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Best Fresh Dog Food

Mike Sagman  Julia Ogden

By

Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

Founder

Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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&
Julia Ogden
Julia Ogden

Julia Ogden

Content Director

Julia is the content director at the Dog Food Advisor and responsible for the overall strategy of the website.

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Updated: May 14, 2024

Verified by Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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Laura Ward

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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 2024.

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.

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.

The Dog Food Advisor - Editor's choice

Best Fresh Dog Food June 2024

Here are The Dog Food Advisor's best fresh dog food brands for June 2024.

  • 1. The Farmer's Dog

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full The Farmer’s Dog Food (Fresh) range here

    Main Ingredients Beef, sweet potatoes, cooked lentils, carrots, beef liver
    Type Grain-free, fresh
    Protein Percentage 39%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For Adults and puppies (including large breeds)

    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
  • 2. The Pets Table

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    The Pets Table Beef Stew with Carrots recipe is one of three fresh formulas included in our review of The Pets Table fresh product line.

    This recipe derives the bulk of its meat protein from fresh beef. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 46.4% protein, 35.7% fat and 9.9% estimated carbs… resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 77%.

    This food selection of human-grade food, is made fresh with no preservatives or fillers.

    A top pick. Enthusiastically recommended.

    Read our review of the full The Pets Table Dog Food (Fresh) range here

    Main Ingredients Beef, chickpeas, eggs, green beans, blueberries
    Type Fresh
    Protein Percentage 46.4%
    AAFCO Standards All life stages
    Best For Adults and puppies

    Sample buyer review...

    "Beckham has been on the fresh plan for a little over a week. He is excited to eat his food, his energy levels are great, coat is shiny, and he has perfect #2's"

    Read more buyer reviews at The Pets Table
  • 3. Ollie

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full Ollie Dog Food (Fresh) range here

    Main Ingredients Turkey, kale, lentils, carrots, turkey liver
    Type Grain-free, fresh
    Protein Percentage 39%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For Adults and puppies (including large breeds)

    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
  • 4. Just Food For Dogs

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full Just Food for Dogs (Frozen Fresh) range here

    Main Ingredients Turkey, whole wheat macaroni, broccoli, zucchini, carrots
    Type Grain-inclusive, fresh
    Protein Percentage 32%
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Adult dogs only

    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
  • 5. Nom Nom

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full Nom Nom Dog Food (Fresh) range here

    Main Ingredients Ground turkey, brown rice, eggs, carrots, spinach
    Type Grain-inclusive
    Protein Percentage 36
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For Adults and puppies (including large breeds)

    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
  • 6. Open Farm Gently Cooked

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

    The food derives most of its animal protein from fresh chicken. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 43% protein, 22% fat and 27% 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.

    Read our review of the full Open Farm Gently Cooked Dog Food (Fresh) range here

    Main Ingredients Chicken, carrots, kale, butternut squash, apples
    Type Grain-free, fresh
    Protein Percentage 43%
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Adult dogs only

    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
  • 7. Raised Right

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full Raised Right Dog Food (Fresh) range here

    Main Ingredients Beef, beef heart, carrots, beef liver, cranberries
    Type Grain-free, fresh
    Protein Percentage 61%
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance or Growth (depends on recipe)
    Best For Adult (5 recipes), puppy including large breeds (3 recipes)

    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
  • 8. A Pup Above Fresh Dog Food

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

    A Pup Above Turkey Pawella acquires the better part of its meat protein from fresh turkey. Dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 43% protein, 22% fat and 27% estimated carbs… producing a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.

    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.

    Read our review of the full A Pup Above Dog Food (Fresh) range here

    Main Ingredients Turkey, turkey hearts, turkey livers, turkey gizzards, tomatoes
    Type Grain or grain-free (depends on recipe)
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Adult dogs only

    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
  • 9. PetPlate

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

    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.

    Read our review of the full PetPlate Dog Food (Fresh) range here

    Main Ingredients Ground beef, sweet potatoes, potatoes, beef liver, carrots
    Type Grain-free, fresh
    Protein Percentage 31%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For Adults and puppies (including large breeds)

    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

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Final word

The Dog Food Advisor does 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.

Sources

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?




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