freshpet dog food reviews

Freshpet Dog Food Reviews

Freshpet dog food is a pet parent’s answer to feeding fresh food without having to prepare it on their own or having to commit to a subscription plan. We’ll admit that fresh food does cost more money, even one that can be conveniently bought at local pet stores like Freshpet rolls.

How does the quality compare to the fresher dog food delivered right to your door? Our Freshpet dog food review will have the answer. Is Freshpet rolled dog food a good option for your fur baby? How is it cooked, and is it a balanced meal? We will answer these questions and more down below.

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Overview of the FreshPet Brand

overview of the freshpet brand

The Freshpet food brand is steam cooked and created into a roll that can be easily refrigerated and served. What’s great about it is it uses fresh organic ingredients to create different recipes. Freshpet focuses on the quality of the food rather than coming up with a myriad of formulas and each recipe contains fresh and healthy protein, vegetables, fruit, and micro-nutrients.

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You won’t find any rendered meat and meals like you would in regular canned food or kibble, which can be found in most brands. There are also no fillers, and every ingredient within the recipe has a purpose.

Personally, we have nothing against raw dog food but feeding raw comes with certain risks, especially if the food is not fresh. Not to mention, it’s also a messy ordeal if your dog is not the cleanliest eater. It’s also not the best idea to accept dog kisses all the time from a canine on a raw diet. All of that can be addressed with cooked food.

Since the Freshpet rolls are steam cooked to preserve nutrients, it’s not raw so there is no harmful bacteria anymore, and the meats are sourced in North America, cooked and packaged in Pennsylvania, U.S.A, and shipped out from there.

The brand is dedicated to your pet, but also to the environment. The facilities use wind power and have committed to and planted over 25,000 trees and counting so far to its their carbon footprint.

Freshpet Brand History

freshpet brand history
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Let’s get to know a bit more about this dog food brand, what it brings to the table, and how it came to be.

Freshpet is committed to sustainable practices and fully believes that doing good for your pet doesn’t have to come at the cost of the environment. The fresh food brand has a history that dates back to 2006, giving them close to two decades of experience serving pets and pet owners under its belt.

The company took it upon itself to “revolutionize the way pets are fed” with fresh food. It started locally, but the company grew quickly and before it knew it, it was shipping fresh food rolls around the country.

You can find Freshpet products in 200,000 fridges across the continent now with 1 million pet parents trusting the brand. Freshpet has also earned a spotlight on Adweek’s Top Status Quo-Defying Brands.

The good Freshpet commits to doesn’t stop in each home, it extends to the forgotten pets in shelters and rescues. Freshpet has partnered with various anti-cruelty programs, no-kill shelters, and rescues to bring nutritious foods to dogs everywhere.

Why stop there? The efforts to be a trusted, compassionate and eco-friendly brand also carry over to sustainable practices that provide a better future for pets. The company abides by its value of reuse and recycle. It steers clear from landfills, has facilities powered by wind power, and participates in carbon offsets.

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Where is Freshpet Food Made?

where is freshpet food made?
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Freshpet foods are made in their Pennsylvania kitchens, packaged, and shipped around the U.S. and Canada. The ingredients are locally and sustainably sourced, so going with the brand won’t compromise your eco-beliefs.

Having ingredients locally sourced cuts down on transportation, which further reduces harmful emissions. All the meat used in the fresh rolls is 100% farm-raised. Everything that comes out of their kitchens meets food and quality standards.

The refrigerated food undergoes pasteurization (similar to the process for milk pasteurization) so it’s safe to handle and ready to serve without the need for any heating – just slice and serve!

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Is FreshPet Really Worth the Cost?

is freshpet really worth the cost?
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We mentioned the cost is a bit steeper than regular kibble and canned food, but the higher cost of fresh meals can be justified by the minimal processing and the top-quality ingredients for animal consumption.

We’re sure it’s important for all pet parents to give their fur babies the best, and that will usually mean more expensive food. Fresh food is packed with nutrients, more so than dry kibble or canned food. Freshpet rolls cost anywhere between $20 to $30 give or take depending on the recipe, the size, and the product.

The price for this is per roll, and one roll can last anywhere between 5 to 10 days. How long it lasts is contingent on your dog’s size (larger dogs will need to be fed more). If you extrapolate that, it cost anywhere between $40 to $150 to feed your pooch. Again, this is just an estimate.

Compared to kibble, it can be comparable to the higher-end brands, so we would say Freshpet is definitely worth the cost.

Freshpet Quality

freshpet quality
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We would give the quality of Freshpet ingredients an 8/10. When you first cut into a roll, you can see the chunks of vegetables and fruits and smell the protein. There are grain-free recipes for dogs with food allergies and ones with grain in the form of brown rice. The delicious aroma cannot be found in traditional dry food and the aroma definitely beats out canned food.

Freshpet also avoids preservatives, something many other dog food brands cannot say. Of course, there is also minimal processing since everything is just steam-cooked.

We will be completely honest because we want our pet parents to understand the truth about the processes and quality of the fresh meals they serve as we put the health of your dogs as our number one priority.

Freshpet is many tiers higher than regular kibble and canned food from other dog food companies, but it is a grade lower than subscription fresh dog food such as Farmer’s and Ollie. However, that still doesn’t mean that freshly cooked and packaged dog food that looks like a meal we would eat from subscription packages can do no wrong.

You have to know what is good for your dog and what not to feed. For starters, there is a hot debate in the pet community right now about grain-free recipes. Some pet parents believe it’s good while others believe it is the bane of a lot of health issues due to the overabundant amount of peas and legumes (which is believed right now to be the cause of canine cardiomyopathy or DCM).

This heart issue can be attributed to genetics in certain breeds, but more and more breeds that didn’t have a history of DCM are starting to exhibit symptoms. DCM can be simply explained as an enlarged heart and experts are beginning to believe that it can be diet-induced. There still isn’t enough concrete evidence as of now as to what causes it, but many point the finger at peas and legumes, as well as potatoes, all of which are prominent in grain-free recipes.

This is why many experts also suggest not to go grain-free unless you are sure your dog is allergic to grains.

We got a bit carried away there, but the reason for outlining DCM is because even fresh food that contains ingredients that have no nutritional value or too much potentially harmful ingredients can be dangerous. We’ve seen freshly cooked recipes in various flavors that sound delicious to humans, such as beef stroganoff, and the actual recipe your dog consumes contains pasta! Something your dog definitely does not need.

Since Freshpet has various recipes, we will use the chicken recipe as a standard because it’s one that is created in all the Freshpet product lines. More specifically, we will use the chicken recipe from the Vital line.

As said, the ingredients used in this dog food brand are considered limited, which is beneficial for absorption and the recipe won’t be as irritating to the bowel.

The ingredients found within the recipe are as follows:

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Peas, Carrots, Eggs, Brown Rice, Rice Bran, Carrageenan, Natural Flavors, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dried Kelp, Flaxseed Oil, Inulin, Celery Powder, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate

As for the guaranteed analysis, this formula has 37.5% protein, 29.2% fat, and 26.8% carbs. The protein takes the cake, which is “vital” for all dogs (pun intended) to meet energy output. There are all the necessary vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) that a dog needs for a balanced meal.

Yes, we mentioned before that peas may not be the best, but research is still being conducted and it isn’t overly used with other legumes.

Freshpet Pet Food Product Lines

As we said, Freshpet has a few product lines and the brand focuses on quality rather than quantity.

Freshpet Select

freshpet select

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Freshpet Select has rolls and fresh food bits that can be used as full meals or toppers on regular kibble. The rolls are smaller and there are fewer than 15 ingredients in every recipe. It consists of the latest range of flavors the brand has.

Freshpet Vital

Freshpet Vital Complete Meals Grain-Free Beef & Lamb Fresh Dog Food

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The Freshpet Vital product line also comes in fresh cuts, grain-free bits, and entire rolls. You have your pick of chicken, the chicken, beef, salmon, and egg recipe (sounds delicious if we do say so ourselves), beef and bison (how exotic), and the turkey recipe. The Freshpet vital recipes can come in larger rolls (2.72 kg), which makes it a better product line for those with larger dogs.

The Vital land is GMO-free, made in the USA, and 100% natural in grain and grain-free options.

Freshpet Fresh Treat

Select Dog Joy Chicken Treats

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As the name suggests, the Freshpet Treat line is fresh pet food in the form of delicious snacks for your dog. It’s not just food that should be healthy for your dog, but the treats they consume should be too. All the treats are 100% real meat, that is natural and free of any by-products. There is the standard chicken recipe and turkey bacon to choose from.

You can also choose from jerky versions or delectable bits – whichever your dog loves!

Nature’s Fresh

nature's fresh
Freshpet, Dog Beef Garden Vegetables Grains

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Nature’s Fresh is a line from the Freshpet food brand that comes in small bits or rolls. It is one of the lines of fresh pet food with the most flavors including beef with garden vegetables and grains, grain-free multiprotein, chicken with brown rice and carrots, chicken with carrots and spinach, ocean whitefish with spinach, cranberries, and sweet potatoes, chicken for small breeds, and lastly, grain-free turkey with spinach, cranberries, and blueberries.

All the fresh pet food recipes from the brand are packaged in BPA-free packaging, which is especially notable for the fresh food rolls that have markers for where to cut them to the right portion size.

Alternatives to Freshpet Food

Pet parents may have some concerns about the elements of Freshpet. It’s good to question things rather than go by whatever you read. If you are looking for similar alternatives, we took the liberty of finding a couple.

We are not here to disparage any brand, but there are other fresh rolls out there that do not clearly list what ingredients are used. If you can’t identify what’s in the dog food whether it’s wet food, dry food, or cat food, whatever food you feed any pet, try to steer clear from those products.

One alternative to Freshpet is Nature’s Logic, which also has rolls of fresh food. The product is also lightly cooked, much like Freshpet, and the protein is hormone-free, free-range, and grass-fed. To top it all off, the formulas include GMO-free veggies and fruits – just like Freshpet. Nature’s Logic is easily found in the States but more difficult to find in parts of Canada, which is why Freshpet is more popular.

alternatives to freshpet food

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What’s great about Nature’s Logic is the brand takes into account the research we mentioned above that alludes to the fact that potatoes, peas and legumes may be responsible for diet-related DCM, which is why they cut those ingredients from the list.

However, there are two things to be a little wary of that they use, which are montmorillonite clay, and brewers yeast. Clay can trigger allergies and yeast isn’t an ideal ingredient. The clay is used in a way similar to carrageenan in Freshpet, which is to give the food its cakey texture.

Unfortunately, there is no “perfect dog food” out there, although sometimes we do wonder why these companies can’t tailor their recipe more often than they do now to accommodate and reflect research. You may always find one or two ingredients off, but don’t beat yourself up over it because we can only do what’s best for our dogs. Short of cooking and formulating the food on your own with the help of a pet nutritionist, there isn’t really much you can do.

The other alternative we have is fresh pet food that is prepared and cooked, packaged, and absolutely no processing was done like Farmer’s and Ollie. You may have to commit to a subscription plan to make it worth your while. Since each recipe is tailored to meet each unique dog’s needs on a form you fill out, we imagine it’s possible to ask the company to exclude any ingredients you are not comfortable feeding.

Where to Buy Freshpet Pet Food

where to buy freshpet pet food
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Freshpet is available to purchase on their website, or at your local Petsmart or Petco, or you can purchase it online on Chewy or Amazon. If you are someone who likes to inspect the product before purchasing, then we would recommend doing it in person since Freshpet is considered widely available.

Ordering it online could be convenient if you are buying in bulk because it can get a bit heavy (especially if you are purchasing the large rolls), but since the food only needs to be refrigerated, we recommend not being over-committed and purchasing too many rolls at once. You want to keep the food fresh as long as possible and it’s not recommended to freeze it although you can.

If you have trouble locating Freshpet products, you can use the store locator on their site.

We have had precut rolls go bad after being in the fridge for over a week. It’s easier to repackage it by cutting along the dotted line if you are purchasing rolls, but if you do so, we recommend finishing the roll within a week. You can just cut the portion you need day by day.

For the treats and fresh food chunks, just make sure you keep the package sealed tightly and it should last for at least a week.

FreshPet Food Recalls

There is always the chance of mishaps, no matter how hard a person or company tries. What we should look at as pet parents are how often it happens and what the company does to rectify the situation. In the summer of 2021, Freshpet voluntarily recalled their small breed bite-sized beef and egg recipe in the Select line.

This was done because a single lot was suspected to have elements of salmonella. The particular batch was only sold in certain states, Arizona, Southern California, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. Most of the products were caught during quality control before leaving Freshpet’s warehouses and weren’t distributed to stores. Unfortunately, some got through the line of defense and were shipped to select retailers in those states.

However, Freshpet did not receive any salmonella incident reports from this recall, and it was done entirely voluntarily. This initiative makes us feel like Freshpet really is a dog food company that cares.

Is Freshpet Dog Food a Good Food for Dogs?

is freshpet dog food for dog?
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Overall, Freshpet is a great pet food for dogs. However, the only concern we have is carrageenan, which is used for the consistency and texture of the food but isn’t the best nutritionally. Research said it was deemed safe for pets before, but further investigation suggests that it could lead to bowel inflammation.

The tender chicken and carrot recipe is one from Freshpet that does not contain carrageenan, peas, or potatoes, so that is always a safe choice.

Pros and Cons of Freshpet

Pros

  • Fresh food
  • Balanced meals
  • Easy to serve
  • No questionable ingredients
  • Sourced and cooked in the USA
  • Seems to be very transparent in their practices
  • Carbon offsets
  • Wind-powered kitchens
  • Pledge to help animals in rescue centers and shelters

Cons

  • Can be expensive over time
  • Not long-lasting and shelf-stable

Wrapping Up

We are big advocates of fresh dog food for canines. We understand that not everyone has the time or budget to do this, in which case we have lists of recommended kibble. Kibble dry dog food works so much better for dogs constantly on the go, who spend a lot of time at daycare, or need to board or stay somewhere overnight.

There is no debating the hassle of feeding raw or fresh, just look at the storage options alone. That being said, we would definitely say that our fur babies’ health is completely priceless, and if feeding fresh, albeit more expensive fresh food is a way to save them pain and suffering during old age, then why not?

Remember that a dog’s health is largely based on his nutrition, and if we can also save thousands on vet bills by buying more expensive but much healthier fresh food, then again, why not? Before switching to Freshpet, we would consult with your vet about the recipe you choose just to see if dogs with underlying health conditions are suited to the formulations.

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