Fresh Dog Food: What Is It, Advantages & Disadvantages

By Everything Shih Tzu September 23, 2022

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Dog food can be found in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and it can even sometimes be found in less traditional forms, such as the fresh kind.

Shih Tzu Dog sitting next to a basket of cucumbers

Fresh dog food is gaining popularity among pet parents and their dogs.

In fact, the demand for fresh pet food has grown over 20 percent in recent years.

So, what exactly is fresh dog food? And why should you consider switching your pet to a diet that’s centered on it? Let’s take a look…

What is Fresh Dog Food?

Guessing what fresh dog food is pretty's fresh.

What this mean is it's not processed, nor is it supposed to have fillers and artificial ingredients in it, but it may have trace amounts of preservatives in it.

There isn't a special definition for what fresh dog food is, but according to an article on the American Kennel Club, feeding your dogs with real and natural ingredients promotes the overall well-being of your dog's health.

Unlike dry or canned dog food, fresh dog food is stored in the fridge to prolong its freshness, and depending on the service you go through, if you choose to do so, it can last a few weeks in the fridge and can be frozen.

Fresh dog food has no distinction between where it's made, whether it be in your kitchen or delivery service, but there are cautions to be aware of if you are making the decision to make your own fresh homemade food for your dog.

Because homemade dog food does not go under the same examination processes as commercially made dog food, recipes made at home should only be those recommended and approved by a veterinarian.

For the sake of this article, we will be talking about commercially fresh dog food; however, if you are interested in making your own fresh homemade dog food, the AKC has a great expert-advised article about cooking your own dog food here.

Fresh dog food should have simplified ingredients that you can easily read and identify and should not contain animal by-products.

A common theme among fresh dog food options is they make their food "human-grade."

Human-grade dog food means that it is edible for humans to eat.
While the Association of American Feed Control Officials does not have a definition for human-grade, the USDA simply defines it as being "edible."

It is important to note that just because a brand is labeled as human-grade does not mean it is better for your dog.

The AAFCO states, "A product formulated for a pet is unlikely to be nutritionally adequate for a human and vice versa."

So, when making a decision, make sure to read more than just the label and look into the ingredients in the product itself.

So, now that you know what fresh dog food is, what are its advantages and disadvantages to it?

Advantages Of Fresh Dog Food Diet

Child feeding a Shih Tzu

Switching your dog to a fresh food diet can be beneficial. Here are some advantages of going the fresh food route for your pup.

High-Quality Ingredients 

Fresh dog food brands like Ollie and The Farmer's Dog pride themselves in using high-quality ingredients.

The purpose behind fresh dog food is that it's, well, fresh.

That means the processed ingredients that can be found in bagged dog food isn't present.

Just as processed foods consumed by humans aren't the best in large amounts, neither are processed foods for dogs.

With fresh whole food ingredients being used in dog foods, more dog parents are able to see what their animals are eating. 


The ability to customize your dog's meals is arguably the best feature of a fresh food diet.

In contrast to other types of dog food purchased in stores, fresh food pet brands enable you to enter your dog's information so you can choose the best meals based on your dog's specific health and nutritional needs.

In addition, many brands, like NomNom, also have options for those who have pups who need to be within a certain calorie intake. 

Tastes Better

The advantage of this is more for the dog than it is for the pet guardian, but it's safe to say that fresh dog food probably tastes better than its dry equivalent to the majority of dogs.

If you have a dog that does not appear to enjoy eating canned or bagged food, then perhaps switching them over to a fresh food diet is the best solution.

Limited Ingredients

Fresh dog foods are made with limited ingredients- meaning there are fewer ingredients in the food.

This can be helpful for the pups who may suffer from allergies.

Dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs often eat foods with fewer ingredients as a way to figure out where their food allergies might come from.

A limited ingredient diet can also help digestion, another advantage of going fresh.

Helps Digestion

There are a lot of things that aren't supposed to be in dog food, and the lists of those ingredients can be rather long.

Also, people who want their dog's feces to be less smelly, firmer, and easier to manage may find that feeding fresh dog food made with high-quality ingredients and fewer preservatives is helpful for this purpose.

Disadvantages of a Fresh Dog Food Diet

There are several benefits that come with feeding your fresh dog foods; however, there are also some drawbacks that come along with this diet.


If you're looking for a cost-effective diet for your dog, you may not want to switch them to a fresh food diet.

It's no secret that fresh dog food is more expensive than your traditional dry kibble or wet food.

This can be even more frustratingly expensive for those who have multiple animals or are fostering.

So, knowing how much you can spend on your dog's nutrition may be beneficial before you decide to make the switch.

Time Consuming

If you plan to make your own fresh dog food to save money, you will need to consider the time necessary to prepare and store your dog's food.

Furthermore, knowing what to put in their food and determining what is ideal for their specific dietary needs is a different matter.

So, if you are interested in making homemade dog food, think about how much time it will take to do proper research, and consult with a veterinarian to determine if the food you intend to make is something your dog can even consume and digest.

Also, there are certain nutrients that are essential for your dog to maintain a healthy diet, and you must ensure they are eating well-balanced food.

Is Fresh Dog Food Delivery Worth It?

While this is definitely a personal preference, some fresh dog foods may only last in the fridge for a couple of days, depending on the brand.

However, suppose you are not someone who wants to go to the store every couple of days to get your fresh dog food.

In that case, it may be best to look into a food delivery subscription that can be delivered straight to your home.

Subscriptions also allow you to modify your delivery schedule based on any financial situation or if you may be traveling out of town.

Finally, if your concern is convenience, then food dog subscriptions take a lot of the prep work off your shoulders to give your dog a ready-to-eat meal on arrival.

Final thoughts

Fresh dog food is here to stay.

Many pet owners enjoy the benefits it gives their pets, such as better taste, better ingredients, and better poops.

In addition, fresh dog food brands allow you to know what exactly is going into your dog's food bowls and offer transparent ingredient lists.

However, with these added benefits comes a cost. Quite literally.

Fresh dog foods are typically more expensive than other types of foods and, for many dog owners, aren't doable for their budgets.

In addition, if you're someone who wants to make their dog's food, it can be a time-consuming task that might leave you frustrated.

Many pet brands have delivery services that may be worth the try if you are busy and want the convenience of delivery.

While fresh dog food may be popular and appealing, always make sure you're consulting with your pet's veterinarian and see if a fresh food diet is what's ultimately best for your dog.

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