- The Best Fresh Dog Food
- What is the Best Fresh Dog Food Service?
- Other Fresh Dog Foods We Like
- The Benefits of Fresh Dog Food
- Fresh Dog Food FAQs
Fresh food for dogs delivers greater nutritional quality than even many of the best dog food brands can offer with the added benefit of being shipped right to your door. What more could you ask for?
Best of the Best: The Farmer’s Dog
Want to know who’s the best of the best when it comes to fresh dog food? The Farmer’s Dog is our top choice for premium-quality fresh dog food made with wholesome, human-grade ingredients in simple, vet-approved recipes.
In the same way that services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh have revolutionized the world of at-home meal preparation, fresh dog food subscriptions have changed the way people feed their pets. Rather than feeding your dog hard, dry kibble packed with fillers and artificial preservatives, serve up a bowl of fresh food made with wholesome natural ingredients you can see.
The benefits of fresh food for dogs are difficult to debate and it has become easier than ever to hop on board with this growing trend. We’ve taken the time to test and review all of the best fresh dog food delivery companies on the market right now to help you make the smart choice for your dog.
The Best Fresh Dog Food
When shopping at the pet store, you have to sift through dozens of different brands and hundreds of recipes. It can be exhausting to read all those labels, never really knowing whether the product in your hand is the best choice for your dog.
The fresh food companies we’ve reviewed take the weight off your shoulders. All you have to do is provide some basic information about your dog and they’ll pair you with one of their fresh dog food recipes – they even calculate his calorie needs for you! Many of the best subscription dog food services even go so far as to package your dog’s meals in daily portions.
If you’re considering a switch to fresh dog food, these are some of the companies we recommend:
|Best of the Best||Runner-Up||Grain-Inclusive||Reusable Packaging||Best Raw|
|The Farmer’s Dog||Nom Nom||Spot and Tango||PetPlate||Darwin’s|
*Weekly price estimated for a 30-pound male dog with normal activity level
What is the Best Fresh Dog Food Service?
There are over a dozen fresh dog foods on the market and some are better than others. When it comes to determining the best subscription dog food service, however, there are a number of factors to consider. Think about the weekly price to feed your dog as well as the variety of recipes available. You should also make sure the company you choose formulates their fresh dog food recipes appropriately and that they use wholesome, natural ingredients.
After taking these things into account, your choice will really come down to a matter of preference. Some companies offer more variety than others and you may prefer one style of packaging over another. Read on to see a summary of the companies we’ve reviewed to help you choose.
The Farmer’s Dog delivers fresh, ready-to-serve meals right to your door in pre-portioned packages. Meals arrive frozen in freezer-friendly bags with ingredients you can see. The Farmer’s Dog uses human-grade ingredients sourced from USDA suppliers and their foods are cooked at low temperatures to ensure nutritional quality then flash-frozen to preserve the freshness.
Though we were extremely pleased with the quality and convenience of The Farmer’s Dog food, we noted that there were only three recipes to choose from. We also found it a little tricky to view information about the products without going through the process to create a profile online.
- Pre-portioned packages easy to store
- Human-grade ingredients from USDA suppliers
- Food cooked at low temperatures to preserve nutrition
- Only three fresh dog food recipes to choose from
- Must create profile to view recipes
Easily one of the most popular fresh dog food companies on the market, Nom Nom is an excellent choice. With four recipes to choose from, Nom Nom delivers real, wholesome nutrition right to your door. Every recipe is formulated by a veterinary nutritionist and made with real animal protein as the first ingredient. Meals are pre-portioned according to your dog’s calorie needs and delivered frozen.
Nom Nom is comparable to other fresh food companies in price and we like the convenience of pre-portioned meals. We did, however, find the packaging a little tricky since several packages were wrapped together. It was easy to see the whole ingredients in the food, however, and the packages were quick to thaw and easy to feed.
- Real animal protein and wholesome veggies
- Pre-portioned meals for convenience
- Transparency about ingredients and manufacturing
- Packages were a little tricky to store (wrapped together)
- Limited options to control account online
Spot and Tango offers personalized meal plans for dogs in two different formats: fresh food and UnKibble. Their fresh food is made with human-grade ingredients and formulated by veterinary nutritionists. Many modern dog food companies make a show of making their recipes grain-free but not everyone is sure that’s the best option. Not only does Spot and Tango offer a grain-inclusive recipe in their lineup, but they offer several “novel” proteins as well – lamb and turkey.
The downside to Spot and Tango is they only offer three recipes in total but it’s clear that they put a lot of thought into formulating the recipes. Meals are pre-portioned according to your dog’s calorie requirements and frozen flat for convenience.
- Novel proteins and grain-inclusive options
- No more than 12 ingredients per recipe
- Pre-portioned meals frozen flat for convenience
- Only three fresh dog food recipes to choose from
- Somewhat more expensive than other brands
What sets PetPlate apart from other fresh dog food companies is the packaging. Rather than delivering their meals in flat plastic packages, PetPlate sends reusable containers. This enables you to thaw more than one serving at a time and you can scoop directly from the container. The only trouble is these packages take up a bit more room in the freezer and you’ll have to portion the meals yourself.
PetPlate uses USDA meats, fruits, and veggies in their products and all meals are kettle-cooked to preserve nutritional integrity. Their recipes are made without any artificial additives and most recipes are made with a limited number of ingredients.
- Reusable containers make it easy to store leftovers
- Recipes made with USDA ingredients, no additives
- Variety includes grain-inclusive recipes
- Containers take up more room in the freezer
- Meals are not individually portioned
While fresh dog food is certainly a step up from commercial kibble, many pet nutrition experts agree that raw food is the best. Raw food takes fresh food to the next level by preserving the nutritional integrity of the original ingredients. Darwin’s makes it easy to feed your dog a raw diet by offering three different lines of complete meals at different price points.
What we love about Darwin’s is the fact that they tell you absolutely everything you need to know about the product and guide you through the process to select the best option for your pet. They also offer a steep discount on your first order, sending you 10 pounds of food for just $14.95.
- Large variety of products to choose from
- First order of 10 pounds for $14.95
- Meals are easy to store. Thaw, and freeze
- Raw foods require safe handling procedures
- Meals are not portioned for individual needs
Other Fresh Dog Foods We Like
If the five fresh dog food companies reviewed above don’t seem like the perfect fit, don’t worry! We have a few more options for you to consider.
What many dog owners love about certain fresh food delivery services is the fact that they portion out your dog’s meals in daily packages. If you don’t mind portioning the food yourself, Ollie could be a good choice. Your dog’s meals arrive in easy-to-peal packages with a scooper and dishwasher-safe leftover tray included with each order. Just follow the customized feeding instructions for your dog.
Though Ollie doesn’t portion out your dog’s meals for you, they do have a leg up on other fresh food companies in the degree of transparency they offer their customers. Ollie tells you exactly where their ingredients come from and the nutritional benefits they provide.
- Four different recipes to choose from
- Includes scoop and reusable leftover container
- Transparency about quality and safety
- Significant use of plastic materials (can be recycled)
- Meals are not divided into individual portions
A Pup Above
The nutritional benefit of fresh dog food is that it isn’t processed using high heat methods like extrusion. A Pup Above takes things a step further by using the sous vide method to cook their foods. Sous vide is a slow cooking method that uses low, precise temperatures which results in moist, flavorful, and nutrient-packed food. A Pup Above is packaged in 1-pound patties and sold in bags.
Not only does A Pup Above cook their products differently, but they give customers the option to make a single purchase or to subscribe for monthly deliveries. You’ll have to calculate your dog’s daily portion yourself, but your dog will love the flavor.
- Recipes cooked via the sous vide method
- Order single products or subscribe
- Higher moisture content and rich flavor
- Freezer bags take up a little more space
- Meals are not divided into daily portions
What you need to know about FreshPet is that, while this company does offer a variety of fresh dog food recipes, it is not a subscription service. You can find FreshPet products in most grocery stores and pet stores, but you can’t order directly from the company online.
This being the case, you’re relying on individual retailers to keep the products fresh and properly stored prior to purchase. It’s also worth remembering that these products are produced in much larger volumes, so they’re more likely to contain additives like thickening agents and emulsifiers.
If you’re thinking about giving fresh food a try and you don’t want to commit to a monthly delivery, FreshPet might be a good way to dip your toes in the water. Pick up one of their bagged meals or fresh rolls at your local grocery store to introduce your dog to fresh food.
- Wide variety of product choices
- Available in grocery stores and pet stores
- Ingredients sourced from the US and Canada
- Quality and freshness control may vary by retailer
- Some use of additives like thickeners and emulsifiers
The Benefits of Fresh Dog Food
Most pet parents don’t put a lot of thought into what they feed their dogs. Pictures of fresh ingredients on the dog food label and words like “natural” or “holistic” make you feel like you’re making a smart choice. But how much do you really know about what goes into your dog’s food?
If you want what’s best for your dog, fresh dog food is the answer. Commercial dry food (kibble) is often produced in mass quantities using low-quality ingredients, fillers, and artificial preservatives. To make things worse, it is cooked at high temperatures which destroys much of the nutritional value in the raw ingredients. Fresh dog food from the companies above is made with quality and nutrition in mind.
Here are some of the benefits fresh dog food has to offer:
- Higher ingredient quality with fewer processed ingredients means a more digestible diet – improved digestion means better nutrient absorption, higher energy, and improved health.
- Healthy fats in fresh food diets promote skin and coat health – natural fats from animal-based sources like real meat and fish are best for dogs.
- Whole ingredients are less likely to trigger food allergies and digestive issues than processed foods – many dogs find relief from food allergies on a fresh food diet.
- Improved nutrition and healthy digestion may mean fewer trips to the vet and a longer, healthier life for your dog.
- Better quality ingredients lead to improved digestion and less waste – that means smaller, firmer stools with less odor. That makes clean-up easier!
- When your dog’s nutritional needs are being met with a wholesome, high-quality diet, he’ll have more energy and more zest for life which is better for the both of you.
When it comes to your dog’s health and wellness, it’s up to you to make a smart decision. While dry food may be the most convenient option, you have to ask yourself whether it’s really best for your dog. We encourage you to consider fresh food for dogs and, at the very least, do a trial of one of the best fresh dog food delivery services we’ve reviewed here.
Fresh Dog Food FAQs
Is fresh food safe for dogs?
Yes, fresh dog food is formulated by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to ensure that it meets your dog’s nutritional requirements. Most companies are very clear about the quality standards they follow (often more-so than other major brands) and they typically provide specific information about where their ingredients come from and how their products are manufactured. Most fresh food is cooked to destroy pathogens but not at the high temperatures used to produce kibble, so it retains more of the nutritional value of the original ingredients.
Can you mix fresh food and dry food?
Yes, you can mix fresh food with dry food or use the fresh food as a meal topper. If you’re not able to afford a complete fresh food diet, using fresh food as a meal topper is an affordable way to improve the quality of your dog’s diet without breaking the bank.
How do you transition a dog onto fresh food?
When changing your dog’s diet, it’s important to make the transition slowly to avoid digestive upset. Start by giving your dog a treat-sized portion of the food to make sure he doesn’t have an allergy then start mixing the fresh food with his current diet. Mix 25% of the new food with 75% of your dog’s current diet for a few days then gradually increase the ratio as long as your dog doesn’t have a negative reaction. You should be able to make the switch within 7 to 10 days.
Is fresh dog food worth the price?
Fresh dog food may cost more than the average dry food, but you get what you pay for. Better ingredients, higher nutrient retention, and safer manufacturing processes make a difference. If you’re concerned about the price, think about the long-term benefits. Higher quality nutrition keeps your dog healthier in the long-run which might actually save you money on expensive vet bills in the future.
What if my dog has food allergies or sensitivities?
The best fresh dog food delivery services collect information about your dog before making their recommendations and many include an option to identify food allergies. If you can’t find a recipe to accommodate your dog’s specific allergy, the company might be able to work with you. Otherwise, you may simply have to choose another company.