Animals Pets The 6 Best Fresh Dog Food Delivery Services of 2021 Have your pet’s healthy food shipped right to your door By Mary Jo DiLonardo Senior Writer University of Cincinnati Mary Jo DiLonardo covers a wide range of topics focused on nature, health, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place. our editorial process Mary Jo DiLonardo Updated February 09, 2021 Fact checked by Dale Brauner no title? Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Manhattan School of Music Dale is an experienced fact checker and researcher with a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Our Fact-Checking Process Article fact-checked on Jan 25, 2021 Dale Brauner Share Twitter Pinterest Email Animals Wildlife Pets Animal Rights Endangered Species Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. kirisa99 / Getty Images If you wanted to fill your dog’s bowl with fresh meat and vegetables, you once had to cook and chop your own ingredients. But now there are more than a dozen companies that will ship freshly made, lightly-frozen dog food right to your door. If you feel guilty feeding dry kibble to your dog while you’re eating fresh proteins and produce, these companies offer plenty of options. The food is pricey, but it’s very convenient. In most cases, you can order two or three weeks’ worth and thaw what you need about a day before use in the fridge. Companies offer chicken, beef, and turkey, along with a few offer other options. None have preservatives or unnecessary fillers, but all include added nutrients. Here are our top contenders for fresh dog food delivery. We can see your dog’s big eyes begging you already. Note: Because pricing varies significantly depending on the size and activity level of your dog, the author used data for her dog Brodie, a 26-pound border collie mix who is about average on the activity scale, to see what the food would cost. Our Top Picks Best Overall: The Farmer’s Dog Best Runner-Up: Nom Nom Best Variety: JustFoodForDogs Best Flexibility: PetPlate Easiest to Serve: Ollie Best Farm to Table: Spot & Tango Best Overall: The Farmer’s Dog The Farmer’s Dog Sign Up Now Why We Chose It: The Farmer's Dog is one of the more well-known fresh dog food delivery companies and its packaging is eco-friendly. What We Like - Food is delivered within days of cooking - All packaging is recyclable or biodegradable - Easy to change plan What We Don't Like - One of the most expensive options The Farmer’s Dog sends refrigerated packets of food that are delivered within days of cooking. Just cut the packets open, squeeze out the food into your dog’s dish, and then fluff with a fork. There are four recipe options to choose from: turkey, chicken, beef, and pork. You can easily make changes to your plan, ordering more, less, or different recipes once you decide what works for your dog. And you can get advice from team members if you have questions. As a bonus, when you buy from The Farmer's Dog, you'll be treating the environment with care. The box the food comes in is recyclable, and the containers are all biodegradable and BPA free. Plus, the insulation is biodegradable, so you can put that and the container in your compost bin, or run water over it in the sink and watch it disappear. The approximate cost for the author's dog was about $39 per week, but pricing will depend on the size of your dog and its dietary needs. Best Runner-up: Nom Nom Nom Nom Sign Up Now Why We Chose It: In addition to its sustainability practices, Nom Nom is working toward zero food waste in its facilities. What We Like - Veterinary nutritionist on staff - All packaging is recyclable - Also offers beef and chicken jerky treats and fresh food for cats What We Don't Like - Hard to customize order online Nom Nom has four flavors to choose from—beef, chicken, pork, and turkey—and all ingredients come from U.S. growers and suppliers. The company is committed to sustainably-sourced food when possible, and boxes, meal packs, and insulating liners are recyclable. With a veterinary nutritionist on staff, there are lots of videos and supplemental information on the website to help explain dog nutrition and feeding tips. Although there’s lots of good info on the site, we did find it hard to get details about customizing an order or changing portion sizes. Nom Nom also offers beef and chicken jerky treats, made with all beef or all chicken and no preservatives or extra ingredients. There's fresh food available for cats as well. The approximate cost for the author's dog was about $37 per week, but pricing will depend on the size of your dog and its dietary needs. Best Variety: JustFoodForDogs Just Food for Dogs Sign Up Now Why We Chose It: JustFoodForDogs earned a spot on our list for its locally-sourced ingredients and selection of supplements. What We Like - Offers seven different recipes, including fish - Has five stores for food pickup - Less expensive than other options What We Don't Like - Have to calculate how much food you need to buy and serve to your pet While most fresh dog food delivery services have four recipes, JustFoodForDogs has seven: fish, venison, chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, and a beef and chicken combo. The company claims its ingredients feature restaurant-quality meat, wild-caught cod, and locally-sourced produce. Everything can be shipped frozen to your house, or you can find one their pickup locations around the country. The meals are all made by hand in kitchens that are open to the public. JustFoodForDogs also offers pantry-fresh dry food, jerky treats, supplements, and a DIY nutrient blend if you want to try cooking for your pet at home. It can be difficult to figure out how much to feed your furry friend, though. For example, our test dog Brodie needed 1 ¾ cups or 11 ounces of food a day and the packages come in 18-ounce of 77-ounce servings. There's definitely a lot of math (or a food scale) involved. The approximate cost for the author's dog was about $24 per week, but pricing will depend on the size of your dog and its dietary needs. Best Flexibility: PetPlate PetPlate Sign Up Now Why We Chose It: PetPlate stood out for its reusable containers that eliminate waste. What We Like - Containers are easy to reseal and save - Detailed info about benefits of each recipe - “Topper” plan lets you mix fresh with dry kibble What We Don't Like - Containers take up a lot of room in the freezer As an MIT grad, Renaldo Webb worked as a business consultant for a pet food company. When he saw how traditional pet food was made, he started a fresh food delivery company of his own. PetPlate offers four flavors to choose from: beef, turkey, chicken, and lamb, with detailed info online about the key features and benefits of each (which are good for picky eaters, active dogs, grain-free, and more). PetPlate also has a “topper” plan allowing you to order less food and mix it in with your dog’s regular dry kibble. Selections are flexible if you want to change recipes, delivery schedules, or order size. Food comes in plastic tubs that are easy to reseal and save in the refrigerator for the next meal. The directions suggest the meals are best served warm, and conveniently, the tubs are microwavable. A sustainable bonus: They can be washed and recycled or reused. The downside: They can take up a lot of space in the freezer. The approximate cost for the author's dog was about $34 per week, but pricing will depend on the size of your dog and its dietary needs. Easiest to Serve: Ollie Ollie Sign Up Now Why We Chose It: The food from Ollie is made in small batches and are shipped in recyclable materials. What We Like - Comes with a scoop to help with portions - Peel-back, easy-to-serve food trays - Detailed nutritional information What We Don't Like - Food trays are not recyclable Like the other services, Ollie’s recipes were also created by a veterinary nutritionist. There are four recipes to choose from: beef, chicken, turkey, and lamb. Beef, turkey, and hormone-free chicken come from farms in the U.S., while pasture-raised lamb comes from free-range farms in the U.S. and Australia. There’s detailed nutritional information online about all options. For example, the beef recipe includes beef, beef heart, beef liver, and beef kidney. Other ingredients include whole blueberries and peas, freshly chopped carrots and spinach, as well as chia and cod liver oil. All food is made in small batches in a New Jersey facility and it comes with a scoop to make serving portions easy. Plus, the meals come in convenient peel-and-serve trays. They’re small, so they don’t take up a lot of room in the freezer, and they can pack more in one shipment, lowering the carbon footprint. The box and the liner are recyclable (the latter is made of recycled cotton), but the food trays are not. The approximate cost for the author's dog was about $37 per week, but pricing will depend on the size of your dog and its dietary needs. Best Farm to Table: Spot & Tango Spot & Tango Sign Up Now Why We Chose It: Spot & Tango stood out because of its fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, as well as its eco-friendly packaging. What We Like - Slim packages don’t take up a lot of room in the freezer - Pre-portioned servings so you know exactly how much to feed - Also makes dry food with no preservatives or fillers What We Don't Like - Only offers three recipes Spot & Tango began in the founder’s kitchen where he and his wife made fresh food for their dogs. The food is still prepared in small batches in New York with a lot of locally-farmed ingredients. The company offers just three recipes: turkey, beef, and lamb, and has some of the more enticing combinations, despite the limited options. The turkey, for example, is combined with red quinoa, spinach, carrots, peas, apples, and eggs. The beef recipe has cranberries, while the lamb has blueberries. There's even a “topper” plan if you don’t want to order the full delivery, but want to mix some fresh food in with your dog’s regular dry kibble. Spot & Tango's meals come in slim, pre-portioned, vacuum-sealed packs that store easily in the freezer: You just cut them open to serve. The box is recyclable and the insulation packaging dissolves in water. The company also makes dry dog food called UnKibble made from beef or chicken, vegetables, and fruit, with no preservatives or fillers. The approximate cost for the author's dog was about $38 per week, but pricing will depend on the size of your dog and its dietary needs. Bottom Line All the pet fresh pet food delivery services we reviewed offer at least three recipes made of animal proteins, fruits and vegetables, added nutrients, and no additional fillers or preservatives. You can’t go wrong with any of them if you want to try fresh food for your best friend. The Farmer’s Dog and Nom Nom had a bit of an edge over the others. They get points for all recyclable packaging and access to nutritional information, but they are also some of the most expensive choices. If you want a less-costly option, check out JustFoodForDogs. The food isn’t pre-portioned, but you’ll save money by figuring that out yourself. If you want more than the basic protein options, they also offer fish and venison. If you just want to add some fresh food to your dog’s normal dry kibble, Pet Plate and Spot & Tango offer “topper” plans. These smaller deliveries let you mix in about one-quarter of fresh food in each meal, making your wallet and your dog much happier. Is Fresh Food the Same as Raw Food? Fresh and raw are not identical. These fresh delivery pet foods are cooked at low temperatures in small batches, then packaged and refrigerated or frozen before being shipped to you. Raw diets are not cooked. They can include raw organ or muscle meats (ground beef, chicken livers), eggs, ground bones, fruits and vegetables that are safe for pets like broccoli, carrots, and apples, and dairy products, such as yogurt. How Do You Serve Fresh Dog Food? Most of these foods come frozen, so leave out a serving overnight in the refrigerator. Check the directions, but they’ll likely thaw in about 24 hours. Depending on how the food is packaged, you can either scoop or squeeze out a serving into your dog’s bowl. Or, you may want to heat it with a little warm water for a few seconds in the microwave. How Are These Foods Different From Cooking for Your Dog at Home? As well-intentioned as you might be, it can be hard to get the ingredients and nutrition right for a canine-specific diet. It’s not as simple as feeding your dog whatever you’re eating or just cooking up chicken and rice. Even the foods we highlight here are enhanced with nutrients to make sure your pet is getting a well-rounded meal. If you want to cook for your dog, you can buy a DIY nutrient blend from JustFoodForDogs. How We Chose the Best Fresh Dog Food Delivery Services I started by looking at the ingredients, making sure they all had whole sources of animal protein, whole food ingredients, and no preservatives or fillers. They all had to meet the nutritional standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a non-profit that sets standards for pet foods and animal feed in the U.S. To make our list, all foods had to offer several product options. All have at least chicken, beef, and turkey. Several also have lamb or pork and JustFoodForDogs has seven different recipes. All companies must have formulas created by a veterinary nutritionist. Extra points went to Nom Nom, which has one on staff. I made sure all of the sites were intuitive, so you could easily enter your dog’s information and receive recommendations about how much to feed and which formula might be best for your pet.I tried PetPlate recently and several other services in the past couple of years, and I talked to people who have tried these services and read extensive reviews from users and veterinarians. Packaging was also very important. Because you’ll be getting food every few weeks, we made sure to include only companies where most, if not all of the material, was recyclable, compostable, or recycled. Check with your veterinarian before switching foods. For Brodie the border collie, the six algorithms suggested the dog should get between 375 and 480 calories a day, which is a significant difference. The sites all offer chat or email support if you have questions.