Walmart is one of the undisputed kings of the retail world. With almost 5000 stores in the US, there is almost certainly a store near you.
From groceries, clothes, home furnishing, and tools, Walmart has almost anything you can think of.
However, Walmart doesn’t just sell products for humans; they are one of the countries leading sellers of Dog Food.
Why does Walmart succeed in this hyper-competitive space? The most powerful selling point of Walmart is its affordable prices.
Whether you are feeding your 100-pound Great Dane or a 5-pound Chihuahua, consumers want to get the best bang for their buck, and Walmart is more than happy to fill this desire.
However, while everyone enjoys saving a few dollars, you need to be careful of what you feed your dog, or you could face disastrous consequences.
For this reason, we’ve done the research for you and have handpicked a selection of dog food recipes available from Walmart that are competitively priced without sacrificing safety or quality.
If that wasn’t enough, we’ve also gone in-depth to discuss the safety of dog food at Walmart, along with other topics like their quality and whether you should choose them over local pet food stores.
Best Dry Dog Foods At Walmart
Crave High Protein Real Beef Recipe Review
While long-term industry favorites like Royal Canin and Purina Pro Plan may be recognized by most dog owners, newer brands like Crave may not.
While it’s been some time, Crave would still be considered a relative newcomer to the industry and was only launched back in 2017 by Mars Petcare.
For those of you who are not familiar with Mars Petcare, they own some other pet food brands, such as Pedigree and Whiskas, both of which are Walmart favorites.
Crave is an excellent example of a dog food manufacturer creating a new brand to appeal to more knowledgeable consumers who demand better quality ingredients and more appropriate nutrition.
Compared to many other brands stocked at Walmart, Crave dog food formulas contain satisfactory proportions of protein and fat and do not make use of an excessive proportion of carbohydrates.
This satisfactory nutrition profile could be compared to other dog food brands that are far more costly.
Moreover, the majority of this protein and fat is provided by high-quality meat ingredients such as Lamb, Chicken, and Beef.
The above Beef recipe is a prime example of this impressive ingredients and nutrition and utilizes a mix of Beef, Chicken Meal, and Pork Meal to provide a minimum of 34% protein and 17% fat.
When we first reviewed Crave, we had to point out to readers that it contained some vegetable by-products such as Potato Protein or Pea Protein.
These are used by some dog food brands to increase the overall proportion of protein without splashing out on more expensive meat ingredients, which is a concerning approach.
However, since then, it appears that Crave has altered its recipes and the above Beef recipe now contains no high-protein vegetable by-products, which makes its inclusion even more worthy.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain Turkey & Potato Recipe Review
Rachael Ray Nutrish may be a more familiar dog food brand for some and has been available at Walmart and other large retailers for some time.
As the name gives away, the brand was created and is still associated with the famous celebrity chef Rachael Ray.
However, just because it is associated with a celebrity doesn’t mean it should be dismissed, and they have an impressive range of recipes, appealing to several price points.
While many dog owners stick to their core recipes thanks to their low prices, we are a big fan of their Zero Grain recipes, including the above Turkey recipe.
These Zero Grain recipes have the key combination of impressive ingredients and nutrition that every dog owner should be on the lookout for.
Specifically, the Turkey recipe includes a portion of whole Turkey and Chicken Meal, which, when combined, provide an ample sum of 26% protein and 14% fat.
While not as impressive as others like Crave, this nutritional profile is satisfactory for the average dog that isn’t overly active or has a high-calorie requirement.
In addition, while many low-cost grain-free recipes rely on vegetable by-products or other questionable ingredients, Nutrish utilizes a mix of Potatoes and Peas, along with smaller portions of Flaxseed and Beet Pulp.
Pure Balance Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Review
A brand we couldn’t miss when discussing Walmart is Pure Balance which is a Walmart-exclusive brand that features on the shelves of stores nationwide.
While Walmart has several exclusive brands, Pure Balance is their attempt at selling affordable dog food that has reasonable ingredient quality and nutrition and could be easily compared to Crave, which we discussed earlier.
The brand has been hugely successful since its launch, and the number of recipes they produce has expanded (including puppy food and large breed dog food), as well as existing recipes seeing minor tweaks and improvements.
While their Wild & Free recipes may offer the highest proportion of protein and fat, we couldn’t resist highlighting the ever-reliable Chicken & Brown Rice recipe.
A staple of dog bowls for decades, Pure Balance’s version of this staple is straightforward and an excellent choice for those looking for an affordable recipe.
A large portion of Chicken and Chicken Meal ensures that the recipe’s primary ingredient is animal-based and provides a minimum proportion of protein and fat of 27% and 15%, respectively, which is not insignificant.
Past that, the recipe includes a large portion of Brown Rice which is joined by far smaller portions of Peas and Barley to provide a solid base of carbohydrates and fiber.
Similar to Crave and other low-cost brands, Pure Balance used to more heavily utilize by-products like Pea Protein but we are happy to see this classic recipe is now free from these ingredients, with only a tiny portion of Rice Bran raising eyebrows.
Purina Beyond Simply Grain Free White Meat Chicken & Egg Review
Many of you may be familiar with the pet food giant Purina, which produces a range of popular brands such as Purina Pro Plan, Purina Beneful, and Purina One.
However, Purina Beyond is a relatively new addition to its selection of brands, and it has also jumped on the bandwagon of higher quality ingredients and nutrition at affordable prices, like some of the other brands discussed in this article.
Price is an important consideration, especially in today’s uncertain economy, and Purina Beyond’s products are incredibly affordable, even more so than other comparable products at Walmart.
Our favorite recipe from the Purina Beyond range is their White Meat Chicken & Egg formula, which contains a healthy proportion of Chicken and Chicken Meal.
Many consumers are often put off by Meat meals such as Chicken Meal, but they can be advantageous as it contains a much higher proportion of animal protein and fat than traditional meat cuts.
Due to this combination, the recipe contains a minimum of 27% protein and 16% fat, respectively which is very similar to the other recipes discussed above.
Eggs are also worth noting as a positive ingredient as they are very easily digested by humans and dogs and are full of high-quality nutrition, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, and beneficial micronutrients.
The Chicken and Egg ingredients are then combined with a range of vegetable by-products such as Pea Starch, Cassava Root Flour, and Canola Meal.
While these ingredients draw mixed opinions by some, they provide the recipe with a stable core of carbohydrates and fiber.
Blue Buffalo Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Review
Blue Buffalo is a staple of chain or large pet stores like PetSmart but also features at many larger Walmart stores.
Blue Buffalo has a vast range of products and formulas that can often occupy an entire aisle in a single pet food store which can be overwhelming for some.
The Life Protection Chicken & Brown Rice recipe has been one of the brand’s most popular for years feeding thousands of dogs all across the country.
Similar to other brands, Blue Buffalo utilizes a mix of Chicken, Chicken Meal, and Chicken Fat to provide an ample portion of crude protein and fat at 24% and 14%.
While these percentages are not quite as impressive as others, they are satisfactory to many dogs, especially those that are not overly active.
While Brown Rice may be the core plant-based ingredient, the recipe also includes a mix of Oatmeal and Barley, and this combination of grains provides a large portion of carbohydrates and fiber.
Many Blue Buffalo recipes have seen ingredient changes over the years, with many previously containing large portions of controversial plant-based ingredients like Pea Protein, Pea Starch, and Potatoes.
However, while reviewing this recipe more recently, it seems some of these ingredients are no longer present, and others have had their portion size reduced.
Best Wet Dog Foods At Walmart
Crave Chicken & Beef Pate Review
As we discussed earlier in this article, Crave is a relative newcomer to the pet food market and is owned by Mars Petcare.
The brand was launched to cater to the higher-quality pet food market fueled by smarter and more aware consumers. Crave is available at Walmart and other large retail pet stores.
While we praised Craven’s dry food range, Crave’s Pate range is also worth discussing. Each formula within the Pate range contains both traditional meat cuts alongside organ meat. T
his organ meat provides beneficial Vitamins and Minerals that standard meat cuts lack as well as being a very appetizing and enjoyable addition.
This combination of meat ingredients offers fantastic nutrition, high in protein and fat. Finally, none of their Pate recipes contain a significant amount of vegetable ingredients, let alone frowned upon by-products or grains.
Wet or canned dog food is often unaffordable to many, but Crave’s price range may make it viable even if it’s only occasionally.
Pure Balance Lamb Dinner Review
Pure Balance’s wet dog food recipes are also worth mentioning in this article and share many of the positive traits of their dry food range.
They all contain a relatively minimal proportion of vegetable ingredients, which correlates to a high proportion of fat and protein. There is a small variety of formulas that use a selection of named meat and fish ingredients.
One particularly unique formula is Lamb Dinner. It has a very high proportion of fat. This will make the formula very appealing and enjoyable to a dog and can provide them with a significant amount of energy.
Therefore this could be suitable as a treat or before a dog is going to be taking part in a significant amount of exercise.
The flip side of this is that if fed regularly and unmonitored this formula could cause weight gain, so it’s essential to correctly portion and monitor your dog’s food intake.
This high-fat proportion is derived from a small selection of lamb ingredients, including Lamb and Lamb liver. In addition to these lamb ingredients, the recipe contains Peas and Flaxseed.
Flaxseed is the best non-meat or fish source of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids and is a regular addition to higher-quality dog food. Find out more about Flaxseed in our article Flaxseed In Dog Food.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Wetlands Recipe With Chicken + Duck In Gravy Review
Just like the above two formulas, Rachael Ray Nutrish features in both the dry and wet sections of this article due to the fact it is one of the few higher-quality dog food brands available at Walmart.
While not perfect, Rachael Ray Nutrish’s wet formulas share many of the positive features of their dry formulas.
One particular recipe that we like is the Wetlands Recipe. It has a focus on poultry, such as Chicken and Duck.
Meat from poultry is a high-quality ingredient that can provide a plentiful supply of protein and fat to fuel dogs’ growth and activity.
Duck is less common in dog food than Chicken or Turkey but can provide very similar nutrition with slightly more fat.
Sadly, the formula also contains Pea Protein, which is a less desirable ingredient but one which we have discussed previously and is common in lower-cost dog food.
Is The Dog Food Sold At Walmart Safe?
The safety of dog food is probably the most common concern when purchasing from low-cost stores such as Walmart.
Walmart sells some of the lowest-cost dog food products on the market, and their safety and quality are often brought into question.
Have dog food products sold at Walmart been recalled? Yes, far too many to count or list in this article. Recalls are surprisingly prevalent even among some of the most high-quality and premium brands.
But lower-cost dog food products that are often sold at stores like Walmart are especially susceptible as their producers try desperately to cut their costs to stay competitive.
I’d recommend checking our brand-specific pages for more specific details about any recent or past recalls.
However, on the flip side, many dog food brands and ranges that have never been recalled are also sold at Walmart.
It would be unfair to judge or bundle these brands with others just because they are sold at Walmart when many of them take the safety and quality of their products very seriously.
It is also important to remember that Walmart is extremely conscious of the safety of the products that are sold at its stores.
If the safety of any product or brand is called into question, you can bet it will be pulled from the shelves before you can even mutter the words recall.
In this regard, you can trust that as far as Walmart or yourself is concerned, all of the products sold in Walmart are currently considered safe.
Does Walmart Sell High-Quality Dog Food?
Contrary to popular belief, yes, Walmart does sell some high-quality dog food products. Walmart, just like all other major dog food retailers, has clued in on the increased consumer demand for higher-quality dog food.
This increase in consumer awareness has led to the inclusion of brands or ranges of products that appeal to these knowledgeable consumers who want to provide their dogs with appropriate nutrition from high-quality ingredients.
Are some of the most popular and highly rated premium brands, such as Orijen, Acana, Instinct, or Merrick, sold at Walmart? Sadly not.
These premium brands don’t appeal to Walmart customers who can not afford dog food brands such as these.
Also, many of these brands attempt to support small local retailers and avoid partnering with large brands or stores such as Walmart or PetSmart.
However, there are some that can be best described as affordable or medium-priced yet reasonably high-quality dog food brands that are sold at Walmart.
While not all of these brands’ recipes may be rated as highly as other brands by reviewers such as ourselves, some do, in fact, provide excellent nutrition from high-quality ingredients and deserve to be brought into the limelight.
What Dog Food Should I Avoid At Walmart?
The subject of the “worst” dog food brands or brands that you should avoid is a delicate subject.
Not only will many consumers or the brands themselves disagree, but the formulas produced by some brands vary in quality tremendously, and therefore it may be unfair to label the whole brand as junk when some of their recipes are satisfactory.
That being said, there are certainly some trends that are worth noting. Very low-cost brands such as Pedigree, Ol Roy, and Kibbles N Bits are safe bets on the list of dog food brands that you should avoid unless absolutely necessary.
These ultra-low-cost brands tend to use inferior quality ingredients, including meat by-products, grains such as Corn or Wheat, and ingredients like Bone Meal and Soy.
None of these ingredients are considered average-quality, let alone high-quality, and are not appropriate for a dog’s diet.
Also, they provide a poor overall nutrition profile that is high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat. This balance of nutrients poorly reflects a dog’s ancestral diet.
Furthermore, many of these ingredients can cause or worsen allergies or intolerances. These allergies and intolerances can cause symptoms such as rashes, bloat, and diarrhea, which could cause a dog great discomfort.
Should I Buy My Dog Food At Walmart?
There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer to this question. Some people will tell you that buying pet food at a major store, such as Walmart or Petsmart, is an awful thing and that you are destroying small independent businesses.
But for many others, such as those on a tight budget or those in more rural communities, stores such as Walmart may be the only available choice to source their dog food without having to travel long distances or spend money they don’t have.
However, in the digital world of today, many dog owners neglect to explore the opportunity to buy their dog food online.
Many online retailers offer free or affordable shipping and even subscriptions that will deliver dog food on a scheduled basis, such as monthly or bi-monthly.
Big online retailers in the pet food world include Walmart, Amazon, Chewy, and others.
Many consumers enjoy the convenience of scheduled deliveries of dog food as it avoids last-minute trips to the store or running out of dog food altogether.
While purchasing your dog food online still negatively affects local pet stores, it does provide consumers with a much more extensive range of dog food formulas to choose from, as online retailers stock hundreds or even thousands of varieties due to the economies of scale they can leverage.
Many brands produce specialized forms of dog food. Previously, these may not have been easy to obtain but can now be acquired with just a few clicks and a credit card.
Examples could include kibble that is smaller than usual to better accommodate small breeds like Pomeranians and Chihuahuas or Limited Ingredient dog food for those with severe allergies.
A 2018 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention shows that the most popular response to the question “Where do you purchase pet food most often?” was online with a whopping 23.7%. This proves how much of an effect convenience and choice is having on consumer spending habits.
If you are interested in affordable or cheap dog food beyond those recipes sold at Walmart, be sure to check out our in-depth guide to the Best Cheap Dog Food.