fbpx

The 8 Best Fresh Dog Food Brands For Ultra-Great Eats!

Dog Food Icon

Dog Food By Meg Marrs 24 min read January 4, 2024 3 Comments

K9 of Mine is reader-supported, which means we may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page. Here’s how it works.
best-fresh-dog-food

In people’s quest toward a fresher, less-processed diet, the trend has gone to the dogs — literally.

As pup parents, we always want what’s best for our doggos, especially when it comes to nutrition, so it’s no surprise that if we’re eating better, we want them to, too.

The fresh dog food movement has picked up steam in recent years, and there is now a healthy crop of options on the market, including personalized meals and cuisine cooked with human-grade ingredients. Let’s check out some of the best fresh dog food brands and learn more about this rising trend.

In a hurry? Check out our quick picks below if you just need a fast recommendation!

Quick Picks: Best Fresh Dog Food Brands

Best Overall Fresh Dog Food Brand Option
Most Affordable Fresh Dog Food Brand
Most Innovative Fresh Dog Food Brand
Most Convenient Fresh Dog Food Brand
Best Overall Fresh Dog Food Brand Option
Most Affordable Fresh Dog Food Brand
Most Innovative Fresh Dog Food Brand
Most Convenient Fresh Dog Food Brand

What Is “Fresh” Dog Food?

fresh food for dogs

As the name implies, fresh dog food is made “fresh” for your pooch, usually within a week of his dinnertime. 

This differs from most pre-packaged dry kibble and canned wet foods that are made months before they reach your pupper’s bowl. As a result, fresh dog foods contain few to no preservatives, and they are generally shipped more frequently than canned dog food or kibbles are, as they must be eaten within their limited shelf lives. 

The basic idea of fresh foods is, the less processed your dog’s dinner is, the better. And this means that a fresh diet may be the best dog food for your pet.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Fresh Dog Foods?

mixed breed dog eating

Fresh dog foods are no-doubt revolutionary in the canine nutrition arena, but they do present some benefits and drawbacks you should consider, such as:

Advantages

  • Minimally processed: A lack of additives is a major win for some, as more paw-rents are skeptical of synthetic chemicals like artificial flavors and colors appearing in some doggy diets, especially dry food options.
  • Customizable: Most fresh dog food services allow you to customize your dog food so your pup’s meal plan works perfectly for him, helping you avoid potential allergens, practice weight management, and switch things up as you please — a win for woofs with digestive issues or food restrictions. Some also let you tweak your pup’s personalized meals to his unique needs, like extra omega-3s for coat health or glucosamine for joint health.
  • Tasty: Most fresh dog food arrives in a mash of meat, veggies, and sometimes fruits, which can be too tempting even for the pickiest dog food pooches to ignore, unlike dry food that just isn’t as mouth-watering. 
  • Premium quality: Many fresh meals feature human-grade, natural ingredients, which is hard to find in other forms of Fido food.

Disadvantages

  • Expensive: There is no doubt about it — fresh dog foods are pricey (and the costs can become pretty astronomical if you’re feeding more than one dog).
  • Limited shelf life: It may not be an issue for some, but since most fresh foods lack preservatives, the food will spoil quickly if not eaten or frozen.
  • Requires refrigeration: Since they lack preservatives, fresh dog foods must be stored in either a refrigerator or freezer, depending on the variety. This can be a bit of an unexpected challenge for some owners, who’re used to just storing a bag of dry food in the pantry.
Picking the Best Dog Food for Your Pet

Whether you’re picking a fresh food or a conventional kibble, there are three things to keep in mind when picking a good dog food:

  1. The food should meet the AAFCO guidelines for your dog’s life stage.
  2. The food should get the green light from your vet.
  3. The food should address any specific health issues your dog has.

As long as you pick a food that satisfies these criteria, you’re essentially guaranteed to end up with a winning choice. But there are a few other things you can do to pick the very best possible food for your dog — check ’em out here.

The Best Fresh Dog Foods: Doggo Dinners That Look Like Yours!

Frenchie eating out of bowl

There are a ton of fresh dog food options currently on the market, which can make owners feel overwhelmed. But we’ve handpicked the top options available to make things easier.

 1. Ollie

Best Overall Fresh Dog Food
Ollie Fresh Dog Food
U.S.-made, custom-blended dog foods that are made with human-grade ingredients.
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 subscription-based fresh dog food manufacturer that delivers tasty, nutritious meals to your door on a pre-set schedule. The dog food is shipped frozen, allowing you to thaw according to your dog’s feeding needs.

Ollie 2

Features

  • Canine nutritionist-designed meal plans that are customized for your pup, taking into account his body condition, weight goals, allergies, and dietary preferences (making it ideal for dogs with digestive issues and pickier pups)
  • Can be fed as your pup’s only food source, as a dog food topper for conventional kibble, or as an occasional mix-in treat
  • Made in small batches with human-grade ingredients 
  • Prepared in the USA
  • The meals arrive in a plastic meal tray that includes a scoop for measuring out your four footer’s food
  • Want more info? Read our full hands-on Ollie review!
  • Don’t forget, you can get an exclusive 50% off discount as one of our readersjust use code K9OFMINE at checkout!

Ingredients List

Lamb, butternut squash, lamb liver, chickpeas, kale...,

rice, cranberries, green beans, potatoes, tricalcium phosphate, chia seeds, salmon oil, salt, zinc gluconate, taurine, vitamin e supplement, ferrous sulfate, calcium pantothenate, thiamine hydrochloride, manganese amino acid chelate, vitamin d3, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin b6), potassium iodide, folic acid.

Protein Content (for lamb): 11% min

Options

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Turkey 
  • Lamb

Pros

  • Extremely high-quality option, made with top-notch ingredients in USDA-approved kitchens
  • Provides owners with the chance to fine-tune their pup’s diet (making it excellent for dogs with food allergies and digestive issues)
  • Leftover storage is easy, thanks to the brand’s tray-like packaging
  • Most dogs love the taste of Ollie’s recipes

Cons

  • Like most other fresh dog foods, Ollie’s recipes are expensive (though mix-in options offer a cost-effective way to spruce up your dog’s traditional kibble)
  • You have to measure out each meal individually, which isn’t as convenient as single-serving packaging

2. A Pup Above

Best Slow-Cooked Fresh Dog Food
A Pup Above Fresh Food
Fresh, nutritionist-designed recipes that are cooked low and slow for maximum flavor.
Special Discount: Get $50 off with code K950 at checkout!
Buy Now Read Our Review

About: A Pup Above is a versatile provider of fresh dog food that offers a subscription-based service, an on-demand ordering option, and in-store availability at a limited number of stores.

A Pup Above is uniquely positioned among canine competitors in the fresh dog food space due to the fact that they cook their dog food using sous vide techniques, preserving the flavor of its natural ingredients.

A PUP ABOVE

Features:

  • All recipes are crafted by a veterinary nutritionist, balanced, and made with only USDA meats and pesticide-free vegetables
  • Prepared via a slow-cook method (sous-vide), which may preserve nutrients and almost certainly improves the dog foods’ flavor
  • Cooked in a USDA-approved facility  
  • The optional subscription-based plan lets you pick between feeding your dog 100% A Pup Above recipes or using a half-and-half approach by mixing in one of these recipes with your dog’s kibble
  • Includes savory bone broth for flavor and possible GI and joint health benefits
  • Arrive in 3-pound bags or 3 frozen 1-pound patties that can be dethawed as needed

Options:

  • Turkey Pawella
  • Porky’s Luau
  • Texas Beef Stew
  • Chicka Chicka Bow Wow

Ingredients List

Pork, Pork Liver, Sweet Potatoes, Pork Bone Broth, Green Beans...,

Pineapple, Turmeric, Thyme, Parsley, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Bicarbonate, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement.

Protein Content (Porky’s Luau): 19.81%

Pros

  • Most dogs seemed to really love the taste of these recipes
  • No subscription is required, which provides additional flexibility (and the chance to try a recipe before making a long-term commitment)
  • The recipes provide a ton of protein to your pooch
  • A great option for owners who want to use fresh dog food as a topper to improve the taste of their dog’s kibble

Cons

  • The packaging isn’t as convenient as some other fresh dog food options
  • A Pup Above doesn’t provide as many recipe options as some other fresh pupper food brands
Hands-On Experience with A Pup Above

We had the opportunity to try A Pup Above ourselves, so Remy was lucky enough to dig into a sampler pack.

It’s no surprise that Remy loved the food, and I even noticed his itching subsiding a bit (although it’s hard to say for sure that the food was what had an effect).

One particularly interesting thing I found was that, for me, the gross-out factor was much lower with A Pup Above than other dog foods – even other fresh ones.

The consistency of A Pup Above’s food was a bit more sturdy and retained its structure, not breaking up as much as other foods. I’m assuming this is due to the sous vide cooking, although it’s hard to say for sure.

In any case, and for whatever reason, I found it much easier for me to handle this fresh food without the ick factor – I even used my hands to stuff this food in a Kong toy!

pupabove5
PupAbove3
Want to Try A Pup Above Before Making a Long-Term Commitment?

You can try A Pup Above’s sampler pack for 50% off with code K950 for a no-commitment trial to see if your dog is a fan.

3. Nom Nom

Most Convenient Fresh Dog Food
Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food
Custom-formulated fresh foods, made with restaurant-quality ingredients.
Special Discount: New customers can get 50% off!
Buy Now (Get 50% Off) Read Our Review

About: Restaurant-quality ingredients and pre-portioned meals are hallmarks of Nom Nom, a fresh dog food delivery service.

And in addition to their impressive ingredient lists, Nom Nom makes it easy to serve up dinner, as there’s no need to measure — you can just pour the dog food into your pup’s bowl for him to enjoy.

NomNomNow Best Fresh Dog Food

Features:

  • Meals are catered to your dog’s individual needs, including factors like weight, age, and overall body condition
  • All formulas are crafted by a board-certified veterinarian and nutritionist
  • Ingredients are fit for human consumption
  • Fresh dog foods are prepared in one of two USA facilities and never mass-produced
  • Numerous meal plan options are available via this subscription service, including feeding solely Nom Nom, a mix of your pup’s food and Nom Nom, or Nom Nom as an occasional treat, allowing you to control cost (plus multi-pet discounts)

Ingredients List

Ground beef, russet potatoes, eggs, carrots, peas...,

dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, salt, natural flavor, citric acid, calcium carbonate, taurine, vinegar, fish oil, sunflower oil, choline bitartrate, water sufficient for processing, iron amino acid chelate, zinc gluconate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, niacin (vitamin B3), manganese gluconate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), potassium iodide, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement.

Protein Content: 10% Min

Options: 

  • Beef Mash
  • Turkey Fare
  • Chicken Cuisine
  • Pork Potluck

Pros

  • Hard to top the convenience of single-serve food packages
  • A number of discounts are available to help reduce the costs of these dog foods
  • Looks more like your food than most other options
  • Most dogs loved the taste

Cons

  • Not as customizable as some other fresh options
  • Single-serving packaging isn’t as eco-friendly as the packages some other fresh dog foods use
Need to Know More about Nom Nom?

Want more info about Nom Nom’s foods?

Get all the details by reading our full Nom Nom review!

4. JustFoodforDogs

Best No-Subscription-Required Fresh Dog Food
JustFoodForDogs
Fresh-frozen dog foods that are made in the USA and available without a subscription.
See on Just Food for Dogs

About: JustFoodforDogs is a premium pet food brand that offers several different types of dog food for Fido, including custom diets, veterinary support recipes, pantry fresh dog foods, DIY kits, and fresh frozen meals — the option we’re focusing on here.

Like all of JustFoodforDog’s recipes, their fresh frozen options are designed by a team of canine nutritionists, made with some of the best ingredients available, and prepared in the brand’s unique open-to-the-public kitchens.

That’s right — you can actually watch a culinary team prepare these dog foods in several U.S. cities.

Just Food for Dogs Chicken

Features:

  • The brand is a leader in empirical dog nutrition research, and they’re the only fresh dog food manufacturer that’s carried out systemic feeding trials on all of their daily canine recipes
  • Individual dog food packages are available via JustFoodforDogs retail establishments
  • Environmentally conscious shipping (they only ship full boxes to reduce the brand’s overall carbon footprint)
  • No preservatives are included in JustFoodforDog’s recipes
  • All dog foods are made in the USA, in brand-owned kitchens

Options:

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

Ingredients List

Chicken Thighs, Long-Grain White Rice, Enriched, Spinach, Carrots, Apples...,

Chicken Gizzards, Chicken Liver, Fish Oil, JustFoodForDogs Nutrient Blend.

Protein Content: 8%

Pros

  • Easy to try — there’s no need to sign up for recurring shipments or “subscribe” (though you can enroll in their auto-ship program if you like)
  • All of the brand’s (non-custom) recipes are backed by a 100% money-back guarantee.
  • Every recipe is made with premium, “human-grade” ingredients and designed by a team of canine nutritionists
  • You can choose from six different fresh frozen recipes, as well as a variety of other types of food

Cons

  • Presently, JustFoodforDogs doesn’t offer “variety packs” or any way to mix-and-match recipes
  • Full-box shipping is eco-friendly, but it imposes some minor quantity issues (you may have to order slightly more or less than you want at a time)

5. Pet Plate

Best Eco-Friendly Packaging in Fresh Dog Food
PetPlate
Custom-crafted fresh dog foods that are packed in reusable and recyclable containers.
Buy on Pet Plate

About: Pet Plate is another worthy fresh dog food option for owners seeking fresh, high-quality dog foods, shipped directly from their USDA-approved facilities.

These dog foods are made in small batches and flash-frozen to prevent spoiling during shipment. But once you’re ready to serve dinner, these foods defrost easily in the microwave for ready-to-eat meals.

Best fresh dog food Pet Plate

Features:

  • All of their fresh dog foods are designed by a veterinary nutritionist and made in the USA with human-grade ingredients
  • Your dog’s meal plan is structured based on his overall health and individual needs, including body condition and activity level to ensure he maintains a proper weight
  • All meals are sold as part of a subscription service
  • You can select a 100% Pet Plate feeding plan or a mix-in option (called the Topper Plan) that’s more affordable
  • All meals are delivered in 100% recyclable plastic containers

Options:

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

Ingredients List

Ground beef, sweet potatoes, potatoes, beef liver, carrots...,

apples, peas, pumpkin, dicalcium phosphate, natural flavor, safflower oil, calcium carbonate, salmon oil, minerals (ferrous fumarate, zinc oxide, manganese gluconate, magnesium oxide, potassium iodide, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], vitamin D3 supplement), mixed tocopherols (a natural preservative), taurine, salt.

Protein Content for Barkin Beef: 7.9% Min

Pros

  • Most pups went bonkers for the taste of these meals
  • Ground-up texture makes it hard for picky pooches to selectively avoid (often nutritious) ingredients
  • The Topper Plan provides owners with an affordable way to improve the taste and appeal of their dog’s dinner
  • Exotic protein offerings like venison ideal for doggos with meat allergies

Cons

  • You must sign up for a subscription to purchase these fresh dog foods
  • No dog food sample option available
  • Large storage containers will take up a significant amount of real estate in the fridge

6. Spot & Tango

Most Innovative Fresh Dog Food
Spot & Tango Unkibble

Made with human-grade ingredients and gently cooked, this is a tasty and affordable alternative to fresh dog food.

Special Discount: Get 50% off your first order when you use code K9OFMINE50
Buy Now (Get 50% Off)

About: Believing that “a happy and healthy life starts with good food,” Spot & Tango offers two different kinds of dog food, including one that’s pretty darn revolutionary. 

Spot & Tango Brand

But let’s start by looking at their flagship product line, which is comprised of fresh, ready-to-serve meals that are made with human-grade ingredients and shipped directly to your front door. These meals are crafted to suit your dog’s specific dietary needs by a team of veterinarians and animal nutritionists, and they’re made using some of the highest-quality ingredients available.

Spot & Tango’s other product line is known as Unkibble – the world’s only fresh dry dog food.  

In many ways, Unkibble is quite similar to the other fresh dog foods discussed here. It uses human-grade ingredients, it’s customized in several ways to suit your specific pooch, and it’s shipped right to your door.

But unlike most fresh options, this is a shelf-stable product – it doesn’t require refrigeration, and you can just store it in the bag right by your doggo’s food bowl (assuming he can be trusted not to help himself!).

Unkibble is gently dried at low temperatures to maintain maximum pooch appeal, and it has a very attractive price tag, which brings it within range of many owners who can’t quite afford fresh-frozen options. 

Features:

  • Spot & Tango offers two different types of dog food, including a fresh-frozen and fresh-dry option. Their fresh-frozen meals are exactly what you’d expect, but their fresh-dry dog food is the brand’s new take on kibble, which they call Unkibble.
  • Spot & Tango ingredient lists are some of the simplest ones around. Unlike some other dog foods, which are full of unfamiliar, strange-sounding ingredients, these recipes have only a handful of ingredients, like chicken, carrots, and quinoa.
  • Every recipe is suitable for dogs of all life stages, including large-breed dogs. Unlike some other foods, which are only suitable for dogs of a given age or size class, all Spot & Tango dog foods meet or exceed the AAFCO guidelines for all doggos. 
  • Spot & Tango recipes are made without any preservatives. Most typical fresh dog food is preservative-free, but Spot & Tango’s Unkibble line is also made without preservatives.
  • Spot & Tango’s fresh dog food can also be used as a topper. This is a great choice for owners who want the benefits of fresh dog food yet can’t quite afford to feed Fido fresh dog food exclusively (although owners in such circumstances should also consider Unkibble, as it is much more affordable than other fresh options).
Spot Tango Turkey 1
Spot & Tango’s Fresh
Spot Tango UnkibbleChicken
Spot & Tango’s Unkibble

Options:

  • Turkey & Red Quinoa (Fresh)
  • Beef & Millet (Fresh)
  • Lamb & Brown Rice (Fresh)
  • Cod & Salmon (Unkibble)
  • Beef & Barley (Unkibble)
  • Chicken & Brown Rice (Unkibble)

Protein Content: 13.69% (fresh Turkey & Red Quinoa Recipe)

Ingredients (Fresh Turkey & Red Quinoa Recipe):

Ingredients List

Turkey, Red Quinoa, Spinach, Carrots, Peas...,

Apple, Eggs, Parsely, Apple Cider Vinegar, Safflower Oil, Vegetable Stock, Vitamins & Minerals

Protein Content: 26.58% (Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe)

Ingredients (Unkibble Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe):

Ingredients List

Chicken, Brown Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Apples...,

Kale, Sunflower Seeds, Ginger Root, Kelp.

Get Your Discount!

Be sure to enter the code: K9OFMINE50 when checking out to earn special savings as a K9 of Mine reader!

Pros

  • Owners love these ingredient lists and appreciate being able to recognize just about everything on the list.
  • Spot & Tango’s Unkibble is a fresh food that’s available for about 40% less than traditional (fresh-frozen) meals, making it an excellent alternative for budget-minded owners.
  • Dogs appear to go ga-ga for the taste of Spot & Tango’s fresh-frozen and fresh-dry options. 

Cons

  • Spot & Tango offers slightly fewer recipe options than some competing brands.
  • Spot & Tango’s Unkibble has a slightly different texture and shape than traditional kibble, which – while very palate-pleasing for dogs – means that it doesn’t work well in all puzzle feeders.
Our Personal Experience with Spot & Tango

Remy and I were lucky enough to test out Spot & Tango ourselves.

Remy loved his fresh food, eagerly awaiting it every morning and evening. In fact, when it was near meal time, Remy would rush over to the fridge as soon as I opened it, eager for his tasty new noms!

At first, I was a little confused by Spot & Tango’s “dry fresh food” – Remy adored it though! While the dried fresh food didn’t have uniform shapes, making it incompatible with Remy’s favorite Bob-A-Lot puzzle feeder, it seemed to taste just as good as the wet fresh food since Remy had no qualms about gobbling it down.

Initially, I thought I wouldn’t be inclined to keep using Spot & Tango’s Unkibble, since it couldn’t fit properly in Remy’s puzzle feeder, which is how I would normally dispense kibble to Rem.

But I ended up finding that Spot & Tango’s Unkibble works fantastically as a training treat!

The difficulty with training treats is that dogs really like stinky treats. Freeze-dried treats work great, but they can be pricey. Spot & Tango’s Unkibble is more affordable than standard freeze-dried treats. Plus, since it’s designed to be a normal food, it contains fewer calories than a whole big helping of freeze-dried treats.

While we were out on walks practicing loose leash walking, Remy was very motivated by the Unkibble. He’s been making some really stellar progress since I started using Unkibble as a training treat. Plus, I don’t need to worry about how much I’m giving him on our training walks since it can easily be subtracted from his daily meal quota – definitely a big plus!

Unkibble
Spot & Tango’s “Unkibble”
Spot Tango Remy
“What’s that you got mum?”

7. The Farmer’s Dog

Best-Tasting Fresh Dog Food
The Farmer’s Dog
Custom-crafted fresh dog food that'll leave your dog lickin' his lips and begging for more.
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 subscription-based company that brings fresh dog food to your door in ready-to-serve, biodegradable pouches. Shunning artificial flavors and colors, this fresh find features pup perks like omega-3 fatty acids for skin and coat health.

Best of all, these pre-portioned meals are custom-crafted for your doggo to suit his specific, individual needs, leaving the guesswork out of things like allergy and weight management. This can be a real gamechanger if your floof suffers from health issues, food intolerances, and more.

farmers dog fresh food

Features:

  • Provides customized nutrition for your dog, based on his weight, activity level, snacking habits, pickiness, and potential allergies or sensitivities 
  • Each meal is made is a USDA-approved kitchen in the USA
  • These fresh meals are made with only human-grade food ingredients
  • Every recipe is veterinary nutritionist-approved to ensure your dog gets a complete diet
  • Shipped frozen to ensure safe delivery
  • Special discount available: get 50% off your first order!

Options:

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

Ingredients List

USDA Pork, sweet potato, potato, green beans, cauliflower...,

USDA pork liver, fish oil, Vitamins & minerals [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 Pork & Sweet Potato: 11% Min

Pros

  • Most dogs love the taste of Farmer’s Dog recipes
  • Quality of ingredients is next-level, as it features human-grade food items
  • Eco-friendly packaging is a big plus
  • Trial option allows you to try a small quantity before loading up your fridge

Cons

  • No grain-inclusive recipes offered
  • The portioning/serving process can be a bit messy
  • Difficult to find some info on the brand’s site without completing a full questionnaire
Hungry for More Info about the Farmer’s Dog?

Learn more about The Farmer’s Dog in our in-depth Farmer’s Dog review! Or, check out our side-by-side stack up comparing Ollie vs Farmer’s Dog vs Nom Nom!

8. FreshPet

Most Affordable Fresh Dog Food
Freshpet Nature’s Fresh
A high-quality fresh dog food that's much more affordable than some other options.
Buy on Amazon

About: FreshPet is a line of fresh dog food offered in most big-box and pet stores in the U.S.

But despite the fact that FreshPet meals contain fresh dog food, just like the other options we discuss here, they’re made in much larger batches. This means that you won’t be able to customize it to suit your canine (and any underlying food sensitivities and health issues,) but you won’t have to spend as much on fresh healthy dog food either.

With a wide assortment of flavors and formulas, including grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes, there’s a FreshPet for most doggos.

Features:

  • All recipes are made in USDA-approved facilities in the USA
  • Made with high-quality, preservative-free ingredients in formulas crafted by canine nutrition experts
  • Readily available in most grocery and pet stores
  • Offered in a variety of forms, including meat rolls, vacuum-sealed bagged meals, and single-serve containers
  • Online selector tool allows you to input your dog’s information, including weight, activity level, and dietary restrictions to best select the FreshPet food for him 

Options: FreshPet has several lines that cover a host of dietary concerns from limited-ingredient to grain-free. They offer most proteins as well, with the exception of pork.

  • FreshPet Select is the brand’s largest line, offering six protein combinations in roll form, four proteins in resealable bag form, and two single-serve stews (grain-free beef & pumpkin and grain-free chicken)
  • Vital is an all-natural variety designed to be as close to natural form as possible, with five protein combinations offered in roll form and three combinations available in resealable bagged form
  • Nature’s Fresh is a locally-sourced line that is GAP-certified, offering five roll formulas and two bagged chicken options (regular and small breed)
  • Deli Fresh is a Costco-exclusive brand of grain-free bagged chicken and a grain-free chicken roll
  • Homestyle Creations are the ultimate for shaking up mealtime — just pick a protein pack (chicken or beef) and a mixer (three fruit & veggie combos to choose from)

Ingredients List

Chicken, Carrots, Chicken Broth, Peas, Eggs...,

Chicken Liver, Brown Rice, Rice Bran, Carrageenan, Natural Flavors, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Celery Powder

Protein Content: 9% Min

Pros

  • Widespread availability (no need to wait for a delivery if you need food in a hurry)
  • Great assortment of flavors and textures
  • Resealable bags make storage easy
  • Much more affordable than other fresh options

Cons

  • Convenient, but not customizable
  • Not as universally loved by dogs as most other fresh dog food options

Want more foods like Freshpet?

Check out some of our other favorite dog food rolls!

Is Fresh Dog Food Safe?

the safety of fresh dog foods

With any new canine craze, it’s understandable (not to mention wise) to question its safety. The limited shelf life of fresh foods might give some owners pause, but fresh dog food is just as safe for your pooch as traditional kibble (provided that you practice good food safety and storage practices). 

Additionally, most fresh foods are typically designed by a veterinarian or canine nutritionist (or team thereof), ensuring a high-quality, well-rounded diet.

And in some cases, fresh dog food is made with human-grade ingredients in USDA-approved kitchens, which you could argue makes them even safer than regular dog chow.

Fresh Dog Food Delivery vs Buying In-Store: Which Option Is Better?

puppy on doorstep

Obtaining fresh dog food is easier than you’d think, as the market has grown significantly and there are now more options available than ever before.

In fact, you may be surprised to find fresh pet food readily available in the aisles of some pet stores. Some big box retailers offer fresh options as well. 

But for convenience’s sake, it’s often better to purchase fresh pet foods online.

Most brands offer customization options via their websites, you can sign up for automatic shipments, and some offer “subscribe and save” programs (which are especially helpful, given the higher cost of fresh foods). Plus, you don’t have to worry about running out to the store. 

Finally, fresh dog food manufacturers often ship their recipes in pre-portioned packages as well, which will make it much easier to serve up dinner to your hungry hound.

Does Your Dog Need Fresh Dog Food?

are fresh dog foods necessary

It’s worth noting that while many owners are making the switch to fresh dog food, kibble is still a solid option

Many fresh dog food companies rail against the dangers of meat meals and preservatives, but there’s always more to the story.

Properly identified meat meals like chicken meal or beef meal may sound not as appetizing as fresh, whole deboned meats, but meat meals actually provide more protein per unit of weight than deboned meats due to the large amount of water content found in whole meats.

And while preservatives sound like unnecessary chemicals, there are many completely safe and natural preservatives modern manufacturers use that help the dog food stay good for longer. In fact, you probably consume many of these natural preservatives on a daily basis.

Every kind of pet food has its own advocates, and marketing can be misleading. Ultimately, you’ll just need to discuss the issue with your vet and make the best decision you can for your pup.

However, there’s no denying that fresh dog foods often offer some significant health benefits when compared to conventional options, which have led some fans to claim them as the healthiest type of dog food available.

Additionally, it is important to provide your dog with a food that he enjoys, and there’s simply no comparison between fresh dog foods and kibble — the vast majority of dogs display a significant, obvious preference for fresh options.

What’s the Verdict? Do You NEED to Feed Your Dog a Fresh Food?

You don’t need to feed your dog a fresh option, but many owners note things like improvements in coat condition, stool consistency, and energy level, and almost all dogs will thank you for serving up tastier meals.

Best Fresh Dog Foods: FAQ

Golden retriever eating fresh dog food

Still have questions or concerns about the best fresh dog food companies? Browse the most commonly asked questions about fresh pet food companies and products, plus the corresponding answers!

What fresh food is best for dogs?

There is no blanket best fresh pet food option for dogs matching every mutt’s exact needs, but some fresh meals shine brighter than others, either by using human-grade, fresh ingredients, catering to pups with food sensitivities, or by having recipes formulated by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.

Overall, Ollie is a great pick if you’re seeking customizable fresh pet food containing human-grade, high-quality ingredients, The Farmer’s Dog is ideal if your pup is a picky eater, and Freshpet is an excellent affordable fresh option for dogs.

Is Freshpet healthy for dogs?

Yes, Freshpet is a healthy option for most dogs, provided a recipe meets your doggo’s lifestage, doesn’t contain any of your pup’s sensitivity triggers, and the right portion size is fed. They offer fresh meals made with high-quality ingredients prepared in a USDA-approved kitchen

While top-notch in many ways, Freshpet is lacking in a few areas compared to other fresh dog food companies. It isn’t as customizable as other fresh recipes, making navigating health conditions and avoiding allergy triggers harder. You’ll also have to portion your pup’s food, which isn’t as convenient and can lead to accidental under- or overfeeding your floof. Follow the manufacturer’s feeding guidelines to keep your canine’s weight in check.

As with any dog food, check with your vet before switching to Freshpet to ensure it’s the right fit for your dog’s unique dietary needs.

Do vets recommend kibble or fresh food?

Vets don’t have a one-size-fits-all view with dog food. Some vets advocate dry food while others are open to fresh recipes, provided they offer a balanced diet that helps your pup maintain a healthy weight and suits any health conditions your pooch may have.

Consult your vet if you’re considering a fresh food diet or other four-footed food change, as your pup’s vet knows his needs best and can help steer you to the right food for his age, health issues, and more.

Is Freshpet considered raw?

No, Freshpet is not a raw diet. All of the brand’s fresh food options are steam-cooked to temperature, which is important as raw foods can be dangerous for dogs. In fact, raw foods can be contaminated with things like E. coli or Salmonella.

Is fresh food better for a dog?

Fresh food isn’t necessarily better for dogs, but it has advantages worth considering over other types of food, like kibble and canned dog food. For one, unlike other types of food, fresh dog food is often made with human-grade ingredients. It’s sometimes designed by an animal nutritionist on staff, too, unlike a homemade dog food.

Fresh dog food recipes generally feature “human food” ingredients that your doggo may find irresistible, such as chunky meat, hearty carbohydrates, crisp vegetables, and sweet fruit. Even the pickiest pupperino may lick a bowl cleaning thinking they’re getting a meal of human food. Some brands also offer customizable food, making fresh meals ideal for doggos with digestive issues.

   

Fresh dog food can be a pricey investment, but many owners sing its praises. Have you tried fresh dog food for your bestest buddy? Have you tried any of the above? Which fresh pet food has worked best for your doggo?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

best canned dog food
Recommended For You

Best Wet Food for Dogs: Canine Canned Food!

Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

Dog

Join our pup pack!

Get tons of great dog training advice and tips about gear!

Mailbox

3 Comments

Leave a Comment

Name
Email Address
Comment
Mary Koss

You know precisely what you’re feeding your dog. Ingredients are minimally processed. Freshly prepared dog food is healthier for dogs and results in marked health improvements for many dogs.

Reply
Timbu

Hi Meg, Thank you for the article . What are your thoughts on Just Food for Dogs.

Reply
Ben Team

Hey, Timbu.
We’re actually fans of Just Food for Dogs. We’re adding their foods to our custom dog food round up article as we speak!

Reply

Also Worth Your Time