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.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites of 2023
|Best Overall||Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend||
|Best Value||Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition||
|Premium Choice||Victor Classic Multi-Pro||
|Diamond Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food||
|Purina Pro Plan Adult||
The 10 Best Affordable Dog Foods for Labs
1. Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Dry Dog Food – Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, rice flour, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, chicken by-product|
|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.
2. Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Dog Food – Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Ground whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat, soybean oil|
|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.
3. Victor Classic Multi-Pro Dog Food – Premium Choice
|Main ingredients:||Grain sorghum, beef meal, chicken fat, chicken meal|
|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.
4. Diamond Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken by-product meal, whole grain ground corn, wheat flour|
|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.
5. Purina Pro Plan Adult Shredded Blend
|Main ingredients:||Beef, rice, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal|
|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.
6. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
|Main ingredients:||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal|
|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.
7. 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|
|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.
8. Rachel Ray Nutrish Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Beef, beef meal, soybean meal, whole corn, grain sorghum, dried peas|
|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.
9. Country Vet Naturals 24/14 Healthy Diet
|Main ingredients:||Chicken meal, brown rice, grain sorghum, pearled barley|
|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.
10. Moist & Meaty Burger with Cheddar Cheese
|Main ingredients:||Beef by-product, soy flour, soy grits, high fructose corn syrup|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.