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Best Tailored Dog Foods 2021 : Upgrade Mealtimes

Updated: 4 days ago

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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 dogs with not only the best dog food but the same experiences as other family members, so is food any different? Can we offer our dogs a tailored diet delivered to our door?

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

The best tailor made dog food is now in huge demand in the UK. Several companies have entered the tailored dog food subscription arena to offer healthier and more personalised alternatives for our much loved dogs.


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

Table of Contents

Buying Guide for Tailored Dog Food

Features to Consider

Our Picks of the Best Tailored 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



BUYING GUIDE FOR TAILORED DOG FOOD


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


Ultimately, tailored dog food is designed to let you completely customise your dog's diet to perfectly suit their individual needs.


Any health issues, allergies or just plain fussiness, are taken into account and their bespoke food is delivered directly to your door. The subscription services offered are simple to set up, amend and 'paws'.

dog with an empty food bowl
Photo by FLOUFFY on Unsplash

Whether fresh, dry or freeze dried, these personalised diets 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.


We've provided this buying guide to offer you an overview of the tailored dog food options and help you decide which features are most important to you. Take a break, put your feet up and ready through our guide.





FEATURES TO CONSIDER


So 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, freeze-dried and dried 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 you may want to consider adding a wet topper.


Pay attention to storage

Fresh dog food has fewer or no preservatives and it is kept in the fridge to maintain freshness between servings.

DOG FOOD IN A FREEZER

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


So be careful to plan your subscription 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 limited ingredient, hypoallergenic dog food which tends to be healthier and you can keep a close eye on their intake.


Consider the cost

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


By completing the 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. Top tip - pick a great quality food and stick with it.


Opt for Full, 50/50 or Topper

Like the sound of a 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 price down.






OUR PICKS OF THE BEST TAILORED DOG FOODS



1. Butternut Box

Best Fresh Dog Food


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 appear to adore the product with the company enjoying amazing customer retention and rave reviews. Let's have a look at why.

Dog in a butternut box dog food box

Online Set Up


To tailor the meal plan specifically to your dog, Butternut Box have a comprehensive online quiz.


Their newly updated website not only looks smart but is also incredibly intuitive.


Requesting information such as your dog's sex, age, breed, weight, daily treats, allergies and any health issues that may be troubling them Butternut Box identify the most suitable recipes.


We were offered a range of six recipes, with the recommendation that we select several to offer some variety in diet.


If your pup is a picky eater, you can then rotate recipes every week, making it easier to entice your dog with new flavours.


What's in the bowl?


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.


Each meal is balanced containing 60% meat and topped off with 40% vegetables.

A cockapoo with ingredients used in butternut box dog food

Butternut Box is perfect for the lazy amongst us, as each pre-cooked meal is made in the UK then portioned before arriving at your door. Simply dish it up!


The delivery schedule (anywhere from every 7 to every 56 days) will depend on your dog's plan and as mentioned earlier, Butternut Box is fresh so it will need to be kept refrigerated or frozen until needed.


Consider your storage carefully and work this into your delivery schedule.


Variety


You can choose up to 6 recipes from beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, fish and pork and they all have quirky names - our favourite is the Swish Fish Dish.


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.


Pricing


They cleverly offer a 2 week introductory plan so you can make sure your dog enjoys the food before committing too much cash up front.


The menu is personalised for each dog but generally small dog plans start from £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.


Easily one of the best dog foods on the UK market, they tick all the boxes for fresh, nutritious, delivered and personalised dog food.


It's worth noting that 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.


Reasons to Buy

+ Fresh dog food

+ High nutritional rating

+ Extensive range

+ Option as a topper

Reasons to Avoid

- A more expensive option

- Fridge/ freezer storage


2. Different Dog

Best Luxury Dog Food


The second fresh dog food company we feature is Different Dog which was launched back in December 2017.

Different Dog company dog food packaging

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


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 veg added.


The recipes are cooked gently and then frozen using ingredients sourced locally from British suppliers where possible.


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.

Different Dog fresh dog food in bowls with raw ingredients

Variety


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


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


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.


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


They have an 'AllAboutDogFood' rating 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.


I 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 this is an amazing dog food, it is also the most expensive in our review so maybe out of the reach of many dog lovers.


Reasons to Buy

+ Fresh dog food

+ High nutritional rating

+ Extensive range

+ Option as a topper

Reasons to Avoid

- Most expensive reviewed

- Fridge/Freezer storage


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, take a look at Pure Dog Food.



3. Pure Pet Food

Best Value Custom Dog Food


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


There are no freezer or fridge storage considerations so Pure certainly ticks a lot of boxes!

A dog eating Pure dog food in a bowl with packaging

Online Set Up


Their comprehensive online quiz is straightforward but in-depth, asking a number of simple questions about your dog's age, weight, activity level alongside any health issues and food allergies they struggle with.


Pure also gathers information on how fussy your dog is, which for any fussy dog parents out there (cockapoos can be a nightmare!) is a crucial question.


Whilst Pure offer an initial recipe tailored to your dog's specific needs, they also offer the option to change 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 two processes - freeze dry technology and food dehydration.


With dehydrated food, the water is removed from food 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).


Whilst freeze dry technology allows the preservation of meat with zero exposure to high temperatures and pressure.


This means that freeze dried foods are not cooked at all, so they make a great alternative to a raw dog food diet.


These processes give Pure all the advantages of both wet and dry food. Simply add water, stir and allow a few minutes for the ingredients to rehydrate.

Pure dog food transition pack and a dachshund dog

Variety


Pure offer a choice of 9 recipes including chicken, turkey, duck, beef and fish.


Their main recipe is called Wholesome Chicken and has an excellent rating on

'AllAboutDogFood' of 95%.


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


Pricing


Pure offer a Transition Pack with an introductory 50% offer, to help you switch from your current dog food.


The Transition Pack has enough dog food for 12 days, so you can make a gradual transition.


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.


The Transition Pack also includes a welcome booklet, transition guide, sensitive skin information leaflet, and handy measuring scoops.


The initial recipe offered to Freddie was Chicken Dinner which cost as little as £1.70 a day (74% rating on Allaboutdogfood).


The higher scoring Wholesome Chicken recipe would cost slightly more at £2.17 a day reflecting it's high 95% rating on 'AllAboutDogFood'.


Pure is an innovative and popular alternative to both fresh and raw dog food, hitting the high nutritional value we are all looking for whilst staying affordable for most dog owners.


Reasons to Buy

+ High nutritional rating

+ Extensive range

+ No cold storage needed

+ Transition pack


Reasons to Avoid

- Perception of freeze dried food


4. Tails.com

Best Dried Tailored 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's 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 dry food you currently use to minimise the risk of upsets to sensitive stomachs when transitioning to a new food.


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).

dog licking his nose with tails.com tailored dog food

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.


If your dog doesn't like the recipe first time, tails.com offer to reblend it for free.

This eliminates the 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.


Reasons to Buy

+ Good nutritional rating

+ No fridge storage


Reasons to Avoid

- Not fresh

- Same blend delivered

(unless change requested)


OUR VERDICT


If you can afford to buy fresh, then Butternut Box and Different Dog 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. Butternut Box is slightly cheaper.


Pure is priced somewhere between the fresh and dried 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 recipes rate extremely well in terms of nutritional value and the freeze dried foods offer a perfect alternative to dry kibble.


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.


You might also like - Learn the trick of how to read dog food labels



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.



RELATED POSTS

Best Raw Dog Foods Review We take a look inside the contentious world of raw dog food.


How to Choose the Best Dog Food It's a minefield ! We outline your options.


Why is my Dog a Fussy Eater ? We offer 10 top tricks to encourage your fussy dog to eat.




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 exploring :-


PETS LOVE FRESH

Petslovefresh dog food with a canister

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


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


They sometimes offer a trial pack at a great introductory price.





MARLEYBONES

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.


They too offer a taster box, so you can find your pups favorite flavours and continue with your own tailored full of mixed plan.




Thanks for stopping by and reading our Best Tailored Dog Foods Review.


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