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If you’ve ever considered homemade dog food, or wish your dog could eat whole, fresh foods more often, then fresh dog food might be a good fit for you and your pup. Some brands are available a la carte online or at your local pet store, but most fresh dog food is usually offered by brands that will deliver it to your doorstep—think of it as Blue Apron for dogs, only the cooking is already done for you.
In our extensive experience testing fresh dog food on our Rover pups, most dogs really enjoy this kind of food—in the reviews below, you’ll see most of our (very willing!) test dogs gobbled them all right up. However, fresh dog food delivery doesn’t come cheap, and it can sometimes present storage challenges (packaging varies, from tear-off pouches to yogurt-like containers; some are frozen, others stored in the fridge). As with most things in life, there are pros and cons. But read on and you’ll see we’ve done the research for you so you can make the best decision for you and your pet.
Over several rounds of testing on various dogs, we tried out the following brands:
- Nom Nom
- The Farmer’s Dog
- A Pup Above (Formerly Grocery Pup)
- Just Food for Dogs
- Spot & Tango
- Hungry Bark
- Portland Pet Food Company
Read on for our dog-verified reviews, pricing, special discounts for Rover readers, and more.
Ollie offers convenient, highly-customizable meal plans for dogs, along with excellent customer service.
Why Fresh Food for Dogs?
Alternative foods are gaining popularity among pet parents. Disillusionment with large pet food brands, concern over the quality of ingredients, and an increased focus on how food affects a pet’s health have led many pet parents to consider a range of options from grain-free to raw food diets or making their own meals at home.
Fresh dog food delivery services take the place of making your pet’s food from scratch. They start with fresh, whole ingredients like lean proteins, veggies, and whole grains, package them up, and ship them to your door. These companies also make sure their recipes meet AAFCO standards for pet food, which means the foods include the vitamins and minerals needed to make a food nutritionally complete for your dog.
Many owners who’ve made the switch to fresh food say the diet has improved their pet’s coat, energy levels, and other health conditions. We weren’t able to test the long-term effects on our taste-tester dogs, but we can verify that they enjoyed each and every meal from this review.
You can feed these meals to your dogs as mixer add-ons and toppers to their current food, as a kind of dietary supplement, or feed them fresh food exclusively. If you’re using these meal kits as a supplement, the cost is lower. Whatever you decide, it’s advised to slowly introduce the fresh food to your pet to make the transition from one food to another easier on your dog’s digestion.
The Top Fresh Dog Food Delivery Brands, Reviewed
Note: We were sent complimentary trial subscriptions of these dog food brands to test on our pups, but all opinions are unbiased and based on our observations of our dogs’ experience with the food.
Convenient, Customized, Consistent: Ollie
Price: Starts at $2 a day, depending on plan, recipe, and dog size. General averages range from $9 to $42 per week.
Get your first order at 60% off using the link below.
Our experience: The feeding instructions were very detailed yet easy to understand, and I appreciated the booklet with instructions for easing my dog from his current kibble to an Ollie diet to avoid digestive issues. The brand is definitely very focused on education: the booklet also included tips for keeping the food fresh, guidelines for feeding (with tips for picky eaters), and expected results from switching to Ollie (increased energy, less allergies, weight management, etc).
The food is easy to store, though two week’s worth took up quite a bit of space in my freezer. Even though it was wet, fresh food, it didn’t gross me out like other wet foods have, probably because it more closely resembles “human” food (i.e. I could see the peas, carrots, etc) and smelled pleasant.
Overall? I tried the chicken recipe with my dog, and he was a big fan.
What sets them apart:
- Arrived well-packaged. The first shipment included dry ice so the food was still very frozen, plus a welcome packet with information I didn’t even know I needed, a cute reusable scoop, and a reusable container (they call it a “puptainer”) to keep daily portions safely refrigerated between meal times. The puptainer also doubles as a dog bowl.
- The subscription seems very customized to my dog and Ollie asks quite a few questions ahead of time to recommend a food and portion size (they even get as specific as how many calories my dog should intake per day and ask about activity level, allergies, and other sensitivities when determining the plan).
- I received an email a couple days ahead of when my next order would ship out, which was nice because it allowed me to make changes to the frequency, ship date, or recipe ahead of time (or add on some treats).
- The foods are “minimally processed” to preserve their nutrients and recipes are formulated by a veterinary nutritionist.
Available recipes: Heed the Cattle Call (beef), Get Your Gobble On (turkey), Dare to Cross the Road (chicken), Get Some Sheep Thrills (lamb)
Ollie offers convenient, highly-customizable meal plans for dogs, along with excellent customer service.
Most Variety: Nom Nom
Price: $30 to $120 per week.
Use the link below to get 50% off your first order.
Our experience: Their system was the easiest to use: Small, space-saving packaging, portioned out by meal (two meals a day), so all I had to do was open a bag and pour it into the bowl. Their food also looked the freshest and most naturally colorful of all the brands.
What sets them apart:
- Small, space-saving vacuum-sealed plastic bags with easy-tear tops
- Each serving is individually packaged (two servings per day per dog)
- The package has the name of the food and all the ingredients in it
- These had the most vibrant colors of the brands we tried
- My dogs seemed most excited to eat this one
- They also offer meals for cats
Available recipes: Chicken Chow (I could see individual sweet potato bites in this), Beef Mash, Turkey Fare, Pork Potluck
Easy-to-use, pre-portioned servings made meal time a breeze for our tester.
Personalized Fun: The Farmer’s Dog
Price: Depending on age, breed, and size of dog, meal plans start at $2 a day.
Use the link below to get 50% off your first two weeks of food.
Our experience: My dog, Whiskey, is a nearly 8-year-old Boxer-Cocker Spaniel mix and is one of the world’s pickiest eaters. He’s not motivated by food and will go on hunger strike if he’s feeling upset about something. He’s the kind of dog who will leave some of his regular dry food in his bowl after a meal. We’ve tried several types of dry dog food over the years—grain-free, different types of protein, etc.—and nothing really gets him excited. His favorite treat is unseasoned cooked wild salmon. Did I mention he’s spoiled?
Buying dog food has never been fun. It’s like banking—something on the chore list to check off. Farmer’s Dog has somehow made feeding your dog joyful. The online quiz was simple and I really liked the variety of proteins to try that were customized for Whiskey’s dietary needs and behavior we wanted to address.
What sets them apart:
- Packaging! As someone who gets packages multiple times a week, it was a pleasant surprise to find the packaging is eco-friendly. Melting away the cornstarch wrap in the sink was cathartic. And again, there was joy for the human: “Watch it melt away like your heart when snuggling puppies.” I love a brand with some personality!
- The instructions: Easy to follow and it was reassuring to see Whiskey’s name on the individual food packs so I knew it was really customized for him.
- What matters most? Whiskey loved it. We started Whiskey on the turkey recipe at breakfast, and per the instructions, mixed it with his regular dry food. It was like he was eating a full Thanksgiving dinner! He quickly ate his whole breakfast, leaving nothing behind. At dinner, he was prancing by his mat and bowl, eagerly awaiting his next fresh meal. Wow!
Other noteworthy information: As expected and explained by Farmer’s Dog, Whiskey had a few tummy issues adjusting to the new food. We tried the the pork recipe next, which was a was a little too rich for him and gave him some bad gas and mushier poops, but he still gobbled it up.
Refrigerating, then scooping and fluffing the food, then using the fridge container was a little extra. My husband complained about it, and neither one of us could remember which package to use as we had been taking turns feeding Whiskey.
The used bags got a little stinky in the trash, which was easily remedied by taking out the trash more frequently. I appreciated the simplified instructions for transitioning the food, but would have liked something I could keep with the food (ie: magnet, laminated card, etc.) so it would stand out as extra important. We also realized that the dog bowl we used needed to be washed more frequently, which was another extra thing to keep it sanitary.
Available recipes: Turkey, Beef, Pork
The Farmer’s Dog
A personalized food plan and easy-to-follow instructions are just a few of the benefits of The Farmer’s Dog.
Next-Level Flavor: A Pup Above
Price: $69 for two bags (a total 6 patties at 1-pound each).
Save 25% off your first meal delivery when you subscribe using the link below and use code ROVER25; save 15% off your first sampler pack order when you use the link below and code ROVER15.
Our experience: Our dogs could not get enough of A Pup Above. They soon learned just what it meant when one of the packages came out of the fridge, and they gobbled it up—all three flavors were equally loved. Unlike other brands, A Pup Above cooks their fresh dog food sous vide. This cooking method, popularized in high-end restaurants, is purported to help food retain more taste and nutrients. A Pup Above puts their AAFCO-balanced foods into BPA-free vacuum-sealed bags and cooks them in a 180-degree water bath. While my dogs don’t know about sous vide, they did seem to notice the extra flavor.
Like the other brands, this healthy dog food comes in frozen packages to your front door. It’s easy to thaw in the fridge overnight and serve the next day, though I found that sometimes I needed to add a little hot water to the food to warm it up. It’s well-frozen!
A medium-sized dog, from 20-40 lbs, receives a single one-pound patty per day. For comparison, a 60-80 lb. dog would receive 2 patties per day.
What sets them apart:
- Sous vide cooking method
- BPA-free packaging
- Easy serving: each bag contains individual one-pound patties
- USDA-inspected “human-grade” kitchen and ingredients
Available recipes: Texas Beef Stew (beef), Turkey Pawella (turkey), Porky’s Luau (pork), Chicka Chicka Bow Wow (chicken)
A Pup Above
A Pup Above cooks their dog food sous vide and then ships it frozen so it’s as fresh as possible.
Odor-Free and Freezer-Friendly: Spot & Tango
Price: Meals start at $7 a week.
Use code ROVER for 50% off your first order using the link below.
Our experience: The sleeves of dog food arrived completely frozen as promised, and their slim packaging made it easy to fit them in my otherwise crowded freezer. The single-serving packaging made it so I never wondered how much to feed my dog, Big Boy—the portion was created just for him (for reference he tested the Turkey & Red Quinoa and Beef & Millet recipes).
Spot & Tango uses whole ingredients in its fresh dog food like turkey, red quinoa, spinach, carrots, peas and apples, among other things. I saw whole peas and pieces of quinoa throughout both recipes.
Having never fed Big Boy fresh dog food before, I wasn’t sure how he’d like it. At first, he was hesitant, giving me the dreaded side eye. It took a couple packages, but eventually he approached meal time with his typical enthusiasm and did not leave a single stray pea behind.
What sets them apart:
- The fresh food was surprisingly not stinky at all
- Spot & Tango sends a clip in case you don’t use the whole package
- Slim packaging made it easy to fit in the freezer
- Cooked in small batches for maximum nutrition
Other noteworthy information: When it comes to fresh dog food delivery, Spot & Tango is a solid option. As someone who typically shops for high-quality kibble, I would perhaps prefer their dry food to the fresh recipes (Big Boy gobbled up their dry dog food, UnKibble.) I am not in the habit of pulling packages out to defrost and prefer to not microwave plastic. The easy-peel packaging wasn’t flawless, and I ended up using scissors to get it open. Spot & Tango said their new packaging solves for this.
Big Boy is now used to the fresh variety, but initially he would leave the whole peas behind. He also manages to get quinoa everywhere, which is now dried to the floor and wall behind his bowl—not ideal. I wonder if he is not digesting it well, too, as his poops contained the full peas. For many reasons, whole peas are the star of this review.
Available recipes: Turkey & Red Quinoa, Beef & Millet, Lamb & Brown Rice
Spot & Tango
A slim packaging profile makes Spot & Tango easy to store in the freezer, and you can easily see whole foods such as peas and quinoa.
For Special Dietary Needs: Just Food for Dogs
Price: Based on my 12lb. dog, it costs about $3.10 per day, which is about $95 a month.
Use the link below for 20% your first order of Just Food for Dogs.
Our experience: I was impressed with what I could see through the package. Large chunks of sweet potato, green beans, and russet potatoes, it reminded me of a stew I’d make for a cool fall night.
When the food arrived at my house, it was packaged very well, with the frozen food in a thermal bag and on ice. I also received their Pumpkin Treats, Salmon Bark, Supplements and a can of their DIY Nutrient Blend.
Inside the bags were informational pamphlets, a customized “Transition Guide” for moving from kibble to fresh, and there was also an adorable card with my dog drawn on the inside. The information included was easy to read, informative, but wasn’t overwhelming.
I thawed the first package and put it in the provided containers, and while my formula was fish, which is primarily cod, there was no fishy odor.
When I first gave Olive, my Boston Terrier, a small amount mixed in with her kibble, she seemed a little hesitant, like she knew it was out of the ordinary, and gave me almost a “what did I do to deserve this?!” look. She gave it a few licks, and then ended up eating the fresh food, and spitting the kibble out to be eaten last. I think that was a good sign! Ever since we’ve switched, she’s all in at meal time.
During the transition process, I had a question about my dog’s suggested feeding portion. They were quick to respond, and even sent my question to a veterinarian to verify.
I didn’t experience any digestion issues with Olive. With squishy faced dogs, their digestive system can be temperamental, and most people know those breeds can be a bit stinky from gas. Olive didn’t have any gas, and her stool was nice and firm.
What sets them apart:
- I’ve had dogs for over 10 years and have always fed kibble. I’ve been targeted for all of the ads for fresh food services, but I really appreciated that Just Food For Dogs has a full team of veterinarians, dermatologists, and nutritionists that I didn’t see with any of the other brands. This put me at ease as my dogs have medical concerns, and the brand was specifically recommended to us by our senior Dachshund’s Internal Medicine doctor as an option for her IBS.
- The veterinary consultation! This is an incredible service offered by the company to fine-tune the optimal diet for your dog. I originally planned to use it for our 17-year-old Dachshund, but, after they reviewed all of her records, ultimately, her medical issues made switching to a non-veterinarian prescribed food difficult, so we decided to have Olive, my Boston Terrier, be the official tester as her diet was less restrictive.
- I appreciate that the staff is willing to work with people whose dogs have specific needs, and you can tell they try their absolute best to help you choose the food that will benefit your dog the most. They seemed to have my dog’s happiness and health foremost in mind.
Available recipes: Chicken & White Rice, Beef & Russet Potato, Turkey & Whole Wheat Macaroni, Fish & Sweet Potato, Venison & Squash, Lamb & Brown Rice
Just Food for Dogs
Just Food for Dogs has a dedicated team of veterinarians and nutrition consultants to help you choose the right food for your pet.
Recyclable Packaging: PetPlate
Price: $23 to $90 per week.
Follow the link below and use code ROVER50 at checkout to receive 50% off your first box.
Our experience: Packaging was, again, the key here. Being able to easily place a lid back on the fresh dog food when I didn’t need the whole bowl was convenient but didn’t take up an obnoxious amount of space. I also loved that the insulating liner was made with recycled bottles. They lost points because it was a little challenging to understand exactly how much food to give my pets, even with the feeding guidelines printed on the label.
What sets them apart:
- Food comes in compact yogurt-container type bowls with resealable lids—which made it easy to save the rest for later
- Feeding guidelines are printed on the label
- The insulation was made with recycled bottles and, depending on where you live, was recyclable
Available recipes: Braised Lamb (I could see quinoa in it!), Oven Roasted Turkey (hearty chunks of vegetables), Harvest Chicken, Farmhouse Beef
PetPlate’s fresh dog food comes in recyclable yogurt-container type of bowls with resealable lids.
Awesome for Allergies: Evermore
Price: $14 to $300 per week.
Evermore subscriptions come in a variety of sizes so that you can choose to feed it exclusively, or use as a meal supplement. Learn more through the link below.
Our experience: The packaging was compact and had serving sizes on the back of the boxes, and I liked that they used organic ingredients, but it was a bit of a hassle to find a ziplock bag when I didn’t need to use a full portion for a single meal and then try to stuff it back into the cardboard so I didn’t get the meals confused between dogs. Because they focus on organic ingredients, grass-fed meat, and avoid most problematic starches (even potato!) they’re our top choice for dogs with sensitive systems or food allergies.
What sets them apart:
- Compact packaging (slim cardboard boxes on the outside, vacuum-sealed plastic on the inside)
- Serving size is on the back of the box for convenient referencing
- Evermore avoids corn, soy, wheat, potatoes, white rice, and pasta (more of a limited-ingredient option than the others)
- They focus on grass-fed meats, organic pasture-raised eggs, organic vegetables, and all-USA ingredients
- Woman-owned small business
Available recipes: Lamb, Chicken, Turkey, Beef
Made with organic ingredients and grass-fed meat, Evermore is a great option for dogs with allergies since their food avoids most problematic starches.
Other Dog Food Subscription Services to Try
These subscription dog foods are not fresh dog meal kits but more like traditional kibble. The difference is that these companies offer customized meal plans, custom kibble, nutritional toppings, mix-ins, supplements and more, designed in consultation with dog nutritionists and veterinarians, that offer enough quality and variety we felt they were worth highlighting, too. Both of the brands below have never been recalled.
Infinitely Customizable: Hungry Bark
Price: From $13.59 for single bags of protein mix-ins to $199.22 for a four-week trial subscription.
Save 20% on your first trial subscription with the link below.
Our experience: Signing up for a subscription is easy and takes less than five minutes: Just share some information about your pet—dietary needs, sensitivities, lifestyle, etc.—and a subscription box will be recommended for you. This is great if you’re on the fence about how to start or which box to choose. The two-week taste test ($88.54, includes meal, supplement, and mix-in; 20% off the per-product price) is a simple way to safely gauge whether some version of this subscription is for you.
When my box was delivered and I cracked it open, the ingredients looked fresh and the packaging was appealingly clean. The mix-ins in particular were fragrant but not too stinky. Perhaps most importantly, according to Oso (my Border Collie/Husky taste-tester) who started salivating as soon as I opened the bag, it all was apparently delicious.
Oso preferred the Chicken Mix-In to the Beef Mix-In, and preferred the taste of the Move + Groove Hip + Joint Health Supplement to the Whole Health Multivitamin, but he wound up scarfing everything down. No complaints here.
The packaging is easy to seal and keeps your mix-ins and dry dog food fresh. Mix-in bags are resealable, and supplements are carefully packaged to avoid any contamination.
Only time will tell if the supplements are truly benefiting his overall health. But I can say he’s been perky with no digestive troubles since trialing his Healthy Bark goodies.
What sets them apart:
- I dote on my dog, but I’m not likely to hand-prepare a fancy meal for him (unless it’s his birthday). This subscription service struck a nice middle ground between a healthy pet store kibble and the more deluxe gourmet subscription services out there. My dog went wild for the mix-ins and supplements and it didn’t require any preparation on my end.
- Unlike other fresh food deliveries, you don’t need to make space in your fridge or freezer. The food and packaging is shelf-stable so you can store it wherever it’s convenient for you.
- Ultimately, it costs less that $7 per day for the entire subscription box, and that’s for mix-ins plus kibble plus a supplement to feed your dog this healthy fare. This is a great fit for someone who wants a lightly-personalized and high-quality subscription for their dog, but isn’t ready to sign up for the DIY, super-bespoke, fix-it-on-the-stovetop type meal delivery services.
Available recipes: The “Superfoods” meal formulas include Chicken, Turkey + Brown Rice; Turkey + Duck (Grain-Free); Lamb + Turkey (Grain-Free); and Salmon (Grain-Free). Additional add ons include a variety of supplements and meal mix-ins.
Hungry Bark is specifically formulated for your individual pet, and is shelf stable so you can store it where it’s convenient.
Reliable Quality: Jinx
Price: One-off bag sizes of 4, 10, 20, and 30 pounds (at $20, $40, $65, and $90 respectively). You can order the bags of kibble individually, but you save 5% for recurring orders. You can set your subscription to deliver every 3-8 weeks.
Save 40% off your first kibble subscription and 10% off all other purchases when you use the code “Rover” with the link below.
Our experience: The kibble was packaged in a standard bag and is shelf-stable. I loved opening the box it was delivered in, it had silly phrases like “If only dogs could create unboxing videos,” and the bag of food itself is packaged really well.
The ingredients are very clearly listed on the back, and the side panels contain nutritional information and transitioning guidelines.
The sign-up process was straightforward and quick, though I would have preferred more customization and guidance. The feeding guidelines provided are pretty standard compared to other kibble brands—e.g. your dog weighs 40 pounds so they should have 2.5 cups per day—and I was unsure how this translated into knowing what subscription cadence and size bag to order, or which recipe was best for my dog.
It’s difficult to tell if the food is made from the ingredients claimed (unlike the fresh frozen foods where you can see carrots, quinoa, etc) since it looks like normal kibble, but it seemed fresh and my dog scarfed down the Jinx food with no hesitation, and was excited when he heard the slightest bag crinkle. He didn’t seem to have any digestion issues.
What sets them apart:
- Jinx’s food is in a dry kibble form, and looks very similar to my dog’s current food (Taste of the Wild). I personally like this because it makes for much easier storage when I don’t have to worry about keeping it cool.
- I like the transparency into Jinx’s development process for their foods on their site, including their manufacturing standards, and how the recipes were formulated with scientists, veterinarians, and canine nutritionists.
- Jinx also provided two different treat flavors for Enzo to try, two chicken variations, one with sweet potato and one with mango. They seemed very high quality (my partner commented that they looked “fancy”) and my dog loved them. The mango version is a little smaller, on the site they say great for small dogs, but I liked them as training treats. The sweet potato version is about the size of a fig newton. Full disclosure: I tried both out of curiosity because none of the ingredients freaked me out, and they weren’t bad!
Available recipes: Salmon, Brown Rice and Sweet Potato; Chicken, Sweet Potato and Egg; Chicken, Brown Rice and Avocado
Jinx delivers dry kibble made with clean ingredients to your door.
Tasty Topper and Travel Snack: Portland Pet Food Company
Price: $6.99 per 9 ounce meal pouch. For a 12lb dog, being used as a topper, it runs about $45/month.
Save 25% off your first subscription box and 10% off every box after that when you order through the link below
Our experience: Our 18-year-old Dachshund had many ailments towards the end of her life, one being Irritable Bowel Disease, which required her to be on single-source protein foods that she quickly grew tired of. After finding the Salmon & Rice flavor of Portland Pet Food, we thought we’d give it a try, and she immediately loved it. We started with using it as a topper but shifted to feeding her just that food for meals. We felt at ease knowing she was enjoying her fresh food and was also getting the nutrients she needed to keep her going, especially towards the end. Now, we use a variety of flavors as a topper for our 2-year-old Boston Terrier and she loves it, too.
What sets them apart: Portland Pet Food Company’s human-grade, made-in-the-USA meal pouches are not intended to be full-on meal replacements; rather, these concentrated meal packs are designed as mixers, toppers, or soft treats for picky dogs and busy families to compliment and boost the nutrition of your dog’s regular kibble. They are shelf stable, travel well, and can substitute the occasional meal, which makes them a great option for a weekend away with your pup or as a treat to bring with you to the sitter’s.
We also liked that:
- Pouches do not need to be stored in the freezer, which is a huge perk!
- Recipes are single-source protein, which can be hard to find for dogs with food sensitivities, or IBS.
- Pouches are microwavable, which is an added bonus for picky eaters.
Available recipes: Rosie’s Beef N’ Rice, Wally’s Salmon N’ Rice, Tuxedo’s Chicken & Yams, Hopkins’ Pork N’ Potato Grain & Gluten-Free, Grandma Ada’s Turkey & Yams Grain & Gluten-Free
Portland Pet Food Company
Human grade mix-ins, meal toppers, and soft treats that add a tasty and nutritious kick to your dog’s regular kibble.
Dog vs Human Reviews
As all of the services reviewed here are human grade, we gave them the ultimate test: dogs and their humans trying each option out. Check out our video to see the reactions.
The Review Process
How we tested Spot & Tango, Jinx, Just Food for Dogs, Hungry Bark, and Portland Pet Food Company
Since originally publishing this article in August of 2018, a handful of new fresh dog food delivery and dog food subscription services came to market. These companies—Spot & Tango, Jinx, Just Food for Dogs, and Hungry Bark—were tested by various (and might we add, eager) Rover dogs in August 2020, as indicated in the individual reviews. Portland Pet Food Company was the most recent brand we tested, in April 2021.
How we tested Ollie and The Farmer’s Dog
We tested Ollie and The Farmer’s Dog twice; first in 2018, when former The Dog People blog editor Irene Keliher tested the first batch of foods on her dogs (both to positive reviews) and again in 2020, on two different Rover dogs. The reviews here reflect the updated 2020 reviews.
How we tested Nom Nom, PetPlate, A Pup Above, and Evermore
Former The Dog People blog editor Irene Keliher tested these foods on her two dogs, and shares the details below.
I have two dogs—one is 55 pounds and the other is 75 pounds. Both are mixed-breed rescues who have spent their whole lives eating natural brands of dry food. They’ve been on the same brand for the last three years or so, mostly because I’ve been too lazy to update our online subscription.
I recently had my pups try six different brands of fresh dog food and all the recipes they had to offer. Yes, my dogs were in heaven. Every brand had pros and cons, though my dogs had zero complaints about any of them, leaving me to do the hard work of choosing the top contenders.
In order to assess them, I kept notes on the brand’s packaging (everything from how easy it was to store to whether it was friendly to the planet), recipe choices, and the ease of the whole process. Because the brands were generous—and I’d signed up for them all at once—I was surprised at just how quickly my refrigerator and freezer filled up with dog food. I ended up pawning off some of the extras to my neighbors and Rover headquarters so that I could squeeze a couple of meals worth of my own human food in the fridge, too.
I also intended to keep track of which fresh dog food my dogs preferred, but they all seemed pretty equal in the eyes of my little piggies. Instead, you’ll see I made note of when the food seemed especially fresh or had interesting ingredients. PetPlate, for example, had a ton of quinoa in one of their recipes.
Since I was reviewing so many brands—and doing it over the course of just a couple of weeks—I didn’t try to track any changes in my dogs’ health, or test the nutrition claims some of the brands make. I can tell you that my dogs had some very healthy poops.
A Note on Pricing
You’re probably thinking, “sounds good, but how much does this cost?” The answer is: it varies.
The price ranges here were provided by the companies, but you can get your own personalized price by filling in your dog’s information on their sites. Costs vary based on your dog’s caloric needs (a four-pound dog eats a lot less than my 75 pound dog, obviously) and recipe selection. It also depends on whether you feed entirely fresh food or use these recipes to supplement your pet’s diet.
With some digging, we found that for a 15-lb. dog of normal activity level, average prices for a full fresh food diet ranged from $25/week to $33/week. For a 25-lb. dog of normal activity level, prices jump to anywhere from $34/week to $42/week. Again, it will vary based on your individual dog and preferences, so it’s worth going through a quick online quote to find out whether this fits in your budget.
Before Trying Fresh Dog Food
These super-healthy foods are better than most commercial pet foods, but any time you change your dog’s diet, it’s a good idea to go slowly. Transition them to the new food a little at a time. Be sure to talk to your vet, who can help guide you on any special needs your pet might have on a new diet.
A couple of other important considerations:
- Fresh dog food usually needs refrigeration—make sure you have adequate space to hold a week’s worth of food in your fridge or freezer.
- Consider whether you’re intending to feed your dog an entirely fresh-food diet, or just supplement their traditional food, which will determine what plan you sign up for and how frequently you need food delivered.