When Atlas turned 11 weeks old, I began introducing Atlas to fresh food by Freshpet Nature’s Fresh balanced meal to his diet.
I came across a Freshpet refrigerator inside our local Petco. Intrigued, I decided to pick up a 1.5 lb. chub of fresh cooked dog food. Read our experience on introducing Atlas to fresh food by Freshpet Nature’s Fresh®. We are gradually expanding Atlas’ meal plan to a incorporate cooked fresh balanced meals. Our goal is to eventually migrate Atlas into a raw dinner meal while maintaining kibbles for breakfast and lunch meals. That is, until Atlas transition to a twice-a-day feeding plan. When that happens, it will be kibbles in the morning and raw at night. Our ultimate goal is to transition Atlas fully into a balanced raw diet. That probably won’t happen until Atlas is at least 8 months old at the earliest.
The Freshpet Fridge
While browsing around the local Petco one evening, I stumbled across a Freshpet refrigerator on the store floor. It contains several chubs in it. Immediately, I thought “Cool, Petco carries raw canine food!” Upon closer inspection, the chubs were not raw food. The chubs are fresh cooked balanced meal of varying flavors by Freshpet Nature’s Fresh and VITAL brands. After reviewing the different flavors, I picked out the Beef Recipe with Garden Vegetables and Grains for Dogs.
A 1.5 lb. chub of this recipe costs $7.99 while a 5 lb. chub costs $27.99. It is relatively pricey compared to a 2 lb. raw chub alternative, such as those from Happee Dawg.
I realized that the recipe was intended for adult dogs. I fed it to Atlas anyway based on feeding recommendation. Not only did Atlas wolfed down his serving, but he licked the bowl clean! He never did that with kibbles.
Freshpet VITAL Puppy Blend
I went back to Petco and looked for the Puppy blend. It is available in 2 lb. chubs for $11.99 each.
The Freshpet fresh dog food chubs are easy to slice and serve. There are ¼ lb. indicators along the chub for easy-to-slice servings.
What do Freshpet’s cooked dog food look like in the chub? You can describe it as having somewhat of a liverwurst consistency and texture.
Before serving, the slices of the Freshpet food must be cubed up for easy ingestion.
And finally into Atlas’ food bowl. Just like the Beef recipe, Atlas licked his bowl clean and begged for more! The puppy blend contains a variety of protein sourced from beef, chicken and salmon. So if Atlas is allergic to any of these protein, I’ll know for sure.
The Proof is in the Pooping
The stool difference from Atlas eating balanced fresh cooked meal versus balanced premium kibbles is like night and day. When fed a strictly kibble diet, Atlas’ stool was firm but soft. It can be picked up in one piece if gently held and lifted. But it will disintegrate and melt into the grass if force is exerted. The stool has a smooth, somewhat continuous yet grainy texture and does not entirely cleanly break apart (some parts smudges).
Fresh Cooked Balanced Meal
On the other hand, Atlas’ stools from eating Freshpet were firm, yet moist. It maintained its shape even when gentle force was used. The consistency is similar to a soft Play-Doh, cleanly breaks apart and has a distinguished shape with noticeable texture. And the stool does not stink as bad as the kibble stools.
Just the difference in the consistency of the stool samples convinced me to continue supplementing Atlas’ meal with fresh cooked meal. It is definitely easier on Atlas’ gastrointestinal system. For now, it will strictly be his dinner meal. Right now, it is too early to say that it has other beneficial health effect, i.e. shinier coat, more energy, etc. but it definitely improved his gastrointestinal health.