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What Makes Pet Food Healthy Anyway?
What Makes Pet Food Healthy Anyway?
April 17, 2024 / Sarah Pritzker
What Makes Pet Food Healthy Anyway?
April 17, 2024 / Sarah Pritzker

What Exactly Is Fresh Pet Food?

More and more pet owners are choosing natural or raw pet food, and the reasons are clear. It's amazing how fast you can see the benefits. Within just the first week, dogs and cats often have shinier, softer coats, better digestion, and more energy. Over time, you'll notice improvements in your pet's daily routine, and whether they need to lose or gain a little weight, this diet can help with that too.

But what is natural pet food exactly? Whether you've been feeding your pet this way for years or you're just curious about the trend, here's what you need to know about the natural diet for your four-legged friends.

What Goes into Natural Pet Food

Exactly what goes into natural pet food really depends on which brand you choose from the mix. But there are several standard rules that most of the top names stick to in order to deliver the kind of premium quality your pets deserve. In addition to some good hearty staples like rice and sweet potatoes, here's what goes into the average top-quality natural pet food:

Real food

Natural dog foods use the best quality ingredients. In fact, they make their recipes using human-grade food. After all, if it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for your best friend. Compare that to the junk that goes into processed foods, including byproducts, fillers, and chemicals you can’t even pronounce. Yikes!

Real Protein

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, natural pet food brands ensure that your furry friend is getting only the best in every dish. All recipes are packed with premium proteins to promote the healthiest lifestyle for your pet. Read the labels to see the quantities of protein in a meal before you buy it. The good brands will include plenty of proteins, including turkey breasts, chicken, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef liver, salmon, tilapia, and eggs.

While it's not essential, many healthy pet food producers also go the extra mile when it comes to quality proteins. They'll use only free-range and responsibly sourced proteins like hormone-free chickens, high-quality beef and turkey, and pasture-raised lamb.

Fruits and vegetables

In addition to all that protein, natural pet food has generous helpings of fruits and vegetables. You’ll see a hearty helping of veggies like kale, potatoes, carrots, yellow squash, spinach, broccoli, and pumpkin. There’s also a dash of something sweet with heart-healthy fruits that are great antioxidants like blueberries.

Vitamins and minerals

Pack in plenty of vitamins and minerals in every meal. You'll find a heap of the following in your pet's dish at the beginning of mealtime:

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B1
  • Cholecalciferol
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Manganese sulfate
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Choline
  • Taurine

And a lot more. So, your pet is getting a great dose of all of the important vitamins and minerals they need for a healthy, happy life that they can thrive with!

Extras for extra nutrition

Top-quality pet food brands will even go one step further by adding in some extras for an extra boost of health and nutrition. Stirring in things like cod liver oil, chia seeds, coconut oil, and chickpeas gives your natural pet food the boost to superfoods that are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals to make your pet smile.

Again, these ingredients are essential, and you can find plenty of good quality natural pet foods that don’t contain these ingredients. But if you find a brand that you and your pet like with these added details, you know you’ve struck gold.

What’s not included

In addition to pumping their foods with all-natural, healthy, digestion-promoting ingredients, raw and natural pet foods have specific ingredients that they do not include to promote the same healthy standards in every dish. Things like corn, wheat, and soy are the usual fillers used in processed foods. But these ingredients mess with your dog and cat’s stomach, making it harder to digest their food and producing unproductive digestive and urinary tracts.

Natural foods include no artificial flavors, preservatives, or coloring agents.

Our Top 3 Pet Food Services

Our Top Choice
4020 Excellent reviews on

In a Nutshell

Ollie is a pet food delivery service with healthier alternatives to the mass-produced, byproduct filled dog food you're used to. Meals offer nutrition on a whole new level, including human-grade ingredients only, nutritionally-balanced meals, and whole foods with every bite. Ollie creates visible differences quickly, like a shinier coat, more energy, and fewer food sensitivities. With free shipping and 60% off your first order, Ollie is a bargain.


  • 60% OFF your first box
  • Made with human-grade ingredients
  • Vet-formulated & personalized meals
  • 100% Satisfied or money-back guarantee
  • Flexible, regular delivery schedule


  • Vet-formulated, personalized meals for your dog
  • Human-grade ingredients, freshly cooked recipes
  • Free two-day shipping


  • No a la carte ordering
  • Only available for dogs
4020 Excellent reviews on
1131 Excellent reviews on

In a Nutshell

Founded by two dog-lovers, The Farmer's Dog was launched to give pet parents a better alternative to the highly-processed, unappetizing, and wholly unnatural dog food options that were on the market at the time. Today, The Farmer's Dog offers human-grade meals that are nutritionally balanced for dogs. So, they're delicious and nutritious, giving your dogs the best of all worlds. The Farmer's Dog meals are made fresh and delivered to your door.


  • 60% OFF your first order
  • Personalized meal plans for your dog's needs
  • Quick frozen meals for extra freshness
  • Vet-approved with human-grade ingredients
  • Pause or cancel at anytime


  • Only real foods, human-grade
  • USDA-kitchens for safety and quality
  • Meals are all AAFCO, vet-approved


  • Limited selection of recipes
  • Packages can’t be resealed
1131 Excellent reviews on
380 Excellent reviews on

In a Nutshell

The Pets Table is a good choice for pet parents who want a personalized meal plan to keep their dog healthy without breaking the bank. It ships to all 48 contiguous US states and features a 100% money-back guarantee. The food is made with high-quality ingredients, full of vitamins and minerals, and doesn’t have any fillers. There are several meals to choose from, and vets review and approve all recipes.


  • Human-grade fresh & air-dried options
  • Added postbiotic to support gut health
  • On-staff Board Certified Vet Nutritionist®


  • Food made with high-quality ingredients
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • No fillers in the food
  • Several food options and plans to choose from


  • No raw food options
  • No treats, supplements, or additional products
380 Excellent reviews on

What it Takes to Make Natural Pet Food

In addition to having human-grade, healthy, and nutritious ingredients, natural pet food is made in the most optimal ways to keep your dogs and cats healthy and happy all day long. As The Farmer's Dog puts it, there's a difference between surviving and thriving. To get the most out of life, pet parents feed their pet friends natural meals that are made with the utmost care. For example, quality pet food is:

Made with strict safety and hygiene standards

All of these meals are prepared in optimal health conditions that are careful to comply with health regulations. From USDA kitchens that ensure safety and quality standards to fresh ingredients and production processes, natural health food meals for your pets uphold the kind of quality you'd expect for your four-legged friend. In fact, many meals are delivered fresh. Otherwise, they're flash-frozen (not deep-frozen) to seal in the flavor and preserve freshness.

Meeting nutrition standards

All animals are not the same. A Bernese mountain dog is going to require very different daily nutritional needs than a three-month-old tabby kitten. In order to give your pets the best type of nutritional value for them, meals need to be prepared according to their specific nutritional requirements. But that can be tough as a pet parent. Fortunately, quality natural pet food products are on the ball for this one. Nutritious meals are developed by veterinary nutritionists to ensure that they are nutritionally-balanced and include the right combination of proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Additionally, most top name brand pet foods will meet or exceed the standards set by the AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials). This means that the meals supply the proper amount of nutrients required for dogs’ and cats’ daily nutritional needs. For example, the AAFCO requires that adult dog food contains at least 18% protein.

Personalized meal plans

In addition to the proper nutrition balance, natural pet food brands will let you personalize your meal plans to suit your pet’s needs best. From your pet's age, weight, and breed to specific allergies and activity levels, your pet profile will help you get the exact meal plan your pet needs.

Choosing the Best Natural Pet Food for Your Pet

It used to be that kibble was the only choice if you wanted to keep a pet well-fed. But in our health-centric society, pet parents are switching to a healthier and more nutritious diet for their pets. And in today’s day and age, options abound and there are plenty of delicious options that are both good and good for your pets.

To find a brand that delivers on the kind of quality your pet deserves, do a little research. Read online reviews, compare the various features, and see what kind of food they have to offer. It is also important to make sure your pet food delivery service of choice delivers to your neighborhood.

Go Natural - Your Pets Will Love You For It

The time has come for you to go natural with your pet food. Help your dogs and cats live happier, healthier, more qualitative lives. With better stool, shinier coats, healthier digestion, and more energy, everyone will be happier with the change. Oh, and before you make the switch to your natural pet food diet, be sure to more tips on healthier and more successful transitions.

By Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker is a professional writer who loves scouring the web looking for the coolest products and services at the best prices. Sarah writes for Sarah has lived and traveled all over the world, but has finally settled down with her family in the Middle East - and yes, she misses winter!
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