Something New In the Pet Food Aisle – Freshpet Review

Pet food in the grocery store whose shelf time does not match the half life of uranium? You betcha. Freshpet has arrived.

The refrigerator at the end of the pet food aisle

Freshpet Select roasted meals and slice and serve packs

Not long ago, I noticed a new refrigerator in my grocery store at the end of the pet food aisle. In it was a small selection of pet treats and food. I was intrigued and promised myself I’d look into it more when I had some free time.

When a Freshpet representative offered to send me a sample pack, I looked forward to checking it out.

A first look at Freshpet

The cold pack cooler waiting on my porch when I got home was filled with Freshpet Select slice and serve rolls, Freshpet Select roasted meals, and Dog Joy treats. Honey watched me unpack the box and offered her services as test dog.

Each product included instructions to keep everything refrigerated. And once opened, meals and treats were supposed to be used within a week. The repeated mantra appeared to be as much a marketing tool as advice about food safety.

Why wait? We starting phasing Freshpet into Honey’s diet the very next day. Here’s what we thought.

Appearance and smell

The Freshpet Select roasted meals have a texture and aroma I found tempting. They resemble fresh, soft kibble with occasional bits of chicken meat and carrot. It looked and smelled like something I would serve on my Thanksgiving table.

Freshpet Select Roll and Ring Bologna

Freshpet Select or Pennsylvania Dutch Ring Bologna. Which looks better to you?

The slice and serve roll reminds me of bologna with pieces of vegetables and whole meat in the mix. As you can see from the picture, it looks similar to the Pennsylvania dutch treat, ring bologna. The texture is a coarse pate′.

A little less appealing than the food, the treats varied from the scentless (at least to a human) dried sweet potato to the jerky-scented, buffalo tendon fresh chews.

Palatability (or “taste” to real people)

Honey has always been a good eater. But the Freshpet made her “dance.” She loved the roasted meals and both the chicken and beef rolls.

The treats got mixed reviews. Honey loved the Dog Joy dried sweet potatoes. At first she was ambivalent about the Dog Joy Fresh Bones chicken treats which had the consistency of one of the edible Nylabone products. But I bought the treat again when I needed something to occupy her during a party and she showed much more enthusiasm with the second try.

Convenience

What I like most about Freshpet is seeing it in a grocery store pet food aisle. It’s the only premium food I’ve ever seen in a supermarket.

And while I love my local pet supply store, it’s really nice to pick up Honey’s food while I’m doing my routine grocery shopping.

It took me a little while to figure out how to feed Freshpet to Honey. She grew up using a Kong Wobbler and Premier Tug-a-Jug to eat her kibble. She’s never eaten dog food out of a bowl. So when I put the Freshpet on a plate, she gobbled it down like she hadn’t eaten in months.

Golden Retriever eating Freshpet in her food toy

Y'know I could eat a lot more if you weren't always trying to make it so hard for me. Don't you want me to grow up to be a big girl?

The roasted meals have a soft, kibble-like shape that did work in the Wobbler.

For the slice and serve roll, I cut it into strips and fed it to Honey in a rubber ball with holes in it. It could also be forced into a Kong classic food toy as well.

Once I figured out a method for feeding Honey, Freshpet became very convenient.

Nutrition

I’m not qualified to analyze the nutrition of Freshpet. I was pleased to see whole meats, grains, and vegetables listed on the labels. And the food is minimally processed which is why it must be refrigerated.

But to learn more about the nutritional value of Freshpet, I turned to the the website Dog Food Advisor.

Website creator, Mike Sagman, has a science background and has educated himself in issues related to pet foods. It’s a wonderful site and very helpful.

So I was pleased to find Sagman gave Freshpet Select Slice and Serve his top rating of 5 stars. He has not yet reviewed the Freshpet Select roasted meals but I’ll keep looking for it.

Freshpet also has a line of products that are grain free for dogs with needing a meat-only diet. Laurie Luck, over at the Smart Dog blog, reviewed the Vital line of grain-free food with her dog Lily. Check it out.

The bottom line

Freshpet has a good beat and is easy to dance to. Oops, wrong review.

But seriously, Honey loves it and it appears to agree with her. So we’re staying with Freshpet for now.

It is more expensive than even premium kibble but on par with other fresh foods. And I certainly love picking it up at the grocery store.

So check out Freshpet. You can search for stores in your area that carry it here. And tell them Honey sent you.

Have you seen Freshpet in your area? Have you tried it? Would you? Why or why not?

Freshpet provided free samples for me to try. But I was not paid to write this review. All opinions are my own.
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Comments

  1. Cool! I had wondered about that stuff.

    • Given the junk we usually see in the supermarket, it’s a real standout to see high quality food. I hope some folks feeding kibbles and bits are inspired to step it up a little–even if it’s just the treats.

  2. I’ve seen that refrigerator! Right now we are feeding raw and very happy with it, but should we ever decide to switch gears Pet Fresh is something we would be willing to try.

  3. Our dogs really enjoy the FreshPet food, too! I love using it for K9 Nose Work classes because it’s delicious and doesn’t crumble easily. Plus, the dogs LOVE it! Great review, thanks for writing it!

    • We’ve also been using it for Nose Work and other similar activities around the house. Lately we’re trying to associate our Doggy Ride bicycle cart with it.

  4. We tried it back when our Dachsie Chloe had dental surgery and needed something softer than the kibble we normally feed. Do you know not a one of our three dogs would eat it? Like you I was totally impressed with it but they wouldn’t touch it. I’m wondering if I should have tried more than the once or twice I did. Our dogs seem to be picky. We recently switched to Blue Buffalo kibble but I’d love to offer some choices sometimes other than the boiled chicken I sometimes do. I have a tendency to give up too fast maybe. I may try again sometime as you’re right it is awfully convenient to be able to get it in the same trip as the groceries! Enjoying your blog, btw!

    • Just goes to show our pups have minds of their own.

      I found Honey was slow to take to some of the treats but some of that probably had to do with me trying to take pictures of her when eating. Once I became nonchalant, she could relax and enjoy herself.

  5. I had a sample of FreshPet in my refrigerator some time back and a very hungry teenage relative cut off a sample for a quick sandwich. He is never to be told.

    • Your secret is safe with me. Did you get any comments on how he liked his sandwich? I’d imagine it was pretty bland without all the salt we’d find in a human product.

  6. Incredible timing – my no-kill shelter director and I just picked up a huge amount of this food product, for both cats and dogs, from another rescue who wants/needs feed-back. Our friend Debi and Freshpet wants us to try out the food and treats (I got the Dog Joy treats) and send photos to her for Freshpet. They are very interested in the reactions of pets to their product. I have not yet opened up a package but just looking at the “vienna sausage” like rolls of Dog Joy, I want to fry them up and eat them! Am forwarding your review to my friend Debi of Shelter Alliance/Recycling Rover/Rainbow Ranch (she is indeed multi-talented!). Thanks so much – I now can hardly wait to start using this product!

    • I was thrilled to see that Freshpet had a shelter donation program. So many of the pet food companies donating to shelter are providing very poor quality food. I know begger’s can’t be choosers but I think dogs will be easier to adopt if they are healthy and have shiny coats and eyes.

      I hope you’ll stop back again and let us know what the shelter pets thought of it.

  7. I use that salami-looking stuff as a training treat for Gwynn, it’s great :) Gross-feeling, but the smell and taste means he’s really focused on me (and the treats) in high-distraction training. It was also a great help in getting him to go through the agility tunnel after he’d been freaked out by another dog as he came out of it. i’ll have to see if i can find/try the other food.

    • The roasted bits smell even better than the roll. I was very tempted by it.

      We’re also using Freshpet in our training. I’m hope Honey jumps eagerly into my bike cart when spring rolls around again.

  8. As I write, I have 8 FIV positive cats and 3 kittens eating the cat food. I warmed it in the microwave and it smells like chicken noodle soup. Makes me hungry. The dogs have enjoyed the Dog Joy treats. Even my outside cats stole a bite. Everyone seems to like it. My other cats ate it this morning. At the sanctuary everyone ate it this morning. The majority ate without batting an eye. Licked the platters clean and that is almost 300 cats/kittens. Hope this is positive enough for you.

    • That is good news. I hope the food keeps the cats healthy. I’ve found good food to make a major difference when animals are living with chronic health problems.

      • Alice is my shelter director friend – good to hear the cats are liking it! I’ve yet to try it with the dogs at Silverwalk but will let you know :).

  9. I haven’t seen it available here, but I have a feeling our girls would really like it! Based on a few past experiences, we’re really careful with what we feed them on a regular basis, and they have rather discriminating tastes, unless it’s in someone else’s food bowl! Then it’s guaranteed to be good! 😛

  10. I really like the idea of this and would buy it if it turns out to be affordable. I haven’t seen it in our grocery stores yet. I’m glad it got 5 stars!

    • Tops is the major supermarket in NY that carries it. And Laurie Luck says her Walmart carries it.

      Kibble is definitely cheaper. But finding the highest quality you can afford is always a balancing act, isn’t it?

  11. I would love to feed raw or something like this, but cost is a big factor for us. I’m glad Honey really liked it and that you were both so satisfied with the product. Glad you found something she liked and that you were happy giving it to her.

    • Gee, are you hinting that feeding 6 big dogs might be expensive? :)

      Over the years, I’ve found that high quality food really pays off. When I was feeding homemade food to Agatha and then to Shadow, they didn’t need flea treatment and even with serious health concerns, didn’t require lots of intervention from the vet.

      It’s tough to figure out how much you can afford and what the benefit will be over time. And I can’t even imagine what kind of math I’d need to figure it out for 6 dogs! I’d probably have to learn calculus.

  12. I’ve never seen Freshpet on any shelves over here but that’s hardly surprising given the fact that we’re located on either side of the pond. I am, however, happy to hear that you’ve discovered a good product for Honey. Supermarkets here, too, are notorious for the rubbish dog food they stock, so I can understand what a wonderful surprise and great relieve it was for you to discover that you can now shop for yourself and Honey at the same time, guilt-free :) Although I hardly ever eat meat (and never in processed form), I have to admit that the ‘salami’ in your photos does look fit for human consumption, indeed. What is on the list of ingredients? I’m not a specialist nutritionist either, but I’ve learnt that the most significant ingredients are always listed first, and that the higher the meat content the better. Over here, good dog food is considered to contain at least 60-65% real meat, but the other ingredients also need to be assessed before judgement can be passed. Ultimately, when it comes to food, I let George decide. He’s not a ‘pig dog’, likes to taste his food and seems to be able to tell good food from the bad, which makes feeding him a lot easier :)

    • I’d imagine George is a very discriminating dog. Does he eat veggies from your garden?

      That was one of the things I liked about Freshpet. It included lots of vegetables as well as meat.

  13. Of course it’s not available here, but I bet you can’t get possyum dog roll there either:) That is our most popular training treat. It’s good to find new things that our dogs like and a bonus if they get 5 stars.

    • Please tell me pollyum dog roll isn’t just a dead possum rolled up in a ball. :)

      Keeping the variety of treats flowing is tough. You always have to keep things interesting, don’t you?

  14. Interesting post. I’ve seen this food in our grocery stores, but we haven’t tried it so far. Thanks for sharing the info, and Honey’s experience. :)

  15. I wonder if this is available in Canada yet. But don’t expect me to try it. I don’t eat meat, and get a teeny bit grossed out when we serve human cold cuts to guests. Can’t imagine slicing doggy bologna, and the cost… well, suffice to say I started out as a foster mom feeding the cheapest thing on the shelf, and am now up to the $40 bags. And Our Best Friend will eat anything, and he’s happy and healthy no matter what. (Actually, his allergies seem to be gone now… oh spit. I guess we’re stuck with the expensive stuff.)

  16. Bruno&Mina says:

    Hi There!

    I also found amazing the fact that you would be able to find decent food in the grocery store.
    I have a 6 mo beagle and since I got her I’ve been in a quest for the perfect food for her and my 8mo cat. I am thrilled about everything I’ve found out about dogs and cats food.
    So, I picked up both Fresh pet select for dogs and cats, and couldn’t help but notice (ingredient wise) that the cat one seems to be much better, anyone else notice this?