay per kilo – fantastic!
However, keep in mind dog foods can and do spoil. Sometimes before you expect them to.
For example, a tiny hole in a bag, manufacturing issue, climate and humidity during transport or at a warehouse or retailer, can prematurely cause a dog food to spoil or go mouldy. This is not good news for your dog, and you may not realise a spoiled food is affecting them.
A dry dog food can be preserved naturally or unnaturally, and generally you should opt for the former as the healthier option for your dog. The downside of dog foods which are naturally preserved is they can spoil more quickly – especially in a hot and humid Australian climate.
As a general rule, try and feed a bag of dry dog food within 3 to 4 weeks max.
This may mean buying a smaller bag, and paying slightly more per kilo, but it’s safer for your dog.
I’ve known people to buy 20kg bags for small or toy breeds, and feed them for 6+ months. This is a terrible idea, even if you use a fancy air-tight storage container.
Air dried and freeze dried dog foods tend to keep far longer, but you’ll need to refer to the best-rated dog foods for those less affordable options!
What should you pay per kilo for a dog food?
Realistically with dry dog food expect to pay around $8 per kilo. Anything cheaper is cheaper for a reason, and you’re likely compromising the health of your dog.
Some of the dog foods on this list are cheaper, but contain less meat and more grain. They’re included as reasonable options for those who can’t afford to pay more, or those with multi-dog households.
Always keep in mind why commercial dog foods exist. Profit.
Some brands, such as those recommended on this website, put the health of your dog up there with profit, but I think it’s fair to say they wouldn’t exist if profit wasn’t a key motivator. That’s the nature of products.
These brands are few and far between, sadly, as it’s clear to me most dog foods sold in Australia put the emphasis well and truly on profit, producing what you could call a “minimum viable product” and selling it for the most profit they can.
A good way to tell if a dog food puts profit before your dog is a quick look at the ingredients.
Is it made from cereals? Cereal by-products? Wheat? Corn? Potato? Tapioca? With very little meat in comparison to what they make out on the front of the bag?
If the dog foods on this list are still not affordable, make sure you read How to Feed a Dog for tips on supplementing your dog’s diet cheaply with fresh meats, offal, raw meaty bones, and other species-appropriate foods.
Quick-fire feeding tips
To round off this list of affordable dog foods in Australia I’ll also through in some quick fire tips:
Feed a variety
Firstly, I personally see more issues arise with dogs fed a single brand of dog food than I do with those fed a variety. It’s perhaps common sense when you translate it to our diets, and common knowledge that we can easily become intolerant of a food we either don’t have in our diet for a long time, or also if we eat something all the time. This is in stark contrast to what pet food manufacturers tell us, which probably has more to do with them wanting you to feed their product for the life of your dog.
If you want a funny anecdote – when I studied pet nutrition I was taught to never change the brand of food, only the formula. The reason that’s funny is many brands of food, particularly cheaper brands, use the same ingredients yet sell it as multiple formula names. If you don’t believe me, read some ingredients labels – you will often find a meat ingredient combo of (poultry/lamb/beef) marketed as “Chicken”, “Lamb”, and “Beef” recipes.
Don’t be afraid to feed other foods
Kibble is a convenience food. A lot of “science” goes into ensuring all nutrients are catered for to ensure your dog has everything they need, but there’s also a lot of “marketing” – it’s a product after all.
Most of us depend on convenience, especially with our busy lives. Feeding a decent kibble over a poor one will go a long way, but there’s no reason it should be the only food you feed.
Personally I feed kibble, wet, barf, raw, and all manner of fresh foods and scraps which are species appropriate. I feed raw meaty bones for nutrition and dental health. I don’t feed anything to my dog which is unhealthy or unnecessary, especially given fresh meat will be appreciated the most.
There are many social media groups on raw feeding, fresh food feeding, and canine nutrition. I also have a list of great reading material which will really enlighten you! I highly recommend the first book on the list, “Work Wonders”.
Buying food in a bigger bag is usually more cost effective, but keep in mind a dog food will spoil over time due to moisture content. Kibble has a long shelf life, but at times mould can develop from a little bit of moisture in the bag, and that can make your dog sick.
Generally I aim to get through a bag of kibble in a couple of weeks, and for my dog that means buying around 12kg. If I have more free time to prepare food at home, such as meat and offal from the butchers, then I’ll buy an even smaller bag to make sure it’s not open for too many weeks.
Take advantage of deals
There are a number of large pet food retailers in Australia, and almost always they have a deal on one brand or other. Keep an eye out. Most of our reviews have a price comparison “Where to buy” which can point you in the right direction.
Most retailers, and also some mail-order dog foods, offer a repeat delivery discount. You can tailor the delivery to suit you, not have to worry about running out, and save some $ in the process.
Your local independent may also offer a similar service, so if in doubt ask them. In recent years many independents have also started to stock all manner of fresh meats, offal, and bones. A good question to ask is “is it human grade or pet grade meat”, or check customer reviews.
We hope our list of affordable dog foods in Australia has been of use. If you have any other suggestions of affordable dog foods then say so in the comments below! Thanks!