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The Best Fresh Dog Food for 2022

Best Fresh Dog Food

Which Fresh Dog Food Brands
Get Our Best Ratings?

On this page… we’ll reveal our editor’s top picks for the best fresh dog foods on the market for 2022.

But first…

What Are Fresh Dog Food
Delivery Programs?

Fresh dog foods are vet-designed, super-healthy meals that are custom-made for your dog’s age, weight, breed, activity level and allergies… and then delivered refrigerated… direct to your door.

To get started, you’ll answer a few questions about your dog to create a custom feeding profile.

Next, you’ll set up a delivery schedule. And soon, fresh-made pet food arrives at your home, packed in dry ice.

What Makes Them Superior
to Other Dog Foods?

Compared to other pet diets…

Fresh dog foods are gently cooked at lower temperatures. So, they avoid the damage to delicate vitamins and nutrients during processing.1

And unlike dry kibble, which contains just 10% water…

Fresh dog foods have a natural moisture content of about 75%… more like the healthy human food found in your home refrigerator.

Even better… most are designed by board-certified veterinary nutritionists.

Fresh Dog Food vs Kibble
Fresh dog food vs dry kibble (Photo credit: Nom Nom)

On the page below…

We’ll share The Dog Food Advisor’s best fresh dog food brands… and we’ll show you which ones are safe for the age and breed size of your particular dog.

And we’ll answer the 6 most frequently asked questions we get about choosing and feeding fresh dog food.


Editors Choice Best Fresh Dog Food

The Best Fresh Dog Food Brands
December 2022

Here are The Dog Food Advisor’s best fresh dog foods for December 2022.



Farmers Dog Fresh Beef Recipe

The Farmer’s Dog

Rating:

Beef Recipe is one of 4 fresh formulas included in our review of The Farmer’s Dog product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, sweet potatoes, cooked lentils, carrots, beef liver
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adults and puppies (including large breeds)
  • Other recipes: Turkey, Pork, Chicken

The Farmer’s Beef derives the bulk of its meat protein from fresh beef. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 39% protein, 29% fat and 24% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 73%.

The food is naturally moist and contains no feed-grade ingredients.

A top pick. Enthusiastically recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Bruno has never looked or felt so good. He no longer sheds and his breath is fresh and clean. His coat absolutely gleams with health. His eyes are bright and his energy level is through the roof! Thank you for making quality food at a good price point. If anyone is on the fence about trying this or making the switch, don’t be!”

Read more buyer reviews at TheFarmersDog.com

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Ollie Fresh Dog Food Turkey

Ollie Fresh

Rating:

Turkey is one of 4 fresh foods studied in our review of the Ollie product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Turkey breast, kale, lentils, carrots, coconut oil
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adults and puppies (including large breeds)
  • Other recipes: Chicken, Beef, Lamb

Ollie Turkey derives the majority of its meat protein from fresh turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 39% protein, 25% fat and 28% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.

A vet-designed meal that’s optimized for your dog’s age, weight, breed, activity level and allergies. Made with 100% human-grade ingredients.

An exceptional fresh food. Recommended with confidence.

Sample buyer review… “I got Bella when she was 8 weeks old she never wanted regular dog food. She was such a picky eater and she loves varieties, so I started cooking for her but was always afraid she’s not getting the nutrients her little body needs. I came across Ollie and saw it was homemade food with all the nutrients and a variety of different menus. I decided to try it and she loves it. It was a blessing for me also in that it saved me a lot of time and stress in deciding what I should cook for her.”

Read more buyer reviews at MyOllie.com

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Nom Nom Fresh Turkey Fare

Nom Nom Fresh Dog Food

Rating:

Turkey Fare is one of 4 fresh recipes rated in our review of the Nom Nom product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Ground turkey, brown rice, eggs, carrots, spinach
  • Type: With grain (brown rice)
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adults and puppies (including large breeds)
  • Other recipes: Beef, Chicken, Pork

Turkey Fare gets the majority of its meat protein from fresh ground turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the formula contains 36% protein, 18% fat and 38% estimated carbs… with a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

We also note zinc gluconate and 3 other chelated minerals, costly nutrients typically found only in better quality pet foods.

An affordable fresh option. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Tula gets so excited when it’s mealtime. She no longer has skin issues, her coat looks wonderful and her stools are the best they’ve ever been. I can’t imagine ever feeding her anything but Nom Nom!”

Read more buyer reviews at NomNomNow.com

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A Pup Above Fresh Turkey Recipe

A Pup Above Fresh Dog Food

Rating:

Turkey Pawella is one of 4 fresh recipes contained in our review of the A Pup Above product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Turkey, turkey liver, tomatoes, carrots, green peas
  • Type: Grain or grain-free (depends on recipe)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult dogs only
  • Other recipes: Beef, Pork, Chicken

A Pup Above Turkey Pawella acquires the better part of its meat protein from fresh turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 56% protein, 20% fat and 17% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 36%.

The formula also includes zinc amino acid complex and 3 other chelated minerals, costly supplements found in better quality pet foods.

An exceptional limited ingredient diet. And a solid option for dogs with suspected food intolerances. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Stewie and Milli love A Pup Above, they both have sensitive tummies and do so well on this food. Their tails start wagging at meal time and we can tell they are super happy and enjoy the Turkey Pawella and Beef Stew so much.”

Read more buyer reviews at APupAbove.com

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Open Farm Gently Cooked Fresh

Open Farm Gently Cooked

Rating:

Harvest Chicken is one of 4 fresh recipes rated in our review of the Open Farm Gently Cooked product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, carrots, kale, butternut squash, apples
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult dogs only
  • Other recipes: Beef, Turkey, Surf and Turf

The food derives most of its animal protein from fresh chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 46% protein, 29% fat and 17% estimated carbs… creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.

Each of its 4 recipes contains no wheat, corn, potatoes, peas or legumes.

Because of their slightly lower fat-to-protein ratios, we prefer the Homestead Turkey and Harvest Chicken over the other two recipes. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “Love the quality and that ingredients are sourced on their website! I love knowing where my dogs’ food is coming from. Open Farm to me means open information and opening the door to real, high quality foods.”

Read more buyer reviews at OpenFarmPet.com

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Raised Right Fresh Dog Food Review

Raised Right Fresh Dog Food

Rating:

Adult beef is one of 11 fresh recipes covered in our review of the Raised Right product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, beef heart, carrots, beef liver, cranberries
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: Maintenance or Growth (depends on recipe)
  • Best for: Adult (5 recipes), puppy including large breeds (3 recipes)
  • Other recipes: Turkey, Chicken, Pork

The Adult Beef formula derives the majority of its animal protein from fresh beef. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 61% protein, 24% fat and 8% estimated carbs… yielding a fat-to-protein ratio of about 39%.

The brand’s overall protein content of 61% along with its low fat-to-protein ratio together confirm the food contains an abundance of high quality, low fat meat.

One of the best fresh dog foods on the market. Widest recipe selection, too. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “I have 2 rescues. Since I’ve been giving them Raised Right, they are now at a healthy weight & the intermittent GI problems that they were experiencing have completely disappeared. As stated, best dog food ever!!!!”

Read more buyer reviews at RaisedRightPets.com

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PetPlate Fresh Dog Food

PetPlate Dog Food

Rating:

Barkin’ Beef Entre is one of 4 fresh recipes included in our review of the PetPlate product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Ground beef, sweet potatoes, potatoes, beef liver, carrots
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adults and puppies (including large breeds)
  • Other recipes: Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, Pork, Venison

PetPlate Barkin’ Beef acquires the major part of its animal protein from ground beef. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 31% protein, 22% fat and 39% estimated carbs… delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 70%.

A superior, all life stages fresh dog food that’s 100% free of corn, wheat or soy. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “We purchased the Barkin’ Beef as a supplement to our dog’s regular hard food. The Barkin’ Beef keeps her interested in the food, and has led to a more consistent appetite that ensures proper nutrition.”

Read more buyer reviews at PetPlate.com

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Tylees Fresh Cooked Dog Food

Tylee’s Human-Grade Dog Food

Rating:

Pork is one of 4 fresh recipes evaluated in our review of the Tylee’s product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Pork heart, beef liver, pork, carrots, broccoli
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Profile: All Life Stages
  • Best for: Adults and puppies (including large breeds)
  • Other recipes: Turkey, Beef, Chicken

Tylee’s Pork dog food draws the bulk of its meat protein from pork. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 43% protein, 29% fat and 21% estimated carbs… delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

A healthy, grain-free fresh diet that contains the right nutrient balance for all adults and puppies, including large breeds. Not custom designed. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “My baby loves this stuff! She has been a picky eater for a while and just stopped eating her go-to food! This she can hardly stand to watch me fix her bowl. So excited & I feel good knowing she is getting quality food.”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

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Just Food for Dogs Turkey and Whole Wheat Mac fresh cooked then frozen dog food

Just Food for Dogs

Rating:

Turkey and Whole Wheat Macaroni is one of 6 fresh formulas included in our review of the Just Food for Dogs product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Turkey, whole wheat macaroni, broccoli, zucchini, carrots
  • Type: Grain-inclusive (whole wheat macaroni)
  • Profile: Maintenance
  • Best for: Adult dogs only
  • Other recipes: Chicken, beef, fish, lamb, and venison

This Just Food for Dogs example recipe derives the bulk of its meat protein from fresh turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the formula contains 32% protein, 13% fat and 47% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 40%.

Contains no fillers, growth hormones, preservatives, BHA, BHT or artificial coloring agents. Plus it’s 100% free of feed-grade ingredients. JFFD is formulated by a team of veterinarians, including a board-certified nutritionist. Ships only on certain days of the week. A top fresh pick. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer review… “My three dogs LOVE the Turkey & Macaroni Recipe! They go absolutely nuts for it! Since being on this recipe, they look better, they have more energy, and their inconsistent poops are a thing of the past! I highly recommend this brand.”

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the 6 most frequently asked questions we get about choosing and feeding fresh dog food.


How can I switch to a fresh food without getting my dog sick?

In this short video

Dr. Gary Richter, shares a simple feeding tip that can help reduce your pet’s risk of getting sick when you switch to a fresh dog food.

It’s best to switch your dog to a fresh diet gradually.

Start by mixing 20% “fresh” with 80% “old” food. Then, slowly increase that amount to a full 100% over the next 8 to 9 days.

Schedule Old Food Fresh Food
Days 1 and 2 80% 20%
Days 3 and 4 60% 40%
Days 5 and 6 40% 60%
Days 7 and 8 20% 80%
Day 9 0% 100%

How do fresh dog food subscription programs work?

Most fresh dog food subscription programs work the same way. First, you’ll answer a few questions about your dog’s age, weight, breed, activity level and allergies, which creates a custom feeding profile for your pet.

Finally, you’ll set up a delivery schedule. And soon after that, fresh-made pet food arrives at your door, packed in dry ice.


How long does fresh dog food stay fresh?

Since fresh dog food contains no preservatives, it must be kept refrigerated or frozen.

Storage instructions vary from brand to brand. In most cases, fresh dog food can last for up to 6 months, as long as the food package remains frozen and unopened.

Once a container is defrosted, it should be kept in the refrigerator and used within 4 days.

Fresh Dog Food Package
Squeeze Package (Photo credit: The Farmer’s Dog)

Is fresh dog food good for senior dogs?

Since older dogs tend to have missing teeth and other dental problems, chewing dry food can be difficult. So, a soft, fresh dog food can help make eating much easier.

And since dogs tend to lose muscle mass as they age, most seniors benefit from the higher protein content found in most fresh dog foods.

But caloric needs can vary.

Overweight seniors require fewer calories, while underweight older pets need more.

Because fresh foods are custom designed for each dog, a pre-measured, high-protein meal can be a super-healthy option.


Is fresh-cooked dog food safe for ALL puppies?

Unfortunately, some puppy breeds have a higher risk of developing a crippling and permanent form of hip disease if they’re fed a fresh diet that contains too much calcium… while they’re still growing. This is especially true for larger breeds.2 3

Keep in mind, many large breed puppies don’t stop growing until they reach 15 to 24 months of age.4 5 6

So, if you expect your puppy to weigh over 50 pounds when they reach adulthood, be sure to choose a fresh dog food on this page that’s rated safe for large breeds.

Large breed dog with bilateral hip disease
Large Breed Dog with Bilateral Hip Dysplasia

Do all fresh dog foods meet AAFCO nutrition standards?

Sadly, many do not.

Some fresh pet foods can be found at local farmer’s markets around the country. These “micro brands” tend to be produced by smaller businesses and home hobbyists… without professional guidance.

Many fail to meet basic FDA regulations or AAFCO nutrient guidelines.

Minor brands like these are rarely tested for Salmonella and other disease-causing bacteria. Which is why we do not include any of these products on this page.


A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References

  1. Tran QD and others, Effects of extrusion processing on nutrients in dry pet food, Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 88:1487–1493 (2008)
  2. Lauten SD, Nutritional Risks to Large Breed Dogs: From Weaning to the Geriatric Years, Vet Clin Small Anim 36 (2006) 1345–1359.
  3. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, “What Is Canine Hip Dysplasia?
  4. IAMS: How to Transition Your Puppy to Adult Food
  5. Royal Canine: When does my puppy become an adult dog?
  6. Purina: When to Switch to Adult Dog Food?
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