Everything You Need to Know About Fresh Dog Food

Fresh food is exactly what the name implies, food that is fresh. You can get this either by making the food yourself at home, purchasing fresh dog food at the store (e.g., Fresh Pet), or going through one of the many subscription services. Fresh food is generally made less than 2 weeks before it hits your dog’s bowl. This compared to kibble and canned foods that are made months in advance and thus have more preservatives to keep it from spoiling. As a result, fresh dog foods contain almost no preservatives, have limited shelf lives, and need to be delivered at a higher frequency. 

What are the advantages? 
  • Minimally processed. Since the foods are prepared within a week of consumption, they need less additives to keep them fresh. As pet parents become more weary of synthetic chemicals in other foods, this is a huge upside for them. 
  • Customize. Most fresh dog services allow you to customize your meal plan to account for different factors, such as allergies or weight management. 
  • Palatable. Even the pickiest of eaters will likely find this food more appealing and actually eat it. It’s a combination of meat and vegetables, what’s not to love?

What about disadvantages?
  • Expensive. It’s much more expensive to feed your dog a fresh diet than it is to go out and buy kibble. If you are price conscious, this is a large roadblock. 
  • Short shelf life. Given the lack of preservatives, the food cannot be stored for weeks or months the same way one would store kibble or canned food. 
  • Fridge space. Fresh food is stored either in the fridge or freezer depending on the brand. This can be tough for households where fridge space is limited. 

What if I want to make my own food?

There are pet parents that opt to make their own food, and there's no shortage of recipes online. If you opt to go down this route, please consult with veterinary nutritionist licensed by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. You can easily search their directory and find a match near you. Depending on where you live, they can be a bit scarce, but it's worth making the effort to make sure your dog's diet is complete and balanced. Even if a recipe you find online seems healthy, it's important that the diet is controlled by a nutritionist to ensure your dog is getting all the vitamins, minerals and amino acids their bodies don't make.

Fresh Food Delivery Services

The fresh dog food movement has accelerated over the last few years and now there’s numerous options for you and your dog. If you’ve decided on feeding your dog a fresh diet and want it delivered to your doorstep, read on!

But first, how do these companies work? All these companies deliver pre-portioned meals to your doorstep. As a rule of thumb, they personalize the meal to meet your dog’s needs by having you fill out a detailed questionnaire when you join. They all have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, but generally speaking, we recommend sticking to companies with a certified canine nutritionist on staff. 


Ollie can only be purchased online as a subscription service. Food is shipped to your doorstep frozen and you can thaw it as needed for your feeding schedule. Ollie sets the bar high for quality, as they prepare their foods with quality ingredients and in USDA-approved kitchens. Unfortunately, the service is on the pricier side of the market and needs to be measured out for meals.

  • Food is designed by a canine nutritionist, and has several customizable options for your dog, including weight management, allergies, sensitive stomachs, etc. Pet owners should note that not all fresh food subscription services consult nutritionists so this is a unique differentiator of Ollie and one of the reasons their product is so well-regarded.
  • Offers plans for full meals and toppers. Toppers can be a great option to balance expenses.
  • Produced in small batches in the US with human-grade ingredients.
  • Protein content: 11% min (for lamb recipe).
  • Flavors offered: beef, chicken, lamb and turkey.

A Pup Above

A Pup Above can be purchased as a subscription, on demand ordering and can even be found in select stores. Their differentiating factor is that they cook their food via sous vide. This slow cooking method preserves more nutrients than standard production procedures. Additionally, their food is not personalized for your dog, which means they offer a Sampler Pack for their flavors. 

  • The food is made with only USDA meats and pesticide free vegetables in a USDA approved kitchen.
  • Each food package comes with a lot number you can use to track where the ingredients for your batch came from.
  • Arrives in a frozen 3lb bad with 1lb patties that can be defrosted to match your feeding schedule.
  • Protein content: 19.8% (for Pork Luau).
  • Flavors offered: Turkey Pawella, Porky’s Luau, Texas Beef Stew.

Nom Nom

Nom Nom can be purchased as subscription service or on-demand ordering as you go. They have two unique differentiators: all formulas are crafted by a board-certified veterinarian and nutritionist and food comes packaged in single service sizes to eliminate the need to measure out your dog's meals each day.

  • Meals are customizable to your dog’s individual needs, including his weight, age, and overall body condition.
  • Ingredients are human-grade, and recipes are never mass-produced.
  • Foods are prepared in the US.
  • Protein content: 10% min.
  • Flavors offered: Beef mash, turkey fare, chicken cuisine, pork potluck.


PetPlate is subscription based only. They offer high-quality fresh food directly from their USDA-approved facilities. They are flash frozen prior to shipment and you can defrost them in the microwave for ready to eat meals.

  • Meal plans are customizable based on body conditions and activity level.
  • Offers a more affordable “topper” plan that’s more affordable, meant to be mixed in with other dog food.
  • All meals are delivered in 100% recyclable plastic container.
  • Flavors offered: chicken, beef, turkey, lamb.
  • Protein content: 7.9% min (barking beef).

The Farmer’s Dog

Subscription based only, and shipped to pet parents in biodegradable pouches. Meals come in flat pouches for easy storage, but it does make it tricky to portion out your dog’s food. Food is shipped frozen.

  • Customizable options to account for weight, activity level, snacking habits, pickiness, and potential allergies or sensitivities. 
  • Formulated by veterinary nutritionists.
  • Each meal is made is a USDA-approved kitchen in the USA and contains only human-grade ingredients.
  • Flavors: Turkey and parsnip, beef and lentil, pork and sweet potato.
  • Protein content: 11% min (pork and sweet potato).