The history of dog food started in 1860 when James Spratt witnessed sailors feeding dogs their leftover biscuits upon returning to the docks. At that time, dogs and cats had recently started being kept as pets instead of just working animals on the farms. These days, we have dog food in many local stores, along with dog food subscription boxes, but it took time to get from that initial point to where we are now.
The first pet food was a biscuit made from wheat, vegetables, beetroot, and beef blood. It did not take long before Spratt’s business took off, finding a strong market demand, and shortly after, an English company purchased Spratt’s dog biscuit business. Then in 1890, production spread to the US.
With Spratt’s success, other companies started popping up too, making treats and kibble, and by 1922 the first wet food was invented. And in the 1930s, the first prescription diet was formulated for a seeing-eye dog named Buddy. The company that created this food would later be known as Hill’s.
As the dog food market grew, and more and more choices became available, the way we viewed pet nutrition changed. For a while, it was all grocery store brands, then boutique dog foods started popping up, and now we even have online premium-grade dog food subscription boxes.
Dog food subscription boxes not only add convenience to our lives but often specialize in high-quality dog foods. The dog food subscriptions we have evaluated below all offer balanced premium diets.
Plus, many of the companies listed below offer a discount on your first dog food subscription box. If you have multiple pets in your household, you might want to check out cat food subscription boxes too.
Dog Food Subscription Boxes
- The Farmer’s Dog
- NomNom Now
- Spot and Tango
- My Ollie
- Tailored Pet
The Farmer’s Dog
The Farmer’s Dog first began when, now founder, Brett starting cooking for his dog Jada. Jada had severe digestive issues, and the vet recommended trying a homemade diet to see if that would help.
Jada showed significant improvement in the new food. After seeing the improvements and realizing the impact that cooking home meals had on his dog, Brett teamed up with Jonathan, and the two set out creating the company The Farmer’s Dog.
The name for the company, The Farmer’s Dog, is not because either Brett or Jonathan are farmers but instead because when they saw that some of the oldest living dogs were farm dogs, they figured it was because of the relationship between the “human, dog, and earth.” It is something the two founders attempt to embrace with all they do when creating their dog food.
The recipes used by The Farmer’s Dog come from top vet nutritionists to ensure the food contains the ultimate nutrition. The food program offered is for fresh food diets, not raw. This means that the food is minimally processed to ensure the maximum amount of nutrients is retained.
When you sign up with The Farmer’s Dog, they ask you a series of questions about your dog’s health, what they are currently eating, gender, age, activity level, current and ideal weight.
After answering the series of questions, they will put together your meal plan options. Each of the individual meals is packed in preportioned pouches. Prices vary based on individual dogs. There are 4 protein recipe options: Chicken, beef, turkey, and pork.
NomNom Now uses fresh whole ingredients and minimally preps them to ensure they preserve the highest level of nutrients. All of their products are thoughtfully sourced from farms in the US and are prepped in US kitchens too.
Board-certified veterinary nutritionists and PhDs formulate all of the recipes. The NomNom Now facilities strictly produce NomNom foods only, so your dog’s food can always be easily traced.
The meals are all cooked at low temperatures without using an extrusion process, making sure the dog food stays as close to its original state as possible. What’s great about buying from NomNom Now is that the dog food is all preportioned to your dog’s caloric requirements. Each pouch is one meal, making feeding both fast and easy.
Plus, NomNom Now ships your dog’s meals right to your home. The food is packed in a cooler with ice packs to ensure freshness, and the packing materials are all earth-friendly.
In addition to dog and cat food, NomNom Now also makes treats, probiotics, and supplements for joints and mobility.
When you sign up for the dog food subscription box, they will ask you a few questions about your canine friend, including their name, gender, breed, weight, and age.
There are four dog food options: Beef Mash, Chicken Chow, Pork Potluck, and Turkey Fare.
The beef, pork, and chicken formulas all use potatoes as the primary carbohydrate source, with the turkey option containing brown rice.
PetPlate uses human-grade ingredients all cooked in a USDA kitchen. The meals are all hot-filled then flash frozen to ensure freshness. All of the meal plans are perfectly personalized to your dog’s needs.
There are two primary plans, the full meal plan or the topper plan. The topper plan is ideal for those looking to supplement their dog’s current diet or help entice their dogs to eat better. The topper plan is a good trial option and offers greater flexibility and costs less than the full plan.
However, regardless if you choose the topper or a full plan, PetPlate offers a full money-back guarantee on your first box.
When you are ready to purchase your dog’s first dog food subscription box, you are asked a series of questions, including information about your pets gender, whether they are spayed or neutered, their breed, their birthdate, their current and ideal weight, their activity level, and the appearance of their waistline.
Then you are given the option of four different choices: Barkin’ Beef Entree, Tail Waggin’ Turkey Entree, Chompin’ Chicken Entree, and Lip Lickin’ Lamb Entree.
In addition to their food options, PetPlate also offers organic chicken treats as an add-on to your order.
All of the meals are packed in pre-portioned containers, which are also microwave safe and BPA free. The meals arrive frozen and may be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. The subscription boxes ship out on Mondays to avoid transit delays due to the weekend.
Spot and Tango
Spot and Tango make all of their dog food with human-grade ingredients sourced from responsible local farmers and US human food suppliers. The ingredients start as whole foods and are minimally prepped, using low-temperature cooking methods to promote ultimate nutrition.
And not only do they use minimal cooking methods, but they also use minimal ingredients. Plus, the ingredients in these formulas have been specifically chosen, and all have only one purpose: to nourish your pup. The food is made in small batches to ensure freshness, quality, and traceability.
The different formulas are created by an expert veterinary nutritionist and assessed by a team of veterinarians. Additionally, the recipes created by Spot and Tango meet the AAFCO standards for a balanced diet. The fresh recipes are made in New York kitchens which are inspected by both the USDA and FDA.
Spot and Tango offer two different dog food options fresh, made in their New York kitchens and their unkibble made in Wisconsin. Their unkibble is a dry crunchy dog food. It is similar to commercial kibble in that it is scoopable and does not require refrigeration, but those are the only similarities.
Unkibble is a combination of high-quality proteins, vegetables, carbohydrates, vitamins, and nutrients. Instead of being cooked at high temperatures and extruded, it is gently dried at low temperatures locking in flavor and maximizing nutrition.
All of the Spot and Tango plans are customized to meet your dog’s dietary needs. After asking a series of questions about your dog’s health, age, breed, and weight, they will present their different recipes.
There are three fresh recipes: Turkey and Red Quinoa, Beef and Millet, and Lamb and Brown Rice.
For their unkibble there are also three recipes: Chicken and Brown Rice, Beef and Barley, and Duck and Salmon (available in 2021).
My Ollie is a fresh dog food subscription box company. My Ollie uses only the freshest human-grade ingredients when creating their four dog food recipes:
- Beef: Heed the Cattle Call
- Chicken: Dare to Cross the Road
- Turkey: Get Your Gobble On
- Lamb: Get Some Sheep Thrills
When you sign up with My Ollie, they will ask you the standard questions about allergies, breed, age, and weight. Next, they will help design your dog’s food plan, then deliver the food.
You can choose how much My Ollie food you plan on integrating into your dog’s diet. Your meal plan can include as low as 25% of your dog’s calorie intake in food from My Ollie, which would be great if you need a food topper or 100% of their meals if you choose to switch them to a full diet of My Ollie.
After getting all signed up, you will receive a starter box with enough meals for two weeks. Then after that, you will receive regular deliveries based on your quantity choices and requested delivery schedule.
All of the meal plans are flexible, and your dog’s information can be updated and your account can be adjusted as needed. All of the food is preportioned, making feeding My Ollie meals easy.
The food arrives frozen and can be kept in the freezer until needed, then all you need to do is thaw the meals safely in the fridge. The food can be stored in the provided “puptainer” to ensure freshness.
Caliraw, located in southern California, is a dog food company that strives to help “enhance the health and longevity of dogs through optimal nutrition.” All of their foods are life-stage specific and species-appropriate.
Their raw dog food formulas are made from human-grade ingredients and are complete and balanced premium recipes. This highly digestible raw food diet is specifically formulated for optimum bioavailability of nutrition.
Caliraw offers 4 adult formulas: Beef, turkey, chicken, and lamb. There are also 2 puppy formulas: Chicken and beef, plus turkey and lamb.
All 6 of these recipes can be purchased outside of their dog food subscription box. In addition to their raw meals they also sell beef marrow bones, lamb femur bones, and venison jerky.
If you choose to sign up for CaliRaw’s dog food subscription, you will want to use their food calculator to figure you how much food to your dog needs.
After you use the calculator, you can choose the size box you want, 10 pounds to 36 pounds. Then select which protein would work best for your dog, chicken, lamb, beef, turkey, or the variety pack. All of the pouches of the food are packed in 1-pound quantities.
When building a team for Tailored Pets, they wanted to ensure the team was well rounded and included dog parents, nutritionists, and veterinarians. Some of the key team members include two primary canine nutrition experts, Rudy Leschke and Dr. Larry Hawley, both of whom aid in developing the different formulas. And two DVMs (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine), Dr. Emily Luisana and Dr. Katalin Grant are key participants on the veterinary board at Tailored Pet.
When getting started with Tailored, you are asked a series of detailed questions such as: gender, spayed/neutered, birthdate and age, breed, breed size, weight, waistline, lifestyle, health concerns, ingredient exclusions, mobility, skin and coat, stool, teeth and gums, immunity, primary protein preference, and preferred label color.
After you fill out your questionnaire, Tailored Pets provides the tailored recipe recommended for your dog.
If you agree to the recipe, you can choose between 3 different sizes of bags. Then choose whether you want to subscribe or opt for a one time purchase. Finally, you can select your delivery frequency preference.
On your first subscription order from Tailored Pets, you will receive 50% off your first shipment. If you opt for a one-time purchase, you can get 20% off your first bag of food.