Dogs

Just Food For Dogs Review

May 7, 2022

Just Food For Dogs Review

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While some dogs are content to eat the same thing day in and day out, some dogs want variety. The trouble is you don’t want to do all that research every month or two to find another recipe you approve of for your dog.

It would be much more convenient to simply do the research to choose a brand and then be able to try different recipes all made by the same brand. Don’t you agree?

If you’re looking for a fresh dog food brand to try, you may be disheartened to find that many of them offer just 3 or 4 recipes to choose from. Just Food for Dogs is different – they have 7 fresh food recipes and a wide variety of pantry fresh options that are shelf-stable for up to 2 years.

We tested an assortment of Fresh Frozen and Pantry Fresh recipes from Just Food for Dogs to bring you this honest review of our experience.

Just Food for Dogs
Brand
just for dogs
Overall Score
Pros
  • Wide variety of shelf-stable and fresh frozen recipes
  • Make a one-time purchase or create an autoship with ease
  • Vet support and custom diets available for purchase
Cons
  • Many recipes contain high levels of carbohydrates
  • Formulas aren’t portioned according to dog’s calorie needs
Pros
  • Wide variety of shelf-stable and fresh frozen recipes
  • Make a one-time purchase or create an autoship with ease
  • Vet support and custom diets available for purchase
Cons
  • Many recipes contain high levels of carbohydrates
  • Formulas aren’t portioned according to dog’s calorie needs
Weekly Price
Ingredient Quality
Recipe Variety
Options for Customization
Environmentally Friendly

Overview Of The Just Food For Dogs Brand

Shawn Buckley, founder of Just Food for Dogs, rescued his first dog (Simon) from the pound at 6 months. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until Simon was 9 years old that Buckley found out what goes into a lot of commercial dog food products.

At that point he was committed to making sure his dog lived the rest of his life in as healthy a way possible, so he began cooking his own dog food.

After seeing the transformation in his own dog, Buckley assembled a team of veterinarians and specialists to develop a line of healthy, nutritionally balanced meals for dogs. In 2010, they launched the first-ever kitchen for dogs, giving customers the ability to watch fresh food being made out in the open.

Today, Just Food for Dogs operates under these core values:

  • Relentlessly advocating for pet health
  • Being completely transparent
  • Basing decisions on scientific evidence
  • Driving change in our category
  • Honoring pet life through support of rescue efforts

One thing we want to note about Just Food for Dogs food is that it meets AAFCO requirements for complete and balanced nutrition, but not in the usual way.

In order to carry the AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy on the package, most pet food manufacturers make sure their product meets nutritional minimums established by AAFCO.

The other option is to complete feeding trials to prove the product is able to properly sustain a dog within the appropriate lifestage for 6 months.

What’s important to note here is that the feeding trial only needs to contain 8 animals and only 6 of the 8 are required to finish the test.

Just Food for Dogs has posted an Affidavit of Pet Food Testing Completion with their recipes online. Most of them seem to date back to October, 20212.

Just Food for Dogs
Just Food for Dogs offers an assortment of Fresh Frozen and Pantry Fresh meals for dogs.

Click Here To Order Your First Box

Where Is The Food Made?

Just Food for Dogs is made in the United States in company-owned facilities. In the FAQ section of their website, Just Food for Dogs notes that their food is crafted by hand in open-to-the-public kitchens in Irvine, California and New Castle, Delaware.

Of their ingredients, Just Food for Dogs states they use whole food ingredients that are restaurant-grade. Here’s how they explain it:

“Real, unprocessed, bioavailable, and nutrient-rich ingredients in their natural state. Our meats are inspected and approved by the USDA for human consumption, and all of our ingredients are the same as you would find in a restaurant or grocery store. In fact, we use the same premium suppliers as the restaurant industry to source the highest quality ingredients for our meals.”

In addition to those ingredients, Just Food for Dogs states they use supplements to achieve the nutritional standards established by the National Research Council (NRC).

What Dog Food Products Do They Offer?

Just Food for Dogs offers an assortment of fresh frozen and wet foods. Fresh Frozen foods are made using restaurant-grade ingredients with no preservatives. They are cooked and frozen before shipping.

The PantryFresh line of wet foods doesn’t require refrigeration but is still made with whole food ingredients. It is shelf-stable for up to 2 years.

Here’s an overview of the recipes in the Fresh Frozen collection:

RecipeProtein %Fat %Fiber %MoistureCalories/Oz.
Chicken & White Rice8417239
Beef & Russet Potato8.571.57543
Turkey & Whole Wheat Macaroni11416944
Fish & Sweet Potato7218028
Venison & Squash931.58029
Lamb & Brown Rice7.55.51.57045
All Day Breakfast SpecialUnlistedUnlistedUnlistedUnlisted32

In addition to their daily recipes, Just Food for Dogs also offers an assortment of vet support recipes. These formulas are designed to provide nutritional support for specific health issues and require a prescription to order. They are free from preservatives and shipped frozen.

Here’s an overview of the recipes in this collection:

RecipeProtein %Fat %Fiber %MoistureCalories/Oz
Renal Support Low Protein4627046
Hepatic Support Low Fat3.50.51.57831
Metabolic Support Low Fat71.547634
Balanced Remedy5147038
Joint & Skin Support92.527731
Renal Support Moderate Protein6627047
Derm Support Fish62.51.57833
Critical Care Support15121.56068

Just Food for Dogs gives you the option to select your own products or you can chat with a vet-trained consultant to build a customized nutrition plan for your dog.

Is Their Packing Environmentally Friendly?

While some pet food companies have openly made a commitment to sustainability and environmentally friendly practices, we couldn’t find much information about Just Food for Dogs in this area. Our order arrived in a standard cardboard box with the company’s information on it which was easy enough to recycle.

Inside, the fresh food was insulated with frozen gel packs and dry ice. The dry ice dissolved and we were able to reuse the gel packs for other purposes.

Just Food for Dogs
Just Food for Dogs makes it easy to choose fresher, more nutritious meals for your pet.

How Much Does It Cost?

Unlike other fresh dog food companies, Just Food for Dogs allows you to make your own selections instead of providing a recommendation based on your dog’s information. If you’re just trying to get a feel for fresh food, this can be a benefit – you’re not making a monthly commitment.

Pricing for Just Food for Dogs varies depending what type of product you’re looking at. Their Pantry Fresh wet foods range from $4.95 to $5.95 per 12.5-ounce box. You can purchase individual containers or a case of 12. Fresh Frozen foods range from $5.95 to $11.95 for an 18-ounce package. You can also purchase some recipes in larger 72-ounce bags.

New customers can receive up to 20% off their first order along with free ground shipping. All orders receive free ground shipping over $49 for dry goods and over $99 for Fresh Frozen foods.

Check below to see how Just Food for Dogs stacks up against other dog food brands for cost:

Premium Dog Food Price Comparison

Food TypeBrandAverage PricePrice Per
Premium Dry Dog FoodOpen Farm Homestead Turkey & Chicken Dry Dog Food$87.99 for 24lbs.$0.23 per ounce
Premium Wet FoodInstinct Original Grain-Free Wet Dog Food$22.14 for 6 (13.2oz.) cans$0.28 per ounce
Freeze-Dried RawStella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken Dinner Patties$51.99 for 25oz.$2.08 per ounce
Fresh Food SubscriptionThe Farmer’s Dog*$45.57 per week$6.51 per day
Dry Food SubscriptionTailored Pet*$46.80 for 20lbs. (5 weeks)$1.34 per day
Human-Grade Dog Food PouchPortland Pet Food Company$49.95 for 8 (9oz.) pouches$0.69 per ounce
Pantry Fresh Dog FoodJust Food for Dogs$83.40 for 12 (12.5oz.) cartons$0.56 per ounce

*Subscription price based on a 40-pound, neutered male dog 4 years of age

What Did Our Test Dog Think?

To test Just Food for Dogs we ordered an assortment of Fresh Frozen recipes and Pantry Fresh recipes. The two orders arrived in different shipments which was understandable considering the shelf-stable food doesn’t require refrigeration – they likely come from different shipping locations.

Our orders arrived in standard cardboard boxes customized by the brand which we appreciated. The box of Fresh Frozen food was properly insulated and arrived frozen, so we had no worries there. It was a little tricky to find the right portion for our test dog, but not a big deal.

In terms of the product itself, our test dog Archie loved the fresh food. We could definitely see the real ingredients and he had absolutely no qualms about scarfing it down. Though Archie loved it (the Beef & Russet Potato Recipe), however, we were a little concerned that there seemed to be a significant ratio of potato to beef. We actually consulted the FAQ about it.

Just Food for Dogs says of their carbohydrate inclusions:

“Carbohydrates can be an excellent source of energy when that carbohydrate is from a whole-food, human-grade source… Dogs are not true carnivores. They can actually live without meat in their diet, although we believe a diet containing high-quality meat is much better for them. We include fresh vegetables and fruit which provide excellent sources of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, glucosinolates, thiocyanates, and a variety of vitamins.”

To get a feel for how much nutrition actually comes from those “fresh vegetables and fruit” we tried to find more information about the supplements Just Food for Dogs uses in their recipes. We discovered their nutrient blend is available for sale to make homemade dog food, but couldn’t find specific information about what’s in it or how much, only that:

“JFFD’s Nutrient Blend is formulated specifically for each recipe to meet NRC RA recommendations. The blend is compounded from 100% human-grade nutraceuticals sourced from a facility regulated by the FDA.”  

Just Food for Dogs
In addition to their Fresh Frozen and Pantry Fresh meals, JFD also offers an assortment of treats.

Just Food For Dogs Dog Food Recalls

It’s your job as a dog owner to choose a product that is healthy and safe for your dog. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to decipher the information on the pet food label and, even if you can, it doesn’t always give you an accurate picture of the brand as a whole.

We recommend checking out the recall history of the brand as well.

Product recalls can happen for a variety of reasons, but the basic idea is that if the FDA or the manufacturer discovers an issue, they stop sales until it can be fixed. Recalls happen for things as simple as labeling errors but can also be for serious problems like contaminated ingredients or inadequate formulation. Having a recall isn’t always an indication of a bad brand – accidents do happen.

Most of the fresh dog food companies we’ve tested are still fairly new and they put a great deal of effort into ensuring the safety of their products. Most of these companies have not had a single recall.

Unfortunately, Just Food for Dogs does have one product recall in its history. In January 2018, the brand voluntarily recalled three recipes including their Turducken recipe after a customer reported issues with diarrhea and vomiting. Upon testing the product, the brand found traces of Listeria monocytogenes.

Just Food for Dogs immediately notified their customers in a notice stating the following:

“Today, sadly, I announce the only recall in the history of our company. And, in keeping with our core values, we will be providing the maximum (as opposed to the minimum) amount of information and guidance on this matter.”

Just Food for Dogs ensured customers that additional testing was being completed to address the issue and to prevent it from ever happening again. They encouraged customers who purchased the product to call immediately for a total refund and/or exchange for a different product.

Is Just Food For Dogs Really Worth The Cost?

Now that you know a little more about Just Food for Dogs and what our experience was like, you’re starting to think about whether it’s the right option for your dog. Before you make your decision, you probably have one big question that needs to be answered: is it worth the price?

There’s no denying that fresh food is more expensive than kibble, but price isn’t the only thing worth considering. In the end, it’s about what will provide for your dog’s nutritional needs and what will keep him the healthiest in the long run.

In fact, your dog’s health is the biggest factor in what could end up saving you money over time.

Think of it this way… Your dog’s health is a direct reflection of the quality of his diet. Without the nutrition he needs, his body won’t function properly, and he’ll be more likely to develop nutritional deficiencies and other health problems. As you already know, vet visits are expensive. The healthier your dog is, the fewer extra trips you’ll make to the vet and the longer you’ll get to enjoy your dog’s company. Sounds like a win-win to us!

Here are some additional 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)

To keep your dog happy and healthy for as long as possible, you should feed him the highest quality diet you can consistently afford. Keep reading to learn more about our experience with Just Food for Dogs.

Choose from a wide variety of recipes, both fresh frozen and shelf-stable, with Just Food for Dogs.

How Do You Order It?

While many fresh dog food companies require you to sign up for an account and create a monthly subscription, Just Food for Dogs makes it easy. You can add items to your cart for a one-time purchase or you can create a recurring autoship order at your preferred frequency.

Here are some simple steps to order this brand:

  1. Click the “Get Started” button at the top of the home page
  2. Type in your dog’s name to the Feeding Calculator
  3. Indicate your primary goal (ex: improve digestion, boost wellness, etc.)
  4. Provide your email address for contact
  5. Indicate any allergies your dog may have as well as his breed
  6. Select your dog’s age, sex, and altered status (spayed or neutered)
  7. Indicate your dog’s current weight, body type, and activity level
  8. Select your dog’s current diet and how many treats he gets
  9. View your personalized recommendations or create an order yourself

You can change, pause, or cancel your subscription at any time by logging into your account online. You can also make changes by contacting customer service.

Customer Service

At Just Food for Dogs, it’s just as important that you are happy as your dog is. The website provides plenty of information to help you make the right decision and there is an FAQ section you can consult at any time. Chat with an expert, call the customer support team, or send an email with questions.

Customer support is available Monday through Friday 7am to 6pm Pacific, Saturday 9am to 6pm, and Sunday 10am to 6pm.

Just Food for Dogs
Just Food for Dogs offers over half a dozen Fresh Frozen recipes available in 18 and 72 ounce containers.

Tips For Making The Transition

Though some dogs can eat just about anything without batting an eye, others experience digestive upset with even the slightest change to their diet. To avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach, Just Food for Dogs recommends making the transition onto the new dog food over a period of 7 to 10 days. Fortunately, the process is very easy – you just need to make the switch before you run out of the old food entirely.

Here’s what Just Food for Dogs suggests for transitioning your dog:

  • Days 1 thru 3: Serve 25% Just Food for Dogs with 75% your dog’s current diet
  • Days 4 thru 7: Serve 50% Just Food for Dogs with 50% your dog’s current diet
  • Days 8 thru 10: Serve 75% Just Food for Dogs with 50% your dog’s current diet
  • Days 11: Serve 100% Just Food for Dogs dog food

Every dog is different, so yours might the transition more quickly. On the other hand, he might need to spend an extra day or two adjusting. If your dog develops loose stools, go back to the previous step for another day or two before moving on to the next one.

Pros and Cons

When choosing a dog food, there are many factors to consider. As a dog owner, you know what’s most important to you and to your dog, so you need to do the research yourself. Every dog food brand has its pros and cons. Here are some of the things you need to know about Just Food for Dogs Pets:

Pros for Just Food for Dogs:

  • Wide variety of shelf-stable and fresh frozen recipes
  • Make a one-time purchase or create an autoship with ease
  • Vet support and custom diets available for purchase

Cons for Just Food for Dogs:

  • Many recipes contain high levels of carbohydrates
  • Formulas aren’t portioned according to dog’s calorie needs
  • Price varies widely for certain recipes (lamb is most expensive)

At the end of the day, the decision is yours and you need to feel good about it. Consider what you’ve learned here about Just Food for Dogs and do your own research if needed to make up your mind.

Just Food for Dogs
With Just Food for Dogs you receive deliveries of fresh or shelf-stable dog food right to your door.

The Final Word

Overall, we have to say Just Food for Dogs does a good job of establishing themselves as an option unique to other fresh food companies. They certainly have the edge when it comes to offering a variety of choices and we like that they give you the option to purchase products separately from creating a subscription or an auto-shipment.

That being said, we’re not a big fan of the products themselves. We find them much too high in carbohydrate for our liking and we’re not sure how we feel about the fact that the recipes aren’t formulated to AAFCO nutritional minimums but approved based on limited feeding trials.

If you’re looking for an easy entry into the world of fresh dog food and you want to explore the options, by all means include Just Food for Dogs in your search. If you’ve already decided fresh food is the way to go, however, we encourage you to check out some of our other fresh dog food picks.

Click Here To Order Your First Box

Frequently Asked Questions

Has Just Food for Dogs ever been recalled?

Yes, Just Food for Dogs experienced a voluntary recall of three recipes in January of 2018 due to positive testing for Listeria.

Is Just Food for Dogs food grain-free?

Most of Just Food for Dogs recipes contain carbohydrates including grain-based ingredients. They do, however, offer a limited selection of grain-free options.

Is Just Food for Dogs food organic?

No. Just Food for Dogs uses restaurant-grade ingredients in their Fresh Frozen foods but they are not organic.

Is Just Food for Dogs food raw?

No, Just Food for Dogs offers wet food in 12.5-ounce containers and fresh frozen food. Both are cooked to kill pathogens.

How many calories per cup for Just Food for Dogs food?

The calorie content for Just Food for Dogs varies widely from one recipe to another. Their fresh frozen foods range from 28 to 45 calories per cup.

Can I cancel my Just Food for Dogs food subscription?

Just Food for Dogs makes it easy to adjust or cancel your autoship by logging into your account.

Where can I buy Just Food for Dogs food?

The best place to buy Just Food for Dogs is through their website online, though you can also purchase some products through Amazon. If you live near one of their open-to-the-public kitchens, you can walk right in and buy the food there.

Can you heat up Just Food for Dogs food?

Just Food for Dogs has already been cooked and doesn’t need to be heated. If your dog prefers warm food, you can let it come to room temperature for 15 minutes or so.

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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
2 Comments
  1. Beckie

    You say 39 calories per cup but they advertise 39 calories per oz by the way. This is for the chicken and rice. I assume the others are incorrect too

    • Kate Barrington

      Thanks for catching that, Beckie! We've made the necessary correction.

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