Canine owners want the best for their dog’s health, but this usually means going the extra mile when it comes to your dog’s diet. Enter fresh dog food—the new trend in pet ownership. With its popularity, many ask, is fresh dog food worth it?
Studies show that fresh dog food tends to have better health benefits including the prevention of serious complications including cancer. For this reason alone, fresh dog food seems to be worth the hype.
So what’s stopping all pet owners from serving fresh foodstuffs or making their own dog food for their pets?
Some Difficulties with Fresh Dog Food
There are really three main reasons why even the best fresh dog food isn’t the norm for pet parents, as discussed here below:
Preparing fresh foods can take a chunk of your time—especially if you do it daily. From the preparation, the cooking, and the portioning of the food, you might find yourself dedicating hours each week to maintain a fresh food diet. Compared to just buying food from the local pet store, preparing homemade dog food can be very taxing. However, subscribing to platforms like The Farmer’s Dog, one of the best dog food delivery service platforms today, solves this issue as they prepare custom meals and take them straight to your homes.
Cost of Food
Of course, there’s also the fact that the raw food approach can be more expensive than commercial pet foods. The cost of ground turkey, bone meal, ground beef, or other muscle meat can quickly get pricey, especially for large dog breeds. In contrast, kibble diets are more sustainable money-wise.
Not Shelf Stable
What is fresh dog food? This pet food type is minimally processed, so there’s a marked lack of preservatives which means they have a very short shelf life. Sweet potatoes, organ meats, beef mash, brown rice, and other human-grade ingredients that are usually used as fresh pet food ingredients can go bad quickly. This is why many pet parents raise the concern of longevity for fresh dog food.
At best, raw canine diets should only be stored for 4 days in an airtight container. This means that even if prepared in batches, dog’s meals can’t be prepared weeks in advance.
Veterinarians on Fresh Dog Food
But what do veterinarians have to say about serving homemade dog food to your pets? Veterinarians agree  that fresh dog food is worth the additional cost of buying human grade good, preparing it, and then serving it to your dog.
The fact is that your pet’s health demands unique nutrients that you just can’t get through commercial food. However, there are certain caveats to do this. As responsible dog owners, you can’t just go online, grab online feeding instructions, and start using those with high expectations. Your dog is only benefited if the meal also have the following:
- The pet’s diet should be made by a licensed veterinary nutritionist who has extensive knowledge of the dog’s background and understands the health requirements of the pooch. For example, the composition of the diet may change if you want to promote joint health or want to manage weight.
- The feeding guidelines should be complete and precise. This includes specifying portions per meal and indicating how often the dog should be fed.
- Consistent updates on the dog’s profile is also important. A pup’s health is very different from an adult or a senior dog’s health requirements. As the canine grows, his feed grade ingredients have to grow with him too!
- The quality of the ingredients matter. You want to source ingredients from reliable sources, especially when it comes to the protein source.
Rise of Pre-Packaged Fresh Food for Dogs
There’s really a tug of war happening between fresh homemade diets and traditional kibble. Owners want to serve fresh animal source protein but do not have the time to actually get the job done.
A healthy balance that most dog parents have found is by outsourcing the meal prep through companies that create fresh meals specifically for dogs. Many of these companies have a licensed animal nutritionist on hand who can formulate recipes and create a feeding guide based on the information given them.
From there, the fresh dog food is pre-portioned, packaged, placed in dry ice, and shipped to the owner. The food is typically a few days to two weeks worth and all you have to do is defrost the meal before serving it to your dog.
Since the meals are made from whole foods, even the most picky eaters still consume everything. Before the prepackaged meals run out, owners can simply place another order so they never have to worry about the dog’s next meal. Popular brands today include Nom Nom and Ollie Dog Food.
Here’s What to Expect with Prepacked Fresh Dog Food
With this new product, most owners have found a happy medium that lets them serve food fresh without the added time constraint of homemade food. If this is something you decide, here’s what you can expect:
- There’s no such thing as perfect servings of animal foods. All the nutrients won’t be available in one bowl so be prepared to still use supplements for your pooch.
- Within the first few days of switching from dry dog food, you’ll notice a change in your pup’s energy levels. They’ll be happier, more attentive, and generally show a sunnier disposition. Plus, they get this shinier coat!
- Fresh pet food also helps with bowel movements. A smooth transition leads to firm, small, and regular stools.
- Specially formulated fresh dog’s food can help prevent allergies typically triggered by grain or specific protein sources like chicken. Dog food brands that serve special wet meals typically consider allergies in their formulations and make sure each serving has zero of the triggers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to feed dogs fresh food?
If health is your main concern, then fresh dog food is definitely a healthier option. However, this is only true if the fresh meal is developed by a certified animal nutritionist who first created a profile of your dog before suggesting a diet.
What do vets say about fresh dog food?
Vets are not opposed to the idea of fresh or wet dog food. However, they do point out that most homemade dog foods is improperly prepared. Without proper sterilization, even a healthy grain free, turkey fare can carry pathogens that can be harmful to the dog.
Is fresh food better for dogs than kibble?
The answer really depends on the quality of the kibble brands. Some dry kibble brands are made with high-quality ingredients and are nutrient-dense in their own way.
However, dry dog food options like kibble can be a challenge for a picky eater and contain mostly grain which can trigger allergies. If health is the optimum goal, fresh food may be the better option.
Do dogs live longer on fresh food?
There is news that says that fresh fares can actually help increase the lifespan of your dog by as much as 3 years. This makes sense since a good diet can quickly translate to good health. However, this can still depend on several factors of the dog’s day-to-day life.