While working on our articles about pet nutrition and raw food, we found many owners are looking for healthy alternatives to well-known pet food brands.
So we've rounded up some of the options you may not have heard of to give you an idea about what else is out there. We didn't just look at raw brands and our guide includes subscription services, wet and dry options, and even insect-based pet food. All the companies we looked at had Trustpilot review scores of at least 4 out of 5 in March 2021.
If you want to change the brand you use, have a read of our guide to switching pet food.
If you are interested in raw, check out our guide to everything owners need to know about raw pet food.
We've also spoke to historians to find out about the history of pet food.
We will be looking at brands in three categories:
Wet and dry food - This is your standard kibble or pouches of ready-to-eat goodness.
Raw food - It is growing in popularity and there are plenty of brands offering pre-prepared, balanced raw meals.
Alternative food - The companies doing things a little differently.
We'll look a few factors for each brand such as price and thinks you should think about if you switch to them.
Wet and dry pet food brands you may not have heard of
Dragonfly is an online shop that offers its own brand of natural treats and dry food, along with a selection of raw food from other companies.
They launched in 2018 after having trouble finding natural treats for their Cavapoo, Dolly.
They source from the UK and EU, and visit their suppliers to ensure that the products they buy are 100% natural, with no additives, chemicals or flavourings added. They also ensure the companies they work with are regulated by EU laws when it comes to animal welfare.
How much do Dragonfly treats cost?
They offer a large range of products, from animal ears with fur on and off, to small treats and chews, so prices will vary.
A 250g pack of bird and sweet potato training treats costs £4.99. A pack of 10 lamb ears costs £6.99. A 6kg bag of their Angus beef, sweet potato and carrot dry food costs £37.99.
What to know if you switch to Dragonfly
Quality - It seems Dragonfly do try to find the best quality natural products that haven't travelled all the way around the globe. And they make sure the providers who supply them meet certain animal welfare standards.
Options - There is such an expansive range of treats and chews, with many different sizes of packets. You can get them with fur on and off, and they offer smaller treats for training your puppy.
Smell - These treats are natural, so some of them may smell a little more. This may be great for your pet, but maybe less enjoyable for you.
Tails.com offers a subscription-based wet and dry food delivery service, which is fully customised to your dog’s breed, size, age, and preferences. You also get a personalised food bag, so you know it's your dog’s recipe. They allow you to add treats to your order too.
How much does dog food from Tails.com cost?
These prices are created using their online meal planner in March 2021. We got prices for different sized bags for 3 dogs with no specific dietary requirements. The cost will vary dependent on the age, size, breed, and dietary requirement of your dog.
Small puppy - £21.86 / month - 5.5kg Bag
Large adult - £49.98 / month - 14.26kg Bag
Medium senior - £24.41 / month - 6.39kg Bag
What to know if you switch to Tails.com
Portioning - Because Tails provides portions based on your pets requirements, it makes it easy to feed your pet exactly what they need.
Service - They have a free delivery service where your food will arrive within a 3-day window or a named day service for an extra cost. Having food delivered can be useful as it should mean you won't run out or need to go to the shops to buy it. And Tails has a customer service team that can help if your pet isn't getting on with its food.
Cost - Tails.com kibble is more cost-effective than some of the other options we looked at. However, in terms of all dry kibble brands, it is at the higher end of prices.
Like Tails, Butternut box is a pet food subscription service. It delivers tailored wet food, treats and biscuits for dogs.
How much does it cost to feed your dog Butternut Box?
We got these prices using their meal planner in March 2021. We used three dogs of different sizes that had no dietary requirements. Be aware that the cost may vary depending on the age, size, breed, and dietary requirements of your dog.
Butternut suggested portions of 500g a day for the puppy, 800g a day for the adult and 600g a day for the older (but energetic) senior.
Small Puppy - £74.20 / month - 28 x 500g Packs (£2.65 a day)
Large Adult - £109.76 / month - 56 x 400g Packs (£3.92 a day)
Medium Senior - £39.90 / month - 28 x 600g Packs (£3.20 a day)
What to know if you switch to Butternut Box
Convenience - Butternut Box makes it easy to choose your food, create a plan and ensure your pet transitions well. Their website is easy to follow and has a simple step by step guide to creating your plan.
Quality - Butternut say they use the best quality ingredients and we saw reviews from people who spoke highly of the food.
Cost - Because it's a subscription service, Butternut may appear to cost more than traditional brands you'll find in the supermarket. But don't forget you're paying for the convenience of having it delivered and potentially higher quality ingredients.
Lily’s Kitchen is growing in popularity and as well as a delivery service you can find some of its products in supermarkets. They say their food contains fresh or freshly prepared natural ingredients and they've worked with vets on the nutritional mix. And they care about the environment too, they try to make their packaging eco-friendly and they're a certified B Corp, which means their products benefit consumers and society.
Along with thinking about the serious things, Lily's Kitchen also tries to inject a bit of fun into pet food. They have limited edition options for cats and dogs, including seasonal meals to celebrate Christmas and Easter.
How much does dog food from Lily's Kitchen cost?
These prices were created by using their meal planner for three dogs of different sizes with no specific dietary requirements. Be aware the cost may vary depending on the age, size, breed, and dietary requirements of your dog. We got the prices in March 2021.
Small Puppy - £48 / month - 7kg Bag
Large Adult - £72 / month - 12kg Bag
Medium Senior - £48 / month - 7kg Bag
What to know if you switch to Lily's Kitchen
Quality of food - Lily’s Kitchen do seem to care about the quality of the food. They are transparent about the ingredients they use and the process behind making their food.
Nutrition guide - Lily’s Kitchen offer support and advice, including a handy calculator that helps you work out what you need to feed your pet on a day-to-day basis.
Choice - They have a wide range of products for all ages, tastes and dietary requirements. So if you have a picky pet, they might have a good option for you.
Recipe changes - We did see some reviews from customers that said they'd seen recipes change slightly. Although it's unlikely you'll see significant changes, with a brand that's dedicated to the best ingredients, they may have to adjust recipes to maintain that quality.
Raw Food Brands you may not have heard of
With Raw food, typically you can buy it in two ways; home-prepared or pre-prepared. Many of the vets we spoke to recommended buying pre-pared raw meals from brands because it can be difficult to get the right mix of nutrients if you do it yourself.
Find out more with our guide to everything owners need to know about raw food.
Natures Menu is a Norfolk-based raw dog and cat food supplier. They offer a selection of raw food products, including a choice of meat and fish combinations. They also offer home prepare meats, which gives you the freedom to tailor the meal to your pet.
How much does dog food from Natures Menu cost?
This is based on their feeding guidance of around 500g a day for a small puppy, 950g a day for a large adult, and 350g a day for a medium senior. We looked at prices in March 2021.
Small Puppy - £59.85 / month - 15 x 1kg Bag (£47.88 with current 5 for 4 offer)
Large Adult - £119.70 / month - 30 x 1kg Bag (£95.97 with current 5 for 4 offer)
Medium Senior - £39.90 / month - 10 x 1kg Bag (£31.92 with current 5 for 4 offer)
What to think about if you switch to Natures Menu
Service - Natures Menu have years of experience and offer pre-prepared food, allowing someone who may be new to raw to easily transition their pet to this diet.
Products - They offer a good range of products within both of their pre-prepared and home-prepared ranges. On their website they have handy feeding guidelines, so you can enter the details of your pet and they will pick out the best product for you and suggest how much you should feed them.
Cost - As with many raw brands, the cost is higher than kibble or wet food from big brands. But remember that you're paying for a different quality of food and supporting a smaller business.
Switching - Some owners have trouble switching pet food, particularly going from non-raw to raw. You should get advice from a vet if you have any concerns.
Natures Menu tries to help with switching food by providing feeding and nutrition guides from their vet team on their website.
Honey’s are a family-owned raw dog food producer based in Wiltshire and they are firm believers in raw food and the benefits that it brings to dogs. They have consulted with vets to get the right mix of nutrients and they're passionate about making sure they're using the best ingredients and have a positive impact on the environment. Their meat is free-range and organic, and they visit all suppliers to ensure they're meeting high animal welfare standards.
How much does dog food from Honey’s cost?
This is based on their guidelines of feeding around 250g a day for a small dog, 600g a day for a large adult, and 400g a day for a medium senior.
Small dog - £59.50 / month - 14 x 500g Chubs
Large Adult - £144.50 / month - 34 x 500g Chubs
Medium Senior - £102 / month - 24 x 500g Bag
What to know if you switch to Honey’s
Quality - Honey’s goes out of their way to source the best quality ingredients and it seems to be at the core of their values.
Guidance - Honey’s website is full of knowledge, passion, and experience. It is clear they are real believers in raw and want to ensure consumers understand it to gain the benefits of it.
Cost - This resonates across all raw food suppliers, it is more expensive than standard dry or wet dog food, however, you are paying for a different quality of ingredients and supporting independent businesses.
Alternative pet food brand you may not have heard of
Yora say they are the "only ethical and sustainable alternative to traditional meat and fish sourced pet food that is fully suited to your pet’s digestive system". It is insect protein-based pet food, that aims to reduce the environmental impact of the food you buy, without reducing the proteins and nutrients your pet needs. It is available in Pets Corner stores and online.
How much does Yora pet food cost?
Daily suggestion for a small puppy is around 200g (6kg a month), large adult is 350g (10.5kg), and medium senior is 150g (4.5kg).
Small Puppy - - 12kg bag every 2 months
Large Adult - £71.99 / month - 12kg bag
Medium Senior - £35.97 / month - 3 x 1.5kg Bag
What to think about if you switch to Yora
Concept - Yora is a new way of looking at pet food. Some people may find it odd to give their pets insect-based food but they do have high nutritional content and it looks like standard dry food.
Planet-Friendly - Many people are becoming conscious of the environmental impact of all kinds of products, including the items they buy for their pets. Yora is proven to have a much lower carbon footprint than standard dry pet food, and so far they say they’ve saved nearly 5,000,000kg of carbon.
Switching - Changing your pet food will be a transition that you will need to phase-in. Feel free to ask your vet or a specialist for advice about how to switch to a new kind of food.
Pure Pet Food
Pure Pet Food have created food that has zero preservatives and is air-dried, so you need to add water to it.
How much does it cost to feed Pure Pet Food?
These prices were created using their meal planner in March 2021. We looked at prices for three dogs with no specific dietary requirements, and three sizes shown below. Please be aware that costs may vary depending on the age, size, breed, and dietary requirement of your pet.
Small Puppy - £54.40 / month - 32 x £1.70 a day (Currently offering 50% off the transition pack)
Large Adult - £89.28 / month - 32 x £2.79 a day (Currently offering 50% off the transition pack)
Medium Senior - £54.40 / month - 32 x £1.70 a day (Currently offering 50% off the transition pack)
What to know if you switch to Pure Pet Food
Quality - Pure say that because the food is air-dried it locks in the nutrients and offers a meal that can support your pet's health.
Service - We saw reviews from many customers who have spoken of the speed of Pure's service. For example, if their dog didn't like something, Pure has been very quick to change it. The website is easy to use and allows you to create a custom plan in minutes.
Cost - It is more expensive than dry kibble but it's more affordable than some of the other brands we listed in this guide and it has occasional offers.
Smell - We saw some reviews that said Pure has a particularly strong smell. Hopefully, you won't notice it too much if your pet wolfs it down. And don't forget you'll need to add water and mix it in, which requires a little more effort than standard wet food.
Remember, if you're considering switching pet food it's worth getting advice from your vet. You can also check out our guide to switching pet food.