There are better fresh options. Freshpet can conveniently be purchased at most pet stores but a new crop of fresh dog food delivery competitors offer better, fresher food delivered right to your door. The Farmer’s Dog tops our list as the best dog food, but check out our full list of best fresh pet food companies; most offer a heavy discount on your first order so you can see how your dog likes it (spoiler alert – they will!)
Last Updated: February 7, 2024 by Lisa Melillo
I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go in the world of pet nutrition. But one trend that has caught my attention for its staying power and health benefits is the rise of fresh, refrigerated dog food. That’s where Freshpet comes in.
I still vividly recall the first time I came across a Freshpet fridge in my local grocery store. As someone deeply involved in pet health, I was both curious and excited about this new option available for our pets. It was different from the usual dry kibble or canned food — it was fresh, looked almost like something I’d make at home, but for dogs. I remember thinking, ‘Could this be the change our furry friends need for better health?’
So, when I first brought home a roll of Freshpet for my own dog, Max, I watched him closely.
Hence, in this Freshpet review, as I dive into what makes this brand stand out in the crowded world of dog food, I will share my experience as a pet owner. I’ll cover its ingredients, nutritional value, and how it fits into different canine dietary needs.
My Unbiased Opinion
The smarter fresh food is The Farmer’s Dog.
Freshpet’s History in Brief
Freshpet has been at the forefront, offering a fresh take on what we feed our four-legged friends since 2006. Initially, Freshpet was synonymous with their refrigerated rolls, a convenient way to portion out your dog’s meals based on their size.
Expansion and Growth
They’ve expanded their product line to include bagged refrigerated food and treats, adapting to the varying needs of different dogs. With over 19,000 fridges now across North America, it’s clear that Freshpet has made a significant mark in the pet food industry.
Quality and Safety Commitment
Freshpet rolled dog food is not in the category of “raw” dog food. It’s been cooked and pasteurized, eliminating any potentially harmful bacteria, which is a vital consideration for pet safety.
The commitment of Freshpet to quality is evident not just in their products but also in their sourcing and production methods. As such, all their meats are sourced from North America, and their production is based in Pennsylvania. This local sourcing not only ensures high-quality ingredients but also supports the local economy.
Freshpet’s use of 100% wind power for their kitchens, their practice of sourcing ingredients locally, and their initiative in planting over 25,000 trees to offset their carbon footprint are commendable. These efforts towards achieving a zero carbon footprint in the future align closely with my own values of caring for our planet while also caring for our pets.
Freshpet has carved out a unique and admirable space in the world of pet nutrition. As someone who has followed their journey from the start, I feel confident in the quality and integrity of their products and their mission. It’s a brand that has grown alongside the evolving needs of pets and pet parents, and I’m excited to see what they do next.
Freshpet Dog Food Overview
In this section, I want to give you an overview of Freshpet dog food, delving into what sets it apart in the vast and varied world of canine diets.
Their emphasis on using fresh, natural ingredients is something I’ve always appreciated. When you look at their food, you can actually see the real meats like chicken, beef, turkey, and salmon, which are the mainstay of their recipes.
The addition of vegetables and fruits in Freshpet’s food also makes a big difference. Vegetables like carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes, along with fruits like cranberries and blueberries, aren’t just fillers. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, contributing to a well-rounded diet. It’s comforting to know that when I’m feeding my dog, I’m also supporting their overall health with these natural ingredients.
For dogs that can handle grains, Freshpet’s inclusion of whole grains like brown rice or oatmeal provides those essential carbohydrates and fibers. But what’s great is that they also have grain-free options.
What really sets Freshpet apart in my eyes is their commitment to no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, and the absence of common fillers like corn, wheat, or soy. On top of that, the fact that Freshpet is refrigerated to maintain its freshness is something I find particularly appealing. It’s a step away from the usual dry or canned options and closer to a natural diet. Plus, knowing that their food is cooked and pasteurized gives me peace of mind about its safety.
Freshpet has a variety of product lines today to fit both your dog’s dietary needs and preferences as well as your own needs such as time constraints.
Freshpet Select stands out as a premium line within the Freshpet brand, focusing on delivering high-quality, nutritious meals for dogs. This line is characterized by its use of real meats such as chicken, beef, and turkey, serving as the primary source of protein. An array of fresh vegetables and fruits complement the meat in the recipes, adding essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber to the diet.
The options include Freshpet Select Roll Tender Chicken Recipe.
One of the key features of Freshpet Vital is its focus on real, high-quality proteins. The line prominently features meats like chicken, beef, and fish as the main ingredients. This emphasis on quality protein sources is crucial for maintaining good muscle health in dogs, a point I always stress to pet owners.
Another significant aspect of Freshpet Vital is the inclusion of fresh, whole ingredients. The recipes are packed with fresh vegetables and fruits, which are essential sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. For dogs with specific dietary needs, the Freshpet Vital line offers grain-free options.
Here’s a breakdown of what makes up one of this line’s foods, the Freshpet Vital Chicken Recipe:
The Freshpet Treats line, which includes Freshpet Dog Joy® and Freshpet Dognation™, is crafted with the same high standards as their main food products. These treats are made with real meats like chicken or turkey, which are the primary ingredients. They are free from by-products and artificial flavors, emphasizing their commitment to natural, wholesome ingredients. The treats are fully cooked and ready to serve, conveniently stored in the fridge to maintain their freshness.
Examples of products in this line are the Freshpet Dognation Chicken Recipe Fresh Dog Treats and the Freshpet Dognation Turkey Bacon Grain-Free Fresh Dog Treats.
The Nature’s Fresh product line from Freshpet focuses on using responsibly sourced ingredients, emphasizing animal welfare and planet-friendly practices. The recipes in this line are crafted with non-GMO ingredients, ensuring natural and wholesome nutrition for pets.
The Freshpet Deli Fresh product line is known for its natural and freshly made recipes without preservatives. It has protein-rich, grain-free chicken recipes that include antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables like spinach and cranberries. The food is steam-cooked to retain essential nutrients, and it includes prebiotics to support healthy digestion and omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat.
One of the products in this line is the Freshpet Select Deli Fresh, Chicken Recipe with Spinach & Potato.
With so many product lines, it can be hard to know what option to choose. I would suggest you check out Freshpet’s product selector tool which will ask you some questions about your dog and give you customized recommendations as to what food will be best for them.
My Freshpet Dog Food Review
Taste Test Results
Sasha’s first time trying Freshpet wasn’t a resounding stamp of approval, but she did eat the food. It just took her a bit to sniff it out before digging in. Sasha isn’t a picky eater at all, but I’d suspect most dogs will get used to Freshpet shortly after being introduced to it and you won’t have issues with feeding.
Firstly, the quality of ingredients in Freshpet is something I often highlight to pet parents. The use of real, fresh meats like chicken, beef, or salmon as the primary protein source is a big plus. This not only ensures a high protein content, essential for a dog’s muscle health and energy levels, but also aligns with a dog’s natural dietary needs. Moreover, the inclusion of fresh vegetables and fruits adds vital nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants, promoting overall health and well-being.
Another benefit I’ve noticed is the digestibility of Freshpet food. Due to its fresh ingredients and lack of preservatives and fillers, many dogs tend to digest Freshpet more easily compared to some traditional dry or canned foods. This can be particularly beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs or those prone to digestive issues.
Lastly, the variety Freshpet offers caters to different needs and life stages. Whether it’s a puppy, an adult dog, or a senior dog, Freshpet has formulations that address the specific nutritional requirements of each stage.
Freshpet is most often sold in rolls of meat, which honestly isn’t the most appetizing-looking product as seen below. Then again, most pet food is not appetizing to humans.
When you’re feeding your dog a roll, you’ll find markings along the packaging showing you 1/8th lb increments so you can cut off the right amount for your dog at each feeding time.
The roll pictured above is a 1-lb roll of food. For a dog 40-60 lbs, Freshpet recommends at least 1lb of food a day which means the dog would eat 1 full roll a day. This is a bit concerning to me because with dry dog food you buy one bag and it will last you 4+ weeks.
If I wanted to feed a large dog Freshpet, I would be going through 2+ rolls a day and it seems that I would run into issues with the Freshpet fridges not stocking enough for my needs.
When comparing Freshpet dog food to other companies in the fresh dog food space, there’s really no question which one I would prefer. Take a look at the photo below to see why I prefer The Farmer’s Dog (in addition to them being able to deliver perfectly portioned food every month).
Further, it is definitely more expensive than dry dog foods, but that’s the cost of fresher ingredients. It’s the same with human-grade dog food, like Spot and Tango.
Another thing to consider especially with the rolls of dog food is you’re going to be storing pet food in your fridge with all of your other food all the time. Some people might not like the idea of having dog food kept in a refrigerator next to their own food. I recommend keeping pet food in separate containers to minimize the spreading of aromas.
If you have a really picky eater or a dog that likes to nibble throughout the day rather than eat all at once, Freshpet might not be best for you. Freshpet recommends that food sit out no longer than 2-3 hours before you need to return it to the fridge so it doesn’t spoil. This is one of the reasons Freshpet is considered healthy pet dog food.
For me, an owner of both medium and large dogs, I would be concerned with running out of Freshpet food or having to run all over to different stores in order to find what I need. If you have a small dog this wouldn’t be a concern, but I often only see a handful of rolls in the Freshpet fridges at any given time.
Since Freshpet doesn’t ship directly to your house like many fresh dog food delivery services, running out of the right dog food becomes a real concern.
The smarter fresh food is The Farmer’s Dog
We prefer The Farmer’s Dog over Freshpet. Why? Because you get fresher dog food delivered right to your door that was made just days ago, not something sitting in a supermarket fridge for weeks to months. Get 50% off by clicking here or the coupon link below.
Where to Buy Freshpet
Freshpet can be found in most pet stores and major grocery stores. You can also use Freshpet’s store locator to track down a spot near you.
How much does Freshpet cost?
The cost of Freshpet dog food will vary a good amount based on what style of food you buy. The most affordable option is to buy rolls of dog food. For a 6 lb roll of Freshpet, it should cost you around $12-13. For a 50 lb dog, you’ll be feeding them around 1 lb of dog food each day. This works out to roughly $2.17 per day.
The bags of Freshpet such as the Freshpet Selects are much higher in price. For a 4.5 lb bag, the cost is ~$20. A 50 lb dog would require about 4 cups of this dog food per day, and there’s only ~6 cups total per bag. This equates to ~$13 per day. You’ll probably want to avoid going this route unless you have a small dog!
Can Freshpet be frozen?
Freshpet is never frozen during the manufacturing and transit process, but if you get it home and need to freeze some of it in an attempt to keep it from spoiling that is perfectly fine. When it thaws it may have a different color and consistency, but the nutritional value will remain the same.
Can Freshpet be heated?
I suppose you could heat your dog’s Freshpet, but there’s really no reason to. Freshpet is made to be refrigerated and fed to your dog cold, so I would avoid heating the dog food.
If your Freshpet is frozen and you need to thaw it, it’s best to leave it in the fridge for a day or two and let it thaw out slowly. If you’re really in a jam I would suggest putting it in a sealed bag then putting it in a pot of warm water to speed up the process.
How long does Freshpet last before it goes bad?
Freshpet products have a “sell by” date on them just like meat products you’ll find for humans. Once opened, Freshpet products should be used within a certain number of days and kept refrigerated. The number of days depends on specific products.
For example, rolls last ~7 days whereas single-serve cups only 2 days. You should be able to find this information on the packaging.
How long can Freshpet stay out?
Freshpet dog food, like any fresh food, should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Once served, if not consumed within this timeframe, it should be refrigerated. An opened package of Freshpet should be used within 7 days, and it can be frozen to extend its shelf life, although the texture may change after thawing.
Have there been any recalls for Freshpet dog food?
Yes, there was a recall for Freshpet dog food in June 2022. The recall was limited to a single lot of Freshpet Select Fresh From the Kitchen Home Cooked Chicken Recipe due to potential Salmonella contamination. This recall was specific to certain batches and did not impact other Freshpet products.
Can Freshpet food be mixed with dry food?
Yes, Freshpet food can be mixed with dry food. This can be a good way to transition your dog to Freshpet or to add variety to their diet. When mixing foods, ensure the total caloric intake is appropriate for your dog’s dietary needs.
How do I transition my dog to Freshpet food?
To transition your dog to Freshpet food, start by mixing a small amount of Freshpet with their current food. Gradually increase the Freshpet proportion over several days while decreasing their current food. This gradual change helps prevent digestive upset.
Freshpet’s commitment to using fresh, natural ingredients has set a high standard in pet nutrition. Their avoidance of preservatives and artificial additives, combined with their dedication to sustainability, really resonates with me as a vet tech and a pet owner. Additionally, the positive feedback from other pet owners and the noticeable health benefits seen in pets eating Freshpet are testaments to its quality.
I’ve been impressed by its variety of product lines, each tailored to specific dietary needs. From Freshpet Select to Vital and Nature’s Fresh, there’s a thoughtful consideration for different health requirements and preferences.