After reading this question: Is cheap human food for street dogs good for their health?

I thinking about cheap foods for dogs (for example stray dogs one wants to support), if one does not have the budget to buy common dog food.

Which foods could I serve a dog, if the aim is to feed very cheaply and as healthy as possible?

  • 1
    Where do you live and what do you consider cheap?
    – Aravona
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 13:43
  • Do you have time to prepare the food? [With some effort, ref. to @Aravona 's question where you live, I think you can make food at a cost lower than but still healthier than at least some cheap dry dog food. ] I mean like steamed rice and some boiled vegetables, e.g. cabbage, and e.g. some chicken fillet. Of course, in some places fresh cabbage is very expensive, but just an example, as long as YOU CHECK WHICH INGREDIENTS ARE DANGEROUS, E.G. NEVER GIVE ANY ONION, BUT THERE ARE LOTS OF OTHER DANEGEROUS ONES see e.g. battersea.org.uk/pet-advice/dog-care-advice/toxic-food-dogs
    – Tuomo
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 13:58
  • @Aravona : I am from Europe, but if one have an "in general" answer, I would prefer this. Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 16:37
  • @Tuomo : Because it is for me a hypothetical question (but for others it is useful like the linked question shows) I assume one have time. Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 16:37
  • 1
    In the US , the vet expenses ( rabies , heart worm , distemper , etc, etc ) are a greater expense than inexpensive food . Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


Like humans, dogs also have basic food needs. They should be getting enough protein, along with carbs, iron and such.
I've had dogs since I was a little kid. So did my mum since she was little. And I'm proud to say that we've NEVER given them dog food (which is obviously artificially made), and all of them lived their lives healthily.

What we feed our dogs is homemade flat bread, which we eat daily too, with extra of bones and meat. You can find leftovers of meat easily from a butcher's shop which are pretty cheap. If your dogs have never eaten raw meat, boil it, but not so much that the juices run out.
If you're thinking of being creative, you can mince/shred the meat, add veggies like cabbage, broccoli etc, and make patties of the mixture. You can also add plain rice, but it has to be freshly boiled, as old rice can cause severe food poisoning in them.

Keep one thing in mind, don't give them extra food. Just twice a day. Provide them with plentiful of water, and occasional milk if you can afford it. Avoid anything with acid (like grapes and lemon), sugar and alcohol.

You can get a list of the food items here.

  • 6
    Actually milk is probably not a good choice to feed to dogs. See related Is it OK to feed dogs dairy products? Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 12:47
  • 5
    Avoid grapes PERIOD. They are extremely toxic to dogs.
    – Allison C
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 12:58
  • @JamesJenkins I've never seen that with my dogs or cats ever. They love milk! :) But yeah, its better not to take risk
    – Bella Swan
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 4:23
  • 1
    @BellaSwan Neither have we with our dog, he gets small amounts of dairy as a treat but I remember we used to give watered down milk to our cat as well. You can buy puppy/kitten milks which have less lactose etc also.
    – Aravona
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 7:39
  • 2
    You should add to research what foods are toxic to dogs (such as GRAPES) and to avoid them. Unless you know the toxicity of the food and how to relate it to the size of your dog, you should never risk giving them it (though toxic foods should just be avoid altogether if not feeding a balanced dog food, which is also why you should avoid milk not because its poisonous but because it could risk upsetting a balanced diet).
    – user25771
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 20:39

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