One of the best ways to show some love to your four-legged companions is to give them food that’s healthy, nutritious and—of course—delicious. But figuring out what exactly to feed them can be overwhelming, especially since there are so many pet foods on the market. Our advice: Bypass the dog food aisle completely. Thanks to the best dog food delivery services, it’s easier than ever to get customized, high-quality nutrition delivered straight to your door—and that’s true whether you opt for dry food or ready-to-serve fresh dog food.
Of course, not all dog food delivery services will make sense for you and your pup. The best option for you will need to be highly tailored to your pet, taking into account their breed, age, medical history and activity levels. That way, you can ensure their food meets their specific needs.
If you’re wondering what you should be looking for in dog food in general, take a cue from Dr. Ian Dunbar, a leading veterinarian and animal behaviorist. “First up would be a complete and highly digestible protein to ensure your dog has all ten essential amino acids,” he advises. “Second, a good source of fiber, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals. Third, the food should be cooked at a low temperature to ensure all the nutrients remain intact.” Your dog’s ideal diet might not be all that dissimilar to yours: It could include fresh or raw meats, digestible carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.
Another step you should take before signing up for a dog food subscription service is to check whether the meals are made or vetted by licensed veterinarians or pet nutritionists on the brand’s staff. “By having a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist on staff, they are ensuring that pet food is well-balanced, since dogs’ and cats’ needs are different than humans,” says Dr. Tori Countner, DVM, of Balanced Pet Vet in San Diego.
Lastly, because dog food companies offer such tailored meals, remember to check in with your own veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet. “Switching your dog’s food abruptly can cause gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting, diarrhea, and a decreased appetite,” says The American Kennel Club. A slow transition over the course of a week is ideal.
While dog food delivery services can be pretty pricey, they’re definitely worth it. (Plus, they’re convenient.) When your dog’s food is nutritious, their energy levels are higher, their coats are shinier coats and they’re happier overall. If you’re considering making the switch but don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered. Read on for the best vet-approved dog food delivery services to upgrade your pup’s diet.
Best Fresh Dog Food Delivery Service
Pre-portioned Kits Make Mealtime A Breeze
Best Ready-To-Serve Meals
Whether Your Dog Likes Their Meal Hot or Cold
Most Convenient Packaging
Just Defrost And Serve
Best Human-Grade Dog Food Delivery Service
Meets Industry Standards For Humans and Pets
Best Raw Dog Food Delivery Service
Safely Handling Raw Meat So You Don’t Have To
Best Food for Special Needs Dogs
Specially Designed And Even Prescription Meals
Best Delivery Service for Dog Kibble
Fido’s Favorite Food, Delivered Automatically
Best Dry Food
Not Your Pup’s Ordinary Kibble
Best Sustainable Dog Food
Good for Pooches, Good for the Planet
Best Customizable Dog Food
Meals Informed By Your Dog’s Health Goals
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Pet Food Delivery Service?
In general, the best pet food delivery services are ones that provide recipes customized to your dog’s health, medical and dietary needs. You want to be sure that your dog is getting what’s right for them. Additionally, the service should use whole, fresh ingredients that are minimally processed and packed with dog-friendly nutrients. Finally, check whether the service has veterinarians and nutritionists on staff. If a service can check off all the things above, it’s safe to say they’re a solid option.
If you’re looking for a solid recommendation, though, ask Dr. Countner: She says she’d go with Just Food For Dogs. “They have a variety of recipe options as well as veterinary prescription diets that you can order easily off of their website,” she explains. “They also have brick and mortar store locations around the US and conveniently in Petcos.”
Are Dog Food Subscriptions Worth it?
Yes—if you have the budget and storage space available. Dog food subscriptions can make life for both you and your dog easier in a number of ways. They’re definitely more convenient; for one thing, you’ll never run out of dog food so you don’t have to frantically run to the store on a random day. “It’s one less thing pet parents have to think about picking up at the store,” says Dr. Countner. Meals are customized to your dog’s specific nutritional needs, keeping their health in mind. You get peace of mind with fresh high-quality ingredients vetted by veterinarians and nutritionists as well as plenty of variety to choose from.
That said, again, you have to take your budget and storage space into account. Dog food subscriptions are expensive and often demand extra room in your freezer or refrigerator, as most meals need to be kept frozen. In the end, “this really depends on the dog’s needs as well as the human’s,” says Dr. Streeter. “If you are looking for a convenient way to obtain your dog food, a subscription provides that convenience.”
Is Fresh Dog Food The Same As Raw Food?
Fresh dog food and raw food are not the same, no. Fresh “usually refers to cooked or lightly cooked food made with minimal preservatives,” says Dr. Countner. “Raw diets do not go through a heating or cooking process.”
Fresh dog food is typically made in small batches, and then frozen or refrigerated to ensure freshness. They’re made with ingredients humans can eat as well, like fruits, vegetables, chicken and rice. Dr. Streeter notes that “some fresh dog foods are raw while others are cooked. Some raw foods are also in the form of kibble and would not be considered fresh.” Raw food generally contains raw muscle meat, organ meat and edible bone—things a dog might eat in the wild. Just like fresh food, you’ll need to keep raw food frozen.
How Much Should Dog Food Delivery Cost?
Compared to other traditional pet food options, dog food delivery is more expensive, so make sure you’ve got the budget for it before splurging. Costs do vary depending on the company you go with, however, and on your dog’s specific dietary needs. Dr. Countner explains the reason for the high costs: “Most dog food delivery services prepare meals in smaller kitchens, versus bigger manufacturing plants. The smaller scale, quality ingredients, less processed food, and delivery straight to your door means that it will cost more than picking up food at your local pet store.”
You often don’t know the exact price you’re paying until you provide information about your dog and how often you’re looking to receive deliveries. Some plans can cost as little as two dollars a day or nine dollars a week, while others can come in at $300 a month. If you’re trying to figure out how much to spend, “do a little math and look at the cost of the product per 100 or 1000 kilocalories,” Dr. Streeter advises. “This will help determine which is the most cost effective. I have noticed some programs look cheaper but recommend feeding a lower amount of calories, which means you may end up paying more in the long run if your dog needs more than they are initially recommending.”
While you definitely have to shell out some money for a dog food delivery service, the benefits are many. “Many of my clients (and my own dogs) benefit from food that is closer to what nature intended, and they overall have less ailments (and lower vet bills) as a result,” says Dr. Countner. Start by getting a quote from the company and figure out your budget. It won’t take long to notice a pep in your pup’s step.