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As someone who has worked in the pet industry for two decades — as an assistant in veterinary offices and as a pets editor and writer — I know more about dog food than most. I’ve always fed my dog premium kibble and canned foods, but in the last year, I tried out companies that cook and ship fresh pet food, including Just Food For Dogs. For this review, the company provided samples to feed my 10-year-old miniature poodle, Jäger.
Read my full review of Just Food For Dogs, from its meal offerings to how much my dog loves it:
What kind of food can you buy from Just Food For Dogs?
Just Food For Dogs is great for pet parents who want options. You can choose from five different types of meals:
- Fresh Frozen: thaw and serve
- Pantry Fresh: shelf-stable for up to two years
- Vet Support: frozen and shelf-stable therapeutic diets that require a prescription from your veterinarian
- DIY Homemade Kits: recipes and nutrient blends, to which you add fresh meat and other ingredients to make homemade dog food
- Custom Diets: Formulated for dogs with special needs
Just Food For Dogs also sells its own line of supplements and treats — and cat food, too, if you have a feline family member.
How to order for Just Food For Dogs
Most fresh pet food companies require you to sign up for a subscription that includes auto-delivery. Not so with Just Food For Dogs. Although autoship is offered, it’s not required.
You can buy food online at JustFoodForDogs.com, Amazon, and Petco — the company delivers to all 50 states. But if you’re lucky enough to live near one of the company’s eight open-to-the-public kitchens, you can walk in and buy your food. You can also buy food in person at more than 200 pantries located inside veterinary clinics and select Petco and Pet Food Express locations.
Just Food For Dogs makes all its food in its USDA-inspected kitchens, which are in California, New York, and Washington, and are staffed by full-time food safety experts and nutrition consultants who can help you choose the best food for your dog. Remote consultations are also available.
Before choosing my samples, I had a nutrition consultation over the phone. My consult was helpful and quite thorough, but it took some time to go over the many different meal options. With Fresh Frozen meals, you can choose from six recipes.
Pantry Fresh meals are available in eight recipes. Each Fresh Frozen recipe contains just one protein source. Grain-free and gluten-free options like Fish and Sweet Potato and Venison and Squash are also available. My consultant set up my account and placed my first order. Now I can log in and reorder food anytime.
Delivery and feeding
For the purposes of this review, I selected two recipes each from the Fresh Frozen and Pantry Fresh meal lines. The recipes I tried cost about $30 to $37 a week to feed my 20-pound dog.
My first delivery came on schedule. Because I happen to live close to one of Just Food For Dogs’ kitchens, I was able to have the food delivered right to my door via one of their vehicles. My fresh-frozen food was packed in an insulated bag with frozen gel packs. I received email alerts letting me know that the driver was on their way.
As you might expect from the company’s name, Just Food For Dogs Fresh Frozen meals look like real food. Everything is chopped up and mixed together, but you can see the individual ingredients like ground beef, potatoes, and carrots. The consistency of the PantryFresh food is closer to canned
, but with visible chunks of fresh ingredients throughout.
Fresh frozen food must be thawed in the refrigerator overnight before feeding, but Pantry Fresh food can be fed right out of the box. To determine how much to feed your dog according to their weight, check the recommended feeding amounts for each recipe. Just Food For Dogs also offers a handy feeding calculator online. Although you can measure how much to feed by the cup, I found that measuring by weight with a kitchen scale was more accurate.
What makes Just Food For Dogs stand out
My dog loves both the Fresh Frozen and Pantry Fresh food. He races to his bowl and licks it clean every time. In fact, that little stinker recently turned up his nose at one of his favorite canned foods — something he’s never done before! I can tell that Just Food for Dogs agrees with him by looking at his poops, which are small and formed.
I also love that all the ingredients are inspected and approved by the USDA for human consumption. I also like that the ingredients and nutrition facts for each recipe are printed right on the package. All recipes have been formulated by a team of veterinarians to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance and/or growth. And here’s something big: Just Food For Dogs is the only fresh pet food company that has conducted feeding trials on its recipes.
The bottom line
It should come as no surprise that fresh pet food is more expensive than kibble and canned dog food. There is a higher cost associated with using high-quality, human-grade ingredients, employing a team of veterinarians to develop recipes, and conducting feeding trials and other research. But many pet owners consider the health benefits of fresh, minimally processed dog food well worth the cost.
We’ve reviewed and recommended other fresh pet food brands, including Farmer’s Dog, Nom Nom, Ollie, Pet Plate, and Spot and Tango. But no other fresh pet food company comes close in terms of variety and purchasing options. For pet owners looking to feed their dogs the very best, Just Food For Dogs is an excellent choice.
Pros: Fresh food, USDA-approved ingredients, no preservatives or byproducts, six different food types, wide variety of recipes to choose from plus rotating seasonal specials, veterinary support and custom diets available, no subscription required (although autoship option is available), nutrition consultants available
Cons: Expensive, feeding amounts vary depending on the type of food and also by recipe, food packs must be transferred from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw, fresh food can’t be left out all day like kibble