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10 Best Affordable Dog Foods for Labs – 2023 Reviews & Top Picks

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

A labrador retriever eating food

Labs are incredible companions that are intelligent, energetic, and happy-go-lucky. It makes sense that they would need a diet to match their breed’s needs without breaking the bank. If you’re scouring the web for options, you might not even know where to start—but don’t worry. We have you covered.

We found ten affordable dog food brands that match most budgets while ensuring your dog’s health. Hopefully, our reviews help you find a meal choice that works for your budget and your dog’s lifestyle.

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A Quick Look at Our Favorites of 2023

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend
  • Favorable fat and protein levels
  • Whole protein and rich grains
  • Glucosamine for joint health
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition
  • Affordable
  • Flavorful
  • Completely balanced
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Victor Classic Multi-Pro Victor Classic Multi-Pro
  • 72% meat protein
  • VPRO Blend of nutrients
  • Designed for active dogs
  • Diamond Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food Diamond Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food
  • Ideal for active puppies and nursing moms
  • Aids in gut health
  • Supports cognitive development
  • Purina Pro Plan Adult Purina Pro Plan Adult
  • Flavorful and multi-textured
  • Supports gut health
  • The 10 Best Affordable Dog Foods for Labs

    1. Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Dry Dog Food – Best Overall

    Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, rice flour, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, chicken by-product
    Protein content: 26.0%
    Fat content: 16.0%
    Calories: 383 per cup

    We have to say, out of all the affordable dog foods we reviewed for labs, Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food was our overall favorite. It has a modest price tag and a solid recipe that works for most healthy adult dogs.

    The recipe starts with chicken as the first ingredient to provide a whole protein source. In the guaranteed analysis, the formula contains 26.0% crude protein, which is higher than most traditional dog foods. The fat content measures 16.0%, which is sufficient for bodily maintenance.

    Adding glucosamine for joint and muscle support keeps up with your dog’s activity. Gluten allergies are rare, but if your lab has a sensitivity, this recipe won’t work. It has wheat, corn, and soy ingredients. Otherwise, healthy labs should have absolutely no issue digesting and thriving on this formula.

    We think this grain-inclusive dry kibble is sufficient for overall livelihood, and they seemed to really enjoy the taste.

    Pros
    • Favorable fat and protein levels
    • Whole protein and rich grains
    • Glucosamine for joint health
    Cons
    • Contains potential allergens

    2. Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Dog Food – Best Value

    Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Grilled Steak & Vegetable Flavor Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Ground whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat, soybean oil
    Protein content: 21.0%
    Fat content: 10.0%
    Calories: 309 per cup

    Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Grilled Steak & Vegetable Dry Dog Food is a yummy option that is totally affordable on almost any budget. It works for most healthy adults, providing a suitable and flavorful dry kibble with complete and balanced nutritional profile.

    Ground whole grain corn is the first ingredient, putting the carbohydrate source first. It’s followed by meat and bone meal, which is a highly concentrated protein source. This recipe contains 21.0% crude protein, which is relatively low.

    This dog food contains tons of antioxidants with additives like carrots and peas. There are plenty of omega fatty acids and fiber content to smooth digestion and boost immunity.

    While this certainly won’t work for all nutritional needs, it works just fine as an average-priced, average-quality dry kibble.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Flavorful
    • Completely balanced
    Cons
    • Contains potential allergens
    • Low protein content

    3. Victor Classic Multi-Pro Dog Food – Premium Choice

    Victor Classic Multi-Pro

    Main ingredients: Grain sorghum, beef meal, chicken fat, chicken meal
    Protein content: 22.5%
    Fat content: 10.0%
    Calories: 359 per cup

    If you want a budget-friendly meal but you’re aiming toward premium food selections, let us introduce you to Victor Classic Multi-Pro. This dog food contains excellent ingredients that nourish your lab’s systems for overall health.

    This Victor recipe contains 72% meat protein, using pork, beef, and chicken for various benefits and tastes. It aims to feed muscles for optimal energy.

    This dry kibble is fortified with tons of vitamins and minerals, providing an antioxidant rich, VPRO Blend. This patented blend contains selenium yeast, mineral complexes, prebiotics, and probiotics for immune support and gut function.

    This recipe is tailored specifically to active dogs just like your lab. It might be a little more costly than some others on our list, but it’s a premium quality dog food at a much more affordable price than those in its class.

    Pros
    • 72% meat protein
    • VPRO Blend of nutrients
    • Designed for active dogs
    Cons
    • Might not work for all budgets

    4. Diamond Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

    Diamond Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, whole grain ground corn, wheat flour
    Protein content: 31.0%
    Fat content: 20.0%
    Calories: 441 per cup

    If you’re trying to raise your puppy right, we think you should check out Diamond Puppy. It has just the right nutrients to get your lab started in life from a trusted company leading pet nutrition.

    Diamond Puppy has tiny dry kibble chunks that work for small and larger breed pups alike. So, you don’t have to worry about chewing difficulties or choking. The recipe is suitable for both pups and their nursing mothers, so it’s a terrific way to start off your lab at much less cost.

    This recipe contains DHA, EPA, omega fatty acids, and high protein. It helps develop your lab puppy both mentally and physically, keeping up with the nutrients their bodies need to stay active and grow strong muscles, bones, and joints.

    This kibble also contains live probiotics to ensure your little guy’s gut flora is thriving. We do admit that the taste might be a bit blander than competitors, but the nutrient profile is outstanding for the price.

    Pros
    • Ideal for active puppies and nursing moms
    • Aids in gut health
    • Supports cognitive development
    Cons
    • Seems to lack rich flavor and aroma

    5. Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend

    Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Beef and Rice

    Main ingredients: Beef, rice, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal
    Protein content: 26.0%
    Fat content: 16.0%
    Calories: 360 per cup

    Our trusted veterinarians on staff agree that Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Beef and Rice is an outstanding formula for labs. It supports total gut health, immunity, skin,

    and coat. We agree your lab can reap the benefits—and enjoy the taste.

    We really love the shredded pieces in the kibble. It seems to give the recipe a kick, providing different tastes and textures. It also contains slightly higher moisture content than competing recipes, which can be helpful, too.

    The recipe includes beef as the number one ingredient, providing a protein source first. IN total, the blend contains 26.0% protein which Is higher than average, catering to your lab’s energetic lifestyle.

    This kibble also aims to nourish the gut and pass things along smoothly, using prebiotic fiber and live probiotics. However, it also contains some ingredients that can trigger allergies in pups—while not common.

    Pros
    • Flavorful and multi-textured
    • Supports gut health
    • Vet-approved
    Cons
    • Contains potential allergens

    6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection FormulaRachel Ray Nutrish Real Beef, Pea, & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal
    Protein content: 24.0%
    Fat content: 14.0%
    Calories: 377 per cup

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is now available in many locations—so it’s really grown its outreach. This particular recipe gears to provide a solid, everyday nutrition that any active adult dog can benefit from—including your lab.

    Deboned chicken is the number one ingredient, providing an optimal protein source. It also contains fewer triggering grains like brown rice and barley to avoid potential allergy triggers.

    Blue also proudly adds their signature LifeSource Bits to every batch. These pieces are softer antioxidant-packed kibble that add to the overall nutritional value of the formula. This recipe contains modest calories, suitable protein, and necessary fats.

    We think any adult lab without grain sensitivities would love Blue Buffalo—and it’s more affordable these days, too.

    Pros
    • Excellent for everyday nutrition
    • Solid protein and easy-to-digest grains
    • Signature LifeSource Bits for added nutrition
    Cons
    • Higher end of affordable pricing

    7. Iams Adult MiniChunks Small Kibble High Protein Dry Dog Food

    Iams Adult MiniChunks Small Kibble High Protein Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, chicken by-product, dried plain beet pulp
    Protein content: 25.0%
    Fat content: 14.0%
    Calories: 380 per cup

    If you have a lab with dental issues or problems with fast eating, we recommend Iams Adult MiniChunks Small Kibble High Protein Dry Dog Food. It is just the right size for better digestibility and easier chewing.

    These tiny kibble chunks are packed full of good stuff. In the guaranteed analysis, the protein content measured 25.0%, which is a fair amount for most healthy dogs. It contains chicken as the first ingredient for a full dose of protein.

    The caloric intake is modest, providing an ideal energy source for moderately active dogs. It also has antioxidants, prebiotics, probiotics, and fiber to ensure a healthy immune and digestive system.

    Ultimately, we think this will work well for the right lab. It might not be necessary for all, but it could definitely help a pup who needs a smaller-sized kibble without lacking nutritionally.

    Pros
    • Ideal size for digestion
    • Packed with nutrients
    • Ideal for everyday nutrition
    Cons
    • Not necessary kibble size for all labs

    8. Rachel Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food

    Rachel Ray Nutrish Real Beef, Pea, & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients: Beef, beef meal, soybean meal, whole corn, grain sorghum, dried peas
    Protein content: 25.0%
    Fat content: 14.0%
    Calories: 326 per cup

    Rachel Ray Nutrish Real Beef, Pea, & Brown Rice Recipe is a readily available recipe for labs that you can find nearly anywhere—online or in-store. We think it’s worth considering since it’s chef-made and fairly priced.

    This recipe is packed with healthy protein, containing beef and concentrated beef meal as the first two ingredients. This recipe might not work well for gluten-sensitive dogs and contains corn, wheat, and soy products—but it’s otherwise great for everyday bodily maintenance.

    This kibble contains no artificial additives or by-products. Also, the protein content is above average while providing a caloric content suitable for a variety of activity levels. We love this maintenance recipe for healthy adult labs.

    The quality of the food for the price is nearly unbeatable. We give this kibble a thumbs up, though it contains potential allergens in sensitive dogs.

    Pros
    • Readily available
    • Fairly priced
    • Chef-crafted
    Cons
    • Contains potential allergens

    9. Country Vet Naturals 24/14 Healthy Diet

    Country Vet Naturals 24/14 Healthy Diet

    Main ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, grain sorghum, pearled barley
    Protein content: 24.0%
    Fat content: 14.0%
    Calories: 402 per cup

    We were pretty impressed with Country Vet Naturals 24/14 Healthy Diet. It has the same essential ingredients as many competitors—chicken and brown rice. That means it’s ultra-digestible but might not work for dogs with allergies to common proteins.

    This recipe is high in calories and average in protein content. It includes added glucosamine and chondroitin for optimal joint health—which we love for active labs! It also has lots of omega-fatty acids for skin and coat health.

    This recipe is completely natural, containing only nutritionally beneficial ingredients without fillers or artificial flavors.

    We noticed that this dog food flavor might not be as attractive as some others. You might have to mix this kibble with wet food or broth for taste. Otherwise, the ingredients list is impressive and nutritionally sound.

    Pros
    • All-natural
    • Completely balanced recipe
    • Supports joint health
    Cons
    • Lacks in taste

    10. Moist & Meaty Burger with Cheddar Cheese

    Moist & Meaty Burger with Cheddar Cheese

    Main ingredients: Beef by-product, soy flour, soy grits, high fructose corn syrup
    Protein content: 18.0%
    Fat content:  7.0%
    Calories: 474 per cup

    Your lab will definitely be licking its lips for the Moist & Meaty Burger with Cheddar Cheese dog food. It is packed with flavor, aroma, and a soft texture any dog would love. Granted, it’s not the healthiest choice on our list, which is why it stays at number 10.

    But it has its fair share of upsides, too. This recipe is specifically crafted for adult dogs, containing 100% balanced nutrition. We highly recommend these moist kibble pieces as a standalone diet or a topper to regular dry kibble. If your dog requires a certain kind of dog food and you want to spruce up their food bowl, this is the way to do it.

    Keep in mind that this product does contain soy, wheat, and corn. So, if you have a sensitive dog, you might need to steer clear of this, as it contains red and yellow dyes as well. These recipes are quite high in calories, so we don’t recommend this recipe for overweight dogs or those with certain health issues like diabetes.

    However, this is a great flavor enhancer, individually sealed to last. We recommend this recipe as a topper simply because it contains additives that can contribute to weight gain.

    Pros
    • Flavorful
    • Makes an excellent topper
    • Soft texture
    Cons
    • Won’t meet all dietary needs
    • Not ideal for dental health or weight
    • Contains potential allergens

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Affordable Dog Food for Labs

    Looking for affordable dog food can be challenging but absolutely successful. If you have any questions regarding recipes and their healthfulness, you can always speak with your veterinarian to ensure that they give you the thumbs up. If you are mulling over different options, here are a few things you might want to consider before buying.

    Affordable Price

    If you are looking for price-friendly options for your lab, affordability will be the number one thing you’re looking for. These days, dog food costs keep increasing, but does the nutrition really change?

    Of course, lower prices can indicate fewer quality ingredients. So, you have to be careful not to buy dog food for your lab strictly based on price.

    Nutritional Quality

    Nutrient quality is the most critical aspect when you’re looking for new dog food. Several companies advertise and promise lots of things, but is the marketing accurate? That is the part that you need to be concerned about.

    If your dog food selection contains a lot of artificial flavors and preservatives, it can increase the likelihood of allergies. This is also true if they buy a low-quality protein or have a large number of unnecessary ingredients inside the formula.

    Checking where companies source their ingredients is incredibly important to determine just how beneficial a recipe is for canines.

    Dietary Restrictions

    Even though labs are generally healthy dogs, that doesn’t mean they can’t develop some dietary sensitivity. Even though grain-free diets are a huge success on the dog food market, these recipes are overused and not always necessary for every pet. They can get several other issues from different ingredients and dog food, mainly protein sources.

    So, if you have a dog with certain dietary restrictions, it might limit your affordable options. If you are having trouble finding a dog food that fits your budget but also matches your dog’s needs, speak with your veterinarian about recommendations or to see what they suggest.

    Availability

    Once you pick out an affordable dog food that matches your budget, you have to consider the availability of that brand. Certain brands are only available in-store or on specific websites, so, If you want to have a dog food brand that you can run in grab at your local department store, make sure that it has that range of availability.

    Luckily, most affordable dog foods are available in most commercial settings.

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    Conclusion

    We highly recommend Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Chicken & rice Formula for the best value. It has all the right nutrients to keep your active lab happy and healthy—at an affordable price!

    If you want the biggest savings without totally lacking in nutritional quality, we think Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Grilled Steak & Vegetable Dry Dog Food is the way to go. It’s a flavor-packed dry kibble with yummy aromas and solid protein.

    If you are willing to consider top budget, Victor Classic Multi-Pro contains an abundance of ingredients for overall health, like the VPRO Blend for gut health, high protein, and modest caloric intake. It’s perfectly designed for active labs—so we think it’s worth a little extra.

    If you’re giving your puppy a go at life, there is nothing better to start them off than Diamond Puppy. Suitable for both nursing moms and pups, this nutrient-rich chow contains DHA, EPA, probiotics, prebiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin with a medley of antioxidants and fatty acids.

    According to our trusty vets, Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend Beef and Rice is the way to go. It has just the right amount of ingredients and gut support to nourish your adult lab. It gives optimal nutrients with a kick of antioxidant-packed meaty morsels to top it off.

    Regardless of what you pick, these recipes are sure to match the needs of your energetic, peppy best pal at the best price.


    Featured Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

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