Since the start of the pandemic, the number of people adding a dog or cat to their household has risen significantly. As people's pets are such important parts of their lives, many are turning to fresh pet food as an alternative to kibble or canned food.
If you're looking to switch to fresh pet food or want to see what it's all about, here are five great brands worth trying.
Fresh pet food is like a home-cooked meal for your dog but is commercially prepared and nutritionally balanced. While kibble and wet food are processed to the point you're unable to identify any individual ingredients, fresh food looks like a stew in which you can identify each vegetable, grain and piece of meat.
Fresh pet food usually needs to go in the refrigerator, even before opening, as any fresh food does. However, you can occasionally find fresh frozen food or you can freeze fresh dog food if you won't get through it all before it expires.
You can find fresh food for both dogs and cats, though many companies focus on dog food, so you'll need to search a little harder when buying for your feline friend.
There's no legal definition of fresh pet food, so whether or not it's better than dry food or wet food should be examined on a case-by-case basis. If your pet seems to be thriving on its current food, there's no need to switch to fresh. However, fresh food can be easier on pets with digestive issues or even help clear up skin problems.
When choosing a fresh dog or cat food, make sure it's certified complete and balanced by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. This tells you a food contains all the nutrients a pet needs to keep them healthy. It's also worth comparing ingredients. You'll usually notice that fresh foods have a shorter ingredients list and don't contain any vague ingredients, such as "meat meal" or "animal fat."
Nom Nom makes fresh dog food with recipes created by board-certified veterinary nutritionists, so you can be sure they contain everything your dog needs to thrive. Not only is ingredient quality a focus but flavor and texture are as well. It’s a great choice for picky pooches.
Foods are crafted from a selection of whole foods, including meats, vegetables, eggs and grains. These ingredients are cooked gently to preserve nutrients. Just answer a few questions about your dog, and you can create a tailored meal plan that's delivered to your door.
Created in response to the founder's dog's digestive issues, The Farmer's Dog makes fresh food from simple ingredients. You can expect to find a selection of USDA-certified human-grade meats, vegetables and legumes along with a nutrient blend to make the food complete and balanced.
Before you can select the recipes you want, you'll need to fill out a brief questionnaire about your dog. After completion, you'll be told which recipes best suit your dog, but you have the ultimate control over which you pick.
Freshpet makes fresh pet food for both dogs and cats. It's available from major retailers like Chewy and Amazon, which is more convenient for some buyers than going straight to the manufacturer. It sells standard fresh food alongside fresh slice and serve rolls, which some dogs may prefer if they're used to pate-style wet food.
It's made from fresh ingredients, including meat, eggs, vegetables and grains. The company also produces fresh treats and fresh frozen food.
In addition to fresh dog food, Ollie also sells gently-baked dry food. This is a great alternative to standard kibble if you find it too expensive to feed fresh food alone. Its fresh food is human-grade and made from meats, vegetables, fruits, seeds and legumes. It also contains added vitamins and minerals, so it's nutritionally balanced.
To get started, enter some details about your dog, and the company gives you a recommended plan. If you want to proceed, the food will be delivered to your home regularly.
Spot & Tango makes fresh food for dogs plus an "unkibble" that's a minimally processed alternative to basic dry food. All its fresh food is made from premium whole food ingredients, including meats, vegetables and whole grains. All ingredients are non-GMO and the meat used is hormone free. These recipes are cooked in a USDA-approved facility.
By filling out your dog's details, you can create an individual plan for them. Plus, there's a two-week trial option where you'll be refunded if your dog doesn't like the food.
This fresh dog food comes in four recipes: beef mash, chicken cuisine, pork potluck and turkey fare.
Sold by Nom Nom
Fill out the questionnaire, and you'll get a personally tailored recommended meal plan for your dog consisting of fresh, nutritionally balanced food.
Sold by The Farmer's Dog
A perfect choice for small breed dogs, this fresh food contains chicken, carrots, sweet potatoes and cranberries.
Sold by Chewy
If you're looking for fresh cat food, this is the perfect choice for your feline friend. It's made in the USA from chicken raised on U.S. farms and a blend of garden vegetables.
Sold by Amazon
You can choose from four fresh food recipes from Ollie: chicken, beef, lamb or turkey. Each recipe is slow cooked with added fruits and vegetables.
Sold by Ollie
Fresh dog food from Spot & Tango is available in three recipes: beef and millet, turkey and red quinoa and lamb and brown rice.
Sold by Spot & Tango
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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.