Fresh Dog Food Price Comparison

As pet parents, we often struggle to balance the nutritional needs of our dogs with budget constraints. With the increasing popularity of fresh dog food diets, there’s a need to understand the costs involved, and most importantly, how to make informed decisions that will serve both our wallets and our pets’ health. Let’s dive into a comprehensive fresh dog food price comparison.

Understanding the Cost of Fresh Dog Food

What’s in a Price?

Fresh dog food is often marketed as a healthier alternative to commercial kibble or canned foods. It’s less processed, preservative-free, and closer to a dog’s natural diet. However, this also means it’s often more expensive due to the quality of ingredients, the method of preparation, and the costs associated with keeping the food fresh during storage and delivery.

Factors Affecting the Cost

The cost of fresh dog food can vary significantly based on several factors. The quality of ingredients used, whether it’s organic or non-organic, the brand, and even the dog’s size and nutritional needs all play a role. Specialized diets such as grain-free, allergen-free, or breed-specific meals can also increase the price tag.

Fresh Dog Food Price Comparison

To help you navigate this maze, we’ve compared the prices of some popular fresh dog food brands.


Ollie is a subscription-based service that delivers customized meals directly to your doorstep. The meals are formulated by a veterinary nutritionist and cooked in a USDA-regulated kitchen. The cost varies depending on the size and activity level of your dog, but it can range from $2 to $5 per meal.

Farmer’s Dog

The Farmer’s Dog offers a similar service to Ollie, with the addition of sourcing human-grade ingredients locally. Prices can be slightly higher, ranging from $3 to $6 per meal, depending on the dog’s specific needs.

Nom Nom

Nom Nom is another subscription service that delivers personalized, pre-portioned meals. Their pricing is similar to that of Ollie, with costs ranging from $2 to $5 per meal.

Cost-effective Alternatives

Kirkland Signature

While not a fresh dog food brand, Kirkland Signature from Costco offers a cost-effective alternative. Their dry dog food is highly rated and costs around $1 per pound.

Purina Pro Plan

Purina Pro Plan offers various high-quality dog foods at a more affordable price, with their dry dog food costing around $1.5 per pound.

Conclusion: Fresh or Not?

Choosing the right diet for your dog is a personal decision that should consider both your budget and your dog’s nutritional needs. While fresh dog food can be more costly, many pet parents find value in the health benefits these diets can offer.

Remember, every dog is unique. It’s always best to consult with your veterinarian before making any significant changes to your dog’s diet. No matter what you choose, your furry friend’s health and happiness should always be the priority.


Q1: What is Fresh Dog Food?

Fresh dog food is a category of dog food that prioritizes minimally processed ingredients, often resembling a home-cooked meal more than traditional kibble or canned dog food. These meals can be cooked or raw, are typically free of artificial preservatives, and aim to provide a balance of proteins, vegetables, and grains tailored to a dog’s nutritional needs.

Q2: What makes fresh dog food more expensive than traditional dog food?

Fresh dog food often utilizes higher-quality ingredients, comparable to what humans would eat. Additionally, preparation methods are more complex as they aim to preserve the nutritional integrity of the ingredients. Costs are also added by the necessity for refrigeration or freezing during storage and shipping, and for subscription-based services, the customization of meals for individual dogs adds to the overall price.

Q3: Are there any cost-effective fresh dog food brands?

There are more affordable options on the market, though prices generally remain higher than traditional dog food. Brands like Open Farm, Pet Plate, and Sundays for Dogs offer more cost-effective fresh food options. Prices still vary based on factors like dog size and meal frequency.

Q4: Are all fresh dog food diets suitable for all dogs?

While fresh dog food can be a healthy option, it may not be suitable for every dog. For example, puppies, senior dogs, or dogs with certain medical conditions might require special diets. It’s crucial to consult with your vet before transitioning to a new diet to ensure it meets all your dog’s specific nutritional needs.

Q5: How can I transition my dog to a fresh food diet?

Transitioning to a fresh food diet should be done gradually over a week or two to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach. Start by mixing a small amount of fresh food into your dog’s regular diet, and gradually increase the proportion of fresh food while decreasing the amount of their old food.

Q6: Can I combine fresh dog food with kibble?

Yes, many pet owners opt to mix fresh dog food with kibble to balance cost and nutritional benefits. This can be a viable option, but it’s essential to ensure the overall diet meets your dog’s caloric and nutritional needs.

Q7: Can I make my own fresh dog food at home?

Yes, you can prepare fresh dog food at home. However, it’s critical to ensure the meals are balanced and meet all your dog’s nutritional requirements. Working with a veterinary nutritionist can be helpful to design suitable recipes.

Q8: Are there benefits to feeding my dog a fresh food diet?

Yes, many pet parents report positive changes when switching their dogs to a fresh food diet. These can include improved coat shine, increased energy levels, healthier weight management, and better digestion. The minimal processing and high-quality ingredients often contribute to these benefits. However, it’s important to remember that every dog is unique, and results can vary.

Q9: How is fresh dog food delivered, and how do I store it?

Fresh dog food is usually delivered in insulated packaging to maintain its temperature. Once it arrives, it should be refrigerated or frozen depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. Portioned meals can be refrigerated and should be consumed within a certain timeframe, typically a few days to a week.

Q10: Is fresh dog food safe for dogs with allergies?

Fresh dog food can be an excellent option for dogs with certain allergies, especially if they react to common ingredients in commercial dog food. Many fresh dog food brands provide grain-free, soy-free, or specific protein meals. Always consult with your vet to identify potential allergens and choose a suitable diet.

Q11: Can I feed my puppy fresh dog food?

Yes, puppies can eat fresh dog food, but it needs to be formulated specifically for their growth needs. Puppies require different nutritional ratios than adult dogs, especially in terms of protein and certain minerals. Some fresh food companies offer puppy-specific formulas.

Q12: Is fresh dog food environmentally friendly?

Fresh dog food can be more environmentally friendly compared to traditional dog food, primarily if it uses responsibly-sourced ingredients and eco-friendly packaging. Some companies prioritize sustainability in their business practices, but this can vary significantly between brands.

Q13: How often should I feed my dog fresh food?

The feeding frequency can depend on your dog’s age, size, activity level, and specific dietary needs. Typically, it’s recommended to feed adult dogs twice a day. Puppies usually require more frequent feedings.

Q14: Can fresh dog food improve my dog’s dental health?

While fresh food can contribute to overall health, it’s not specifically designed to improve dental health. Chewing kibble can sometimes help reduce plaque, a benefit not offered by fresh food. Regardless of diet, regular dental check-ups and proper dental hygiene practices, like tooth brushing or dental chews, are necessary for maintaining your dog’s oral health.

Q15: Can I switch between fresh food brands, or should I stick to one?

While it’s possible to switch between fresh food brands, any change in your dog’s diet should be done gradually to minimize gastrointestinal upset. Different brands may have different ingredient compositions which could affect your dog’s digestion. As always, consult with your vet before making significant changes to your pet’s diet.

Q16: Is fresh dog food suitable for dogs with specific health conditions?

Fresh dog food can be beneficial for dogs with certain health conditions, like obesity, diabetes, or kidney disease, as it often contains high-quality, natural ingredients and fewer fillers. However, it’s crucial to consult with a vet or a pet nutritionist who can advise on the best diet for a dog with a specific health condition.

Q17: Can fresh dog food lead to a longer lifespan for my dog?

While a balanced and nutritious diet contributes to overall health, it’s not the sole factor determining a dog’s lifespan. Genetics, exercise, preventative care, and regular vet check-ups also play significant roles in a dog’s longevity. However, feeding your dog a diet that is rich in nutrients and suited to their individual needs can contribute to their quality of life.

Q18: How do I know if my dog is adjusting well to fresh dog food?

Signs of a successful diet transition include maintaining a healthy weight, good energy levels, shiny coat, and regular, firm bowel movements. If your dog experiences prolonged digestive upset, loss of appetite, weight loss, or any other concerning symptoms after switching diets, it’s essential to consult with a vet.

Q19: Are there risks involved in feeding my dog a fresh food diet?

As with any diet, the key risk is nutritional imbalance if the diet is not correctly formulated. While fresh dog food diets aim to provide a balance of nutrients, it’s essential to ensure the one you choose is appropriate for your dog’s life stage and health condition. Some dogs may also experience gastrointestinal upset when transitioning diets.

Q20: Can I heat fresh dog food before feeding it to my dog?

Most fresh dog foods can be served directly from the fridge. However, if your dog prefers warm food, or if you need to enhance the aroma to encourage a picky eater, you can slightly warm the food in the microwave or add a bit of warm (not hot) water. Always check the food’s temperature before feeding it to your dog to avoid burns.

Q21: Do all vets support feeding fresh dog food?

Opinions among veterinarians can vary, with some fully supporting fresh dog food and others being more cautious. This is typically due to the variation in quality and nutritional balance among different brands. It’s important to have an open discussion with your vet about diet options to ensure you’re making the best decision for your pet’s health.

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