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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Choosing the best dog food meal delivery service

Last Updated September 2020

If you want your dog to have the best food you can afford in the most convenient format possible, consider signing up for a dog food meal delivery service. These services provide high-quality, perfectly balanced dog foods, often similar to homemade but without the hassle. Once you've signed up for a service, your four-legged friend's food will be delivered on time, every time, based on the specifications and schedule you’ve outlined. 

A dog food delivery service is the perfect solution if you don't want to go to the store regularly to pick up dog food or you're looking for a quality of dog food that's hard to find on grocery store shelves. Still, there's plenty to consider before you choose the right service for you and your canine companion, such as wet food versus dry food, recipes, ease of ordering, and how the portions are tailored to the needs of your dog. 

We've included all this information and more below, so you can be sure to pick the best dog food meal delivery service for your pet. 

The term "human-grade" doesn't have a legal definition, so don't assume a food contains top-quality ingredients just because it claims to contain human-grade meat.

Considerations

Dog food type

First, consider what type of dog food you want for your canine companion. The vast majority of dog food meal services focus on fresh, wet dog food, but you can find a few options out there if dry food is your preference or you want to mix both wet and dry foods. 

Wet dog food is highly palatable, and what you see is what you get. The type of wet dog foods on offer from these services tends to contain identifiable meat, vegetables, and grains, so it's clear what your dog is consuming. The main trouble with wet dog food is that it can be expensive, especially when feeding large dogs. 

Dry dog food is less messy than wet and doesn't need refrigeration once the package is opened. Although standard kibble is sometimes of poor quality, dry foods offered by dog food delivery services are often of a higher quality, made using whole meats rather than meat meal and dried gently at a low temperature to preserve nutrients.

Portions

Some dog food delivery services are better at creating tailored portion sizes than others. Generally, you submit your dog's weight, age, activity level, and a few other relevant details, and this generates a portion size for your dog. We particularly like it when companies package each portion individually, so you just have to open the pack and serve. Less ideal is when companies send food in a standard-size package and simply tell you to feed a certain amount per meal.

Recipes

Each dog food meal delivery service has a number of standard recipes that you can choose from. Each recipe generally uses a different meat for protein, but it may contain the same base of carbohydrates and vegetables. In some cases, each recipe uses a different grain or starch, giving you more options if your dog has a food sensitivity. The more recipes a company offers, the more choices you have, which is ideal if your dog is picky or can’t eat some foods.

Convenience

One of the main reasons to sign up to a dog food meal delivery service is the convenience, so difficulty placing an order negates the whole point of using the service. You will need to input some details about you and your dog, but this should only take a few minutes, and the information should be saved for future orders. Ideally, you should have the option to make your order recurring, so you can order once and keep getting dog food delivered each month until you cancel the service.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some dog food meal delivery services also sell treats, which you can add to your order as a tasty extra.

Common mistakes to avoid

Mistake #1: You order a lot of food before your dog has tried it

You might go ahead and order a full month's supply if you think a dog food looks good, but we wouldn't recommend doing so unless the company offers a comprehensive money-back guarantee. The trouble is that even the best foods don't agree with all dogs, plus dogs have personal preferences just like us and simply might not like a particular recipe. Many dog food meal delivery services offer free samples or even sell you the first week’s or month’s worth of food at a greatly discounted price. This allows you to try out the food without making a large financial commitment. 

Mistake #2: You don’t check the ingredients carefully

It's easy to get drawn in by flashy marketing and empty promises and then end up with a subpar product. You should always check the ingredients of a new dog food before signing up for a delivery service. A quality dog food should contain healthy proteins (such as whole meats and legumes), carbohydrates from beneficial sources (such as heart-healthy whole grains), a selection of vegetables and/or fruits, good fats from plants or fish oils, and be fortified with vitamins and minerals. Avoid foods that contain unhealthy artificial additives, are packed full of sugar or salt (dogs require some sodium in their diet but not an excessive amount), or contain unspecified meat products (such as "meat meal" or "animal fat").

Mistake #3: You fill out the initial questionnaire incorrectly

The majority of dog food subscription services start by asking you to fill out a short online questionnaire about your dog, with details about breed, weight, age, activity level, and health conditions. It's important to fill this in carefully and accurately because these answers will determine whether or not the food is right for your dog (some health conditions may require a more specialized diet), as well as the correct portion size. If you fill in your dog's details incorrectly, you'll either end up with too much or too little food or the wrong food for your canine companion. 

EXPERT TIP

You'll know if your dog is thriving on its new food. Look for a shiny coat, bright eyes, healthy stools, and consistent energy levels.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

You may find a service that can make adjustments for your dog based on food sensitivities, but most use fixed recipes that can't be changed.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Check if your chosen delivery service is subscription based. Most are, which means you'll automatically receive a shipment of dog food once a month or bimonthly. A small handful of services, however, require you to order dog food each time you need it. 

  • Consider a service with a money-back guarantee. Some companies will give you your money back in full if your dog doesn't like the food or the food doesn't agree with your pet. This is an excellent option if your dog is a picky eater or has a sensitive stomach.

  • Find out if shipping costs extra. Many dog food meal delivery services offer free shipping, but if not, you'll need to factor in the extra cost.

  • Choose AAFCO-compliant dog foods. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a government body that regulates dog food, among other things. We recommend choosing a food with an AAFCO statement to prove that it meets or exceeds the minimum requirements for a complete and balanced diet. This way, you know the food contains all the nutrients your dog requires. 

Monitor your dog's weight after switching foods. Even if you feed the technically "correct" amount of food, you'll need to adjust if you notice unintended weight loss or weight gain.

FAQ

Q. Can I switch my dog over to the new food right away? 
A. You should switch dogs over to new foods gradually to avoid an upset stomach, which is uncomfortable for the dog and can be unpleasant for its human! On the first day, replace 25% of the old food with the new food. On the third day, you can feed 50% old food and 50% new food. On the fifth day, feed 25% old food and 75% new food. By the seventh day, it's safe to feed 100% new food. 

 

Q. What's special about dog food meal delivery services? 
A. Although it isn't necessarily true across the board, these services tend to offer less highly processed dog foods. Rather than a tin of unidentifiable brown chunks in jelly or gravy, delivery service foods often look like thick stews full of meat, veg, and pulses that you can actually distinguish from one another. This is great if you'd like to offer your dog home-cooked foods but are worried about getting the right nutritional balance or don't have the time to cook for your dog from scratch. Of course, some people simply love the convenience of having their dog food turn up automatically, without having to think about it. 

 

Q. How much should I expect to pay for a dog food delivery service? 
A. That depends on a range of factors, such as the food you choose and your dog's size, weight, and activity level. You might spend less than $50 a month on dried food for a toy breed, while fresh food for a giant breed can cost over $350 a month. Dog food delivery services can be pricey if you intend to feed only fresh food to a large dog, but you can cut the cost by mixing fresh food 50/50 with standard kibble. 

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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