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The New Trend in Dog Food: Human-Grade

By Colleen Williams
August 31, 2017 • 5 min. read
Dog being fed

Two Brands Deliver Fresh, Human-Grade Options Right to Your Door.

Ever had one of those days where at breakfast, you make a mental note to pick up more dog food and by the time dinner rolls around, you’ve completely forgotten? Or perhaps you’ve spent the weekend on Netflix, and a documentary like Pet Fooled catches your eye – only to realize that you’ve been neglecting Winston’s nutrition.  Whether you’re crunched for time, or you’re looking for healthier options for your pup – you’ll be happy to know that fresh dog food is as easy as clicking the right mouse button. So, we tried ‘em out! Taking two of the latest and greatest dog food subscription brands, we fed our dogs both so you can see which one will fit you and your pup’s preferences the best (free food, courtesy of NomNomNow and Ollie).

NomNomNow: Healthy, fresh food for dogs, formulated by vets

NomNom Now logo

“Just like with your own diet, a ‘fresh diet’ for your dog means real ingredients that are fresh, rather than meals composed of artificial additives and fillers,” says Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Justin Shmalberg, Head of Pet Nutrition at NomNomNow. A fresh diet means no preservatives (so food must be refrigerated, just like human food) and all the benefits of healthy fats, nutrients and antioxidants. This kind of diet promotes health, wellness and longevity, as well as more energy, stronger immune system, and even a shinier coat!

NomNomNow prepares and cooks their food, then delivers it fresh to your home, so no need to defrost or mess with prep work. All food sampled was customized based on the dog’s breed, age, activity level, and weight goals. The meals are individually sized and packaged for each meal, so you don’t have to measure how much to feed your dog, and there is variety! You can choose between beef, turkey, chicken, pork and even veggie, and you can also rotate food every week. If you go on vacation or need the food delivered to another address for some reason, you can change your delivery address for whatever amount of time you need to.Two terriers with fresh dog food

Cost and terms: Cost varies based on size of dog, activity level (highly active dogs require a larger calorie intake) and type of recipe. For a large dog (60 pounds) with normal activity, the chicken package was about $60 for the week (they donate 1% of sales to pet nutrition research at KetoPet Sanctuary). For smaller dogs, we calculated the cost at $32 a week.


“I was notified around noon that the NomNomNow package had arrived and it was still cold when I got home 6 hours later!” said Linnea, part of the Healthy Paws team. “Free shipping to your door means no more running out of dog food, yay!”

She reports that the bags were surprisingly compact, and yet fit a whole lot of food. “As I have two large dogs (Airedale Terriers, both about 60 pounds) it’s really convenient to be able to fit all of their food for a week in one drawer in the fridge. Plus, minimal packaging equals minimal waste!”

“The dogs absolutely loved it,” also reported Cynthia, another Healthy Paws team pet parent who signed up for the experiment. Her Patterdale Terrier and mixed breed are both under 20lbs. “The presentation was minimal and functional. It took up a small amount of room in my fridge, was individually packaged for easy feeding portions, and I have to say – it smelled delicious, like real human food!”

The pre-packaged meals included nutritional facts such as number of calories per meal, and there is a guide to transition your current dog food into NNN (it takes 7 days to make the switch to 100% fresh dog food and both Linnea and Cynthia said they had no complications with the transition). The pre-packaged meals are labelled 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% and you get a checklist to help you keep track of the transition.

The verdict? Both Linnea and Cynthia reported that their dogs loved the NomNomNow: “I think we can say that NomNomNow is a winner! It was highly nutritious and loved by the dogs.” Also, it took up minimal space in the fridge and the delivery was punctual.

Ollie: Fresh meals made from real ingredients
www.myollie.comOllie logo

Ollie’s food is wholesome, human-grade and full of fruits and veggies. It’s all natural, no artificial flavors, no fillers (no soy, wheat or corn and the beef recipe is grain free) and no preservatives. It is vet formulated, made in a human-grade facility, and nutritionally balanced.

Ollie customizes recipes based on your dog’s unique needs, recommends the perfect portion, and delivers the precise amount of food to your door. You tell them about your pup (age, breed, weight and allergies), select a meal plan (lamb, chicken or beef) and they deliver the food, frozen, to your house.

Cost and terms: The cost varies by size of dog, activity level and recipe type. For Linnea’s 60 pound pups, normal activity, the “Chicken Goodness plan” runs about $90 a week (they contribute 1% of their revenue to shelters and rescues), whereas for a smaller pup the cost is about $40 a week.

Terrier with fresh food in a bowlExperience

“I was notified via email that the food was on its way and would arrive by 8pm that Wednesday. It arrived frozen and was kept cool by ice packs,” Linnea reported. The packaging stood out: “It’s so nice and the messaging is very fun – the boxes came with personalized labels saying ‘Made especially for Taylor’ which was cute!” The food is packaged in trays that can be kept in the freezer or fridge, and each package held two meals in one container. You get a reusable red lid that you attach to the package you’re currently serving from. “My husband actually mistook the food container for being one of our lunch boxes when he saw it in the fridge! I stopped him before he tried the food though!” she laughs.

“The presentation was so cute; it was the best! It actually looked like takeout,” said Cynthia. “The dogs loved it, and it had clear, concise directions. My only critique would be that it took up more room in my fridge than I had space.”

The first delivery came with instructions on how to gradually transition your regular food to Ollie, and included a package of probiotic supplements, plus a reusable lid and scooper, to make the serving easier. Linnea: “We also got welcome poop bags and a bandana!”

Linnea continued, “I turned to my trusted adviser, Taylor [her dog], to get her feedback on the food. She suggested I give her one full portion of Ollie and then a full portion of her current kibbles, but we agreed to do only one dinner, so we split the bowl half and half. The verdict was clear, however, when Taylor chose Ollie!”

So which one is better?

Both human-grade products were not only great with home delivery, but they also provided healthy, nutritious food that all the dogs loved. Linnea concluded, “When you have two large dogs, like I do, the Ollie food took up more space in my freezer, so I preferred NomNomNow’s smaller packaging. Whatever you feel is the right choice for you and your dog, make sure to read the label and pick something that is healthy for your pup.”

“Also, one thing to note,” said Cynthia. “You have to put in your dog’s realistic activity level and their ideal weight. On both plans, I noticed my little pups (both around 12 – 16lbs each) had gained some weight. For the next delivery, I’ll be sure to put in their target weight as well, so they get the accurate portions and we have more weight control!”

And what’s so bad about kibble and canned dog food?

“Typical” dog food is full of ingredients that aren’t so great for your dog.  NomNomNow explains that to produce kibble, a mixture of carbs, plant or animal protein, and fats of various qualities (and unspecified sources) are mixed into a paste and then formed into nuggets. An animal fat is typically sprayed on the kibble to increase the likelihood that your dog will eat it. Unfortunately, this makes for a calorically dense food, full of preservatives, fillers and unknown materials.

Canned foods fare better; however check the ingredients and you may find your dog food coming up short. Or rather, coming up chock full of extras that may make your dog obese, unfit, or unwell with excess sugar, carbohydrates and fillers.

If you’re concerned about what your dog eats, you’re probably concerned about the health care they receive! Check out our cost of care report to find out the latest developments in vet science that have been helping our pups just like yours live longer and healthier lives. And if you’re not already a Healthy Paws family member, get your free quote today.

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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