Fresh Dog Food: A Review of Refrigerated Dog Food Sold in Stores

WDJ's first look at fresh, cooked commercial dog food diets.

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Today, more and more passionate, educated, dog-loving entrepreneurs are turning their attention to improving the health of their dogs and innovating new ways to feed quality dog foods. As they do, it’s getting more and more difficult to slot the resulting products into categories for review.

This is just one of the reasons we’ve never before reviewed dog foods in this category – for short, we’ll call it “fresh cooked foods.” When you start drilling down into how all these products are made, there is so much variety that the category really should be considered as a group with several sub-categories. Some of the products are essentially pureed; others look more like a meatloaf before it’s cooked, complete with chunks of vegetables mixed in; still others present more like those non-refrigerated preserved foods that are sold in plastic tubes, something that looks like a cross between a roll of salami and a tube of liverwurst.

Another big reason for our hesitation: For some years after the first product of this type came on the market, it was the only product in the category, and we weren’t big fans of its ingredients.

freshpet dog food

Also, other products came into the group and didn’t last; we’re thinking here of several companies who sent us samples of foods they made and “canned” in the old-fashioned sense of the word – cooked in glass jars, like your grandmother “puts up” plum jam or stewed tomatoes. It just didn’t seem scalable, and apparently wasn’t (since they are no longer in business).

Cooked Dog Food, Fed Fresh

But let’s focus on the things that these products (mostly) do have in common:

1. All of them have a high meat content – and most of them claim to use meats and perhaps other ingredients that are graded for human consumption. To fully understand these claims, see “What’s Human Quality?” below.

evermore pet food

2. All of them use “fresh” meats; this includes meat that has been frozen to preserve freshness. In other words, none of the meats used were previously cooked before mixing at the point of manufacture.

3. All of the products are cooked – at varying temperatures and with various methods, but they have all been heated to the point that any pathogenic bacteria that may have been present on any ingredient should have been rendered harmless.

freshpet vital dog food

4. Most of them don’t contain preservatives. If it is formulated with fresh ingredients, cooked, immediately chilled or frozen, and shipped in an appropriate cold-shipping container, kept in a refrigerator, and fed promptly after opening, the food shouldn’t need preservatives.

5. All (save one, Freshpet) are available on a subscription basis for direct delivery to your door. (Freshpet is the only product sold in supermarkets; it’s also sold in pet supply stores.)

just food for dogs

What Is “Human Quality” Dog Food?

just food for dogs

When discussing their ingredients, many pet food companies use the phrase “human grade.” You have to understand that this is not a legal term, and its misuse probably causes more confusion – some of it intentional – than any other phrase used in the pet food industry.

The legal term for what an ordinary person would think of as “human food” is “edible” – but usually, only food-industry people are familiar with this term. So, in an effort to communicate the quality of their ingredients to consumers, manufacturers of products who use truly edible ingredients will often use some variation of “human grade,” such as “human quality” or “fit for humans.”

lucky dog cuisine

Understand this, though: If the company makes its product in a manufacturing plant that is not USDA-inspected and -approved for the manufacture of edible products, or that manufacturing facility contains even one ingredient that is not edible, then legally, it cannot claim that its products contain either “human grade” or edible ingredients. By law, an edible ingredient is one that has never departed from the custody of USDA-inspected and -approved food growers and processors.

Only those companies whose products were made at a USDA-inspected and -approved kitchen (which are not permitted to contain even one “feed grade” ingredient) can claim that they use edible or human-grade ingredients.

nomnomnow dog food

There are pet food companies who really do buy edible ingredients but don’t make their products in USDA kitchens – and believe me when I say they can be very creative when trying to find phrases that convey the quality of their ingredients without running afoul of state feed control officials (this is who is responsible for surveillance and enforcement of feed labeling laws). The problem for consumers is that there are also pet food companies who likewise use creative language to suggest that their products are made with edible ingredients, when in fact they don’t. Like, not at all.

Moral of the story? If you want to be as certain as one can be that your dog’s food is made with edible ingredients, look for a product made in a USDA-inspected and -approved kitchen. The only other option is to personally know the company’s owners and/or operators, visit the manufacturing site frequently, and inspect the ingredients yourself. There may be a few of you who are able to do all that!

PRODUCT VARIETIES NUTRITION RANGES TYPICAL INGREDIENTS NOTES
EVERMORE PET FOOD
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 596-6788
Four recipes, two grain-free (oats and barley, representing no more than 5% of the formulas with them). All foods formulated for adult maintenance only. Protein: Min. 11.5% – 13.3%
Fat: Min. 5.6% – 11%
Moisture: 69.9% – 74.6%
Turkey recipe: Turkey breast and leg meat, turkey hearts, eggs, organic butternut squash, org. carrots, turkey livers, org. kale, org. apples, org. dandelion greens, org. cranberries, org. parsley,  MSC-certified wild Alaskan red pollock oil, org. kelp, org. pumpkin seeds, org. alfalfa,  GMO-free high-linoleic safflower oil, org. kelp, eggshell calcium, zinc amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate. Founded in 2009. Foods are mixed, vacuum-sealed and cooked in BPA-free packaging, then frozen, and direct-shipped. Food is made in a USDA (human foods) facility in California. Lamb and beef used in recipes is grass-fed; chicken and turkey is certified as “Step 3” and beef is “Step 4” by Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating. Wild Alaskan red pollock oil is Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) -certified sustainable seafood. All produce is certified organic except for wild blueberries. Only a few minerals are added to make formulas complete and balanced. Woman-owned, no outside investment capital used for growth, so founders control all aspects of company.

We’ll just say it: We love this company’s products.

FRESHPET
Secaucus, NJ
(866) 789-3737
Company offers 22 pet food “rolls,” 13 of them grain-free (GF), and 10 bagged products, 6 GF. Products sold in four lines: Freshpet Select, Deli Fresh, Nature’s Fresh, and Vital. All products are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages. Protein: Min. 9% -19%
Fat: Min. 6% – 10% Moisture: Rolls contain
76% – 78%
Bags contain
63% – 66%
Freshpet Vital Chicken Recipe: Chicken, sweet potato, carrots, pea protein, ground oats, natural flavors, green beans, cranberries, vinegar, carrageenan, cassia, salt, potassium chloride, minerals, vitamins, spinach. The company had a powerful advantage when founded in 2006, with Tyson Foods as a minority investment partner. In 2014, the company raised more than $150 million in an initial public offering. Sold in more than 14,000 retail stores (grocery and pet supply). Made in Bethlehem, PA. Chicken or beef is first ingredient in each product. Steamed “at low temperatures,” then vacuum-sealed and refrigerated, never frozen. Chicken used in recipes is certified as “Step 2” and turkey as “Step 1” by Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating.

“Best by” dates seem extraordinarily long for unpreserved product; we purchased foods with dates that were more than 8 weeks from our date of purchase.

JUST FOOD FOR DOGS
Los Alamitos, CA
(949) 722-3647
JFFD offers six “daily” recipes, five of them gluten-free and three of them grain-free; additional recipes are offered seasonally. Eight other recipes are formulated to help dogs with specific health problems. Four of the daily recipes are formulated for adult maintenance, two for dogs of all life stages. Company also offers fresh food prescription diets. Protein: Min. 7.5% – 11.5%
Fat: Min. 2% – 7.5%
Moisture: 69% – 80%
JFFD Beef & Russet Potato: Ground beef, russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots, safflower oil, beef liver, green peas, apples, Icelandic fish oil, JFFD vitamin/mineral mix. Founded in 2010, backed by venture capital firm L Catterton. Formulas were developed by a team that included veterinarians and animal nutrition experts. Products are prepared in all 12 retail locations, where you can watch the food being made – and purchase that fresh product on the spot. Company also offers delivery from its southern California locations and nationwide shipping. All manufacturing facilities are USDA kitchens. Products are shipped frozen. Company says food stays fresh up to 12 months in the freezer and for 3-6 days in the refrigerator after thawing and opening. Products are “complete and balanced” by virtue of AAFCO feeding trials (and the AAFCO “family” rule, which states that products that are nutritionally similar to the product that went through an AAFCO feeding trial can also use the “feeding trial” claim). In May 2018, JFFD announced a new partnership with Petco; they plan to build JFFD-branded kitchens in some of its stores too. JFFD also has USDA-approved kitchens in Pet Food Express stores in California.
LUCK DOG CUISINE
Hardeeville, SC
(800) 530-5305
Seven recipes, five of them gluten-free and two of them grain-free. All are formulated for dogs of all life stages. Each contains a single animal protein source. Protein: Min. 7.8% – 11.6%
Fat: Min. 2.1% – 6.7%
Moisture: 70% – 77%
Beef & Rice: Grass-fed beef, brown rice, ricotta cheese, beef heart, beef liver, carrots, peas, green beans, tomatoes, apples, blueberries, organic flaxseed meal, extra virgin olive oil, basil, organic kelp, vitamins/minerals. Founded in 2008. Made in South Carolina. Family-owned, self-funded business recently opened a Canadian office (in Toronto). Company says food stays fresh after thawing and opening for a week in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer. Company says beef used in its recipes is humanely raised and grass fed; no certifications or info about source, however. Very helpful descriptions of each product and how it differs from the others; helps owners determine which might be best for their dogs.
NOMNOMNOW
Oakland, CA
(415) 991-0669
Five recipes, all of them grain- and gluten-free. Four recipes are formulated for dogs of all life stages; one (egg & veggie) is for adult maintenance only. Protein: Min. 6.5% – 11.5%
Fat: Min. 3.5% – 8%
Moisture: 70% – 76%
Tasty Turkey: Ground turkey, eggs, brown rice, carrots, spinach, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, fish oil, vinegar, citric acid, taurine, and more vitamins and minerals. Founded in 2015. All recipes formulated by veterinarian who is also a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. Food made in Pittsburg, CA, and direct-shipped to your door. Each meal is custom-portioned for your dog in its own single-serving bag. Company says foods stay fresh for 8 days in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer. In 2018, the company received more than $10 million in venture capital funding, adding to $3 million it had received previously.
OLLIE
New York, NY
(844) 886-5543
Four formulas, all of them grain-free, and all formulated for dogs of all life stages. Each is formulated with a single animal protein source. Protein: Min. 10% – 12%
Fat: Min. 5% – 10%
Moisture: 68% – 75%
Chicken Goodness: Chicken, chicken gizzard, carrot, green peas, chicken liver, chia seed, long grain rice, spinach, potato, egg, blueberries, sunflower oil, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, fish oil, iodized salt, cod liver oil, zinc gluconate, basil, rosemary, vitamin E, pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), riboflavin (Vitamin B2). Founded in 2016. Food is made in New Jersey in a USDA  kitchen. Only the vitamins and minerals needed to make the food “complete and balanced” are added; no blanket vitamin/mineral premix is used. After cooking, it is chilled and custom-portioned into trays for your dog, which are then sealed with modified-atmosphere packaging and direct-shipped to you; the product may arrive chilled or frozen. Company says the food will stay fresh in the sealed containers for 14 days or 5 days after opening (company provides a reusable lid to use on open trays). Owners use a measuring scoop (provided) to provide dog with appropriate amount. Company received more than $4 million in venture capital in 2016 and more than $12 million in 2017.
PETPLATE
New York, NY
(855) 981-6109
Four formulas, all of them grain-free, all formulated for dogs of all life stages. Each is formulated with a single animal protein source. Protein: Min. 10.8% – 12.5%
Fat: Min. 4.2% – 6.4%
Moisture: 68% -74%
Harvest Chicken: Chicken, sweet potatoes, chicken liver, broccoli, apples, butternut squash, dicalcium phosphate, salmon fish oil, calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, parsley, zinc, iron, copper, iodine, manganese, vitamin D3, vitamin E. Company founded in 2016. Food made in a human food (USDA) facility in New York. Formulas developed by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist (DACVN); only the vitamins and minerals needed to make the food complete and balanced are added; no blanket vitamin/mineral premix is used. Company says the food will stay fresh in the sealed containers for 10 days, or 3-4 days after opening. Containers can be frozen for up to 18 months. Company offers money-back guarantee if your dog does not like the food. PetPlate recently received $4 million in investment capital.
RAISED RIGHT
Raised Right Pets, LP
Rye, NY
(844) 777-3871 ext. 700
Four grain-free formulas, two formulated for puppies (which can be fed to dogs of all life stages), and two formulated for
adult maintenance.
Protein: Min. 19% – 21%
Fat: Min. 8% – 9%
Moisture: 63% – 68%
Adult Dog Chicken
contains: Chicken thigh, chicken heart, chicken liver, carrots, peas, cranberries,
organic spearmint, cod liver oil, egg shell powder, organic kelp powder.
Company founded in March 2018. Food made in a USDA-approved kitchen in Nebraska and is sold by subscription and direct-shipped to 28 states (there is a current list on the website), as well as sold in some independent pet specialty stores. Company is family-owned and self-funded. Diets formulated by Steve Brown and Dr. Karen Becker. Each batch of food is tested for salmonella, listeria, and E. coli by an independent lab before it is released for sale. Note that these diets are higher in protein and fat, and lower in moisture than many of the other products in this table.
THE FARMER’S DOG
Brooklyn, NY
(646) 780-7957
Three grain-free formulas, formulated for dogs of all life stages. Protein: Min. 9% – 11%
Fat: Min. 5% – 8%
Moisture: 66% – 72%
Turkey & Parsnip contains: Turkey, parsnips, chickpeas, carrot, broccoli, spinach, tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, fish oil, vitamin B12, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, vitamin E, copper amino acid chelate, thiamine mononitrate, sodium selenite, riboflavin, potassium iodide, vitamin D3, folic acid. Company founded in 2015. Food seems to be made in New York and is direct-shipped. Pet peeve: no phone number or even email address listed on website. Company claims “Human-grade USDA ingredients mean less processing, natural nutrients, and higher safety standards,” but nowhere does the site say where the food is made, or whether it is made in a USDA-approved kitchen (which would confirm whether the ingredients can accurately be called “human-grade”). Product is made fresh and “delivered to you within days of cooking,” chilled, never deep frozen. Each recipe is customized for your dog’s needs and labeled with his or her name. Company received more than $10 million in venture capital in 2017.

Fresh Dog Food: WDJ’s Usual Food Selection Criteria Apply

ollie fresh dog food

There are certain things we always look for in a wholesome and superior diet for our dogs, no matter what type. Virtually all of the manufacturers offering products in this category use ingredients that meet our usual selection criteria, such as whole, named sources of animal protein (i.e., chicken, beef, and lamb, rather than “meat” or “poultry”); whole food ingredients (such as rice rather than rice flour, and tomatoes rather than tomato pomace); and of course, no artificial colors or flavors.

All of the companies on the following pages offer products that meet all of our selection criteria – but some of the products are higher in quality than others. Some are quite expensive. We wouldn’t necessarily say that cost is a perfect indicator of quality, but it’s a pretty good one. If some of the products are beyond your budget, don’t despair: We would consider every one of these products to be healthier and of a higher quality than any kibble or canned product.

How We Ranked These Fresh Cooked Dog Foods

We are often asked to rank the products that we include in our reviews, and, as always, we have to decline. Only you can decide what you can afford to spend, and only your dog can determine if a particular food will work for him. The product’s performance in your dog is everything – and what works for your dog might be a disaster for mine.

That said . . .

In addition to our normal selection criteria, when shopping for products we feed to our dogs, we also consider some “soft” criteria regarding the companies – factors that have more to do with the feel or personality of the company than the ingredients or protein levels of the foods.

You should be aware that there are pet food company owners who are full of passion and knowledge, but who lack the resources to really pull off top-quality ingredient sourcing or quality control. On the far other end of the spectrum, there are companies who are helmed by folks with amazing business acumen and connections who don’t necessarily live and breathe for dogs. Large and/or well-funded companies have the resources to invest in the best manufacturing equipment and facilities for consistent, safe products – but do the principals care about ingredient quality as much as some of the smaller companies?

We like to buy from the companies that are of a sufficient size to sign manufacturing contracts with reputable manufacturers and invest in employee training and quality control testing and equipment – but not so big that they don’t know exactly where on a map every single ingredient in their products is sourced from.

We appreciate that it can be challenging to identify companies that are occupying that sweet spot, somewhere between enough success and not too much. For what it’s worth, in the following pages, we will try to give you enough information about each company for you to judge where your own zone of comfort might lie: with the giant companies who should have their own plants and control every aspect of manufacturing, but whose formulas are a tad corporate? Or with the smaller outfits who oversee contract manufacturers on just a few production runs each month, but whose ingredients are locally sourced from sustainable farms where the humanely raised food animals live their entire lives on grass?

It’s tough to have to choose, but it seems that when it comes to food, you can’t have it both ways.

50 COMMENTS

    • Fresh Pet makes a variety for cats but none of mine would touch it. I think it was the texture. The food is a bag of crumbly, cooked meat and veggies. The meat pieces were very rubbery so I assume they were hard to chew. My cats now eat raw, have been for 7 years and do very well on it. Raw is better for cats anyway.

        • Everyone, people included… should avoid Carrageenan.
          And Chicken and Turkey are higher in Omega 6’s than Omega 3’s. I try to opt for Lamb or beef.
          When we were desperate to find any food our Papillon with kidney failure would eat, We did use Fresh Pet on occasion.

    • Peas and pea protein, potatoes both white and sweet , chick peas, and green beans are all considered fillers. These fresh foods do not impress me.

  1. Easy to choose in Alaska bc these companies do not ship to AK where we probably have more dogs, per capita, than any other state. Don’t know why I even bother reading these articles.

    • From the article:
      “We are often asked to rank the products that we include in our reviews, and, as always, we have to decline. Only you can decide what you can afford to spend, and only your dog can determine if a particular food will work for him. The product’s performance in your dog is everything – and what works for your dog might be a disaster for mine….
      .”

  2. We have a 5YO Havanese with joint problems that we are always looking for ways to keep healthy. We spoke to our vet about fresh dog food to replace or supplement our dog’s diet. The vet’s recommendation was to stick with major brands as they have spent millions on research and have lengthy extensive testing on the impact of dog diets on their health. In addition, dry kibble is better dogs’ teeth, which can be more problematic as they age. Take the advice with as much salt as you like…just food for thought (pun intended).

    • if You truly want to help your pup, feed raw. I have to disagree about kibble being better for teeth as well. Just as an example, when you eat a cookie, do you have cookie in between your teeth? Same principle for our dogs and cats. Also raw bones will help keep teeth clean.

    • Would suggest researching the idea that kibble does anything for a dog,s teeth except cling to the surface and cause decay. Raw meaty bones actually work off the tartar

    • I agree with Pamela on the dry kibble not being good for your dogs teeth. Just imagine eating potato chips or cookies or crackers before going to bed and not brushing your teeth. They stick to the teeth, causing decay. RAw bones are the key.

  3. I was told that same story by my vet. That was years ago and he probably believed it himself. He was recommending Science Diet. Since then there are so many more dog food companies. Dry kibble will just put a build up of plaque on the dogs teeth that has to be scraped off by a vet under anesthesia. At a clip of $300 or so.
    I feed no grain and no veggies in the mix. Those are cheaper then meat and I can add them myself. Over the years I have evolved to better and better foods. I did not see Tru Dog food mentioned. Now I feed wefeedraw.com . It is shipped frozen and has dogs name on each serving package. Each isa single ingredient protein with bone ground in or can be with bones on the side. Shipping is free. The variety of proteins is great, buffalo; rabbit, lamb, quail, beef, duck, and turkey and chicken. I am quite happy with it.

    • For all my fellow dog lovers who are worried about dental plaque buildup due to eating kibble, learn how to brush your dogs’ teeth while making it an acceptable activity for them. We have had two Huskies whose teeth we. Brushed 6 nights a week ( one night off to just go to bed ). The last dog died at 14 and 1/2, without plaque buildup. Our present Husky is 8yrs. old and our Vet. says his teeth look like a 2 yr. old’s. He also gets a lg. nugget of Hill’s Dental Care stuffed into a rubber treat ball, 3 times a day. Chewing on the ball to get at the nugget, adds to the daily cleaning action. For what it’s worth, these things have kept periodontitis away and our fuzzy boy sees it all as a yummy game. Best of luck you my fellow dog lovers.

  4. So, where is are “the following pages”?!?!?
    I am a subscriber to WDJ, so why can I not see the entire article? This is most frustrating and annoying😡

  5. Small Batch also has a very good Lightly Cooked product. It is a slight variation from their raw food, slowly cooked at 150 degrees “sous vide”. It is offered frozen. Our 14 and 15 year old dogs have eaten raw, but now I mix this in for ease of digestion. They love it!

  6. We live in California East Bay, not very far away from Oakland and decided to try the local Company NomNomNow.We were desperate – our 4 months old labradoodle had a terrible diarrhea. Nothing worked. On company recommendation we ordered meal with beef .And magic happened.
    . The first day after feeding him the recommended portion diarrhea was gone. Our Sherlock is 6 month old now and still loves the food, different dog now-energetic, with shiny coat. I have to say – I love this company with the funny name – the meals come on time , I always get the emails alerting me to new delivery, all people are nice and compassionate, easy to talk to. I call them, leave the message, they returned the call in 5 minutes.
    Also- I like the fact that I can mix different meals, I just ordered turkey besides beef.
    Basia Chalk

    • The Honest Kitchen (and Tru Dog) offers dehydrated foods. This article only addresses FRESHLY prepared – ready to eat – foods with nothing dehydrated.

      • Recently a client ordered The Farmer’s Dog to be delivered to my home for their dog. The dog loved the food, but contrary to your article, the food arrived in frozen packages, not “deep chilled”.

  7. I am in the UK and for the last two years have fed our dogs human food e.g. 2% fat turkey mince, 5% fat steak mince, pork tenderloin, lambs liver, lean braising steak and chicken with no skin. These are either barbecued in tinfoil or braised in a pan with red pepper and carrot added for flavour. The cooking water is reduced to make the meal moist. We add a selection of fresh, steamed veg e.g. Broccoli, cauliflower, Savoy cabbage, green beans, carrots and red, yellow or orange bell peppers. This is served mixed with cooked basmati rice or dry kibble. Meat 250g, mixture of steamed veg 100g and rice/kibble 50g.
    They are Staffy x Rottie dogs and are fed only once per day at around 5pm.
    We add finely ground eggshell powder, 1 omega 3, 5, 9 oil capsule and tartare reducing powder to each meal.
    They each get a medium dentastix at bedtime to help keep their teeth and gums clean.
    We used to feed them dog food and they were not healthy. Despite lots of excercise including a 1 hour walk and runabout in the forest, they continued to put on weight so we had to take drastic measures and change the feeding.
    They are both a healthy weight now with shining coats and lots of energy.
    I no longer trust any dog food supplier and at least now, I know exactly what is going into our boys bodies. They are our family and I wouldn’t feed them anything now that I wouldn’t eat myself!

    • I agree with Jean! Avril the food you make for your dogs are amazing! I would buy my dog your food! and definitely they are our family and you only want the best for them for a long and healthy life! Our French Bulldog is on The Farmer’s Dog Food Turkey and is running into problems with hives and dry skin patches…he normally has allergies and we think it might be the turkey…they don’t substitute the protein for another type, so we’ll have to see longterm if we continue feeding him this type of food…

      • Yes, try different proteins. Should not feed the same protein all the time anyway. I rotate my pups protein everyday. … chicken, beef, lamb, rabbit, turkey. Sounds like your pup is allergic to the turkey. I would suggest trying lamb.

  8. Avril, that sounds amazing. I wish I could order food from you!

    I did think there would be more to the article, presenting more info on the companies ” in the following pages, we will try to give you enough information about each company for you to judge where your own zone of comfort might lie… ” But I’m reading this on my phone which may cause pagination issues.

    But overall I like the truthfulness that affordability and dog’s palate make ranking ineffective.

    Thanks great info.

  9. I would like to comment on the review for The Farmers Dog. I purchased this food for several months my Golden Retriever loved it! I do need to correct your review. There was an email that is available on the site. I used it often to communicate on my orders for quantities needed and amount of food per package. They were very helpful and always got right back to me. Also the food always came very frozen in a box with dry ice and biodegradable cushion surrounding the packages. We chose the Turkey blend and it smelled like a Turkey dinner! The only reason I stopped was because it was very expensive. So now I’m making my own food. I miss the convenience.

  10. I totally understand some of your rationale regarding ranking the foods, “…Only you can decide what you can afford… and only your dog can determine if a particular food will work for him. The product’s performance in your dog is everything – and what works for your dog might be a disaster for mine….”. However, what I am looking for and perhaps what others would also appreciate would be the ranking of ingredients, formulas, supplements added, completeness of meals, et al. Then we can decide whether we would want to spend the extra money on a food that was of higher quality and find out if it did “work for” our dog. Thank you for your consideration.

    • “All of the companies on the following pages offer products that meet all of our selection criteria – but some of the products are higher in quality than others. Some are quite expensive. We wouldn’t necessarily say that cost is a perfect indicator of quality, but it’s a pretty good one. If some of the products are beyond your budget, don’t despair: We would consider every one of these products to be healthier and of a higher quality than any kibble or canned product.”

  11. I can’t believe is that someone would pay the exorbitant prices for “fresh food” when you can simply make it at home. Have we become so lazy to not get a bag of peas, carrots, rice and protein and mix it together to create fresh meals. Nom Nom Now is a perfect example of this expense. We have two pitties and I spend $115/month for their diet. Its a mix of kibble – 25%, raw, dehydrated, freeze dried, fresh veges and fruit. I’m migrating away from kibble over time but the cost per ounce is $.15, the same I can spend for raw protein and veges, etc. Nom Nom Now would cost $400/mo. for the same food for both dogs – a 300% increase. If we treat are fur babies like humans – why not spend a small amount of time and prepare fresh for them too?

    • Dave, I do the same…using my slow cooker to cook all the meat is helpful as well. I do not cook the vegetables unless I’m adding potatoes. I divide the food into 2 day portions using Ziploc bags and freeze. I too add a high grade of kibble for now. I learned to do all this when my 9 year old Golden was diagnosed with IBD and given 1 year to live by a conventional vet prescribing steroids. Changing her diet to homemade, adding probiotics, calcium and a few other things gained her 6 years of life–she passed at age 15.

  12. I saw PetPlate on Shark-tank and ordered some. It came in plastic containers and had a really strong “chemical” plastic smell. My dogs would not touch it. They refunded my money and I ended up throwing that weeks worth of food out. Now I use Stella and Chewy freeze dried RAW or make my own FRESH RAW from Dr Karen Becker’s recipe (YouTube). It really quite simple and my dogs love both of the forms of food. None of mine look like those in your article. So much vegetable source present. Neither one had bone in their ingredients either. I thought Bio Appropriate was 80-10-10? (Meat from muscle-organs-bone). Seems like they are still making it appealing to HUMANS with all of the distinguishable pieces of veg but and the nutrition breakdown seems lacking in protein which should be the highest content by a great deal. Thanks for the article. I guess they are still better than dry kibble. 😉

  13. I tried Farmers Dog and PetPlate. Farmers Dog is VERY heavy in legumes, which my dog could not digest. I felt as if I was spending a fortune to have the majority of the food pooped out undigested! Lots of lentils and chickpeas, both of which are potentially implicated in the current heart disease pet food scare. I am not so worried about that aspect, but got tired of picking up poop that was 90% lentils.
    PetPlate is better that way but is very dry and crumbly. My dog liked it so-so, but not enough to justify the expense. The plastic tubs are large and filled my freezer very quickly.

  14. I used Fresh Pet for a while. My dog liked it. However, I discovered it has carrageenan in which is bad for dogs. I use Instinct Raw Lamb now but change off between rabbit, chicken and turkey. My dog’s coat is so much better. She is much healthier on the raw and absolutely loves it. Some of these above stated how to make your own. I think this is a good suggestion. I am going to try that as well.

  15. Pre-prepared cooked and package stuff it NOT fresh. Fresh is buying the raw ingredients separately. Fresh veggies from the garden of green grocer, fresh meat from the butcher or wholesaler. Fresh eggs. Cooked grains and pulses cooked by you, on your stove. Fresh raw spongy bones with some meat still on.
    You then know exactly what food your dog is getting.

  16. I used Ollie for about a year but wasn’t thrilled with the look of their food. I then switched to Farmers Dog for a couple of years and was relatively happy with their food and they have great customer service. I know you should switch foods on a regular basis so I decided to try Nomnom. My baby has a grain and chicken allergy which limits the companies I could choose from, because I know it’s best not to use just a single source protein. I was concerned about the Egg in Nomnom’s Beef recipe. But I listed to a video on their website of their Veterinary Nutritionist, Dr Shmalberg, who said that there was not a correlation between a chicken allergy and an egg allergy. Boy was he wrong!!!! They should not put out incorrect information like that. After having to go to a Veterinary Dermatologist, when my baby got a scabby rash all over her back, he informed me that yes, there is a likely correlation between having a chicken and egg allergy. So $300 later I no longer want to get Nomnom….obviously. But I am waiting for a credit on a microbiome kit I returned. (Another thing they “promote”). And while I’m waiting for that to come through on my credit card statement, I get an email from Fedex that I have a shipment coming from Nomnom. I’m like what?!?! I had delayed and sent and email, because they have no way to just pause your account. So I immediately call Fedex and cancel it right after it was picked up. And sent an email to Nomnom letting them know what was going on. Well 24 hours later I get an email back telling me it was too late to cancel (they gave me no opportunity to do so, and when I got both Ollie and Farmers Dog they emailed you about a week before a coming shipment giving you an opportunity to make any changes, delays or cancellations). It was not too late to cancel however because I had done so with Fedex and saw that on their tracking, but then saw that Nomnom went and overrode my cancellation and had it sent anyway. I would Not recommend Nomnom because of their very poor customer service. And for misinformation given by their Veterinary Nutrition expert.

  17. Nor would I ever recommend nom nom now…I ordered the fish cat food for my furkid with gastrointestinal issues and the first packet I opened was full of cooked fish bones …not the small ones…cooked bones splinter and can cause untold damage to the esophagus. Stomach. intestines and organs…they are NEVER to be fed to animals… ever…i took pictures & sent to company…they assured me this should not be happening & that they were checking with their suppliers after asking me to provide lot numbers…obviously I didnt use any more of the first shipment… I then received another shipment from them after advising that I did not want to continue until unless there was an absolutely proven resolution to the problem…the first third of the packet I opened from the second shipment was even worse…we are talking cooked bones the size of half a dime…then found another in the same packet …still a third of the packet in the size if a dime and twice as thick…sent them more pictures …lot number…and an email stating how appalled disgusted upset and dissappointed I am…took them over a week and a half to get back to me …tried to call twice…kept getting their phone is out of service…finally got through and left a message regarding who I intended to contact if they did not respond to my communications…that lit a fire under them…they apologised for taking so long to respond…closed my account and refunded my $160.00…
    My concern is that someone else cat or dog will eat this so called healthy food with cooked bones which splinter and are basically like eating shrapnel…the only reason I found the bones was I was carefully mixing in my furkid’s old food in and separating it out to mix in thoroughly…I thank God I did as I never would have known otherwise…you can’t see the bones unless you’re separating it out as they are the same white as the fish…I am just sick about this thinking about other people feeding their beloved animals something they believe is safe when it is so unbelievably dangerous…please warn anyone you know….

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