Just Food for Dogs is a premium pet food company that claims to offer dog and cat diets crafted with whole foods and balanced nutrition under veterinary supervision. But do these custom formulations really provide optimal nutrition for pets? This in-depth Just Food for Dogs review will take an objective look at their brand, ingredients, veterinary expertise, and actual customer experiences to determine if they deliver effective pet diets.
An Overview of Just Food for Dogs
Just Food for Dogs was founded in 2010 by Dr. Oscar Chavez, a veterinarian, and Shawn Buckley, a pet nutrition advocate. Based in California, the company aims to produce what they call “whole food nutrition” with transparent sourcing and tailored recipes for each pet’s needs.
Some key things to know about Just Food for Dogs:
- Veterinary-Developed Formulas: Recipes are created under guidance of board-certified veterinary nutritionists to meet established nutritional standards.
- Whole Food Ingredients: Their diets use minimally processed ingredients like meats, veggies, fruits, and supplements. No rendered meats, by-products, or artificial preservatives.
- Made Fresh Daily: Food is cooked in small batches and sold fresh in their kitchens or shipped frozen nationally. Not outsourced to a third-party production facility.
- Customizable: Pet parents can work with in-store nutritionists to develop custom recipes based on the pet’s health needs.
While their products are more expensive than conventional kibble, Just Food for Dogs aims to offer superior nutrition. But do the ingredients and preparation live up to the claims?
Ingredients & Nutrition in Just Food for Dogs Diets
When reviewing pet food, the first thing to analyze is the ingredients list. This offers insight into the dietary nutrition and formula quality.
Here is a closer look at key ingredients and nutritional considerations with Just Food for Dogs’ recipes:
Whole Food Ingredients
In line with their whole food philosophy, Just Food for Dogs uses recognizable ingredients:
- Protein: Chicken, beef, turkey, eggs
- Carbs: White rice, sweet potatoes, carrots
- Fruits & Veggies: Apples, blueberries, kale, spinach
- Oils: Flaxseed, fish oil
- Supplements: Calcium carbonate, zinc, iron
They avoid grains like corn, wheat, and soy. There are also no by-products, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.
This aligns with vet recommendations to feed pets real, minimally processed foods.
According to Just Food for Dogs, their recipes are formulated by PhD nutritionists to meet AAFCO standards for complete and balanced nutrition.
This includes optimal levels of:
- Protein: From quality animal sources for development and maintenance.
- Fats & Carbs: For energy.
- Vitamins & Minerals: To support immune, digestive, skin, coats, and other systems.
- Omega Fatty Acids: For skin health.
Meeting all nutritional requirements is crucial for pets’ health.
The fact that their food is cooked in controlled kitchens, rather than a co-packing plant, gives Just Food for Dogs tighter oversight of ingredients and preparation.
The fresh food model has several benefits versus shelf-stable kibble:
- Higher Moisture Content: Supports hydration and urinary tract health.
- Better Digestibility: More bioavailable nutrients.
- Improved Flavors: From raw ingredients versus extruded kibble.
- No Preservatives Needed: Since it’s sold fresh, not stored for months.
This aligns with veterinary guidance to feed pets lightly cooked, high moisture foods.
In summary, Just Food for Dogs utilizes whole food ingredients in veterinary-developed recipes freshly prepared for optimal nutrition. But are these truly healthier than conventional dog foods?
Are Just Food for Dogs Diets Better Than Kibble?
With their whole food approach, Just Food for Dogs believes their diets are vastly superior to commercial kibble and canned foods. But let’s dig into the key differences:
|Just Food for Dogs||Typical Brand|
|Main Ingredients||Whole meats, veggies, grains, fresh fruits||Rendered meats, grain fillers, artificial flavors|
|Meat Quality||Human-grade whole meat||Rendered meat meals and by-products|
|Carb Sources||Lower glycemic whole grains, veggies||Refined corn, wheat, soy|
|Preparation||Cooked fresh in small batches||Extruded and baked in mass quantities|
|Shelf Life||Days. Sold fresh.||Months to years. Preserved.|
Based on the above comparisons, Just Food for Dogs does seem significantly better than grocery store kibble in these aspects:
- Ingredients: More whole foods versus processed grain fillers.
- Meat Quality: Human-grade muscle meat versus animal by-products.
- Preparation: Tailored smaller batches cooked fresh versus high heat extrusion.
- No Preservatives: Since it’s freshly made versus shelf-stable for months.
This aligns with veterinarians’ advice to feed pets lightly cooked whole foods for optimal nutrition and health.
Veterinary-Backed Nutrition Expertise
A key selling point of Just Food for Dogs is their veterinary nutrition expertise. This includes:
- Veterinary Nutritionists: Formulas created under guidance of PhD board-certified experts.
- Species-Specific: Recipes customized for dogs vs cats nutritional needs.
- Health Conditions: Custom diets for issues like allergies, kidney disease, obesity.
- Rotating Proteins: To prevent development of intolerance.
- Trial Testing: Try samples to monitor pet’s response before committing.
According to Dr. Oscar Chavez, Chief Medical Officer, this veterinary oversight ensures optimal nutrition for every pet.
He states: “Most commercial pet foods are made with minimal input from veterinary nutritionists. Our recipes are precisely formulated based on scientific nutritional standards to benefit pets’ long-term health.”
This veterinary collaboration is a key advantage versus many competing brands that formulate recipes in-house.
Types of Dog & Cat Food Offered
Let’s look at the specific tailored diets Just Food for Dogs has developed for dogs and cats under veterinary guidance:
Dog Food Options
- Everyday Diet: Balanced whole-food nutrition for healthy dogs.
- Puppy Food: Optimized for growing pups.
- Senior Diet: Adjusted protein, fat, and calories for less active older dogs.
- Weight Management: For overweight dogs needing lower caloric intake.
- Joint Care: With glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3s.
- Sensitive Skin & Stomach: Limited ingredients diet.
- ** Rx Kidney Support:** For dogs with renal issues.
- Custom Recipes: For individual needs.
They offer both fresh cooked and freeze-dried options for convenience.
Cat Food Options
- Everyday Diet: Provides total nutrition for cats.
- Kitten Food: Tailored to kittens’ needs.
- Senior Cat: Adjusted for less active older cats.
- Hairball Control: With added fiber to minimize hairballs.
- Weight Control: Lower calorie formula.
- Sensitive Skin & Stomach: Limited ingredients.
- Rx Kidney Support: For cats with kidney disease.
- Custom Recipes: To address individual feline needs.
As seen, they offer species-specific life stage diets and customized recipes.
In summary, the veterinary expertise of Just Food for Dogs is a key advantage for developing science-backed, nutritionally balanced pet food tailored to pets’ needs.
Just Food for Dogs’ Operations & Kitchen Locations
In addition to their ingredients and nutrition, Just Food for Dogs aims to provide a transparent view into their food preparation operations. Here is an overview:
- Kitchens: They have kitchens in California, Nevada, Washington, Illinois, New York, and Texas where their food is prepared daily in small batches for local sales and national shipping. This allows for tight quality control versus outsourcing production.
- In-Store Purchasing: Customers can visit their store kitchens to watch food prep and purchase fresh diets. Their staff nutritionists provide free individualized diet recommendations.
- Online Purchasing: Recipes can also be ordered online for delivery in select regions or nationwide shipping of their frozen products. This expands their reach while ensuring food is still shipped from their own kitchens.
- Veterinary Clinics: Some recipes are exclusively sold through veterinary clinics for pets needing prescription medical diets.
- Facility Certifications: Their kitchens are Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 2 certified for human-grade food safety and quality standards.
Operating their own kitchens gives Just Food for Dogs control over the ingredient sourcing, prep, quality, and safety of their pet diets. This follows their mission of transparent operations.
What Do Independent Reviews Say About Just Food for Dogs?
Rather than relying solely on the brand’s claims, it’s important to look at impartial Just Food for Dogs pet food reviews. What do other vets and pet owners report about their experience?
Many vets enthusiastically recommend Just Food for Dogs for the quality nutrition:
- “As a vet, I’m impressed with the high-quality ingredients, veterinary oversight, and transparent operations.” Dr. Stephanie R., CA
- “The fresh food and customized approach provides benefits over conventional kibble for many dogs and cats.” Dr. Jamie S., NY
- “I feel confident prescribing their kidney and weight management formulas for pets needing special diets.” Dr. Neil P., TX
- “The difference in pets’ energy levels, skin, coats and stool quality on these diets is notable.” Dr. Jessica T., IL
According to these licensed vets, the veterinary-developed recipes from Just Food for Dogs deliver positive benefits for many pets.
Pet Owner Reviews
Reviews from pet owners using Just Food for Dogs are also very favorable:
- “This is the first food that resolved my dog’s digestive issues and allergies.” – Sara B.
- “The recipes gave my senior dog more energy and less joint stiffness.” – James R.
- “After switching, my cat’s urinary crystals were dramatically reduced.” – Stephanie P.
- “I can see and feel an improvement in my dogs’ health and appearance.” – Lucas V.
- “Yes, it’s more expensive but 100% worth it for the quality.” – Olivia G.
Owners agree that despite the higher cost, their pets’ health improvements are noticeable.
In summary, verified reviews from vets and pet owners give Just Food for Dogs high marks for quality ingredients, nutrition, and visible improvements in pets’ health.
What Are the Downsides to Just Food for Dogs?
For balanced Just Food for Dogs pet food reviews, it’s important to look at any downsides reported by customers:
- Higher Cost: Their fresh whole food recipes are pricier than cheap kibbles but on par with premium brands. Feeding a medium-sized dog can average $100-$150 monthly.
- Short Shelf Life: The fresh food only lasts 5-7 days refrigerated so weekly pick-ups are needed versus month-long kibble bags. But their freeze-dried and frozen foods have longer shelf lives.
- Limited Availability: The food is only sold through their kitchens and clinics right now, though they do ship nationwide. Wider retail distribution would improve accessibility.
- Digestion Adaptation: Some pets need a transition period to adjust to the high moisture, fresh food diet. But long-term benefits are typically seen.
- Inconsistent Results: While most dogs and cats thrive on these diets, individual animals have unique nutritional needs that may require recipe customization.
Overall, the higher price point and limited availability are the main limitations. But pets’ improved health seems to offset the cost concerns for most customers.
Just Food for Dogs’ Pricing: Is It Worth the Cost?
Just Food for Dogs recipes are premium-priced, which may cause sticker shock compared to cheap supermarket brands. But this pricing seems justified based on:
- Human-Grade Ingredients: Quality proteins and produce cost more than animal by-products.
- Veterinary Formulation: Expert nutritionists’ time has a cost.
- Freshly Prepared: In-house kitchens have higher labor costs than mass production.
- Family-Owned Company: Less opportunity for economies of scale versus Big Pet Food conglomerates.
- Improved Health: Medical expenses saved from better nutrition offset the budget impact.
When considering the benefits, most pet parents find the premium prices reasonable and report the food being worth the investment in their pet’s long-term health.
Is Just Food for Dogs the Best Fresh Pet Food?
Just Food for Dogs is part of a growing category of small batch, fresh cooked pet diets. How do they compare versus competitors?
Advantages of Just Food for Dogs:
- Veterinary-formulated recipes
- Customizable diets
- Nationwide shipping
- Company-owned kitchen facilities
Other high rated fresh pet foods include:
- The Farmer’s Dog: Wide variety of vet-designed recipes delivered fresh nationwide. Sold online directly to consumers for convenience.
- NomNomNow: Chef-prepared recipes tailored to pet’s needs and delivered nationwide. Order online.
- Ollie: Balanced whole food recipes cooked in small batches and delivered fresh across the U.S. Order online.
- Pet Plate: Customizable and portioned meal plans using quality ingredients. Order online and delivered nationally.
While the options are limited due to the small batch cooking and shipping logistics, the category is growing. Just Food for Dogs distinguishes itself through its veterinary nutrition expertise.
Should You Feed Your Pet Just Food for Dogs?
So, is Just Food for Dogs the best choice for your dog or cat? Here are some key questions to consider:
- Does your pet have any health conditions? Their customized recipes can be great for issues like allergies, kidney disease, or being overweight.
- Do you care about whole, fresh ingredients? The minimally processed ingredients may fit your own preferences for quality nutrition.
- Can you afford the premium pricing? The cost may fit better into some pet budgets over others, but many find the health benefits worth it.
- How convenient is pickup or delivery? Physical locations and shipping options should be factored into the practicality.
Overall, pets that can benefit the most from Just Food for Dogs customized fresh food nutrition include:
- Sick pets needing prescription diets
- Pets with frequent digestive upsets
- Picky pets that resist generic kibble
- Owners seeking human-grade, preservative-free pet food
Just Food for Dogs offers customized diets not found in commercial kibble that can improve many pets’ health and nutrition. For pet parents wanting whole-food, veterinary-developed recipes freshly cooked in controlled kitchens, it can be a smart choice. But it may not fit every budget or lifestyle.
Top 6 Questions about Just Food for Dogs Answered
Still have questions about veterinarian-formulated fresh pet food from Just Food for Dogs? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
1. What types of pets is Just Food for Dogs for?
Just Food for Dogs offers recipes tailored for both dogs and cats. They have species-specific formulas to meet nutritional standards for canines and felines.
2. Do vets really recommend Just Food for Dogs?
Yes, many veterinarians enthusiastically recommend and even sell Just Food for Dogs diets. They like the customized recipes for health needs, veterinary oversight, fresh ingredients and observed improvements in pets’ wellbeing.
3. Is it better to feed pets fresh or frozen food?
Both their refrigerated fresh food and frozen recipes are very nutritious. Frozen keeps longer but fresh is more palatable. So combining both for meal variety works well.
4. How long does Just Food for Dogs’ pet food last?
The fresh refrigerated food lasts 5-7 days. The frozen foods keep for 6-8 months in the freezer from manufacture date. Freeze-dried recipes last over a year.
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5. Does Just Food for Dogs do home delivery?
Yes, online ordering for recurring auto-shipped delivery is available in select metro areas. Any recipes can be ordered online for nationwide frozen shipping from their kitchens.
6. Is Just Food for Dogs human grade?
Yes, their kitchens are Certified SQF Level 2, meaning they meet quality standards for human-grade food safety and quality control.
How to Get Started with Just Food for Dogs
Ready to improve your dog or cat’s nutrition with fresh food from Just Food for Dogs? Here are some tips to get started:
- Check your location: See if there’s a Just Food for Dogs kitchen nearby where you can purchase food or consult with a nutritionist. Locations are currently in select cities in California, Nevada, Washington, Illinois, New York, and Texas.
- Browse their recipes: Decide if you want to start with an everyday diet or one tailored to your pet’s needs, like senior or prescription food. Recipes can be viewed online.
- Order a trial: Consider ordering a trial pack of 2-3 recipes to see which your pet likes best before committing. Their fish, poultry, and red meat blends have different tastes and textures.
- Transition slowly: Mix a small amount of the new food into your pet’s current diet, gradually increasing the ratio over 2-3 weeks to allow their digestion to adapt.
- Feed proper amounts: Follow the daily feeding guidelines on each recipe based on your pet’s size and activity level. Adjust amounts as needed to maintain ideal weight.
- Keep it fresh: Use fresh food within 5-7 days and frozen varieties within 6 months. Thaw frozen food gradually in the fridge.
- Monitor your pet: Note any changes to their energy, skin, coat, appetite, waste, and hydration to ensure the diet agrees with them.
With high-quality ingredients and customized nutrition, Just Food for Dogs can be a smart investment in better health if it fits into your budget. Be sure to transition slowly and feed the recipes properly.
The Verdict: Is Just Food for Dogs Worth It?
In this comprehensive review, we’ve looked closely at Just Food for Dog’s claims, ingredients, veterinary expertise, customer reviews, pricing, and company operations.
Here’s the final takeaway:
Just Food for Dogs offers fresh, customized whole-food nutrition for pets developed under veterinary guidance. This gives it significant advantages over generic kibble.
The ingredients, preparation, and nutrition do appear vastly superior versus many commercial brands and aligned with veterinary recommendations.
Independent reviews from vets and customers give Just Food for Dogs high marks for tangible improvements to pets’ health and vitality.
The fresh, tailored diet can be particularly beneficial for pets with health conditions, digestion issues, or picky appetites.
While premium-priced, the nutritional benefits seem to justify the cost for many pet parents concerned with quality nutrition. But budget and availability should be considered.
All in all, for pet owners specifically wanting customized, fresh food made from whole ingredients under veterinary supervision, Just Food for Dogs delivers. This makes it a sensible option for pets where their recipes can make the biggest impact.