Fresh dog food has surged in popularity, and it's easy to see why. It's gentler on your dog's stomach, contains more nutrients, and avoids filler ingredients–including common allergens. With so many fresh food options out there, choosing the right one for your pup can be a daunting task. To make the choice easier for you, we've tested the five most popular brands in a fresh food showdown.
While testing these, we paid for the food ourselves. This lets us bring you the most unbiased review. And although we make a small commission from our discount codes, it doesn't cost you a penny.
⏰ Short on time? Here's our honest ranking of the best fresh dog food brands
- Customized to individual health needs, making it a hit among dogs for weight and activity management.
- High-quality ingredients lead to visible improvements in fur and odor.
- Convenient "puptainer" and scoop make meal prep easy for humans.
- Our taste-tester Gojira couldn't get enough, chasing the empty bowl around to lick it clean.
- Tailored plans deliver high-protein, high-quality meals that had our dog Brother begging for more.
- Human-grade ingredients lead to improvements in fur quality and energy levels.
- Brother cleaned his bowl thoroughly, showing high taste approval.
- Transitioning foods led to no digestive issues, making it an easy switch.
- Restaurant-grade ingredients had our dog, Brother, barking and begging way before dinner time.
- Tailored to specific dog needs and requires less freezer space, making it convenient for owners.
- Despite some recipes being watery, Brother slurped up every bit, indicating high taste approval.
- Noticeable positive changes in Brother's fur texture and smell within weeks of use.
- Vet-approved, human-grade recipes had Gojira immediately interested, unlike his usual focus on toys.
- Convenient single-serve packets are easier to fit in the freezer and minimize waste.
- Gojira's favorite was the Beef & Millet recipe, indicating a high taste score.
- Visible improvement in fur quality and mood, suggesting the food is not just tasty but also nutritious.
- High-quality, human-grade ingredients were a hit with our picky eater Rusti.
- Pre-portioned tubs make serving simple and easy, reducing meal prep time.
- Rusti transitioned smoothly with no digestive issues, suggesting a well-balanced recipe.
- Rusti's increased playfulness and energy were noticeable, indicating an overall positive impact on his well-being.
Our In-Depth Fresh Dog Food Brand Reviews
Ollie's story begins with two concerned pet parents wanting the best food for their dogs. With the help of vet nutritionists, they set out to make fresh food tailored to each individual dog.
Because every Ollie order is customized, it helps dogs to stay at a healthy weight—and stay active. Ollie fresh dog food also avoids unhealthy filler ingredients and byproducts.
Our Experience with Ollie
Ollie was, hands down, the best fresh dog food that we tried! Our blue heeler mix, Gojira, absolutely loved it. Despite sticking to his nose and chin, he wolfed it down every time and begged for more. Gojira is usually more interested in toys than food, but he chased his empty bowl around after every meal to lick it clean. He didn't have any stomach troubles while transitioning from kibble to Ollie, either. Gojira was as playful and energetic as ever.
It was amazing to see the difference that eating Ollie made in just a couple of weeks. Gojira's fur became softer and more vibrant. To my surprise, he smelled better, too. He wasn't stinky to begin with, but after eating Ollie his breath and fur were practically odorless.
Ollie was wonderfully easy to store and serve from a human point of view, too. Each packet contained a day's worth of food. It can be split up however you prefer—whether that's two meals per day, three meals per day, or a different schedule entirely.
Our order of Ollie dog food came with a bag of extra-crunchy sweet potato treats and a “puptainer” to store open food packets. The sweet potato treats were an instant hit with our dogs, and the dishwasher-safe container was surprisingly high quality. The food even came with a scoop that doubled as a cutting edge for dividing and serving food.
⭐ Score: 9.5/10
The Farmer's Dog
About The Farmer's Dog
The Farmer's Dog started with a sick puppy named Jada. She suffered from severe digestive problems, and her owner tried any and every food available. None of them helped.
A vet advised to cook food for Jada. They did it, and Jada's issues disappeared almost overnight.
With the assistance of board-certified vet nutritionists, Jada's homemade food was perfected into the fresh food that earned The Farmer's Dog its fame.
Our Experience with The Farmer's Dog
I was blown away by The Farmer's Dog when we tried it. It smelled like real food and had simple, high-quality ingredients. It was a huge hit with our puppy, Monster X—nicknamed Brother.
The Farmer's Dog was one of the best-tasting fresh dog foods that Brother tried. He did tricks, begged, and cleaned every square inch of his bowl.
I really felt like Brother was getting high-quality food with The Farmer's Dog. The only complaints I had were convenience-related. This was one of the hardest fresh dog foods to fit in our freezer due to the shape of the packets. The packets were also difficult and messy to portion out. Still, Brother was a fan!
After just a couple of weeks eating The Farmer's Dog food, I also noticed that Brother's fur was shinier and softer. He had more energy, too!
⭐ Score: 9.2/10
About Nom Nom
According to Nom Nom, “what's good for people is good for pets, too.” They've stuck with that motto by using the highest restaurant-quality ingredients available.
In 2013, three dog lovers (Alex, Zach, and Nate) adopted two mini Australian Shepherds named Harlee and Mim. While searching for the best food for their dogs, the group found that kibble and canned food haven’t evolved since the 1980s. Most of the ingredients included long, unreadable lists of fillers, preservatives, and byproducts.
High-quality food became an even more important factor in their lives when Harlee started having immune-related health issues.
The vet recommended a fresh food diet for Harlee, so the three founders began cooking. With the help of a vet nutritionist, they created Nom Nom to provide fresh, healthy dog food for all dogs.
Our Experience with Nom Nom
Our blue heeler mix pup, Monster X (also known as Brother) volunteered enthusiastically to try Nom Nom.
After ordering Nom Nom online, Brother and I were in for a long wait. Nine days, in fact. The food was partially thawed despite bringing it in immediately, too! Despite these hiccups, Nom Nom was a big hit with Brother.
He wolfed down every serving of Nom Nom and preferred it to his old kibble. He didn't have any stomach troubles during the transition, either. He loved the taste so much that he would bark and beg way before dinner time, too!
Out of the four recipes that we received, one of them was watery. The Pork Potluck was the only one that literally sat in a pool of liquid. Nevertheless, Brother happily slurped it up. Every night he would chase his empty bowl around, licking every last drop.
I noticed a few things while we took Nom Nom for a test drive. First, the packets of food were very hard to open, but their flat shape made them easier to store in the freezer. And second, after only a couple of weeks, Brother showed some positive changes.
Brother has always had coarse fur. After trying Nom Nom, though, his fur was noticeably softer and shinier. He was energetic, happy, and to my surprise, he smelled better, too.
⭐ Score: 9/10
Spot and Tango
About Spot and Tango
Like many fresh dog food brands, Spot and Tango came from humble beginnings. It started with founder Russell Breuer. He was worried about what his Goldendoodle, Jack, was eating. To avoid all the fillers and preservatives in kibble, Russell started cooking fresh meals for his pup.
Not long after, his friends and family started buying fresh dog food from him, too. From there, crowdfunding earned Spot and Tango a whopping $51 million in funding to get their new business started.
They offer fresh dog food and UnKibble—a gently-cooked dry food option. Both are made with human-grade ingredients, and the recipes are formulated by veterinarians to ensure they meet dogs' needs.
Our Experience with Spot and Tango
Our blue heeler mix puppy, Gojira, was the eager taste-tester for Spot and Tango. Unlike most dogs, he's typically more interested in toys than food. But when our Spot and Tango order arrived, Gojira was immediately interested.
The food from Spot and Tango looked and smelled like real food. You could see every pea, blueberry, and carrot chunk. It was portioned out into individual meals in small, square packets that were easier to fit in the freezer than other brands' packets.
Even though the packaging was tricky and sometimes messy to open, Gojira loved the taste. The Beef & Millet recipe was his favorite, hands down.
After eating Spot and Tango for just a couple of weeks, Gojira's already-soft fur developed a lustrous shine. He was in a great mood, too, with a lot of pep in his step.
⭐ Score: 9/10
Like many other fresh dog food brands, PetPlate started with a sick dog and a worried pet parent. Renaldo Webb's dog, Winston, had major digestive issues. When personal experience and research revealed that regular dog food was full of low-quality, over-processed ingredients, he put two and two together. Winston's food had been making him sick all along.
Renaldo teamed up with a veterinary nutritionist, Dr. Renee Streeter, and started cooking fresh dog food with real human-grade ingredients. From that moment, PetPlate was born.
Our Experience with PetPlate
We put PetPlate to the test with a young Doberman Pinscher by the name of Rusti. He's allergic to chicken and a picky eater, so PetPlate was judged by the highest standards.
PetPlate’s food came in small tubs. This made it easy to store and scoop out a portion of food as needed.
Rusti transitioned seamlessly to PetPlate dog food, too. He didn't have any stomach troubles and happily gobbled up every meal.
Despite being a picky pup, Rusti didn't grow tired of PetPlate. He happily devoured every meal. In fact, after a couple of weeks, he showed some improvements. He was less smelly, his stomach was happier, and his fur was shinier.
The most noticeable change, though, was Rusti's energy level. His mood was great and he was more playful and energetic than ever before.
⭐ Score: 8.8/10
Head-to-Head Comparisons of the Fresh Dog Food Brands
💵 Price Comparison
While all of these fresh dog food brands cost more than traditional kibble, their prices do vary.
If your dog eats two meals per day like ours do, then Nom Nom and Ollie are the most expensive. Starting at $1.57 per meal, that adds up to a minimum of $3.15 per day.
Spot and Tango as well as The Farmer's Dog were the most affordable options. Both brands start at about $2 per day for fresh food.
As our two youngest dogs are both medium-sized, we were able to compare the prices for Spot and Tango and The Farmer's Dog more closely.
Based on their size and activity level (they're both very active pups!), Spot and Tango's full price was right around $170 for two weeks. On the other hand, The Farmer's Dog only costs $140 for two weeks—making it the most affordable fresh dog food option.
🏅The Winner: The Farmer's Dog
🥕 Nutritional Analysis
All of these brands offer fresh food with human-grade, high-quality ingredients. There are some differences between them, though.
PetPlate's recipes are made with human-grade ingredients and formulated by vet nutritionists. They offer both whole grain and grain-free options.
Nom Nom steps up their quality by using restaurant-quality ingredients with no artificial fillers, artificial flavors, or preservatives. Their food can be watery, but it is high-quality nonetheless. Plus, it is made in the USA and formulated by animal nutritionists.
Ollie's fresh dog food is also free of byproducts, fillers, artificial flavors, and preservatives. Their recipes are made with human-grade ingredients and designed by a vet nutritionist.
The Farmer's Dog also uses human-grade ingredients. Their recipes are veterinarian-approved and formulated with the help of board-certified vet nutritionists. Their food is high in protein and free from preservatives and fillers.
Spot and Tango's recipes are vet-approved, as well. Their food is made from human-grade ingredients, and you won't find any preservatives, fillers, or artificial ingredients in their food.
🏅The Winner: Nom Nom
When it comes to shipping fresh food, the time it takes to arrive and the packaging itself matter.
The slowest order to arrive was from Nom Nom. From the time that we sent in the order, it took a whole nine days to arrive. It was delivered at 9 PM to my surprise, and even though I brought it in immediately, the food inside was partially thawed.
PetPlate and Spot and Tango both arrived quickly and were well-insulated with dry ice to keep the food cold. The food arrived frozen solid, thankfully! Spot and Tango also uses eco-friendly shipping materials, which is a big plus.
Ollie and The Farmer's Dog were tied for the fastest shipping. They both arrived 2 days after they were shipped! Both included dry ice to keep everything cold, and everything was still frozen solid when it arrived.
I was incredibly impressed with Ollie. They had beautiful packaging and almost everything was recyclable.
The Farmer's Dog was insulated with biodegradable foam… but when I followed the instructions to dissolve it in water for disposal, I found the process near-impossible. My best attempts just resulted in getting soaked, having partially dissolved goop in my sink, and a lot of leftover, undissolved foam.
🏅The Winner: Ollie
📞 Customer Service
Customer support is incredibly important for a fresh dog food brand. If you need changes made to your subscription, have to cancel an order, or have any problems, then good customer service can mean the difference between a quick fix or being ghosted.
PetPlate does not list any kind of guarantee or refund policy. However, they still encourage customers to reach out by email with any problems or concerns. If you need to cancel, you can do so on their website or by email. Just be sure to cancel by the Thursday before your next order ships.
Nom Nom, on the other hand, has a money-back satisfaction guarantee. They also offer a few more options for canceling or contacting customer support. You can cancel online or reach them by email or phone.
Ollie doesn't accept returns. They do, however, offer a 100% money-back guarantee on their starter boxes. Cancelling is easy, too. You can cancel on their website, by email, by phone, by text, or by using their online customer support chat.
The Farmer's Dog comes with a satisfaction guarantee. If your dog doesn't love their food, you can request replacement recipes or get a refund. Don't ship food back to The Farmer's Dog, though—they ask that any unused, refunded food be donated to local pet shelters. If you need to cancel, you can do so by website, email, or phone.
One of the things I appreciated about The Farmer's Dog is that they email you a couple of days before they ship each box. That way, you can make any necessary changes before it's sent.
Spot and Tango also comes with a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee. If you need a refund, simply contact them by 5 PM Eastern Time the day before the end of your trial. You can cancel on their website or email them for help.
One of the Spot and Tango food packets that we ordered was missing. When I emailed them about it, they responded right away. They refunded the missing packet within 24 hours without any trouble! I was incredibly impressed by how fast they responded and how helpful they were in getting a refund.
🏅The Winner: Spot and Tango
🐶 Dog's Preference
Rusti was a big fan of PetPlate! He happily chowed down every meal. Despite his picky nature, he didn't lose interest. He was excited for PetPlate every day.
Nom Nom's Pork Potluck was watery, but Brother wolfed down every bite. In fact, it was his favorite Nom Nom recipe! He begged for dinner every night and licked his bowl thoroughly to clean up every drop.
Ollie was a huge hit in our house! Gojira was our taste-tester for this one, and he's usually more interested in toys than food. With Ollie, though, he begged and performed tricks for his food with every meal! He usually has a short attention span, but he was laser-focused on his bowl of Ollie. Just like Brother, he would chase his bowl around to clean it after every meal.
Like Ollie, The Farmer's Dog was seriously popular in our household. Brother was obsessed with the taste. He wolfed down every meal and preferred it to his old kibble. He begged for more after finishing each time, too!
Gojira really loved the taste of Spot and Tango even if the food was sticky and messy to eat. It clung to his nose and chin as he ate, which baffled him, but he finished off every bowl in record time despite that! He would often start eating it right out of the package before I could get it into the bowl, too!
🏅The Winner: Ollie
🍃 Sustainability Practices
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that all of these brands ship their products in recyclable boxes with eco-friendly packing materials.
PetPlate uses recyclable and biodegradable packing materials. This includes the small tubs that the food itself is stored in!
While Nom Nom doesn't have recyclable or biodegradable food packaging, it does have eco-friendly shipping materials. Everything from the box to the padding was recyclable. Their commitment to eco-friendly practices doesn't end there, though. They also sustainably source their ingredients and reduce food waste by cooking food in small batches.
Ollie did not have recyclable or biodegradable food packaging, either. They do have eco-friendly shipping, however. Almost all of their packing materials are recyclable.
The Farmer's Dog has their heart in the right place. The box and packing materials they ship in is eco-friendly. Everything is recyclable except for the biodegradable foam that can, supposedly, be dissolved in water. In reality, though, the foam was difficult and messy to dissolve. Their food packaging is not recyclable or biodegradable, either.
Spot and Tango does not have recyclable or biodegradable food packaging, but they do offer eco-friendly shipping by using recyclable packing materials.
🏅The Winner: Nom Nom
I was satisfied with all of these brands while giving them a try, but one brand stood head and shoulders above the rest.
Ollie was our dogs' favorite in terms of taste! This is the food that dogs dream of. Gojira is a hard sell when it comes to food since he prefers playing to eating. Despite that, he was obsessed with the taste. He offered tricks every time the Ollie came out. He cleaned his bowl thoroughly, and he was delighted with all of the recipes that we tried.
Gojira was a big fan of the sweet potato chips that came with his food, too!
Ollie was also the best fresh dog food from a human point of view! It came with a nice, dishwasher-safe “puptainer” to store food in. It also included a scoop that could also cut and portion out food (and fit nicely in the “puptainer,” too). The packets of food were easy to open, and the flat, rectangular shape made them easy to fit in the freezer.
Like the other brands, Ollie has high-quality, human-grade ingredients. Plus, I love that they offer grain-free recipes. They also offer a higher degree of customization to their food by asking about your dog's ideal weight and portioning it accordingly.
With so much to love, it’s no surprise that Ollie takes the cake as the best fresh dog food.
🏅Best Fresh Dog Food Brand According to Us: Ollie
What is fresh dog food?
It kind of does what it says on the tin – or in this case the customized, freezable pouch with your dog’s name on it. Fresh dog food is prepared within a few days of your pup gobbling it down, meaning there are fewer additives, preservatives, and other unknown extras in your dog’s food.
Fresh dog food companies generally use high-quality ingredients that are recommended by certified veterinary nutritionists and which are balanced to give your dog all the vitamins and minerals they need without compromising on flavor.
Fresh pet food can vary from you preparing your dog a yummy meal from leftovers to a fresh dog food delivery service that brings pre-portioned meals direct to your door.
Most of these delivery services follow a similar pattern. You register on their website, put in all your pup’s details (such as their breed, size, health issues, allergies, cuteness level, etc), pay, and wait for your order to arrive frozen or in cool bags, ready to serve.
Why fresh food for dogs?
Why are we always trying to eat five fresh fruits and vegetables a day? Why don’t we always buy our favorite ready meal lasagna but try to make it ourselves sometimes?
Because knowing exactly what you’re eating is important – and the same goes for dogs. Just like we can avoid eating extra salt and sugar by making the meat and bechamel sauce ourselves, we can make sure our dogs don't eat large amounts of preservatives and low-grade meat by serving them fresh food alternatives.
That doesn’t mean that there’s no place on the shelf for kibble and canned dog food, but many pet owners who have made the switch have noticed their dogs have higher energy levels, glossier coats, healthier appetites, and a more regular pooping schedule.
How easy is making the change?
As an owner, it’s pretty easy.
You won’t have to haul large quantities of heavy kibble and canned dog food back from the grocery store and (generally) you won’t have to spend your time coaxing your picky pup into eating something – they’ll be gobbling it up before you’ve even put the plate down.
You will, however, be paying more for a quality service and you’ll need to rearrange your freezer to make space for the meals.
Whenever you change your pup’s diet, you should check with your vet first. Even though you have to fill out a form specifying your dog’s size, breed, and weight to calculate their portion size, not all pups are the same and it’s worth double-checking.
So, if that's convinced you that changing to a fresh food diet could be good for your pup, you probably want to know which provider is best.
Luckily, the hard work has been done for you, so you don’t have to spend hours trawling through the internet and comparing ingredients with prices, storage requirements, and delivery times.
Frequently asked questions about fresh dog food
Is fresh dog food better than dry?
Think about dry dog food. Would you be able to tell what ingredients are in it? When you see those little brown bits, could you say “There's beef, carrot and apple in there”? In addition to being very transparent, fresh dog food is of better quality and the ingredients are fresh, as the name suggests. Of course, this makes this food more expensive than kibble, but it is a cost that in the long run will save you from going to your vet too often.
However, don't forget that dry dog food sold in the market is always considered complete and your pet will still be able to live a good life by being fed with it.
Is fresh dog food worth it?
This depends on you and your dog! First of all, don't forget that your dog will have to like its food. If you are spending money every month so that he barely touches his food bowl, it may not be worth it. However, if he devours his food, if his coat becomes shinier, if he is in better shape and if he gets sick less, then yes, fresh food is worth it.
Can fresh pet dog food be frozen?
Generally, fresh dog food has to be kept in the freezer. Some brands do shipments every three weeks or every month, this is why it is essential to keep it in the freezer to prevent it from turning bad.
However, this may change depending on the brand and you should always follow their instructions to preserve the food as much as possible.
Can puppies eat fresh dog food?
Of course! Generally, the different brands have you fill out a questionnaire in which you specify the age, breed, weight, activity level and allergies of your puppy. Based on this information, you will have a recipe that will fit all these characteristics.
I'm Michelle Ropp, a writer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA. For all my life, I've been in love with dogs and the written word. I grew up surrounded by incredible dogs, and share my home with four amazing Heeler mixes now. It was only natural for my two passions to combine, and I've enjoyed writing about dogs ever since.