FreshPet Dog Food Review

Dogs Reviews August 24, 2020
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FreshPet Dog Food Review

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Your dog deserves high-quality nutrition that supports his health and wellness.

FreshPet believes that fresh food can make all the difference for pet health and they are committed to helping pets live their best, happiest, tail-wagging lives.

They developed a new ideology on feeding pets and were one of the first fresh pet food companies to hit the market.

At a Glance: FreshPet Dog Food Review

FreshPet
Brand
Overall Score
Pros
  • We liked the wide variety of options FreshPet had to offer in both dog and cat food.
  • In addition to rolls and patties, we also found a selection of fresh meals similar to kibble but with higher moisture levels.
  • The ingredients are 97% sourced from the USA and Canada.
Cons
  • Our experience varied depending on the product.
  • The test dog wasn’t thrilled about the fresh food rolls but had no problem with the fresh meals.
  • FreshPet also doesn’t offer the same level of convenience as other companies because they aren’t a subscription service.
Pros
  • We liked the wide variety of options FreshPet had to offer in both dog and cat food.
  • In addition to rolls and patties, we also found a selection of fresh meals similar to kibble but with higher moisture levels.
  • The ingredients are 97% sourced from the USA and Canada.
Cons
  • Our experience varied depending on the product.
  • The test dog wasn’t thrilled about the fresh food rolls but had no problem with the fresh meals.
  • FreshPet also doesn’t offer the same level of convenience as other companies because they aren’t a subscription service.
Weekly Price
Ingredient Quality
Recipe Variety
Options for Customization
Environmentally Friendly

There are Better Fresh Dog Food Delivery Services to Choose from

There are better fresh options, a crop of new fresh cat food delivery competitors offer better, fresher dog food delivered right to your home.

Here are some our favorite fresh dog food brands you can choose from today. Most offer a heavy discount on your first order so you can see how your mutt likes it . Click here to read our full reviews:


They use fresh, whole ingredients in recipes that are gently cooked without preservatives and kept refrigerated where real meats belong.

Though FreshPet makes some great promises about their products, we were a little skeptical about a fresh pet food company that is sold in grocery stores (compared to fresh pet food subscriptions like Spot and Tango or Pet Plate).

We set out to test FreshPet for ourselves, having already tested some of the top fresh pet food deliveries on the market, to see how it compares.

Overview of the FreshPet Brand

The tagline FreshPet uses is “real food fresh from the fridge.” Their recipes features 100% natural farm-raised poultry, beef, and fish as well as fiber-packed garden veggies and antioxidant-rich fruits.

They offer dozens of different products in multiple forms including bagged meals, rolls, and stews. They also offer a selection of meal mixers and dog treats.

FreshPet makes a big deal about not using rendered meats or by-product meals in their products.

To the average consumer, that sounds great, but what does it really mean?

Fresh meats like real chicken or beef contain about 70% moisture which cooks out during extrusion – the process used to make commercial dry food.

Rendered meat meals are already cooked to remove moisture before adding them to the mix, making them a more concentrated source of protein.

They are not inherently bad, but it is important to evaluate the quality – named meat meals like chicken meal are better than generic meat meals like poultry meal or poultry by-product meal.

Another claim FreshPet makes, in addition to starting every recipe with real meat, is that they use fresh fruits and vegetables in their recipes.

These ingredients provide natural sources for key nutrients, but every recipe also contains vitamin and mineral supplements as needed for nutritional balance. All of that is fine, but there are some additional ingredients that may be of concern.

Many fresh pet food companies prepare their foods in small batches to ensure freshness and quality – FreshPet produces their foods in much larger quantities.

To keep things fairly uniform across the board, they end up using additives like thickening agents and emulsifiers (like carrageenan and cassia gum).

These are mildly controversial ingredients most pet experts recommend avoiding, so it’s troubling to see them in a fresh pet food.

It’s also important to note that FreshPet makes use of plant proteins (like pea protein).

So, while real meat might be the first ingredient, it isn’t the only source of protein and may not even be the primary source once the product is cooked and processed.

Where is the Food Made?

All FreshPet products are made in company-owned kitchens located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Their treats are made in the USA by carefully selected partners that follow high standards for safety and quality. FreshPet also states that 97% of their ingredients are sourced from the USA and Canada, though their vitamins and minerals may not be. No ingredients are sourced from China.

What Dog Food Products Do They Offer?

The advantage FreshPet has over other fresh pet food companies is their large variety. FreshPet offers a varied range of rolls, bagged meals, single-serve cups, and treats.

Their products are intended to be refrigerated, all labeled with a “sell by” date, and used within 7 days of opening. The exception is for the single-serve cups which should be used within 2 days and treats which can be open for 10 to 14 days.

Here is an overview of FreshPet dog food products:

  • Deli Fresh Grain-Free Chicken Recipe (bagged meal or roll)
  • Select Chunky rolls (beef or chicken & turkey)
  • Select Fresh from the Kitchen Home-Cooked Chicken Recipe
  • Select Rolls (grain-free chicken, multi-protein, or puppy)
  • Select Roasted Meals and Complete Meals
  • Select Small Dog Bite (morsels and rolls)
  • Select Stews Grain-Free (chicken or beef & pumpkin)
  • Homestyle Creations Healthy Mixers
  • Nature’s Fresh rolls and bagged meals
  • Vital Balanced Nutrition rolls and bagged meals
  • Dog Joy Treats (chicken, turkey apple, or turkey bacon flavor)
  • DogNation Treats (chicken or turkey recipe)

All of FreshPet’s recipes are formulated to exceed AAFCO’s minimum standards for complete and balanced canine nutrition. Every recipe is made with high-quality meats and vegetables but there are supplements as needed to ensure nutritional balance.

FreshPet dog food recipes

Is Their Packing Environmentally Friendly?

In their FAQ page, FreshPet notes that their products are free from toxins and chemical preservatives, but they do cook and pasteurize their products to kill bacteria.

They use mainly plastic packaging to keep the food fresh and safe until it is opened – unfortunately, you may not be able to recycle these materials.

That being said, FreshPet does have a commitment to sustainability in their practices.

They use 100% renewable wind energy to power their kitchens and make every effort to recycle wooden pallets, light tubes, and ballast in their facilities.

The work with dedicated green partners and are working on replacing their existing refrigerators with more environmentally friendly models.

FreshPet pet food

How Much Does It Cost?

FreshPet is not a delivery service or a subscription pet food company, so the cost can vary greatly. FreshPet Select Stews come in 10.25-ounce bowls for about $3 each while rolls of fresh food cost about $6. You can purchase much larger rolls for about $20 or bags of fresh food for about $9.

Depending on your dog’s size and what type of food you choose, the cost could range from as little as $3 per day to $9 per day, making the average monthly cost about $25 to $65.

Check below to see how FreshPet stacks up against other dog food brands for cost:

Premium Dog Food Price Comparison

Food Type Brand Average Price Price Per Pound/Oz.
Dry Food Canidae PURE Grain-Free $64.99 for 24 pounds $2.70/pound
Wet Food Castor & Pollux Organic $41.88 for 12 (12.7oz) cans $3.49/can (12.7 oz.)
Freeze-Dried Raw Stella & Chewy’s $49.99 for 25 oz. $2.08/ounce
Dehydrated The Honest Kitchen $55.88 for 10 pounds $5.58/pound
Fresh Food Ollie* $150 for 1 month $37.20/week
Fresh Food Nom Nom* $154 for 1 month $38.40/week
Fresh Food FreshPet* $3.50+ per day $24.50/week

* Cost varies depending on subscription, estimates for a 30-pound neutered male dog

What Did Our Test Dog Think?

Our test dog Archie has been testing fresh foods for some time and he generally loves it. That being said, he wasn’t a fan of some of FreshPet’s products.

We used the Grain-Free Beef and Pumpkin Recipe stew as a meal topper and he seemed to like it well enough, though it wasn’t particularly appetizing by human standards.

The FreshPet Select Roasted Meals chicken recipe was much more well-received. It had a strong chicken aroma with visible pieces of chicken as well as preformed nuggets. Archie gobbled the food up with no problems.

Though FreshPet’s roasted meals and stews went over well, we can’t say the same for the Vital Grain-Free Multi-Protein Recipe roll.

According to the feeding recommendations, you should cut the roll into slices then chop the slice into smaller pieces.

The roll looked like a sausage with pieces of carrot and unidentifiable white substance (probably fat) scattered throughout, but it didn’t look very appetizing. Archie didn’t think so either.

He sniffed the food and sampled it but then looked at me as if he was asking whether he really had to eat it.

Overall, I didn’t have a problem with the FreshPet stews and roasted meals, but I can’t say I recommend the rolls.

The recommended feeding amount was also concerning. FreshPet recommends about 1 pound of food per day for a dog of Archie’s size (about 30 pounds) – that’s half of the 2-pound roll. C

hopping it up, it more than fills Archie’s bowl, so I can’t imagine a bigger dog eating even more than that. It doesn’t look much like real food, so it leaves me to wonder how much of it will actually be digested and absorbed and how much will be left in a pile in your backyard.

freshpet taste test

FreshPet Food Recalls

Pet food manufacturers are required to follow certain standards for safety, but accidents do happen.

A pet food recall occurs when there is a problem with the product and the FDA recommends removing it from pet store shelves until the issue is resolved.

Pet food companies also have the option to voluntarily recall a product if they notice or suspect a problem.

Recalls are more common in companies that mass produce their foods. To our knowledge, FreshPet has not had any product recalls to date.

Is FreshPet Really Worth the Cost?

When it comes to feeding your dog, you should feed him the highest quality diet you can consistently afford.

Many pet experts agree that fresh food is one of the best options for pets because it is more nutritious and less processed than commercial kibble and canned food.

Unfortunately, that is less true for FreshPet than for pet food delivery services like Nom Nom and The Farmer’s Dog.

FreshPet products are produced in much larger quantities and, other than providing refrigerators, they do not control the conditions in which the products are kept prior to sale.

Equipment malfunction or damage to the packaging could allow mold or bacteria to enter the food, causing it to mold or spoil.

That being said, FreshPet could still be better for your dog than low-quality canned food or kibble.

Generally speaking, the higher the quality of your dog’s diet, the better. Poor quality pet foods may be more difficult for your dog to digest or might contain low-quality ingredients that don’t deliver optimal nutrition.

Over time, gaps in your dog’s nutrition could contribute to serious health problems and, in the end, higher vet bills.

It is well worth the cost to feed your dog high-quality fresh food, but we’re not sure FreshPet is the best option if you can afford a fresh food subscription service instead.

Here are some general benefits of feeding your dog premium dog food:

  • Improved and regulated digestion, less gas and diarrhea
  • Reduced stool volume and odor
  • Healthier coat with less shedding
  • Increased energy levels and vitality
  • Healthy weight loss (when needed for overweight dogs)
  • Improved dental health and oral hygiene
  • Better urinary health, reduced risk for urinary tract infections (UTIs)

The thing you need to remember is that every dog is different. Generally speaking, fresh food is one of the best diets you can feed your dog but FreshPet may not be the best of those options in every case.

You’ll need to talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s unique dietary needs and ask whether one of FreshPet’s products could be a good choice.

FreshPet dog food reviews

How Do You Order It?

Because FreshPet is not a food delivery service, you can’t just order it online through their website. You can, however, use the

Where to Buy page on their website to locate stores near you that carry their products. FreshPet has refrigerators in many major grocery store chains as well as some big box stores like Target.

You may also be able to find FreshPet products from online retailers, but it’s difficult to judge the freshness of ordering online so it’s best to purchase in stores.

Customer Service

Though it’s incredibly easy to find FreshPet in stores and you don’t have to wait for delivery, customer service is another matter. You can’t expect grocery store employees to be able to answer specific questions about the product and the only options for contacting the company online is by email.

FreshPet does have a FAQ section of their website where you can find answers to common questions, however, so that may be enough for most situations.

Tips for Making the Transition

Changing your dog’s diet can result in digestive upset if you do it too quickly. You should also remember that fresh food is very different from commercial kibble and it may take your dog a little while to get used to it if he’s never had fresh food before.

That being said, some dogs take to fresh food right away and find it more palatable than commercial kibble.

When switching to FreshPet, you should transition your dog over a period of 7 to 10 days. You can find specific information in the Switching to FreshPet guide on the website, but it’s a fairly simple process.

In the guide, you’ll find detailed information about how to store and serve the different types of food in addition to recommendations for how much to feed of your dog’s old food and the FreshPet on days 1-3, 3-6, and 7-10.

Just be sure not to open more than you’ll be able to use within a 7-day period, so you may need to start with smaller packages when you’re completing the transition period.

FreshPet3

Pros and Cons

Every dog is unique, so the best food for one dog might not be the best option for another. It’s up to you to know your dog’s needs and preferences so you can make an informed decision. Every dog food brand is unique as well, and each has its pros and cons.

Here are some of the things you need to know about FreshPet:

Pros for FreshPet

  • FreshPet sources 97% of their ingredients from the USA and Canada and uses all-natural ingredients, including fresh meats instead of rendered meals.
  • There are a wide variety of products to choose from including grain-free and grain-inclusive options as well as multiple proteins.
  • FreshPet products are readily available in grocery stores and are objectively less expensive than most fresh food delivery services.

Cons for FreshPet

  • Price and feeding amount vary widely depending on the dog’s size and calorie needs – may not be affordable for everyone.
  • Shorter shelf-life than most commercial foods due to the lack of preservatives – bagged meals and rolls should be refrigerated and used within 7 days of opening.
  • Some products are not very appetizing for either dogs or the humans feeding them.

Every pet food company has its pros and cons. Unfortunately, we aren’t confident in saying that the pros outweigh the cons for FreshPet. There is certainly nothing wrong with choosing FreshPet if it’s the best food within your budget, but if you’re committed to feeding your dog fresh food you would do much better with a subscription service like Nom Nom or Ollie.

The Final Word

At the end of the day, it’s completely up to you what you choose to feed your dog.

With so many options out there, it can be difficult to know which brands you can trust.

We wouldn’t say that FreshPet is an untrustworthy brand and their products are not of low quality, but they aren’t what we’d hope to see from a fresh pet food company.

If you do choose to feed FreshPet to your dog, you’ll probably find the bagged meals more appealing and so will your dog.

The rolls are less appetizing for certain, but while most products contain some plant protein, these ingredients appear further down the list for the rolls than for the bagged foods.

We can’t heartily recommend FreshPet in the end, but we can’t fault dog owners for choosing it either.

If you’re looking for an affordable brand of fresh food that you can simply pick up in the store, it’s one to consider. If you want the highest quality for your dog, however, you’d be better off considering a fresh pet food subscription service like Nom Nom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Has FreshPet ever been recalled?

Not to our knowledge but we were unable to find specific information from the company to confirm or deny this.

Is FreshPet food grain-free?

FreshPet offers both grain-free and grain-inclusive diets. If your dog has a grain allergy, you can use the product selector on the website to filter for grain-free products and then check their availability in stores near you.

Is FreshPet food organic?

No, FreshPet food is not organic. The company states that they focus on finding the highest quality ingredients out there and, while their foods are not organic, they are all-natural and free from antibiotics and preservatives.

Is FreshPet food raw?

No, FreshPet is cooked and pasteurized to kill bacteria.

How many calories per cup for FreshPet food?

The calorie content varies widely from one product to another. You can find specific calorie information on the product page or on the packaging itself as well as feeding recommendations.

Can I cancel my FreshPet food subscription?

FreshPet does not offer a subscription service.

Where can I buy FreshPet food?

You can find FreshPet in most major grocery stores as well as big box chains like Target. Use the Where to Buy option on the website to find a retailer.

Can you heat up FreshPet food?

It is not necessary or recommended to heat FreshPet foods.

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
10 Comments
  1. Avatar

    Marv Proctor

    My CV concern with Freshpet is that the UPC CODE does not match the written word. The package says processed in the U.S. but the UPC code comes back as Kuwait country of origin. If USA or Canada. it should start with a zero. not a 6. The front of the bag says made in the USA but that is an old m as marketing trick that means the container, (in this case, the bag) is made in the USA. I'm concerned and don't want to buy dog food that I'm unsure of origin and or contents. can you shed any light on the UPC discrepancy.

    • Avatar

      Kate Barrington

      Hi Marv, thanks for the question. Unfortunately we don't know much about how FreshPet packages their products except what they say on their website: "All Freshpet refrigerated food is made in our very own Freshpet Kitchens in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Freshpet treats are made in the USA by carefully selected partners that are required to strictly adhere to our high quality food and safety standards." It's entirely possible that the packaging itself comes from outside the US.

  2. Avatar

    Tammy Lee

    Why is ollie a better brand or more recommend than freash pet?

    • Avatar

      Kate Barrington

      Hi Tammy, great question! Which brand is better is largely a matter of opinion, but we like Ollie because they produce their food in small batches to control quality and ship it directly to the consumer. FreshPet makes their products in much larger batches and sends them out to retailers. From there, the retailer is in control of quality in terms of proper storage and best-by dates, so it just leaves more room for error. Neither brand is bad. Hope that helps!

    • Avatar

      Bridget

      Our dog has been vomiting and having what we would call dry heaves, just being able to get phlegm up, loose stools. Lying around not wanting to do anything. We're concerned its the PetFresh since we just started her on this a couple weeks ago.very concerned.

      • Avatar

        Kate Barrington

        If he's already been on it for a few weeks with no issue, it may not be the food. If he's been having issues since the switch, however, it sounds likely. We'd recommend talking to your vet considering his lethargy and other symptoms. Always better to be safe than sorry!

  3. Avatar

    Barb

    Does freshpet offer individual servings? My dog can not consume the small roll in seven days.

    • Avatar

      Kate Barrington

      Hi Barb, FreshPet doesn't do single servings of their complete meals but you can find smaller portions. Check out the selection here: https://freshpet.com/en-gb/dog/freshpet-select/

  4. Avatar

    Sharon

    Do you heat up FreshPet select roasted meals

    • Avatar

      Kate Barrington

      No, there's no need! If your dog prefers his food warm, you can always let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or pour some warm water or broth over it right before feeding.

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