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I Taste Tested 6 Of The Leading Fresh Dog Food Brands To Find The Best One In 2024

You heard that right—I personally taste-tested six leading fresh dog food brands, just so that I could tell you which one is best for your pup.

After placing orders with six of the most popular fresh dog food brands (PetPlate, Ollie, The Farmer’s Dog, Spot and Tango, Nom Nom, and A Pup Above), I tasted them side-by-side to determine which one reigned supreme.

No matter which fresh dog food brand you choose after reading my reviews today, make sure to use my links below to get the best deal I know about. I’ll always keep these links up to date.

Things To Know About Fresh Dog Food

There are a variety of reasons why so many dog lovers consider fresh food as the best dog food. 

Some argue that when it comes to preserving nutrients, fresh dog food is better than kibble or canned food. Meanwhile, others simply appreciate the fact that they’re (more often than not) produced in human-grade facilities using human-grade ingredients. In other words, something about fresh dog food that signifies “high quality”, or in short a healthy dog food.

For pet parents who struggle with picky-eater pups, fresh dog food can work like a charm to your dog’s diet. These are like wet dog food but made of fresh and high-quality ingredients. Either serve it as a whole meal or a use it as a delicious way to top-off dry dog food. And buying it pre-prepared is way easier than cooking it yourself!

Having said that, many veterinarians have pointed out that the more established dog food brands are backed by decades worth of research, which is something that most fresh dog food brands can’t offer yet. I think that’s a valid point! Of course, I would imagine that you don’t need to feed your dog freeze-dried brown pellets in order to provide them with a balanced diet.

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But look, I’m not a vet. I’m just a guy who eats dog food on the internet.

You should always check with your vet to confirm you’re making the right choice for your pup. Because of their experience, veterinarians can offer insights into your dog’s optimal diet based on their age, breed, and any other special considerations that are specific to your pet. 

But at the end of the day, if we’re going to spend extra money on food, then we want meals that are made from high-quality, absolutely delicious ingredients.

And that’s where I come in. Dogs can’t talk, so I’m here to taste these foods and speak on behalf of the fluff balls.

Taste Test

For this review, I sampled beef recipes from PetPlate, Ollie, The Farmer’s Dog, Spot and Tango, Nom Nom, and A Pup Above. I chose to compare the beef-flavored meals because beef was the one flavor that came in all of my variety packs.

Fresh dog food reviewer Zach Lovatt does a blindfolded taste test for one of the beef recipes.

In the spirit of keeping things fair, I used a new spoon for each brand in order to eliminate any brand-to-brand crossover. I also cleansed my palate between meals by drinking a small sip of apple cider vinegar with a chaser of filtered tap water.

Not only did I take the above precautions, I also wore a blindfold during the taste test to ensure a neutral and unbiased assessment.

I’ve tasted these recipes so many times in the past that I was able to tell which one was which, anyway. However, it was extra fun to see if I could actually identify the brands by taste alone.

Which Fresh Dog Food Beef Recipe Wins the Taste Test?

I ranked each recipe’s flavor and texture on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. Next, I made my best guess as to which brand the recipes were from.

Once I had tasted all six, I calculated their average scores to determine who had won (and to see how accurate I was when identifying the brands). Below are the results:

Fresh dog food reviewer Zach Lovatt shows the taste test results with Nom Nom having the highest score.

I want to point out that these scores are based on how my own human taste buds responded to the food. There are definitely other factors to consider when choosing a fresh dog food brand. And, of course, if I had been able to evaluate all the turkey recipes instead of the beef ones, the scores might have turned out a little bit different.

CLICK HERE: See my best deal on Nom Nom’s fresh dog food →

A Closer Look at The Ingredients

The good news for your dog is that the recipes from each of these companies are formulated by veterinary nutritionists. In many cases, the veterinary nutritionists are either board certified, hold PhDs, or both.

All six recipes are also fortified with a nutrient blend. That means they’re nutritionally complete and balanced enough to comply with AAFCO standards. Common ingredients include high-quality meat, vegetables like green beans, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, as well as whole grains like brown rice and quinoa.

Now, having said that, the macronutrient profiles for these recipes vary quite a bit across brands. Some are higher in protein, some are higher in fats, and some are higher in carbohydrates. I’m not going to try to say what’s best for your dog when it comes to nutrition—I’ll leave that question up to your veterinarian.

What I can say is that we’ve tabulated the macronutrient profiles for chicken, beef, and turkey recipes from each brand.

Macro-nutrient Comparison (DRY-MATTER BASIS) Among top FRESH DOG FOOD BRANDS

Fresh Chicken Recipes

Brand Recipe NameProtein %Fat %Carb %
A Pup AboveChicka Chicka Bow Wow41.5616.8837.56
The Farmer’s DogChicken513019
Nom NomChicken Cuisine36.9626.0935.96
PetPlateChompin’ Chicken361546
Spot and TangoNo Fresh Chicken RecipeN/AN/AN/A

Fresh Beef Recipes

BrandRecipe NameProtein %Fat %Carb %
A Pup AboveTexas Beef Stew46.4623.2330.3
The Farmer’s DogBeef413128
Nom NomBeef Mash34.7817.3946.83
PetPlateBarkin’ Beef31.2321.7446.04
Spot and TangoBeef and Millet39.2919.440.31

Fresh Turkey Recipes

BrandRecipe NameProtein %Fat %Carb %
A Pup AboveTurkey Pawella43.2621.9433.79
The Farmer’s DogTurkey382635
Nom NomTurkey Fare35.7117.8644.43
PetPlateTail Waggin’ Turkey301550
Spot and TangoTurkey and Red Quinoa43.4618.635.94

*All data (as-fed guaranteed analysis) for the above calculations were obtained from the official websites of the respective brands. The dry-matter basis macronutrient ratios were obtained using a dry matter calculator.


For a lot of pet parents, cost is a huge factor in a fresh food diet. Thankfully, I did a thorough fresh dog food price comparison. Be sure to check that out to see a fair comparison of cross-brand costs.

In all honesty, I think that any of these brands may be well liked by a dog. They might even like Ollie—by far the most off-putting, in my experience. I’d stick with one of the more palatable brands if I were you.

Again, whichever brand you end up buying, remember to use my links to get the best deal I have access to at any point in time. All you need to do is click on the links, and they should automatically apply the discounts for you.


Do vets recommend fresh dog food?

If medical issues such as food sensitivities have made health and wellness a priority for your dog, veterinarians usually recommend fresh dog food or a prescription diet. Some of the fresh pet food companies offer prescription plans to dog owners.

What is the healthiest dog food to feed Your Pet?

Check with your vet, only they will know what is best considering your dog’s age, breed, size, and other factors specific to your pet.

Is fresh food healthier for dogs?

It can be, certainly. However this is not a blanket statement, and it depends entirely on the foods you are comparing as well as the nutritional needs of your dog.

What fresh foods are Most Ideal for dogs?

Nom Nom, The Farmer’s Dog, Spot and Tango, A Pup Above, PetPlate, and Ollie are some of today’s best fresh dog foods offering high-quality meals that are ideal for dogs’ needs. The best way to choose the healthiest option is to check with your vet.

What qualifies As “fresh” dog food?

Fresh dog food is food that’s made fresh for your dog and that should be consumed within a week. They are not shelf stable, and they require either freezing or refrigeration. Likewise, they do not use any processed ingredients, unlike semi-moist dog food brands. While conventional pet food companies add a lot of artificial ingredients and preservatives that aren’t great for pets, fresh dog food contains very little or no preservatives.

Since fresh dog food is minimally processed, pet parents don’t have to worry about synthetic ingredients in their pup’s diet. One of the best reasons to buy fresh food for your pup is that most companies customize their meal plans for your dog’s breed, age, size, dietary preferences, and allergies. 

Why do dogs need fresh food?

While it’s not necessary to feed your dog fresh food, many owners have reported noticing improvements in their dog’s energy levels, stool consistency, and skin condition. Many dogs also prefer the taste of fresh food that contains meat, fish, or poultry, along with fruits and vegetables, over processed kibble. Some conditions, like sensitive stomachs, may also lead your veterinarian to recommend a more natural diet.

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