Freshpet Dog Food Reviews

Freshpet was founded in 2006 by private owners and went public in 2014, raising $164 million. The dog and cat foods are manufactured in their facilities in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The exception is their treats, which they claim are made in co-manufacturing plants.

Freshpet manufactures cooked diets that are widely available in grocery stores and large retailers.

IS FRESHPET A GOOD DOG FOOD?

Freshpet cooked dog foods are considered moderate risk foods, with scores ranging from 5.2 to 6.4, except for the Spring & Sprout recipe which is considered high risk at 2.5. The Nature’s Fresh is their highest scoring line. Freshpet is a publicly traded company that has an obligation to its shareholders and this is worth mentioning since this puts pressure on the company to turn profits and this may or may not impact the quality of the product.

The Freshpet lines are reasonably similar, although some are non GMO while others are vegetarian. On the ingredient quality side, they all feature excessive added vitamins and minerals, which can indicate lower quality ingredients. It’s also notable that Freshpet often uses sodium selenite as a source of selenium. Some research suggests that sodium selenite may be associated with potential toxicity, so selenium yeast is the preferred form of this mineral. The carbohydrate content in these foods seems reasonable, although many of the foods contain plant protein to boost protein levels.

When it comes to ingredient safety, the foods often feature carrageenan and natural flavors. Known high pesticide ingredients also make a frequent appearance in the top 5 ingredients, as well as genetically modified foods. 

Overall, the food scores about the same as many premium dry and canned foods so Freshpet might not be worth the extra price point. There are also low risk cooked foods available that might be at a comparable price point. It’s also worth noting that many of the foods claim a protein content of 43% on a dry matter basis. 

The average score of All Freshpet food lines is listed below. Click on any line below to view the individual foods and scores.

Vital

5.8
4 color scale
Average Score
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Fresh Pet Vital Fresh Cuts Chicken Recipe for Dogs
5.8
4 color scale
Average Score
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Freshpet’s Vital cooked dog food line is considered moderate risk. On average, the foods average just under 41% protein and 14% carbohydrate, as calculated on a dry matter basis. The food claims the ingredients are Non GMO verified but known high pesticide ingredients still make a frequent appearance in the top 5 ingredients. The food also loses ingredient quality and safety points for excessive added vitamins and minerals, natural flavors, plant proteins and carrageenan. Carrageenan is a thickener that is linked with gut inflammation. It’s also worth noting that not all of the foods in this line contain a source of omega-3 fats and that the company does not state the omega-6:omega-3 ratio. Foods that are relatively high in omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory.

Freshpet Vital Benefits

Freshpet Vital Concerns

Freshpet Select

5.8
4 color scale
Average Score
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Freshpet Select Multi-Protein Complete Meal Chicken, Beef, Egg & Salmon Recipe
5.8
4 color scale
Average Score
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Along with Vital, Freshpet’s Select line is one of the highest scoring lines. The Select line averages about 43% protein and 17% carbohydrate, although the carbohydrate content varies widely. Like all Freshpet foods, the Select line loses ingredient quality points for excessive added vitamins and minerals, including sodium selenite, a potentially harmful source of selenium. Many foods in this line contain plant proteins, which are a cheap and incomplete alternative to animal protein. It’s also noteworthy that a few foods in the Select line contain dextrose, which is a sugar that’s usually added for palatability. Like all Freshpet foods, there are known high pesticide foods frequently found in the top 5 ingredients, as well as rice, which is high in arsenic, and potatoes, which are known high pesticide and genetically modified. The Select line also frequently features natural flavors ( with have limited safety data and can include animal digest and MSG, and carrageenan (a thickener that can cause gut irritation).

Freshpet Select Benefits

Freshpet Select Concerns

Deli Fresh

5.2
4 color scale
Average Score
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FRESHPET DELI FRESH® GRAIN FREE CHICKEN RECIPE WITH CRANBERRIES & SPINACH FOR DOGS
5.2
4 color scale
Average Score
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Freshpet’s Deli Fresh is considered a moderate risk food. The food averages 15% carbohydrate and 45% protein on a dry matter basis. The Deli Fresh line loses a point for cooking but it’s still preferred to ultra-processed foods like kibble. The food also loses ingredient quality and safety points for excessive added vitamins and minerals, natural flavors, plant proteins and carrageenan. Carrageenan is a thickener that is linked with gut inflammation. The food claims the ingredients are Non GMO verified but known high pesticide ingredients are found in the top 5 ingredients. Fish oil is used in these recipes but they don’t name the species of fish, or whether it’s farmed or wild-caught. It doesn’t state the omega-6:omega-3 ratio. Foods that are relatively high in omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory.

Deli Fresh Benefits

Deli Fresh Concerns

Homestyle Creations

6
4 color scale
Average Score
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FRESHPET HOMESTYLE CREATIONS NATURAL CHICKEN RECIPE FOR DOGS
6
4 color scale
Average Score
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Freshpet’s Homestyle Creations line is considered a moderate risk food. The food is calculated to contain 11% carbohydrate and 59% protein on a dry matter basis. It has plant protein in the top five ingredients to increase the protein content. The food also loses ingredient quality and safety points for excessive added vitamins and minerals, natural flavors, dextrose and carrageenan. Carrageenan is a thickener that is linked with gut inflammation. On the ingredient safety side, the foods are non-GMO verified but high pesticide ingredients are used. Foods also have rice which is high in arsenic, and canola oil that’s genetically modified and is a highly inflammatory, high pesticide seed oil. The omega-6:omega-3 ratio is not reported. Foods that are relatively high in omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory.

Homestyle Creations Benefits

Homestyle Creations Concerns

Nature's Fresh

6.4
4 color scale
Average Score
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Fresh Pet Nature's Fresh Grain-Free Chicken Recipe for Small Breed
6.4
4 color scale
Average Score
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Freshpet’s Nature’s Fresh line is considered a moderate risk food. This is Freshpet’s highest ranking food line. The line is calculated to average 16% carbohydrate and 43% protein on a dry matter basis. This food ranks higher as it doesn’t contain seed oils or plant protein. However, like all foods in this brand, it has excessive added vitamins and minerals. Fish oil is used in some recipes but they don’t name the species of fish, or whether it’s farmed or wild-caught. It doesn’t state the omega-6:omega-3 ratio. Foods that are relatively high in omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory. This line loses safety points for using high pesticide ingredients, rice, which is known to be high in arsenic, natural flavors and carrageenan. It’s a low quality thickener that may be linked to gut inflammation.    

Nature's Fresh Benefits

Nature's Fresh Concerns

Spring & Sprout

2.5
4 color scale
Average Score
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FRESHPET SPRING AND SPROUT PLANT-BASED PROTEIN & CAGE-FREE EGG RECIPE FOR DOGS
2.5
4 color scale
Average Score
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Freshpet’s Spring & Sprout is considered a high to very high risk food. This is Freshpet’s lowest ranking food. The food is calculated to contain 27% carbohydrate and 54% protein on a dry matter basis. It’s worth noting this is fairly high in protein for a vegetarian food without animal protein. Spring & Sprout The Deli Fresh is a cooked food, but it’s still preferred to ultra-processed foods like kibble. In addition to having moderate carbohydrates, ingredient quality suffers because of the obvious inclusion of plant proteins. It uses canola oil that’s genetically modified and is a highly inflammatory, high pesticide seed oil. In addition to added vitamins and minerals, amino acids are added reflecting the incomplete amino acidprofile found in plant-based protein. This line loses food safety points for having high pesticide and GMO foods, natural flavors and rice, which is high in arsenic. The omega-6:omega-3 ratio is not reported, which is unfortunate since plant proteins are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats.

Spring & Sprout Benefits

Spring & Sprout Concerns

FRESHPET Dog Food Recalls

14/07/2022 – Freshpet Inc. is announcing a voluntary recall of a single lot of Freshpet Select Fresh From the Kitchen Home Cooked Chicken Recipe (4.5 lb. bag), with sell by date of 10/29/22, due to potential contamination with Salmonella.

13/06/2021 – Freshpet voluntarily recalled their Select Small Dog Bite Size Beef & Egg Recipe food for potential Salmonella contamination. Reportedly, Freshpet marked this single lot to be destroyed, but it was shipped by error to retailers.

There were also several reports on social media in 2015 that Freshpet was having mold problems in their food. Freshpet reportedly responded with “We’re really sorry to see this. We are looking into this issue at our Kitchens”. This is anecdotal and no recalls were issued or reported. 

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