Is Freshpet Dog Food Healthy?

The movement toward fresh and less-processed food isn’t just for humans – our four-legged friends are now part of the trend, too. Freshpet, a leading company in this space, has been the topic of many conversations among pet owners. But is Freshpet good for dogs? Let’s dive in to understand more.

Freshpet offers refrigerated meals for dogs that are made from fresh, high-quality ingredients. Unlike traditional kibble, these meals are lightly cooked and don’t require artificial preservatives – a major selling point for many pet parents.

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The Benefits of Freshpet

Nutrient-Rich Meals

One of Freshpet’s top strengths is its nutrient-rich meals. The ingredients are carefully selected, including high-quality proteins like chicken, beef, or fish, along with fruits and vegetables. These ingredients are then lightly cooked to retain their nutritional value, providing a meal rich in vitamins and minerals.

Improved Digestibility

Freshpet could be a good option for dogs with sensitive stomachs or those having trouble digesting kibble. The gentle cooking process and high-quality ingredients may improve digestibility, resulting in better nutrient absorption and fewer gastrointestinal issues.


With its fresh ingredients and enticing aroma, Freshpet is often a hit with dogs. Many pet parents report that their picky eaters or those with decreased appetite have shown renewed interest in mealtime with Freshpet.

The Drawbacks of Freshpet

Controversies and Recalls

Freshpet has faced controversies and recalls due to quality control issues in the past. Some customers have reported finding mold in their product, highlighting the importance of checking each pack carefully before feeding it to your pet.

Cost and Availability

Compared to traditional kibble, Freshpet is significantly more expensive. Its need for refrigeration also limits its availability, as not all pet stores or supermarkets may stock it.

Nutritional Balance Concerns

While Freshpet states that its food is nutritionally balanced, some veterinarians and pet nutritionists have expressed concerns over its long-term suitability as a sole diet. Fresh food diets can sometimes lack certain nutrients or have imbalances, which could lead to health issues over time.

Freshpet: The Ingredient Breakdown

One of the standout aspects of Freshpet is its focus on high-quality ingredients. A typical Freshpet meal contains real meat such as chicken, beef, or fish as its primary ingredient, followed by a variety of fruits and vegetables. This approach to pet food formulation mirrors the trend towards cleaner, more transparent ingredient lists in human nutrition.

Freshpet and Digestive Health

Freshpet’s meals are lightly cooked, which can aid in digestibility. Dogs struggling with chronic gastrointestinal issues or sensitivities to the highly processed ingredients in traditional kibble might benefit from this fresher option. Pet owners have reported improved stool quality and less digestive upset when switching to Freshpet, indicating that this fresh, lightly cooked food could be gentler on a dog’s digestive system.

Freshpet and Skin Health

Freshpet’s high-quality ingredients may also be beneficial for dogs with certain skin conditions. Some dogs can develop skin issues due to sensitivities to common kibble ingredients like corn, wheat, or soy. As Freshpet doesn’t contain these ingredients, it may help alleviate skin problems in sensitive dogs. However, it’s important to note that individual responses can vary, and a comprehensive veterinary examination is necessary for accurate diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions.

The Freshpet Palatability Factor

While health and nutrition are paramount, taste matters too – especially to our furry friends. Freshpet’s fresh ingredients and lack of artificial preservatives or fillers contribute to a taste that many dogs seem to love. This can be especially beneficial for picky eaters, senior dogs with diminished appetites, or dogs recovering from illness.

Freshpet’s Quality Control Issues

Despite the benefits, it’s important to consider some reported issues with Freshpet. Some consumers have reported finding mold in their Freshpet meals, which points to potential quality control issues. While these instances seem to be relatively rare, they do underscore the importance of thoroughly inspecting the food before serving it to your pet.

The Question of Nutritional Balance

Nutritional balance is a critical factor when choosing any pet food, and Freshpet is no exception. While Freshpet claims its meals are nutritionally balanced, it’s essential to consider this claim critically. Fresh food diets, while beneficial in many ways, can sometimes lack certain nutrients or have imbalances, which could lead to health issues over time.

Freshpet and Your Budget

While Freshpet’s fresh, high-quality ingredients are a clear plus, they also contribute to a higher price point. Depending on the size and appetite of your dog, Freshpet could be significantly more expensive than a traditional kibble diet. Its need for refrigeration also makes it less convenient to store and transport, which could be a drawback for some pet owners.

Is Freshpet Good for Dogs?

The answer depends on various factors, including your dog’s specific nutritional needs, health status, and personal preferences. Freshpet provides high-quality, palatable meals that can be a good addition to your dog’s diet. However, due to potential nutritional balance concerns, it might be best to use Freshpet as part of a varied diet rather than the sole food source.

Before making significant changes to your dog’s diet, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian or a certified pet nutritionist. They can provide guidance based on your dog’s individual health needs and ensure that they’re receiving a balanced, nutritionally complete diet.

In conclusion, Freshpet brings a fresh perspective to pet food and has several benefits, but it’s crucial to remain vigilant about potential drawbacks. As always, the health and happiness of your canine companion should be the ultimate deciding factor.

FAQs about Freshpet dog food

How Does Freshpet Ensure Nutritional Balance in Their Meals?

Freshpet asserts that their meals are formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. This implies that their foods should provide complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages. However, it’s always a good practice to consult with a veterinary nutritionist or your vet to ensure that the specific Freshpet product you choose aligns with your dog’s unique nutritional needs.

Can Freshpet Help with My Dog’s Allergies?

If your dog has a confirmed food allergy or sensitivity to ingredients commonly found in kibble, Freshpet could potentially help alleviate symptoms. Their products are free from artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors, which are often the culprits of food sensitivities. However, allergies vary greatly from dog to dog, and it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian to identify the exact allergen and choose a diet accordingly.

What Makes Freshpet Different from Traditional Wet Food?

Unlike canned wet food, Freshpet meals are lightly cooked and not subjected to high heat sterilization, which is required for canning. This means Freshpet retains more of the natural nutrients present in the ingredients. Additionally, Freshpet is stored in the refrigerator, which helps maintain its freshness without the need for artificial preservatives.

How Long Does Freshpet Last Once Opened?

Freshpet recommends using their food within 7 days of opening. After this period, the food may spoil due to lack of artificial preservatives. It’s essential to store it in the refrigerator and maintain proper food hygiene to ensure your dog’s safety.

Can I Mix Freshpet with Kibble?

Absolutely. In fact, many dog owners use Freshpet as a topper to enhance the palatability of dry kibble. This can be an excellent strategy for picky eaters or to add variety and extra nutrition to your dog’s diet.

Is Freshpet Suitable for Puppies?

Freshpet offers specific recipes formulated for puppies, which are designed to meet their unique nutritional needs. Puppies need a diet high in protein and certain nutrients for their growth and development, so always choose a product labeled as suitable for puppies or all life stages.

Can Senior Dogs Eat Freshpet?

Yes, senior dogs can benefit from Freshpet’s high-quality, easily digestible ingredients. As dogs age, they may develop issues with their teeth or digestive system that makes eating dry kibble challenging. Freshpet’s softer texture can be easier for them to chew and digest. However, it’s always best to consult with your vet before making dietary changes for a senior dog.

Has Freshpet Ever Had a Recall?

Yes, Freshpet has had recalls in the past due to potential salmonella contamination. While recalls are not uncommon in the pet food industry, it’s important to stay updated on recall information to ensure the safety of your pet. Always check the FDA’s pet food recall website for the most current information.

Is Freshpet Good for Weight Management in Dogs?

Freshpet products, with their high-quality proteins and absence of filler ingredients, can play a role in a weight management plan for your dog. Many owners find that the portion control is easier with Freshpet’s pre-portioned meals. However, like all diets, it should be used in conjunction with regular exercise and under the guidance of a veterinarian to ensure all nutritional needs are being met.

How Do I Transition My Dog to Freshpet?

Transitioning your dog to a new diet should be done gradually to avoid digestive upset. Start by mixing a small amount of Freshpet with your dog’s current food, gradually increasing the Freshpet portion over 7-10 days. This slow transition allows your dog’s digestive system to adjust to the new food.

Can I Warm Up Freshpet Food?

Yes, Freshpet food can be warmed slightly before serving. This can enhance the aroma and taste of the food, making it more appealing to your dog. However, it’s essential not to cook the food, as this can alter the nutritional content.

Are There Different Freshpet Recipes for Different Breeds?

Freshpet does not specifically tailor recipes for different breeds, but they do offer a range of products for different life stages and dietary needs. This means that you can find a Freshpet product that suits your dog’s individual requirements, whether they are a small breed, large breed, puppy, adult, or senior.

Can Freshpet Improve My Dog’s Coat Condition?

Many dog owners have reported improvements in their pets’ coat condition after switching to Freshpet. This may be due to the high-quality proteins and omega fatty acids found in Freshpet products, which are beneficial for skin and coat health. However, coat condition can also be influenced by many other factors, including overall health, genetics, and grooming practices.

Is Freshpet Environmentally Friendly?

Freshpet prioritizes sustainability by sourcing ingredients from local farms and using 100% wind energy in their kitchen. Their packaging is also recyclable in many areas. However, the environmental impact of any product includes a wide range of factors, so it’s important to consider all aspects of sustainability in your decision.

Does Freshpet Contain Grains?

Freshpet offers both grain-inclusive and grain-free options. While grains have been controversial in pet nutrition, they are not inherently bad for dogs. In fact, they can provide valuable nutrients. However, some dogs may have sensitivities or allergies to certain grains. Always consult with your vet to determine the best diet for your dog’s specific needs.

Is Freshpet Suitable for Dogs with Kidney Disease?

Freshpet’s high protein content could be a concern for dogs with kidney disease, as a low-protein diet is often recommended for these dogs. However, every dog is different, and dietary needs can vary widely. Always consult with your vet before making dietary changes for a dog with a health condition like kidney disease.

Does Freshpet Use Ethically-Sourced Ingredients?

Freshpet commits to using high-quality and ethically-sourced ingredients in its recipes. The company sources its meats from the USA and Canada, where stringent animal welfare standards are in place. It’s always advisable to research or contact the company if you have specific concerns about ingredient sourcing.

Does Freshpet Contain Preservatives?

Unlike many commercial pet foods, Freshpet does not use artificial preservatives in its recipes. The food is kept fresh through refrigeration, much like the food we humans consume. However, it’s important to adhere to the use-by dates and storage instructions to ensure the food remains safe for your pet.

Can Freshpet Help My Dog’s Digestive Issues?

Freshpet meals are made from natural ingredients and are free from fillers, which can sometimes contribute to digestive issues. Therefore, they may help dogs with certain digestive problems. However, if your dog is experiencing ongoing digestive issues, it’s crucial to seek veterinary advice as the problem may not be diet-related or may require a specific dietary approach.

How Much Freshpet Should I Feed My Dog?

The amount of Freshpet food you should feed your dog depends on their weight, age, and activity level. Freshpet provides a feeding guideline on their packaging that offers a good starting point. However, individual dogs’ needs can vary, so it’s important to monitor your dog’s weight and adjust portions as necessary.

Can Freshpet Help My Dog’s Bad Breath?

Diet can play a role in a dog’s oral health and bad breath. Freshpet’s high-quality, natural ingredients can contribute to overall health, which could, in turn, improve your dog’s breath. However, bad breath can also be a sign of dental disease or other health issues, so it’s important to consult with a vet if your dog has persistent bad breath.

Can I Use Freshpet for Training Treats?

Yes, many pet owners use small amounts of Freshpet food as high-value training treats. This can be a great way to motivate your dog during training sessions while also providing them with a nutritious snack. Just remember to account for these extra calories in your dog’s overall daily food intake to prevent overfeeding.

Is Freshpet a Raw Diet?

No, Freshpet is not a raw diet. The ingredients in Freshpet foods are gently cooked to kill harmful bacteria while still retaining nutritional value. This makes Freshpet a safer alternative to raw diets, which can pose risks of bacterial contamination if not handled properly.

Can Freshpet Improve My Dog’s Energy Levels?

A diet change to a high-quality food like Freshpet could potentially improve your dog’s energy levels. A balanced, nutritious diet is key to maintaining overall health and vitality in dogs. However, if your dog is lethargic or showing a noticeable decrease in energy, it’s important to consult with a vet to rule out any underlying health issues.

Is Freshpet Suitable for Dogs with Allergies?

Freshpet offers a variety of recipes, some of which may be suitable for dogs with certain food allergies. Their grain-free options might be appropriate for dogs with grain sensitivities. However, if your dog has a specific allergy, it’s important to thoroughly check the ingredient list and consult with your vet before introducing a new food.

Does Freshpet Offer a Vegetarian or Vegan Option?

At the time of writing, Freshpet does not offer vegetarian or vegan options. Their recipes are centered around high-quality animal proteins, which are an essential part of a balanced diet for dogs.

What is the Shelf Life of Freshpet Food?

Once opened, Freshpet food should be treated like fresh food and must be used within 7 days. Unopened, it can last until the expiration date printed on the package, as long as it is properly refrigerated.

Can I Freeze Freshpet Food?

While Freshpet recommends keeping their food refrigerated for optimal freshness, it can be frozen if necessary. However, the texture of the food may change once thawed. It’s important to remember to defrost it in the refrigerator and not at room temperature to prevent bacterial growth.

Does Freshpet Offer Food for Puppies?

Yes, Freshpet does have specific recipes tailored for puppies. These options are designed to meet the unique nutritional needs of growing puppies. It’s important to transition puppies to new food gradually to prevent digestive upset.

How is Freshpet Different from Canned Dog Food?

Freshpet differs from traditional canned dog food in several ways. It’s made with fresh, whole ingredients, doesn’t contain artificial preservatives, and is stored in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature. Many dog owners find that their pets prefer the taste and texture of Freshpet over canned food.

Can Freshpet Help with My Dog’s Urinary Health?

While Freshpet’s natural, high-quality ingredients can contribute to overall health, there’s no specific evidence to suggest it can directly improve urinary health. If your dog has a urinary condition, such as urinary crystals or a urinary tract infection, they may need a specialized diet. Always consult with your vet for advice on managing specific health conditions.

Is Freshpet Suitable for Dogs with Diabetes?

Freshpet’s high protein and low filler content may make it a suitable option for some dogs with diabetes, but it’s essential to consult your vet before making dietary changes. Dogs with diabetes often require specific dietary adjustments, including consistent meal times and carefully balanced nutrients.

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