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Fresh Dog Food vs. Kibble: What You Should Know

As a pet parent, I only want the best for my dogs. I spend time ensuring they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. I invest in trainers to make sure they are happy, calm, and well-regulated. I even make sure that their beds and winter sweaters are top quality (Their clothes are nicer than mine, to be honest). But what about what I was feeding them? 

One day while I poured their kibble into their bowls, it hit me. I put tons of time, energy, and money into all other aspects of their lives, but what it came to their food - arguably the most important thing for their health - I was just giving them the same dry, boring kibble everyday. I immediately went into research mode and decided I needed to educate myself on kibble and the other dog food options out there to make sure I was doing everything I could for their health.

What I learned about kibble was not great. Although high quality kibble is vet-approved, it’s processed in giant factories by billion dollar companies using "palatants," aka ingredients that make our pets want to eat their products. (A BBC article described “potently smelly chemicals usually found in rotting meat” as a common additive.) Then it sits in a warehouse or on a store shelf for who knows how long until it finally ends up in your home. 

Now, I enjoy the occasional processed treat myself, but if that’s all I ate everyday? I would not feel great or be anywhere near my optimal health. Was I just feeding my dog the equivalent of a highly processed bag of chips or cookies?? Not quite - kibble does meet certain nutritional standards. But it’s still highly processed and full of offal extracts or lab-made additives. And when I started reading about the recalls on popular pet foods over just the past few years, I became very anxious. There were 26 recalls between 2018 and 2022 alone! It felt like an unnecessary risk to take with my pups.

So what was the alternative? I continued my research and I came across a number of fresh food brands or delivery services. These seemed like decent options, but it was a product called ChefPaw that really piqued my interest. This first-of-its-kind dog food maker allows you to feed your dog fresh, healthy food quickly and easily. This countertop cooker takes up just 9”x12” and is so simple to use. You just add whole ingredients to the ChefPaw, turn it on, and in 40 minutes, you’ve got 6 pounds of fresh food for your dog ready to go! This certainly sounded like a better option than kibble.

“But how will I know what to make and ensure I’m including all the nutrients my dogs need?” you might be asking yourself. I had the same question. That’s where the ChefPaw app comes in. The free app offers preset recipes, nutrition analysis, and a recipe generator to pair with the all-in-one unit that weighs, mixes, and cooks your dog’s food for you. The app will even automatically customize the recipes for your dog’s needs once you upload their profile into the app! It sounded too good to be true.

Now, the ChefPaw isn’t cheap - at first, that is. The unit costs around $649. I was willing to spend more than I had been on kibble but I was a bit concerned that it would become cost prohibitive when the food costs were taken into consideration. But there’s a price calculator on the ChefPaw website that allows you to compare the cost of your current food with what you’ll spend with ChefPaw. Much to my surprise, by using ChefPaw, I would actually save hundreds of dollars each year even when compared with the kibble I was buying! I was shocked. Better nutrition at a lower price? I was sold.  So I ordered a ChefPaw of my own and waited impatiently for it to arrive.

To make my first batch of food with ChefPaw, I just tossed in the ingredients and turned the machine on. Forty minutes later, I had 6 pounds of food that my pup was salivating over. Plus, in the app you can create separate profiles for each of your dogs to store their favorite recipes and notes on their unique dietary needs! I could tell that this Turkey and Sweet Potato recipe would be stored as a favorite right away.

I’ve been using ChefPaw for 3 months now and I see a huge difference in my dogs’ digestion and energy levels. Their poops are much healthier, their coats are softer and shinier. The fact that I’m actually saving money by feeding her so well is incredible. If you have a dog (or dogs) who have been eating kibble and you’re ready for a healthier alternative, get ChefPaw. You won’t be disappointed, and your dogs will adore you even more than they already do.


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