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The 10 Best Affordable Dog Foods For Labs

Anyone who has ever had a Labrador Retriever knows how much they love to eat. Labs are prone to obesity since they prefer to wipe up their food dish at every meal, so it's crucial to feed this dog a high-protein diet that will fill them up quicker rather than fill them up with empty carbohydrates. This demand is frequently met by diets designed expressly for big breeds, as well as by some regular feeds designed for any type. However, you still want the food you feed your lab to be economical, especially given how much they consume.

To save your dog from eating up your cash, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) analyzed the best affordable dog foods for Labs in 2022. We know you'll need the additional cash to replace your beloved pair of slippers or buy a great new bone for your lab, because they're still your best buddy.

Buyer's Guide: Selecting the Best Low-Cost Dog Food for Labs

While Labrador retrievers have similar nutritional demands to other breeds, there are a few things to keep in mind when you look for a new recipe for your lab:

Omega-3 fatty acid inclusion

Omega 3 fatty acids, which can be found in fish, eggs, and flaxseed, can aid your lab’s joints, skin, coat, and mental health. Although these advantages are available to any dog, it is critical to evaluate your lab’s joint health because they are predisposed to a number of hereditary problems, including hip dysplasia.


All dogs require a high protein intake, a moderate fat intake, and a low carbohydrate intake. Labradors are high-energy dogs that can grow fat if not fed a high-protein diet and exercised often, especially as they become older.


Nobody likes to spend their whole income on dog food, but lab owners know that retrievers are voracious eaters. A huge breed dog will simply require more calories than a yappy lap dog, so you may want to buy in bulk and consider food that is reasonably priced.

If you’re weary of your dog making a mess on the floor during mealtime, give the Hepper Nom Nom Bowl a try.

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Although it is true that labs would eat anything, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) looked at the meals that would be the best affordable dog foods for Labs. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe was our top pick for adults because it provided the most high-quality nutrients at the lowest price. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula for Puppies is our preferred choice for growing Labradors for the same reasons.

Adult Complete Nutrition by Pedigree Although we don’t agree with a few components, such as artificial food coloring, the Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor met the requirements for our best value selection since it was the best pick for the money. We picked Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula for maximum nutrition at a little higher price since it contains healthy Omega 3s, probiotics, and prebiotic fibers.

Finally, our veterinarians recommended Nulo Frontrunner Ancient Grains, Turkey, Trout, & Spelt as a high-protein meal suitable for an energetic Labrador. We hope these evaluations assist you in selecting the ideal recipe for your lab while remaining within your budget. Always talk to your vet if you have questions about your pet’s diet or if they have health problems that might require a special diet. 


Best Overall: Adult Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

  • Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, and oatmeal are the main components.
  • Min. protein content: 24%
  • Minimum fat content: 14%
  • Calories per kilogram: 3,618.

Given its cheap price, it’s difficult to top the nutritional quality of Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula, our best overall budget dog food for Labs. The first component is deboned chicken, followed by chicken meal.

While it’s a contentious component, pet food makers frequently utilize it to cut costs because it’s a cheap source of protein that includes ground meat and bones.

Oatmeal and brown rice are both nutritious whole grains that will provide considerably more fiber to your dog than crushed rice, which is typically contained in other low-cost formulations.

We enjoy how this diet incorporates prebiotic and probiotic fibers, as well as a taurine supplement. Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource pieces are made with lightly cooked foods that haven’t been robbed of nutrients by a high heat procedure.

The main drawback to this food is that it contains pea protein1, a popular component in grain-free diets that has been related to canine cardiomyopathy, and some pet parents may be concerned about the chicken meal.


  • Inexpensive
  • The first component is deboned chicken.
  • Prebiotic and probiotic fibers are present.
  • Whole grains that are good for your heart include oatmeal and brown rice.
  • There is a taurine supplement included.
  • LifeSource pieces supplement nutrients.


  • Pea protein is present.
  • This product contains chicken meal.


Best Value: Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Dog Food by Pedigree

  • Ground Whole Grain Corn, Meat & Bone Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat, Soybean Meal are the main components.
  • Min. protein content: 21%
  • Minimum fat content: 10%
  • Calories per kilogram: 3,348.

Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition delivers enough nutrition at an incredibly affordable cost. This formula has largely favorable feedback on Chewy, and it looks to be a hit with the puppies. It’s the most economical dog food for Labs on our list, and we recommend it if you’re trying to keep your lab’s grocery bill as low as possible.

However, we are not fans of artificial preservatives (BHA) and food coloring. While this recipe employs a number of commercial shortcuts, such as inexpensive beef meals and chicken by-products, we’re not clear why Pedigree incorporates chemical colors like as Yellow 5, which have been linked to cancer2.


  • Option with the best value
  • Chewy has received overwhelmingly good feedback.


  • Meat meals and byproducts are included.
  • BHA is a synthetic preservative.
  • Pedigree employs a mix of carcinogenic food dyes.


Premium Choice: Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Food Purina Pro Plan

Salmon, barley, rice, oatmeal, and canola meal are the main components.

Min. protein content: 26%

Minimum fat content: 16%

Calories per kilogram: 4,049

Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach was chosen as our premium option because it provides an abundance of essential fats that will keep your lab’s joints healthy and coat shining.

The salmon and fish components in this composition are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Although salmon is the primary protein source, this recipe contains beef fat, therefore it is not suitable for dogs who are allergic to beef or who require a single protein source.

The prebiotic and probiotic fibers improve digestion, however we wish this product also contained taurine for the heart health of your lab.

This dish lacks produce, and we would have loved to see additional fruits and veggies, like as blueberries, to provide antioxidants to your dog. However, it is a restricted ingredient diet that focuses mostly on proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and supplements.

While the majority of the components appear to be of good quality, we did find canola meal in the first five ingredients. Canola meal is not necessarily harmful to your dog, but it is not as nutritionally dense as another protein source, such as meat.

It’s typically utilized in lower-cost dishes to provide protein requirements without depending on more expensive sources like more meat.


  • The first component is salmon.
  • Oatmeal is included as a heart-healthy whole grain.
  • Prebiotic and probiotic fibers are present.


  • There is no taurine supplement.
  • There are no fruits or vegetables in this few ingredient recipe.
  • Canola meal is a low-cost protein source.


Best for Puppies: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Food Large Breed

  • Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, barley, and pea protein are the main components.
  • Min. protein content: 26%
  • Minimum fat content: 15%
  • Calories per kilogram: 3,642

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy Formula, like our overall top pick, adds even more protein into a meal for your younger lab. We appreciate how deboned chicken is the first ingredient because it’s a whole protein instead of a cheap plant-based protein or meat by-product.

This dish provides a plethora of whole grains, probiotics, prebiotics, Omega 3s, and taurine to your baby Labrador! It’s the closest thing we’ve seen in puppy chow to a nutritionally balanced product, and we enjoy the inexpensive pricing.

We object to the inclusion of pea protein1 due to the potential relation to cardiomyopathy. Also, the second ingredient, chicken meal, exposes one of the reasons for the low pricing. However, we believe Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy continues to lead the pack of low-cost high-quality feeds.


  • The first component is deboned chicken.
  • Probiotics and prebiotic fibers are present.
  • Whole grains that are good for your heart include oatmeal and brown rice.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid source
  • There is a taurine supplement included.
  • Inexpensive


  • Chicken meal is a low-cost protein source.
  • It contains peas.


Vet’s Choice: Adult Dry Food Nulo Frontrunner Ancient Grains

  • Deboned turkey, chicken meal, oats, barley, turkey meal are the main components.
  • Min. protein content: 27%
  • Minimum fat content: 16%
  • Calories per kilogram: 3,652

Our veterinarians recommend this protein-rich food for active Labradors. The prebiotics and probiotics nourish your dog’s digestive system. Taurine promotes heart health, and blueberries provide antioxidants to your dog. There’s also a good supply of Omega 3.

The first ingredient is deboned turkey, but it’s not the only animal protein in this hearty dish. Nulo Leading Ancient Grains Turkey, Trout, and Spelt contains a variety of meats.

While not everyone is in favor of chicken meal, which is formed by processing leftovers like pulverized bones and flesh, at least this formula uses animal meat for nutrients rather than cheaper plant-based fillers like canola meal.


  • The first component is deboned turkey, followed by numerous animal proteins.
  • Oatmeal and barley are both nutritious cereals.
  • Probiotics, prebiotics, and taurine are included.
  • Blueberries are high in antioxidants.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids are present.


  • Meat dinners are included.



Best for Seniors: Dog Food Purina Pro Plan 7+ Complete Essentials High Protein

  • Beef, rice, poultry by-product meal, soybean meal, and corn gluten meal are the main constituents.
  • Min. protein content: 29%
  • Minimum fat content: 14%
  • Calories per kilogram: 3,892

7+ Complete Essentials Purina Pro Plan High Protein is an excellent choice for older Labradors who must maintain a tight check on their weight as they mature.

Meals high in protein and low in fat help your dog expend energy effectively without acquiring too much weight. We enjoy how beef is the initial component, then fish meal and fish oil contribute minerals and taste later on.

Poultry by-product is mentioned as the second component, but we’re not sure how it varies from chicken-by-product, which is ground up rendering leftovers that may include flesh and bone but may also include feet, intestines, and other humanly unpleasant portions not seen in meat meals.

Soybean meal and corn gluten meal are low-cost plant-based proteins used by pet food makers to increase protein content. While they are not hazardous to your dog, we would prefer to see more whole meat components.

This snack has prebiotic fibers but no probiotics or taurine. It is acceptable to omit probiotics because prebiotic fibers assist your dog’s body in producing its own supply.

However, we deplore the absence of taurine supplementation because taurine deficit has been associated to cardiomyopathy3, the same condition linked to grain-free diets.

There is a suggestion that grain-free meals aren’t intrinsically unhealthy, but the link to disease may be due to a lack of taurine, which prompts us to strongly advise pet owners to incorporate a supplement in all diets.


  • Prebiotics are present.
  • High protein content
  • Beef is the first component.


  • Uses inexpensive plant-based protein fillers like soybean meal and corn gluten meal.
  • This product contains chicken by-product meal.
  • Taurine deficiency


Adult Nutro Ultra Large Breed Dry Dog Food

  • Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, whole grain sorghum, and whole grain barley are the main components.
  • Min. protein content: 22%
  • Minimum fat content: 13%
  • Calories per kilogram: 3,566.

This Ultra formulation is Nutro’s best large breed dog formula. We enjoy Nutro since they are one of the few low-cost companies that solely employ non-GMO ingredients.

Nutro Ultra Large Breed Adult gives antioxidants to your pooch with rich superfoods like spinach, kale, and blueberries, making this meal stand out from the crowd.

The first component is real chicken, followed by chicken meal, a typical low-cost protein. Fiber is added to your Labrador’s diet with whole grain brown rice, sorghum, and barley.

Although Nutro Ultra comprises a variety of healthful ingredients, it does not include any additional nutritional supplements such as probiotics or taurine. If you pick this cuisine, we strongly advise you to augment it with vitamins.


  • Superfood blends are generally uncommon in lower-cost meals.
  • The first component is real chicken.
  • Contains beneficial whole grains
  • Non-GMO


  • Probiotics, prebiotics, and taurine are absent.
  • The second element is chicken meal.


Grain-free Pacific Stream Taste of the Wild Dog Food

  • Salmon, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and peas are the main components.
  • Minimum protein content: 25%
  • Minimum fat content: 15%
  • Calories per kilogram: 3,600.

Although we do not advocate a grain-free diet unless medically necessary, Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-free food is a wonderful option if your Labrador has to avoid grains due to its high animal protein content. Salmon and ocean fish meal offer the majority of the protein, as well as Omega 3 fatty acids to strengthen your lab’s joints.

Unlike some formulas with the word “fish” in the title but another protein listed further down the ingredient list, this formula exclusively contains salmon and ocean fish, making it an excellent choice for dogs that have food allergies to common proteins.

This cuisine is quite inexpensive, especially when compared to foods labeled as hypoallergenic diet foods, thus it may be a wise option to a speciality diet.

This food also contains probiotics, prebiotics, and plenty of taurine. We didn’t enjoy the fact that peas were among the first five components.

Cardiomyopathy has been associated to peas and grain-free diets3. However, there is a suggestion that this association is caused by a taurine shortage, and Taste of the Wild has mitigated that danger with the supplement.


  • The sole animal protein is fish.
  • Prebiotics and probiotics are present.
  • Contains a lot of protein and taurine.
  • Best option for a grain-free diet


  • One of the first five components is peas.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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