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Best Customized Dog Foods: 5 Picks for a Feeding Frenzy!

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Dog Food By Kelsey Leicht 21 min read January 19, 2024

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customized dog food

When it comes to canine health, nutrition is paramount. 

We all want to find the healthiest dog food for our pups, and narrowing it down to the right one is a process. From allergies to pickiness, you may encounter hiccups along the way.

Combined with concerns over controversial ingredients, these challenges are causing many owners to explore the world of customized dog foods

Let’s chow down on the facts surrounding tailor-made dog food, explore the best customized dog foods around, and see if it’s a good choice for you and your pooch.

Best Truly Customized Dog Food
Most Convenient Customized Dog Food
Best Customized Dog Food for Picky Pooches
Best Truly Customized Dog Food
Most Convenient Customized Dog Food
Best Customized Dog Food for Picky Pooches

Jump down to the reviews!

What Is Customized Dog Food? How Does It Work?

Dog receiving dog food

It sounds complicated, but customized dog food is a straightforward nourishment option. 

Rather than buying prepackaged, one-size-fits-all traditional kibble, customized dog food is made specifically for your dog and his individual needs

dog daddy offerings

The process varies by manufacturer, but generally, you input information about your dog, such as:

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Breed
  • Weight
  • Activity level
  • Appetite

Some manufacturers end it there, while others may additionally inquire about your dog’s:

  • Coat condition
  • Stool consistency
  • Allergies
  • Dietary restrictions
  • Protein preferences

The Advantages of Customized Pet Food

custom crafted dog foods

Feeding your pup customized dog food is beneficial for many reasons. Not only is it ideal for avoiding allergens, but it gives you control over what your dog is eating

For example, many mass-produced formulas contain low-value ingredients and questionable additives, two things that customized plans typically do not. Most custom pet foods utilize fresh ingredients and skip unnecessary additives (most require refrigeration, eliminating the need for artificial preservatives).

Customized pet food allows you to easily address issues such as dry skin, obesity, or loose stools without bouncing from formula to formula. Some owners even report a higher energy level after making the switch to a custom dog food.

Convenience is another perk, as custom dog food is typically sent by mail, eliminating the need to head to the store. This is especially ideal if you struggle with lugging heavy pet food bags around the store and then to and from the car.

However, the biggest advantage customized dog foods — particularly fresh options –offer may be exceedingly simple: They taste amazing.

In fact, when discussing the subject in a Washington Post interview, Carly Fox, senior veterinarian at Schwarzman Animal Medical Center NYC offered that:

“Palatability may be enough of a reason to justify the increased expense,”

And this is pretty obvious when you look at (or smell) these types of foods. They’re undeniably more appealing that standard-issue kibble.

The Disadvantages of Customized Dog Food

paying dog sitter

While customized pet food can be advantageous, it does have drawbacks. The main one is cost, as pricing is generally higher than most off-the-shelf options. This difference can be significant, as well, depending on the manufacturer. 

Another downside is availability, as most custom pet food is not readily available in stores. This can be an issue if your home supply is somehow compromised or lost. 

The 5 Best Customized Dog Food Options: Custom-Crafted Eats!

customized dog food

There are several brands of tailor-made dog food on the market. Let’s take an in-depth look at a few of the best customized dog foods available today to give you a better understanding of custom dog food. 

Each option gives you the ability to enter your dog’s information, so your results may vary from mine.

For each example, I input my 3-year-old spayed pit bull mix’s information. I’ve listed the customization questions and italicized the option I chose for your reference.

1. JustFoodForDogs

Best Truly Customized Dog Food
JustFoodForDogs
A premium manufacturer offering a litany of custom dog food options designed specifically for YOUR pet.
See on JustFoodForDogs

About: JustFoodForDogs markets a number of different fresh meals for dogs, including a variety of pre-formulated options (and unlike many other fresh food sellers, JustFoodForDogs does not require owners to sign up for a food subscription service). They also offer a few veterinary support formulas, which are designed to address health issues ranging from kidney problems to skin ailments.

But we’re including them here for one very important reason: They’re the only dog food manufacturer we’ve found that offers completely customized dog food options that are designed specifically for your individual pet.

Features: To obtain custom-blended dog food, you’ll start by filling out a questionnaire about your dog’s basic info, her current diet, and any health concerns she has. The JustFoodForDogs veterinary team will then review your information and contact you within 72 hours.

They will then recommend one of their existing recipes if appropriate for your pet and send you information about it you can share with your own vet. However, if their pre-designed recipes won’t suit your dog’s needs, they’ll formulate one for your pet from scratch.

To proceed, you’ll need to pay a $250 formulation fee and send in your dog’s veterinary records. At this point, a formulator will begin designing your food in consultation with you and your pet’s vet.

A few weeks later, the formulators will have designed your dog’s diet. You then have two different options: You can purchase the foods in prepared (frozen) form, or you can opt for the DIY approach. This means you’ll prepare your dog’s diet at home, but you’ll receive custom-prepared nutrient blends ($110 per month), which you’ll mix in with each meal.

That’s all there is to it! From this point forward, you can relax knowing that your precious pooch is enjoying a diet designed specifically for her – not other dogs kinda like her.

Core Recipe Options: JustFoodForDog’s custom recipes use their core recipes as a starting point. These include:

  • Chicken & White Rice
  • Beef & Russet Potato
  • Turkey & Whole Wheat Macaroni
  • Fish & Sweet Potato
  • Venison & Squash
  • Lamb & Brown Rice

Ingredients List

(Standard Chicken & White Rice Recipe) Chicken thighs, Long-grain enriched white rice, Spinach, Carrots, Apples...,

Chicken gizzards, Chicken liver, Icelandic premium fish oil, JustFoodForDogs Nutrient Blend

Protein Content: The protein content of their pre-formulated foods range from 7% to 11%, but your custom diet will have a protein level that’s designed specifically for your pet.

Price: JustFoodForDogs’ prices for pre-formulated foods start at $5.95 for an 18-ounce bag. However, custom-formulated foods will typically cost between $280 and $700 per month (and these costs may be considerably higher for large dogs), depending on the ingredients and quantities involved.

Pros

  • These recipes are made from supremely high-quality ingredients.
  • This is the only manufacturer we’re aware of that offers truly custom-formulated foods.
  • JustFoodForDogs also offers pre-formulated fresh-frozen and shelf-stable foods for owners who want a more affordable option.
  • No subscription is required to order these foods.

Cons

  • These foods are even more expensive than most custom options.
  • The custom formulation process takes some time.

 2. The Farmer’s Dog

Most Eco-Friendly Customized Dog Food
The Farmer’s Dog
A custom dog food manufacturer who makes premium foods and embraces environmentally friendly practices.
Special Discount: With K9 of Mine, you can get 50% off your first order!
Buy Now (Get 50% Off) Read Our Review

About: The Farmer’s Dog is a custom dog food provider who creates fresh, ready-to-serve meals for your dog and delivers them to your home.

After you answer a few questions about your pooch on their site, you’re offered a plan for your pup. They also have a trial option, which is nice if you’re up in the air about the idea still.

Features: The Farmer’s Dog only uses human-grade ingredients in their recipes, sourcing them from providers that meet USDA standards.

All formulas are designed by board-certified veterinary nutritionists to ensure completeness and meet AAFCO standards.

All meals are fresh and made without preservatives. They are frozen for shipment, allowing for safe travel to your door.

The food is a shredded, wet variety rather than dry kibble. It is a subscription-based service, keeping a steady stream of food coming as long as you schedule it.

Core Recipe Options: 

  • Turkey & parsnip
  • Beef & lentil
  • Pork & sweet potato

Ingredients List

USDA Beef, sweet potato, lentils, carrots, USDA beef liver...,

water, kale, sunflower seeds, fish oil, tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, vitamin B12 supplement, taurine, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, vitamin E supplement, copper amino acid chelate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid

Protein Content for Beef & Lentil Recipe: 11% min

Price: Using Maya’s information, the price came out to $64 per week or a little over $9 per day. Per the site, plans start at $2 per day, though this will vary by your dog’s dietary needs and size.

K9 of Mine Exclusive: Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer’s Dog – click here for the discount!

Customization Requirements:

  • Your email
  • Your name
  • Number of dogs
  • Dog(s) names
  • Zip code
  • Your opinion of fresh food
  • Dog’s age 
  • Dog’s sex (male, female, neutered, spayed
  • Dog’s weight 
  • Dog’s breed 
  • Dog’s body condition (too skinny, just right, rounded, chunky)
  • Dog’s activity level (not very active, active, very active, pro athlete)
  • Dog’s eating habits (very picky, can be picky, good eater, will eat anything)
  • Dog’s issues (has, doesn’t have) If you select has, it lists common health problems like allergies
  • Dog’s current food
  • Dog’s daily treat intake
  • If your dog eats a prescription diet
  • Protein selection (you can opt out of turkey, beef, or pork) 

Pros

  • The Farmer’s Dog considers more of your dog’s characteristics than many competing brands.
  • The pre-measured, ready-to-serve meals are incredibly convenient to feed. 
  • These meals take up less freezer space than some other options.
  • They use recycled shipping boxes, and their food bags and insulation are biodegradable.

Cons

  • This is one of the most expensive custom dog food brands around. 
  • Some owners complained that the bags caused a bit of a mess.
  • You have to sign up for a subscription plan to order these meals.
Want to learn more about The Farmer’s Dog?

K9 of Mine founder Megan Marrs tried out The Farmer’s Dog with her pooch, Remy. See how The Farmer’s Dog custom dog food worked for them!

farmers-dog-food-review

Remy actually started visibly drooling as I took photos of his dinner dish (something I’ve never seen him do before).

3. Nom Nom

Best Ingredient Sourcing In A Customized Dog Food
Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food
A custom-formulated, fresh-frozen dog food option made with only US-sourced ingredients for complete peace of mind.
Special Discount: New customers can get 50% off!
Buy Now (Get 50% Off) Read Our Review

About: Offering prepackaged, single-size meals, Nom Nom sources restaurant-quality ingredients to create fresh food for your pup.

The food is never frozen or produced on a mass scale, keeping freshness front and center. It’s a subscription-based service that delivers pre-portioned meals carefully measured just for your dog.

Features: Each Nom Nom formula was designed by a board-certified veterinarian and veterinary nutritionist. Every formula meets AAFCO standards, and all foods are prepared in Nom Nom facilities — never at a third-party location.

Compared to other customized plans, it isn’t as labor-intensive in the form of questions, but you do need to input your dog’s breed, weight, and body condition to ensure a proper feeding amount.

If you’re seeking a food made exactly for your dog’s skin conditioning and the like, this isn’t customized to that degree.

Core Recipe Options: 

  • Heartland Beef Mash
  • Tasty Turkey Fare
  • Chicken Chow-Wow
  • Porkalicious Potluck

Ingredients List

Ground turkey, eggs, brown rice, carrots, spinach...,

dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, fish oil, vinegar, citric acid, taurine, choline bitartrate, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), selenium yeast, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), potassium iodide.

Protein Content for Tasty Turkey Fare: 10% min

Price: Variable by dog. Two weeks of food came to $99.21 for Maya or just over $7 per day.

K9 of Mine Exclusive: Get 50% off your first order with Nom Nom – get this deal!

Customization Requirements: 

  • Dog’s name
  • Dog’s sex
  • Dog’s breed
  • Dog’s weight
  • Dog’s age
  • Dog’s body condition (underweight, ideal, overweight)
  • Select if you want to try one of the meals or mix and match
  • If you’re like full portions (for a complete fresh diet) or half portions for mixing in your current food

Want even more info? Read our full Nom Nom dog food review for all the details!

Pros

  • This is the only custom dog food we’re aware of that uses only US-sourced ingredients.
  • Many owners reported that the taste won over even picky eaters.
  • These meals are packaged in convenient, single-serving sizes.

Cons

  • Like most other custom options, Nom Nom is pretty expensive. 
  • Nom Nom’s questionnaire isn’t as detailed as many of the ones used by other brands.
Want to learn more about Nom Nom?

K9 of Mine contributor Kristin Hitchcock tried out Nom Nom with her pooch, Atlas. See how Nom Nom custom dog food worked for them!

Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food

Atlas acted like it was the best thing he ever smelled. 

4. Ollie

Most Convenient Customized Dog Food
Ollie
A fantastic human-grade dog food that comes with a free personalized storage container making it easy to deal with leftovers.
Special Discount: We've cut a deal with Ollie -- new customers can get 50% off!
Buy Now (Get 50% Off) Read Our Review

About: Ollie is a shining star in the customized dog food circuit for a reason: It portions out your dog’s food to fit his dietary needs exactly, keeping him at a healthy weight based on his activity level, age, and other factors.

It’s a subscription-based service that provides frozen food on a regular basis that can be thawed according to your feeding schedule.

Features: Ollie’s in-depth profile questions get to the bone of your dog’s needs and make sure he’s taken care of. Once a plan is configured based on your answers, you can choose the protein source of your choice, as well as the portion size you would like.

This is divided into feeding your dog:

  • A 100% Ollie diet
  • A mostly Ollie diet with a bit of your regular food
  • A small amount of an Ollie diet with mostly your food

Every formula is vet-designed, ensuring that your dog receives a well-rounded diet. It’s human-grade dog food made with no fillers or artificial flavors; just giving your dog good, wholesome food, aka the good stuff.

Core Recipe Options: 

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Turkey

Ingredients List

Turkey breast, kale, lentils, carrots, coconut oil...,

, turkey liver, blueberries, pumpkin, dicalcium phosphate, chia seeds, iodized salt, calcium carbonate, cod liver oil, zinc gluconate, iron sulfate, choline bitartrate, manganese gluconate, manganese sulfate, copper gluconate, vitamin E supplement, thiamin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), potassium iodate

Protein Content for turkey variety:

Price: Varies by dog. Based on feeding Maya a 100% Ollie turkey diet, my total came to $45.99 a week or $6.57 a day.

K9 of Mine Exclusive: New members can get 50% off thanks to our unique partnership with Ollie!

Customization Requirements: 

  • Your first and last name
  • Email
  • Your dog’s name
  • Your dog’s sex
  • Your dog’s breed
  • Your dog’s age
  • Your dog’s weight
  • Your dog’s ideal weight (optional, and should only be input if you have one from your vet)
  • If your dog is spayed or neutered
  • Your dog’s body condition (lean, ideal, round)
  • Your dog’s activity level (not so active, pretty active, hyper) 
  • Your dog’s current diet (dry food, wet food, raw food, freeze-dried, home-cooked, fresh food)
  • Your dog’s allergies

Pros

  • One of the few custom dog foods to offer a transition plan for switching to this diet.
  • These recipes include organ meats as well as more typical proteins, making it nutritious (and great for picky eaters).
  • When you order Ollie, you’ll get a free, personalized scoop and storage container that’s perfect for storing leftovers.  

Cons

  • Only two of their four recipes are grain-inclusive; most of their offerings are grain-free.
  • Ollie is at the higher end of the custom food price spectrum.
Want to learn more about Ollie?

K9 of Mine founder Megan Marrs tried out Ollie with her pooch, Remy. See how Ollie’s custom dog food worked for them!

Ollie Food Block

Remy definitely loved his fresh food experience with Ollie! In fact, he might have liked it a little too much.

5. Pet Plate

Best Customizedme Food For Picky Pooches
Pet Plate
Kettle-cooked recipes for a taste dogs love, Pet Plate is available as a standalone food or a topper you can add to your dog's kibble.
Buy on Pet Plate

About: Pet Plate is a custom dog food delivery service that brings your pup fresh, human-grade food free of icky byproducts and artificial ingredients.

Delivered in pre-portioned containers, this subscription-based service keeps the mess contained and doesn’t keep you guessing about meal size.

Features: Pet Plate is made using only USDA-approved meats, fruits, and vegetables, and its prep facilities also pass the sniff test with the USDA. The brand also uses really convenient packaging, which is a plus for busy pet parents.

Every batch is tested to ensure safety and flash freezing makes delivering it to your home without spoiling simple. 

The diet is designed by a trained veterinarian who specializes in nutrition, so you don’t have to worry about the soundness of the formula.

Simply enter your pup’s information, and Pet Plate will calculate his dietary needs in a flash.

Core Recipe Options: 

  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Venison

Ingredients List

Ground turkey, brown rice, turkey liver, carrots, apples...,

pumpkin, natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, salmon oil, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, salt, vitamins and minerals (taurine, vitamin E, zinc oxide, ferrous fumarate, copper gluconate, sodium selenite, manganese gluconate, potassium iodide, vitamin D3)

Protein Content for turkey variety: 8.1% min

Price: Varies, but Maya’s came to $9 per day.

K9 of Mine Exclusive: We’ve partnered with Pet Plate to get K9 of Mine readers 30% off their first order of Pet Plate!

Customization Requirements: 

  • Dog’s name
  • Dog’s sex
  • Dog’s spayed/neutered status
  • Dog’s breed
  • Dog’s age
  • Dog’s weight
  • Dog’s ideal weight (this is optional, and it should only be entered if you have a figure from your vet)
  • Dog’s activity level (daily walks, very active, Olympian)
  • Dog’s body condition (very thin, underweight, ideal, overweight, bootylicious)
  • Preferred protein (beef, turkey, chicken, lamb)
  • Your email

Pros

  • This appears to be one of the best-tasting custom dog foods on the market.
  • Pet Plate incorporates several eco-friendly practices, such as their “Better Chicken Commitment” and the use of recyclable packages.
  • Pet Plate offers a topper option, which is great for improving the taste of your dog’s existing kibble (and fantastic for picky eaters).
  • Novel protein options suit mutts with meat allergies.

Cons

  • These foods have slightly lower protein content than many similar options.
  • These meals are packaged in relatively large tubs, which presents serving and storage headaches.

Feeling Confused? There are several great fresh dog food options on the market, but understanding the pros and cons of each can be overwhelming! Check out our full review comparing Ollie vs Nom Nom vs Farmer’s Dog to get a better understanding of the differences between these fresh food picks!

How to Order a Customized Dog Food

Ordering a custom dog food is a bit different than simply picking up a bag of kibble. But don’t worry — it’s not difficult, either.

In short, you’ll want to:

  1. Sort through the available brands and pick the one you feel best about.
  2. Jot down a list of your dog’s key metrics. This should include everything from his birthday and body weight to potential allergy triggers and protein preferences.
  3. Visit your chosen brand’s site and click on the “enroll” or “get started” button (it may be called different things on different sites).
  4. Fill out all of the information and answer all of the questions you can. Most also have a place to add any other important information about your pet.
  5. Make your payment and wait for the food to arrive!

Just remember that when the food arrives, you don’t want to switch abruptly. Start by mixing in a little of the new food with your pup’s current food. Adjust the ratio with each passing day until you’re eventually (about one week later) feeding your dog only the new food.

Can You Get Customized Dog Food For Allergies?

Itchy Skin in Dogs

If your pup is allergy-prone, custom dog foods offer a wonderful way to avoid potential issues.

For example, chicken is a common food allergy in dogs but sometimes appears far down the ingredient list on other protein varieties of generic food, which can trigger a flare. Likewise, some dogs are sensitive to dyes. By choosing a customized dog food, you can skip these risks entirely. 

Customized dog food also makes following an elimination diet a breeze. For those who don’t know, an elimination diet slowly eliminates potential triggers from a dog’s diet to find the cause of various issues.

Using a custom dog food service helps you maintain absolute control of the process, and not to mention makes it a lot easier than reading ingredient lists in the dog food aisle.

A Buyer’s Guide: Picking the Best Customized Dog Food for Your Pet

choose a dog food

No matter which custom recipe you select, it’s important that dog owners pick a food that meets three key criteria:

  1. The food should meet the AAFCO guidelines for your pet’s life stage. Simply put, if your dog is a mature adult, you want to pick a food designed for the nutritional needs of adults. And the same would be true of puppies or dogs who are pregnant or have recently given birth.
  2. The food should address any specific health issues your pet suffers from. Some foods are designed to address specific health ailments, including food allergies, food sensitivities, and joint problems, among others. Just be sure that the manufacturer is aware of any health problems your pet has, so they can craft a food that’ll help.
  3. The food should get your vet’s seal of approval. Your vet knows your pup’s health best, so it is always a good idea to check in with him or her when changing your pet’s food.

Now, by selecting a custom food from a high-quality manufacturer, you shouldn’t have to worry much about the first two criteria; they should be automatically covered by the brand. However, do make sure that you touch base with your vet and get his or her opinion on the matter.

Don’t Forget: Always transition from your dog’s old food to a new food slowly. This will help prevent the new food from causing digestive issues.

Common Customized Dog Food Questions: FAQ

Best Dog Food for French Bulldogs

Still have some questions about custom dog foods? We’ve rounded up some of the most common queries dog owners have and answered them below!

Is custom dog food worth it?

Let’s be clear: Custom dog foods are not strictly necessary for every dog. In some cases, the benefits may not outweigh the increased food costs associated with these foods.

All of that said, dogs who’re picky, battle food allergies, or suffer from any number of health issues may derive significant benefits from custom dog food. It can be life-changing in some cases.

The bottom line is that if your dog has unusual food requirements of any type, it’s worth it to at least consider opting for a custom food.

Is custom dog food expensive?

Because they require some degree of additional labor to formulate and (occasionally) more expensive ingredients, custom dog foods are generally more expensive than mass-produced foods.

However, they don’t always cost much more than comparable products that haven’t been customized.

Do vets recommend custom dog foods?

Veterinarians aren’t a monolithic group, so there aren’t many things they all recommend.

However, many veterinarians do, in fact, recommend custom dog foods for some dogs.

Can’t I just make my dog a homemade dog food instead of ordering a custom food?

You can, but that doesn’t mean you should. Most high-quality custom dog foods are formulated by veterinarians or canine nutritionists. These professionals have the knowledge and skill to avoid the (potentially life-threatening) imbalances that often occur in homemade dog foods.

Additionally, you’ll have to be sure to avoid using any human foods that will sicken your pet. Incorporate the wrong human food (looking at you xylitol), and you could end up with an emergency on your hands.

Simply put, homemade food will likely cause your canine problems.

Is a custom dog food better than a raw food diet?

Because custom dog foods usually incorporate cooked proteins, they are much safer than raw food diets, which can sicken you, your dog, and the other members of your family.

And if you’re worried about taste, just focus on manufacturers who use gently cooked proteins. Gently cooked proteins are safe, but they tend to retain a taste dogs love.

Can custom dog foods eliminate digestive issues?

In many cases, custom foods do help address digestive issues in dogs. They can do so in a number of ways, but the primary way in which they do is by simply skipping ingredients that cause your dog problems.

However, it is always wise to discuss your dog’s digestive issues with your vet before changing foods.

Are custom dog diets made with human foods?

Custom dog foods differ in many ways, but many are made from foods that are fit for human consumption.

However, this is not universal. If you’d like to stick to dog foods that use human foods, check out our article about human-grade dog foods.

   

Custom dog food is a solid option to consider, whether you’re looking for a more nutrient-dense diet for your pup or seeking something that addresses his individual needs.

Have you tried any of these? Does your doggo have health issues that require a custom diet? Has the food helped improve your dog’s health? Have you used another one of the food delivery services on the market?

Tell us in the comments, pet parents! We’d love to hear!

best human grade dog food
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Written by

Kelsey Leicht

Kelsey is a lover of words and woofs. She worked hands-on with dogs for several years at a boarding kennel as a shift runner and office manager before venturing into the world of writing. She lives in New Jersey with her crew of crazy canines.

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