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7 Benefits Cooking Healthy Dog Food - Dog Chef in Kitchen

Thanks to the film Pet Fooled, dog parents are waking up to the reality that the dry dog food they feed to their dog isn't healthy and may be contributing to illnesses and disease.  I receive emails daily from dog parents who want to feed their best friend better and not everyone is ready to switch to a raw food diet and I get it.  While I primarily write about raw feeding I appreciate any opportunity to provide information that will help dog parents feed their dogs a healthier diet than kibble.

Why Dog Parents May Not Feed Raw

If you spend time in a raw feeding group, even mine, you'll quickly get the impression that raw is the best food for dogs, but that's not always the case.  Everyone is different and every dog is different and what may work for one dog may not work for another and that is why we always have to keep an open mind about dog nutrition.

Because I communicate with dog lovers daily, I understand why some may choose not to feed raw…

  1. Raw feeding is too expensive in their area; they can't source ingredients at an affordable price.
  2. Raw feeding within their budget requires additional freezer space that they don't have.
  3. Raw feeding is overwhelming and complicated; they lack the time to learn how to feed a balanced diet.
  4. Someone in the home may have a health issue that precludes raw feeding as a diet option for their dog.
  5. Some dogs prefer cooked food instead of raw.
  6. They've tried raw feeding and their dog didn't do well on the diet.
  7. They're terrified of making a mistake or not providing their dogs the nutrients needed.
  8. They live a lifestyle (constant traveling, live on a boat, etc.) that precludes raw feeding.

The list goes on and on and I get it.  Many of the people who contact me want to feed their dogs better and need an option other than raw feeding.

7 Benefits of Cooking Healthy Dog Food

There is a myth going around that cooking food destroys all of the nutrients, but if that were the case, humans wouldn't be doing so well.  This is a myth that was inspired by dry dog food, which is over processed; cooked multiple times which is why they need to add the long list of synthetic vitamins into the food – the processing killed all of the nutrients.

But cooking food isn't the same as the over processing we see in the pet food industry.  Cooking for our dogs is an excellent option and far superior to dry dog food.

  1. Cooking is great for dogs that can't eat a raw food diet.
  2. Cooking is great for people who can't feed their dogs a raw food diet.
  3. Cooking offers variety to a dog's diet that commercial dog food doesn't.
  4. Cooking may allow dogs with food allergies to eat more proteins.
  5. Cooking is a way to add a healthy meal topper to a dog's food.
  6. Cooking is a great option when raw feeders forget to thaw food.
  7. Cooking provides a warm meal for dogs during the winter months.

I was excited by an opportunity we received to try a gently cooked dog food over the past month.  NomNomNow delivers fresh food to your door.  Each of their recipes is formulated by veterinarian and pet nutritionist Dr. Justin Shmalberg.  Each recipe is cooked to order, delivered fresh, and I couldn't wait to give it a try with my dogs.

4 Weeks Feeding NomNomNow Dog Food

I received several week's worth of NomNomNow dog food in exchange for my honest thoughts.  Ordering the food was easy and the delivery process was great.  NomNomNow sends just the right amount of emails so that I know that food is on its way, what to do when it arrives, and a reminder when a new order is about to be processed just in case I need to make a change or pause the order.

They truly make it easy.

The food is shipped so that you can feed straight away – the measurements are already custom made for your dog.  My first order was 10 pounds (the transition period).  My second order was 40 pounds – wow!.  Since I was expecting a 300-pound raw order the following week, I canceled my NomNomNow account to avoid any additional shipments.  This action deleted everything I created for my dogs so I thought I was going to have to feed my dogs on the fly.


NomNomNow's customer service stepped in and saved the day (and my dogs' waistlines).  They reactivated my account so that I could keep my dogs on track.  Easy peasy.

Four Proteins and a Non-Meat Recipe

NomNomNow cooked dog food offers five recipes:

  • Heartland Beef Mash
  • Porkalicious Potluck
  • Tasty Turkey Fare
  • Chicken Chow-Wow
  • Egg & Veggie Medley

I was surprised by the non-meat recipe; is this for people who want to feed their dogs a vegetarian diet? Nope, this was NomNomNow's addition to meet customer demand.  Yes, the non-meat option could be because people want their dogs to be vegetarians or it could be because their dogs needed to be on a low protein diet and the non-meat option fit their needs or it could be that someone simply wanted a meal or meal topper that didn't have meat.  The protein comes from the eggs; however, this recipe also has tofu which is a soy-based product and some dogs can't eat soy.

I chose the beef and pork recipes for my dogs because my all four of my dogs an eat pork, and three of my dogs do well on beef.  Over the past month, I primarily feed this food to all of the dogs as a meal topper, adding full meals here and there and the dogs loved it.

Adding Potatoes and Rice to a Dog's Diet

As a raw feeder, I believe that raw dog food is species appropriate; it's offensive when a pet food company tries to pass off rice and potatoes as biologically appropriate ingredients for dogs.  Not only are these ingredients NOT biologically appropriate, dry dog food companies are storing loads of grains and potatoes in warehouses where they're growing mold and reproducing a little community of toxins that eventually end up in dry dog food.

But we're not talking about dry dog food.  We're talking about gently cooked food made with human-grade ingredients and no preservatives; food that undergoes inspection by NomNomNow staff before being cooked, chilled, vacuum sealed and shipped to customers.

Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and brown rice do provide nutrients for our dogs:

Nutrients in Potatoes – Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and B6, have more potassium than bananas (when eaten with the skin on), are fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free, and low in calories.

Nutrients in Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A C, B1, B2, B5, and B6.  It adds copper, manganese, and pantothenic acid. They are also a very good source of manganese, copper, potassium, fiber, niacin, and phosphorus.

Nutrients in Brown Rice – Brown rice is nutrient-rich, unlike white rice, and provides vitamin B5 and B6, selenium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, thiamine, zinc, iron, copper, calcium and potassium.

Where Does NomNomNow Source Their Ingredients?

When we're looking at a new food, it's not enough to look at the ingredients panel.  We owe it to our dogs to educate us about what they're eating after so many recalls, dogs made sick from tainted chicken jerky treats, and the film Pet Fooled.  I asked the folks of NomNomNow about their sourcing and I was told that they source all of their ingredients from US restaurant suppliers that source their ingredients in the US.

Yes, I'd love to know more details, like which areas of the country, however, this was all I learned.  Hopefully, has NomNomNow grows, they'll also educate customers and potential customers about where specifically the meat is sourced, if it's grass fed or grain fed, and if they source from humane/ethical farmers.

Does NomNomNow Use Synthetic Vitamins?

Thanks to Rodrigo's digestive issues, I avoid all foods that contain synthetic vitamins.  While I understand the reason for adding these additional nutrients, synthetic vitamins are difficult to digest and it's challenging to absorb the nutrients.

There are no synthetic vitamins in the NomNomNutrient Mix.

NomNomNow is an Option for Dogs with Allergies

My dog Rodrigo is the real test of NomNomNow.  Because of his sensitive stomach, I usually don't allow him to try out new foods because it's not worth making him miserable if the food doesn't work out.  But when I first warmed up the NomNomNow dog food, he walked into the kitchen and sniffed the air.  I couldn't resist giving him a treat.

At first, Rodrigo only ate the cooked dog food as a meal topper and he did great.  After a couple of weeks, I fed him a full meal of NomNomNow Porkalicious Potluck for three meals in a row and he continued to do great!  I was pleasantly surprised.

While I'm not going to switch my dogs to a cooked diet, I am happy that this food presents another option for my dog that has so many issues with commercial dog food.  I think it worked for Rodrigo because of the lack of synthetic vitamins, the food is gluten-free, and the two cooked dog food recipes I chose, Heartland Beef Mash and Porkalicious Potluck, are grain-free.

How Much Does NomNomNow Cost?

For a 75 pound dog, NomNomNow is an investment, which is why I would add it as a meal topper if I were to sign up for their dog food delivery service:

  • Heartland Beef Mash – $55.67/week
  • Porkalicious Potluck – $54.46/week
  • Tasty Turkey Fare – $51.08/week
  • Chicken Chow-Wow – $64.53/week
  • Egg & Veggie Medley – $75.57/week – wow!!!

We're talking more than $200 per month for one dog which is not in my budget.  However, $55/month to feed as a meal topper is in my budget.  For this cost, why not make it myself?  Because I priced the cost of the ingredients, with a meal balancer, and it would cost more than NomNomNow's dog food.

My Final Thoughts on NomNomNow

In 2005, a Purdue University Study found that adding fresh food (green, leafy vegetables) to dry dog food three times a week resulted in a 90% decrease in the risk of cancer in dogs.  There is value to adding fresh food to a dog's diet.  Raw or cooked; what's important is that we feed our dogs quality, human-grade ingredients.

Over the past five years, I've learned that fresh food is the key to raising happier, healthier dogs. The reason I recommend NomNomNow is because:

  • Rodrigo ate their food without any digestive upset.
  • The dogs licked their dishes clean whenever I served it.
  • I liked that there was plenty of moisture in the food.
  • While I'm not a fan of feeding my dogs potatoes and rice, the lack of synthetic vitamins is a win!
  • The NomNomNow customer service team was responsive and helpful.

While I don't plan to sign up for NomNomNow at the moment, I did consider creating an order for a few months to give my dogs a warm meal (topper) during the harsh winter we’re expecting in the Pacific Northwest.  While I'm thinking about it, I'll continue to recommend this food to people who tell me that they can't feed raw or aren't ready to feed raw but to improve their dog's diet.

Save 50% on Your First Order with NomNomNow?

Would you like to try NomNomNow dog food?  NomNomNow is offering a generous discount to Keep the Tail Wagging® readers – 50% off your first order.

Disclosure: “I have been given 50 pounds of NomNomNow cooked dog food as part of a product review. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.“

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