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Best Tailored Dog Food Review : Personalised & Delivered

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More and more of us consider our dogs to be equal members of the family and think of ourselves as “pet parents” instead of “pet owners”.


We want to provide our four-legged friends with not only a good quality fresh dog food but meals that are tailored to our dogs exact needs, on subscription and ideally delivered to our door.

Dog sitting at a table wearing a bandana with dog food on a plate

The truth is that personalised, subscription dog food not only appeals to dogs with sensitive stomachs, allergies and fussy palates, but busy dog parents who love stress-free regular doorstep deliveries.


Let's be honest, hauling the 15kg bags of dried kibble from store to car then into your house is an ordeal.


Several brands offer tailored dog food subscription which is often healthier and a more personalised alternative for your much loved dog. The beauty of subscription dog food is that you receive bonuses for being a loyal customer.


From freshly cooked and portioned, to cutting edge freeze-dried technology, healthy dog food is in huge demand in the UK.


We explore the four best tailor-made, personalised dog foods on the UK market today and look at how they are customised for your dog's individual needs.


We are aware that this a long, in-depth article so feel free to jump to a section which interests you.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Why Buy Tailored Dog Food?

Features to Consider

Best Dog Food Comparison Table

What are the Best Dog Foods?

1. Butternut Box

2. Different Dog

3. Pure

4. Tails.com

Our Verdict

Top Tips

How We Selected the Best

Explore the Alternatives



WHY BUY TAILORED DOG FOOD?


Tailored dog food is some of the best quality dog food in an ever expanding and confusing market.


Ultimately, these types of dog foods are designed to let you completely customise your dog's diet to perfectly suit their individual needs - allergic to chicken - no problem, need hypoallergenic dog food - no problem, want a delivery schedule to suit you - no problem.


Their subscription services are super simple to set up, amend and 'paws' at any time.

dog with an empty food bowl
Photo by FLOUFFY on Unsplash

Whether fresh, dry or freeze dried, these personalised diets can provide a superior alternative to the off-the-shelf products offered by the main pet food manufacturers.


So if you are looking for a great way to get high-quality, nutrition packed, tailored and healthy dog food conveniently delivered straight to your door each month, all 4 companies reviewed in this article offer that service.


It's worth noting that all four companies featured in our review offer subscription dog food so you won't find them in the shops.


We've compiled this Buying Guide to offer you an overview of your options and help you decide which features are most important to you and of course your four-legged friend.


Take a break, put your feet up and ready through our guide.


If you are interested in raw dog food then take a look at our deep dive into four of the best raw dog food companies in the UK.



FEATURES TO CONSIDER


Before you rush out and place an order, here's some of the factors you should bear in mind :-


Food Type

Tailored dog food is available in three main forms - fresh, air-dried and kibble. Does your dog have a preferred type of food?


Are they a picky eater? Fussy dogs on the whole tend to prefer wet or fresh foods, so if you opt for dry kibble like Tails you may want to consider adding a wet topper.


Consider the Cost

Consider the associated costs of each option. Fresh dog food is more expensive than the air-dried and dried kibble alternatives.


By completing their online questionnaire, each company will be able to provide you with a more accurate daily or weekly cost before you take the plunge.


If you have a particular picky eater, try not to continually swap foods as this can send the costs skyrocketing. Pick a great quality food and stick with it - you'll save money in the long run.


Opt for Full, 50/50 or Topper

Like the sound of a particular food but you're on a tight budget? Savvy customers look at ways the offer can fit their budget.


Opt to use the more expensive fresh foods as a topper or half/half mixed with a kibble based food to keep the cost down.


Pay Attention to Storage

Fresh dog food has fewer or in some cases no preservatives so needs to be kept in the fridge to maintain freshness between servings.


Arriving chilled, it will need to be kept either frozen or refrigerated until it's needed.


Be careful to plan your deliveries around your available freezer and fridge storage space.


Check out the Nutritional Rating

Always check the nutritional rating of the dog food to make sure you are feeding the best and healthiest dog food you can afford.


If your dog suffers from allergies look for hypoallergenic dog food with limited ingredient which tends to be healthier and you can keep a close eye on their intake.


Subscription Options

As we've mentioned, these tailored dog foods are only available on subscription. But this isn't a contract, you are in control so you never need to run out.


Your unique plan is totally flexible, you can cancel, pause or amend it at any time you want, with no cost or catch for doing so.



BEST DOG FOOD COMPARISON TABLE

Brand

Photo

Food Type

Storage

Price



Fresh

Refrigerate

​£££



Fresh

Refrigerate

££££



Air Dried

​Cupboard

££



Kibble

Cupboard

£



WHAT ARE THE BEST DOG FOODS ?


1. Butternut Box

Best Fresh Food for most Dogs


Heading up our review is the fresh dog food delivery service - Butternut Box. Established way back in 2016, they now deliver over eight million meals to dogs in the UK - there are some very happy dogs out there!


Dog lovers everywhere adore the product with the company enjoying amazing customer retention and rave reviews. Let's take a look at why we think they are one of the best dog foods on the UK market today.

Dog in a butternut box dog food box

Online Set Up

Butternut Box uses a comprehensive online quiz to tailor one of their meal plans specifically to your dog.


Requesting information such as your dog's sex, age, breed, allergies and any health issues, Butternut Box identify the most suitable recipes.


When we tested their ordering system we were offered a range of custom recipes and recommended to select several to offer some variety in our dog's diet.


What's in the Bowl ?

Butternut Box is perfect if you like the easy life, as each fresh, pre-cooked meal is made in the UK then portioned before arriving at your door. Simply dish it up!

Butternut Box dog food compared to MarleyBones

Specially developed by nutritionists and vets, the meals are hypoallergenic with no added nasties - so you don't need to worry about grain, soya, sugar or salt creeping in.


If your dog is prone to sore or itchy skin then opting for a hypoallergenic diet could be the answer.


Each meal is carefully balanced using human quality meat as well as vitamin-rich vegetables and lentils and gently cooked before being packed and delivered to you frozen.


Remember that this is fresh dog food so it's absolutely crucial to bear in mind your available storage when opting for a delivery schedule. Butternut Box will need to be kept frozen and defrosted in the fridge when needed.


Variety

Their recently expanded menu for 2022 includes some old favourites including beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, fish and pork and three interesting new recipes - Duo of Duck & Chicken, You've Got Game (venison with wild boar and guinea fowl) and Ready Steady Veggie.

Dog eating Gobble Gobble Turkey - Butternut Box Dog Food

Emerging scientific thinking suggests that the more diversity within a dog's diet, the stronger their digestive health leading to a healthier and happier dog.


Ideally you should be aiming to feed a variety of proteins over a two month period.


Their newly expanded menu offers you a wide range of proteins to choose from.


We love the extended range as it helps dog lovers with picky eaters rotate recipes every week, making it much easier to entice those fussy dog with new flavours.


Butternut Box helpfully offer a 2 week introductory plan so you can transition your pup from their existing food slowly to avoid tummy upsets. You can also make sure that your dog enjoys the food before committing too much cash up front.


All the recipes in their range achieve an 'AllAboutDogFood' rating of 94%, which means they are right at the top of quality, nutritious dog foods in the UK's massive dog food market.


At time of writing, their 3 new recipes have yet to be rated on AllAboutDogFood.com


Pricing

The menu is personalised for each dog but generally small dog plans start from around £1.31, medium from £2.66 and large from £3.92 a day. Their pricing is clear and it's easy to understand exactly what your costs will be going forwards.

cockapoo looking at fresh dog food

You have three options when ordering. You can save money by ordering larger quantities but remember you will need freezer space.


Alternatively, if you have limited freezer space, you can order less but this increases the daily price.


Another option is to offer fresh Butternut Box as a topper with a cheaper kibble base. This reduces the daily price significantly whilst improving the nutritional value of the dog food.


Yes it's pricey, costing more than your average dried kibble, but it is undoubtedly one of the highest quality dog foods available in the UK.


Butternut Box ticks all the boxes for fresh, nutritious, delivered and personalised dog food.


Butternut Box are offering Smart Bark readers 25% off their first two boxes. To take advantage of this offer, click on the link below.


Specification

Fresh - Yes | Delivered - Yes | Personalised - Yes | Pre-portioned - Yes | Fridge Space required - Yes


Reasons to Buy

+ Fresh dog food

+ High nutritional rating

+ Extensive range

+ Option as a topper


Reasons to Avoid

- Fridge/ freezer storage



PRO TIP Butternut Box have recently expanded their offer to include a range of air-dried treats and baked biscuits. Both of these extras can be added to your basket with the fresh dog food.

 

2. Different Dog Subscription Dog Food

Best Luxury Fresh Dog Food


The second fresh dog food company we feature is Different Dog. Launched back in December 2017, Different Dog is a high quality, but lesser known Butternut Box alternative.


The business was set up by a team of people who had previously worked in the pet food industry for many years and were concerned about the nutritional content of pet foods.

Different Dog company dog food packaging


Online Set Up

A similar online experience to Butternut Box, Different Dog also use a quiz to access information on your dogs’ sex, age, breed, weight and activity level which only takes a couple of minutes to complete.


Based on this information, Different Dog outlines the ideal daily calories for your dog and you then simply select from their ever-changing range of recipes on offer.



What's in the Bowl ?

The first thing to say is that Different Dog are all about the fresh, hand-cooked dog food. Their recipes are grain free and contain at least 60% meat with seasonal fruit and vegetables added.


The ingredients sourced locally from British suppliers where possible then cooked gently before being frozen for delivery.


All you need to do is defrost each meal and feed it to your dog either direct from your fridge or gently warmed (warming food helps when feeding picky dogs as the smell can help entice them).


Once defrosted, it lasts for five days in the fridge.

Custom dog food

Variety

An extensive range of 9 protein options including chicken, turkey, beef, fish, lamb & even pheasant.


Different Dog regularly email about menu choices and you can select as much dog food variety as you wish.


So both fresh dog food offers from Different Dog and Butternut Box offer protein diversity.


Different Dog have an impressive 'AllAboutDogFood' nutritional rating of 97% which like Butternut Box is right at the top of the dog food nutrition scale.

Pricing

You have two options here. You can choose to feed your dog all their meals or choose 50% as a tasty topper.


We love this budget-friendly idea as not everyone can afford to feed their dog solely on fresh delivered dog food.


Choosing the 'Full Monty', 100% Different Dog diet works out (for our 13kg dog with no allergies) at £3.43 a day.


Feeding 'Half n' Half, 50% Different Dog brings the price down to £1.71 a day.


Whilst Different Dog is a high quality dog food, this is reflected in the price. It is the most expensive tailored dog food in our review so maybe out of the reach of many dog lovers.


Specification

Fresh - Yes | Delivered - Yes | Personalised - Yes | Pre-portioned - Yes | Fridge Space required - Yes


Reasons to Buy

+ Fresh dog food

+ High nutritional rating

+ Option as a topper

+ Trial hampers available


Reasons to Avoid

- Most expensive reviewed

- Fridge/freezer storage required

 

If you like the look of our first two fresh, personalised and delivered dog food options, but ideally want something a bit easier on your budget but equally high quality, we'd recommend taking a look at Pure Pet Food.



3. Pure Pet Food

Best Air Dried Dog Food


Based in Yorkshire, Pure Pet Food was launched in 2013. Their range consists of innovative and balanced air dried recipes with the convenience of home delivery.


As well as being a super healthy dog food there are no freezer or fridge storage considerations so Pure Pet Food certainly ticks a lot of boxes!


A dog eating Pure dog food

Online Set Up

Their comprehensive online quiz is straightforward but in-depth, asking a number of simple questions about your dog.


Pure Pet Food also gathers information on allergies and preferences before creating a tailored 2 week Transition Pack specifically for your dog.


Unlike some dog food brands, they are extremely transparent with their ingredients and pricing so you can take your time exploring the nutritional content of each recipe before deciding.


We love that Pure also offer the option to change your personalised recipes at any time if you would like to add a little more variety to your dog's diet.


What's in the Bowl ?

Pure dog food is produced very differently to fresh food or dry kibble. The company uses air dry technology.

Pure dog food ingredients

Basically this technology removes the moisture by simply placing the food in a low-heat environment for an extended period of time (a similar process is used for astronaut's food).


This process gives Pure all the advantages of both wet and dry food.


Simply add water, stir and allow a few minutes for the ingredients to rehydrate. If you have a picky pup the warm water will release enticing smells.


Unlike kibble there are no harmful processed with heat and pressure involved, so the dog food retains all the vital nutrients. This is why they score so highly on All About Dog Food.


Pure Pet Food have a team of nutritional advisors to support you and your dog, so if you have any questions, why not give them a ring.


Their production method means that their food is more eco-friendly than most dog foods because by removing the moisture there is less packaging and therefore less emissions.

Pure dog food transition pack and a dachshund dog

Variety

Pure offer a range of 7 recipes ( lamb, turkey, chicken, salmon, duck, beef or herring) and you can select 2 of these for your Transition Pack.


Even if your dog has allergies, the wide range available will have a suitable recipe.


Their recipes vary with the highest scoring an excellent rating on 'All About Dog Food' of 93%.


So like Different Dog and Butternut Box, Pure ranks highly on the nutrition scale and is one of the healthiest dog foods available in the UK today.


Pure Pet Food also sell a range of healthy treats which you can simply add to your food order.


Whilst these aren't customised for your dog, their high quality selection includes 100% all natural, nutritionist approved ingredients.


Pricing

Pure offer a Transition Pack with an introductory 30% offer, to help you switch from your current dog food. The pack contains enough dog food for 14 days, so you can make a gradual transition.


What's more the pack includes a welcome booklet, transition guide, sensitive skin information leaflet, and handy measuring scoops.


The initial recipe transition pack works out at £1.13 a day ( Pure provide all the prices per pack and per day - so there are no hidden costs)


After that the costs for a delivery of food every 4 weeks work out at £1.61 a day.


We feel that Pure offers you the best of both worlds. It's an innovative and popular alternative to both fresh and raw dog food, achieving the high nutritional value we are all looking for, whilst staying affordable for most dog owners.


Additionally, there are no freezer or fridge storage issues to consider and it's more eco-friendly than most dog foods on the market.


Some very happy dog lovers out there with a Trust Pilot score of 4.9/5.


Specification

Fresh - No | Delivered - Yes | Personalised - Yes | Pre-portioned - No | Fridge Space required - No


Reasons to Buy

+ High nutritional rating

+ Range of recipes

+ No need to refrigerate

+ Transition pack available

+ Eco-friendly option


Reasons to Avoid

- If you prefer fresh dog food

PRO TIP As with any changes to a dog's diet, it is important that you switch your dog's food gradually from their current food to avoid digestive upset or tummy trouble.

 

4. Tails.com

Best Tailored Dried Dog Food


The last tailored dog food to feature in our review is tails.com. Launched way back in 2014 as an independent company, tails.com is now owned by Nestle Purina PetCare.


They offer tailor-made dry food using their unique custom-made kibble.

Cockapoo sitting with Tails.com delivered dog food packaging

Online Set Up

First, you create your dog’s profile online. Amongst the basic information, tails.com questions whether you would like dry or a combination of wet & dry foods.


If you decide to add wet food to your order it's worth remembering that the wet food is not tailored specifically to your dog.


Interestingly, tails.com also asks which food you currently use to minimise the risk of upsets to sensitive stomachs.


What's in the Bowl ?

The kibble size you receive in the tailored dry blend is optimised for your dog breed. The blend tailored for Freddie (3 year old Cockapoo) included approx. 50% meat (44% chicken, 6.8% beef).

tails dog food with the custom scoop

There’s no added sugar, artificial colours, or artificial flavours.


They even include a scoop sized to help you feed the perfect portion.


Variety

Unless you adjust your favourite flavours or special requirements on your dog's online profile, you will continue to receive the same blend.


However if your dog doesn't like the recipe first time, tails.com offer to reblend it for free. This eliminates any risk of changing dog foods for those of us with picky pooches.


With a 'AllAboutDogFood' rating of 62%, tails.com doesn't rate quite as highly as the other tailored dog foods reviewed here, but it is a solid score and rates higher than a lot of other well known, off-the-shelf dry dog foods.


Pricing

As you would imagine for a dry food, tails.com is much cheaper than the other dog foods featured in this article.


Smart Bark can offer an amazing 70% 0FF your first box for all new customers (simply enter Promo Code SMARTBARK at checkout).


After the initial introductory offer, tails.com costs £26.28 for 31 days which equates to 85p a day. This was tailored to Freddie a 13kg Cockapoo with no allergies.


Tails.com is one of the best dry dog foods you can buy, it's healthy and great for dogs with sensitive stomachs.


Specification

Fresh - No | Delivered - Yes | Personalised - Yes | Pre-portioned - No | Fridge Space required - No


Reasons to Buy

+ Good nutritional rating

+ No fridge storage

+ Cheaper alternative


Reasons to Avoid

- Not fresh

- Same blend delivered

(unless change requested)

 


OUR VERDICT


The first thing to say is that, all four brands featured offer some of the best dog food in the UK.


If you can afford to buy fresh, then Butternut Box and Different Dog both offer an excellent, nutritious and well-balanced dog food. They have all the goodness of raw food and the ordering experience is professional and efficient.


We recommend Butternut Box and featured it first in our review simply because it's better value for money than the pricier Different Dog.


Pure Pet Food is priced somewhere between the fresh and dried dog food, so if the fresh alternatives are looking a bit pricey or you know you might have fridge/freezer storage issues, this is a great option.


Their personalised recipes rate extremely well in terms of nutritional value, ordering online is a breeze and they are transparent with ingredients and prices.


tails.com offers excellent value for money and gives you the ability to personalise kibble perfectly to suit your dogs needs. So if price is the key factor, then tails.com certainly offer good nutritional value for the price.



TOP TIPS

✅ Remember to change your dog's food over gradually to avoid stomach upsets. All the companies reviewed here, provide advice on how to transition your dog to new food successfully, but if you're a new dog owner and in doubt, give them a ring! All four companies offer excellent customer service.

As with most dog food subscription services, creating a profile with your dog's information online is the best way to get a sense of the overall costs.

✅ Whilst all dog food companies will provide guidance on the daily amount your dog should consume keep an eye on your dog. Are they maintaining, losing or putting on weight and adjust the amount of food accordingly.

✅ If you have a fussy dog with a picky palate, take a look at our article - Why is my dog a fussy eater? for lots of helpful hints and tips.



HOW WE SELECTED THE BEST


We reviewed tailored dog food companies in the UK and picked our favourites based on price, selection, subscription service and quality of food.


The four we selected represent a range of price points to suit all pockets. We gave bonus points to any service that allowed for customisation for dogs with allergies or picky eaters.


Great customer reputation alongside good customer service and 5 ⭐️ Trustpilot Reviews were essential. Of course, good introductory offers and numerous, flexible delivery options were also very important in our selection process.




EXPLORE THE ALTERNATIVES


Here are a couple of other options which didn't quite make the cut but could be worth considering :-


Pets Love Fresh

Fresh but not Tailored

Petslovefresh dog food with a canister

If you like the look of fresh dog food but don't need it tailored to your dog, why not take a look at Pets Love Fresh.


Nutritionally balanced fresh dog food beautifully presented with it's own chopping board and glass storage container for the fridge.


We loved this option as it's really hygienic storage and preparation option and avoids any potential cross contamination.


Of course you could use your own tupperware, but their glass storage container is made-to-measure the Pets Love Fresh rolls.


It's worth checking their website as they sometimes offer a trial pack at a great introductory price.



Marleybones

Fresh but Pricey

MarleyBones dog food with a dog

Fresh, Tailored but Pricey


Marleybones offer fresh, customised dog food but at a price which wouldn't suit the average pocket.


They do however offer a half and half option which you could add as a nutritious topper.


You could try their taster box, to find your pups favorite flavours and continue with your own tailored full or mixed plan.


It's worth taking a look at their latest offers too, as they often advertise money off boxes which is perfect if you have a fussy dog and want to try their food without investing too much money.



We really hope that you found this article useful and you find the perfect dog food for your four-legged friend. Thanks for stopping by and reading our Best Tailored Dog Foods Review.

 

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