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Freshpet Review 2024: Is It Worth Switching to Fresh?

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Author Jessica White
Jessica White Writer
Updated on Apr 5th, 2024
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

Overview

In a world of processed and shelf-stable pet food, Freshpet has carved out a unique space with its refrigerated meals for our furry friends. Gone are the days of dried kibble and canned, processed meats. Freshpet has replaced them with wholesome, fresh ingredients.

At its core, Freshpet believes in the power of fresh, real food. Each recipe is created with high-quality meats, fruits, and vegetables and without any artificial or chemical preservatives. The ingredients are gently steam-cooked to preserve all the beneficial nutrients.

But what's really interesting is the customization and variety Freshpet offers. Whether your dog needs grain-free options, high-protein meals, or food tailored for its size and life stage, Freshpet has you covered.

However, Freshpet might not be suitable for every pet or pet owner. You may prefer a service like The Farmer’s Dog that has human-grade veterinary-specialist designed food. In this review, I'll unpack the pros and cons, explore the quality of the meals, and delve into the cost and availability. Stick with me as I find out whether switching to this premium fresh brand is worth it.

Pros

Cons

High-quality, fresh ingredientsExpensive
No preservatives or additivesPacks are small
Recipe variety for dogs and catsMust be refrigerated

Freshpet Meals

Plans and Recipes

Freshpet offers an impressive range of recipes for dogs. These are designed to cater to the varying needs and preferences of your furry friend. If you own cats and dogs, then you’ll find options for both. Unfortunately, there are fewer items suitable for cats. If you prefer a wider variety of fresh food options, you could try Open Farm.

Meals are created with different protein bases, such as chicken, beef, or fish, and feature wholesome ingredients like sweet potatoes, cranberries, and spinach. You can find 1 recipe specifically designed for puppies, but it’s worth knowing that all Vital brand recipes meet AAFCO standards for the growth of puppies. Screenshot of some of the meal options from the Freshpet range with some fresh ingredients

If your pet has an allergy to grains, Freshpet offers grain-free recipes. You can find grain-free meals for both cats and dogs. These include the Freshpet Select Grain Free Chicken recipe for dogs and the Freshpet Select Chicken and Beef Grain Free Gourmet Pate recipe.

There’s even a plant-based recipe for dogs that includes egg and soy protein. This is useful if your pup suffers from any intolerances as a result of eating meat protein.

Behind every Freshpet recipe is a team of experts, including veterinary nutritionists. These professionals make sure that every meal is not only tasty for your pet but also balanced and nutritious.

You can buy the Freshpet rolls in 2 different sizes: 1.5 lb and 5 lb. The bags of fresh food, like the Freshpet Select Small Dog Bite Size Chicken Morsels, are only available in 1 lb bags. If you have a small breed of dog, this could work for you, but it’s more affordable to supplement large breed dogs with regular kibble.

For dogs, you can choose from these types of meals:

  • Bags

  • Rolls

  • Treats

  • Homestyle creations

For cats, you can choose from only 2 types – bags and rolls. If you have a cat that’s sensitive to grains, you’ll be pleased to know that most of these recipes are grain-free.

There are more protein sources, brand options, and dietary needs catered to dogs than cats. If you’re looking to just purchase cat food, you can find a much bigger range of options for cats on Chewy.

You can also order custom meals for dogs from Petco on a subscription. Be aware that these aren’t available nationwide yet, but there are plans to expand the service to cover more areas. If you’re outside the shipping areas, The Farmer’s Dog delivers fresh dog food to all 48 contiguous states.

Ingredients

All ingredients for Freshpet are sourced locally and processed in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Recipes meet USDA and FDA standards. The meat used is farm-raised, and the recipes don’t contain any meat meal, preservatives, or meat by-products.

Here’s a quick guide on what to expect from the different brand names: 

  • Select – Made with farm-raised chicken and fresh vegetables.

  • Vital – These recipes are non-GMO and free from nitrates. They’re all suitable for puppies.

  • Nature’s Fresh – These contain locally sourced ingredients and antibiotic-free proteins.

  • Deli Fresh – Grain-free recipes that are non-GMO and made with antibiotic-free chicken.

  • Fresh Treats – These are 100% natural treats made with real meat as the primary ingredient.

  • Homestyle Creations – Made with USDA-certified chicken and high-quality wholefoods.

Screenshot of the 7 meal type options on Freshpet's dog food menu

One of the most popular recipes is the Freshpet Select Home Cooked Chicken Recipe. The ingredients are chicken, cranberries, carrots, pea protein, pea fiber, ground oats, natural flavors, vinegar, carrageenan, cassia gum, salt, potassium chloride, and spinach. Plus, all the essential vitamins and minerals are added too.

Chicken and cranberries in dog food can provide valuable nutrients for dogs. Chicken is a lean protein that supports muscle development, skin and coat health, and joint function. Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamins like vitamin C, which can help protect cells from damage and support urinary tract health.

Nutrition

I checked out the nutritional content of the Freshpet Select Home Cooked Chicken Recipe. This recipe has a guaranteed analysis of:

  • Crude protein (min) 17%

  • Crude fat (min) 6%

  • Crude fiber (max) 1%

  • Moisture (max) 66%

  • 169 kcal/cup

It’s great to see all the ingredients and nutritional information on the Freshpet vet site. You can navigate to this from the Resources section on the Freshpet website. Here, you can find recipes according to different nutritional needs. Screenshot of the recipe categories for dog and cat recipes for special dietary needs on Freshpet

It’s great that everything is easily organized here. This is really helpful if you have a dog or cat with specific dietary requirements. Don’t forget that you can also use the Product Selector on the Freshpet website to find suitable recipes.

What Makes It Different?

Freshpet revolutionizes pet nutrition with its emphasis on fresh, high-quality ingredients and transparency, distinguishing it from traditional pet food brands.

High-quality, Fresh Ingredients: Unlike typical brands using processed ingredients, Freshpet uses real meats and produce. These are gently cooked without preservatives and refrigerated to preserve nutrition and taste.

Transparency and Quality Control: Freshpet stands out with its commitment to transparency, from sourcing ingredients to rigorous quality checks for every food batch. All recipes are prepared in a state-of-the-art kitchen in Bethlehem, PA.

Unboxing

You’ll receive a well-packed box containing the meals you've chosen for your pet. Unlike some pet food delivery services that send frozen meals, Freshpet's meals are always refrigerated, not frozen. This emphasizes the company's commitment to freshness and allows you to serve the meals immediately if needed.

Freshpet's meals arrive portioned into specific weights based on the recipe type, which are clearly marked on the packaging. This means you'll still need to determine the right portion size for your pet based on their weight, age, and activity level.

After unboxing, you'll find clear storage instructions on the packaging. Generally, Freshpet meals must be stored in the refrigerator and, once opened, used within 7 days to maintain their freshness. Unopened, they can last until the date printed on the packaging. Image of a large Freshpet refrigerator stocked with different meals

You can freeze any leftover portions if you wish. Freshpet recommends serving meals fresh from the fridge, but if you do choose to freeze, be aware that this can change the texture and color of the meals.

Eco-conscious pet parents will appreciate that Freshpet pays attention to recyclability. The plastic casings for Freshpet Select rolls, for instance, are 100% recyclable. While this might vary by product, it does show the company's efforts to minimize its environmental impact.

As for meal preparation, Freshpet makes it simple. The meals are ready to serve straight from the refrigerator, with no cooking or complicated prep work required. Just open the packaging, portion out the appropriate amount for your pet, and serve.

If you have a fussy pet, there’s also the option to microwave meals for a few seconds. You can find a guide to how to do this safely on the Freshpet website. You could also add some warm water to the bagged meals if you have a senior pet that prefers a softer texture.

Prices

Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

Around $6 per 1.5 lb roll

No minimum 

Varies by retailer

Around $17 per 6 lb roll

No minimum

Varies by retailer

Around $10 per 1 lb bag

No minimum

Varies by retailer

Around $15 per 3 lb bag

No minimum

Varies by retailer

Around $25 per 5.5 lb bag

No minimum

Varies by retailer

Freshpet is sold by a range of different retailers, both online and in selected stores. Prices given in the table above are the average prices taken from a range of online retailers, including Walmart, Chewy, and Amazon. The cost of items at your local stockist may vary.

If you order Freshpet’s custom meals through Petco, costs are given per day. As a guide, I calculated the cost for 3 different sized dogs to give you a good idea of how much you can expect to pay for your pet.

  • Small dog weighing 20 lbs – Around $5 per day

  • Medium dog weighing 30 lbs – Around $7 per day

  • Large dog weighing 90 lbs – Around $15 per day

Shipping & Delivery

Freshpet doesn’t ship its products directly. You have the option to collect them from a store near you or order from an online retailer such as Chewy. You might also be able to have items delivered from your local store if this is a service it offers.

This means that delivery times vary depending on which retailer you choose. You’ll need to check each store's delivery policy before placing your order, so you know exactly what to expect.

How Freshpet Works

You can pick up Freshpet recipes in stores locally. To find out where, you can enter your zip code on the Freshpet website and check which stores near you stock the meals. You can also find out which products are available, as this differs between stores. 

If you want the convenience of ordering online, you can choose from selected retailers.

Currently, the online stockists include:

You’ll need to check with each retailer if they ship to you before placing your order. You can also check the current stock levels of the products you’re interested in purchasing.

How to Sign Up

  1. If you want to purchase Freshpet products locally, start with the search function. Enter your zip code and click on Store Search.

Screenshot of the store search form on Freshpet

  1. Now you can see local store locations on the map as well as a list of each store. This is useful as you’ll be able to see which Freshpet brands are stocked in each store. 

Screenshot of search results on Freshpet with a map and list of stores nearby

  1. Select a store near you to see which Freshpet products are available. You can use either the map or the list to do this.

Screenshot of products stocked in a store in New York

  1. You’ll need to visit or contact the store to purchase your items. 

  1. If you prefer to purchase your products online, click on the Buy Online option instead of Store Search in step 1.

Screenshot of retailer logos who stock Freshpet products

When you click 1 of these links, you can view the current stock level. If you click Buy, you’ll be directed to that retailer's website, where you can see the current prices and place your order.

If you want to place a custom order, follow the Petco link provided on the Freshpet website. You first need to enter your zip code to check if it delivers to your location. You can then complete a short quiz about your dog, and this creates your custom plan.

Managing Your Subscription

You don’t need to set up a subscription to order from Freshpet. You have to visit local stores to buy products or order them from selected online retailers.

There’s now an option to set up a custom order through Petco. This can be done quickly and easily, like an auto-ship order. This could be a more convenient option, but it’s only available in limited areas.

Customer Service

You can contact Freshpet by phone, text, or online chat. The phone number is 866-789-3737. The online chatbot can help direct you to web pages that answer the most common queries. There’s an FAQ section with information about ingredients, nutrition, and feeding guidelines. Screenshot of the chatbot chat with options you can click to find answers to your queries

If you prefer to chat directly to an agent, select Chat with an Agent. Contact hours are Monday to Friday between 8 am and 9 pm EST. On weekends, you can contact them between 9 am and 1 pm EST.

Freshpet Recalls

Freshpet voluntarily recalled a batch of its food in June 2022. One lot of the Freshpet Select Fresh From the Kitchen Home Cooked Chicken Recipe was recalled after a suspected salmonella contamination.

How Freshpet Compares to Other Pet Food Services

  • Freshpet vs. The Farmer’s Dog: The Farmer's Dog takes pet nutrition a step further by offering personalized meal plans tailored to your dog's specific dietary needs and preferences. This makes The Farmer’s Dog a better choice if you want a custom, diet-focused solution for your furry friend.
  • Freshpet vs. Ollie: Ollie stands out for its targeted approach to canine nutrition. Ollie provides customized meal plans that are not only tailored to your dog's unique dietary needs and preferences but also specifically designed to support gut health, which is vital for overall well being.

The Bottom Line: Is Freshpet Worth It?

Using Freshpet as the sole diet for your pet may be challenging. It's not the most affordable option, and you’ll need plenty of room in your fridge. It’s also not a subscription service, so if your local store is out of stock, you’re going to have an unhappy pet on your hands. For a subscription service, try Petco.

However, the quality of its food is high and packed with wholesome ingredients. These are all locally sourced and processed in the USA, making it a nutritious choice for your dog or cat. I also like the availability of lots of grain-free options. You might want to explore our article on our best fresh dog food picks for more inspiration.

FAQ

How is Freshpet different from traditional dog food?

Freshpet uses fresh, natural ingredients and minimal processing. Many traditional pet foods are made from rendered meats, by-products, or fillers and are heavily processed. Freshpet uses real meat, vegetables, and fruits in its recipes. They’re kept refrigerated to maintain their freshness, much like human food.

Where can I buy Freshpet food and how much does it typically cost?

Freshpet food can be purchased at a variety of locations, including local grocery stores, pet stores, and online marketplaces such as Chewy or Amazon. The cost of Freshpet food varies based on the product type and size. As a premium pet food brand, Freshpet tends to be more expensive than conventional pet foods.

How are Freshpet foods stored, and how long do they last once opened?

Freshpet foods need to be stored in the refrigerator because they’re made with fresh ingredients and don't contain artificial preservatives. Freshpet recommends using its food within 7 days. Unused portions should be kept sealed and refrigerated to maintain its freshness. Alternatively, it can be portioned and frozen, then defrosted in the fridge before use.

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