Fresh Dog Food as a Convenient Alternative to Homemade Dog Food

Fresh Bites Learn about some of the high quality dog food available on the market for pet owners who want to buy dog food with the benefits of a home-cooked meal.

According to Dr. Mukund Parthasarathy in the May 25, 2010 PetfoodIndustry.com article “What’s in store for pet retail”, pet products that “provide health benefits to pets will be a driving force behind pet food sales.” Whether prompted by dog allergies, food intolerance, canine illness or an increasing concern for pet health, dog owners are exploring these products with gusto. A growing area in the market is fresh pet food.

Fresh dog food is a convenient alternative for busy pet owners who want to buy dog food that provides the benefits of a home-cooked meal in convenient ready-made packages. There are two types of fresh dog food on the market: frozen and refrigerated. Both kinds use fresh whole foods (organic, preservative-free), are lightly cooked and include dog supplements, such as dog vitamins and minerals. The following is an overview of three kinds of this type of holistic dog food.

Frozen Hamburger Meat Muffins for Dogs at Pleased Pets

Pleased Pets Meats in Black Diamond, Alberta prepares fresh dog food that is gently-cooked and frozen. At this time, Pleased Pets’ Meat Muffins are available at various locations throughout Alberta, including Airdrie, Black Diamond, Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer.

The company uses human-grade ingredients, including meats that are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, fresh vegetables and highly-digestible grains. They are free of additives, wheat, corn and soy. Dog food supplements are added to the Meat Muffins.

Meat Muffins are available in two sizes: regular muffins and mini muffins. Pleased Pets offers three types of Meat Muffins: Chicken, Beef and Elk. To prepare, simply cook in the microwave for approximately 40 seconds (individual microwave cooking times vary).

Refrigerated Dog Food in North America

Farm Fresh Pet Foods in Carstairs, Alberta offers both cooked dog food as well as raw dog food. The company currently distributes their products in Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba. The company uses fresh, high-quality ingredients, including meat, berries, vegetables and grains. Their food is rich in vitamins and minerals. The company offers a Beef and Oatmeal pre-cooked dog food that comes in 1 pound portions in airtight tubes.

Freshpet in Secaucus, NJ, teamed up with Tyson Foods in 2009 to produce and distribute fresh refrigerated pet food throughout Canada and the US. Like the aforementioned dog food manufacturers, Freshpet offers freshly prepared meals for both dogs and cats that are gently cooked to allow for maximum nutrient absorption.

Freshpet offers three brands of fresh pet food:

  • Freshpet Select: made with fresh meat, fresh vegetables and brown rice,
  • Freshpet Vital: fresh meat, berries and grain-free and
  • Deli Fresh: fresh meat, vegetables and rice with three serving formats.

The company offers a wide variety of prepared meals for pets, from Salmon and Ocean Whitefish to Chicken Vegetable & Rice. Pet owners can either buy pet food in the Slice & Serve format (1, 2, 6 lb. tubes), the bite-sized meatballs or the prepared meals in convenient containers.

For the Slice & Serve tubes, simply slice the recommended portion for the dog’s size, cut into bite-sized chunks and serve. For the other two formats, scoop out the recommended serving portion and serve. Note that some dogs may prefer to eat their meal at room temperature.

Unused portions should be refrigerated until ready to serve. Alternatively, pet owners can divide the fresh food into single servings and freeze for future use. Food should be completely thawed out before serving.

The fresh pet food market is still relatively new. New products will become available as the market continues to grow. Pet owners can learn more about fresh pet food products available in their area at their local pet specialty store. Alternatively, dog owners can click on the "Store Locator" or "Where to Buy" button on these suppliers' websites.

Variety is the Key to Optimal Dog Health When Feeding Homemade Dog Food

No single homemade dog food recipe will meet all of a dog’s nutritional requirements. In "Introduction to Homemade Diets for Dogs" in Whole Dog Journal (April 2007), Mary Straus advises dog owners to strive for nutritional balance over time.

The cut and type of meat, grains and vegetables should be varied to make certain that their dog's nutritional needs are met. Even when feeding a dog any of these ready-made dog food products, dog owners should endeavor to read the ingredients label carefully and serve a variety of ingredients for optimal pet health.

For some dog owners, the raw food diet and the home-prepared diet may be too time-intensive for their busy schedules. Fresh pet food, whether frozen or refrigerated, present a viable option for those who wish to give their dogs the benefits of home-prepared whole foods in a convenient ready-made package.

Related Reading:

Premium, Natural, Holistic, & Organic Pet Foods

What You Should Know Before You Cook for Your Dog

Homemade Hamburger Recipe for Dogs

Grain Free Hamburge for Dogs Recipe

Originally published on Suite101.com on October 31, 2010. Updated March 23, 2013.