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Best Tailored Dog Foods Review 2022 : Upgrade Mealtimes

Updated: 3 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 four-legged friends with not only a good quality fresh dog food but one that's tailored to their exact needs and 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 and fussy palates but busy dog parents who love stress-free regular doorstep deliveries.


Several companies have entered the tailored dog food subscription arena to offer healthier and more personalised alternatives for our much loved dogs. From freshly cooked and portioned, to cutting edge freeze-dried technology, healthy dog food is in huge demand in the UK.


All the options we review here are tailor made and personalised for your dog's individual needs.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Buying Guide for Tailored Dog Food

Features to Consider

Best Tailored Dog Foods to Buy Today

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, these types of dog food are 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' 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.




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, 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.


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. 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.


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.





BEST TAILORED DOG FOODS TO BUY TODAY



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 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

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


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 tested their ordering system and were offered a range of recipes with the recommendation that we select several to offer some variety in diet.


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 carefully balanced using human quality meat as well as vitamin-rich vegetables and lentils.

A cockapoo with ingredients used in butternut box dog food

Butternut Box is perfect if you like the easy life, 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

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 boa and guineafowl) and Ready Steady Veggie.


Current thinking is that dog food should not only aim to be balanced and nutritious but also include protein variety. Ideally you should be aiming to feed a variety of proteins over a two month period. Their newly expanded menu provides a wide range of proteins.


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


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.


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


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.


Butternut Box are offering Smart Bark readers 15% off their first box. To take advantage of this offer, click on the link below


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

Best Hand Cooked, 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.


Variety

Different Dog fresh dog food in bowls with raw ingredients

An extensive range of 9 protein 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 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.



Trial Hampers

New for 2022, Different Dog have introduced a range of 3 trial hampers :-

  • Natural Dog Food Trial Box - 6 varieties

  • Natural Puppy Food Trial Box - you select 2 varieties

  • Low Fat Dog Food Trial Box - 2 varieties

Dog with trial hamper of different dog food

Starting at £25, each small hamper includes 6 X 250g tubs of dog food which will make perfect toppers.


If you are looking at feeding fresh food only then you could opt for the large hamper containing 6 X 600g tubs.


This is the perfect opportunity to dip your toe in the water with Different Dog.


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.


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, take a look at Pure Dog Food.



3. Pure Pet Food

Best Value Personalised 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!


Online Set Up

A dog eating Pure dog food in a bowl with packaging

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


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.

Pure dog food ingredients

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.


Variety

Pure dog food transition pack and a dachshund dog

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 healthiest dog foods available in the UK today.


Pure Dog Food also sell a range of pre-made treats and toppings which you can simply add to your food order. Whilst these aren't customised for your dog, their high quality selection includes 100% single ingredient treats and some low calorie options.


Pricing

Pure offer a Transition Pack with an introductory 50% offer, to help you switch from your current dog food. The pack contains enough dog food for 12 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 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'.




We feel that Pure offers the best of both worlds. It is 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.


Reasons to Buy

+ No need to refrigerate