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When Barley and I lived in Latin America, I fed him home-prepared raw food. It was a ton of work and I didn’t always feel confident in his nutritional balance.
While I actually enjoyed preparing his food most days, I was thrilled to give NomNomNow a try upon return to the United States. They sent us a bit of food for Barley (which I shared with my dad’s aging lab), as well as some food for my dad’s aging cat Panda.
Thanks to NomNomNow for sending along the free food in exchange for our honest opinion!
NomNomNow at a Glance:
- $50/week for dog food delivery
- $14/week for cat food delivery
- High-quality, fresh ingredients
- Prepared 100% by NomNomNow (no 3rd parties)
- Recipes curated by a veterinary nutritionist
- Super tasty (according to my 3 pets)
- Each package is portioned for your pet – no measuring
- Each meal is individually wrapped – lots of packaging
My pets LOVED NomNomNow. I love the quality of the food. I don’t love the price or the packaging.
Once I’m settled into my house in Missoula, I might consider NomNomNow – but I’ve got to look at finances after buying a car and think through my budget carefully. I suspect pricing will be the biggest hurdle for you, too.
NomNomNow is a fresh dog and cat food delivery company. They’re founded by Dr. Justin Schmalberg, who’s a veterinary nutritionist.
That alone is enough to get my attention. I really value expertise, and I like supporting companies that feel the same way – especially when something impacts my pet’s health!
Dr. Schmalberg is all about integrative, preventative veterinary medicine. That means that the food he’s helped create at NomNomNow is ultra high-quality.
According to NomNomNow’s website, NomNomNow pet food is:
- Prepared from restaurant-quality ingredients
- Prepared with the highest food safety standards (I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it sounds good)
- Perfectly portioned for your pet – though this means there’s a lot of packaging, which I don’t love.
- The packaging is recyclable in some facilities, but I’m more of a “reduce” sorta girl. The convenience of opening a package and pouring it out for your pet is nice, but I don’t like how much packaging there is at all.
- Delivered to your door.
- Curated to meet and exceed AAFCO standards for pet food.
How Does NomNomNow Stand Up to WSAVA Guidelines?
The first thing I look for when I’m considering a new dog food (especially if it’s a boutique dog food brand) is their response to the questions laid out by WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association).
I emailed these questions to NomNomNow and was thrilled to get a response! Their team was really great working with me through this process.
I’ll bold the questions. NomNomNow’s responses are below each question. My commentary on those responses will be bulleted below the NomNomNow responses.
- Do you employ a full-time qualified nutritionist? What is this nutritionist’s name and qualifications? Who formulates your foods and what are his/her credentials?
- Our recipes were formulated by our board-certified veterinary nutritionist and Chief Nutrition Officer, Dr. Justin Shmalberg, DVM.
- My thoughts: excellent!
- Are your diets tested using AAFCO feeding trials or by formulation to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles? If the latter, do they meet AAFCO nutrient profiles by formulation or by analysis of the finished product?
- NomNomNow diets have not yet been through feeding trials, though our recipes have been formulated by our board-certified veterinary nutritionist, Dr. Justin Shmalberg, DVM, to meet (and exceed) AAFCO standards for all life stages. AAFCO feeding trials require that animals receive nothing but the diet, and this is only often practical in research settings. AAFCO trials only rely on minimal parameters for nutritional adequacy. We solicit health and wellness information from the parents of dogs and cats currently eating our food in the hopes of exceeding such standards. All of our diets are formulated to meet the nutrition recommendations of AAFCO and the combination of dietary testing and the well-known nutrition composition of USDA labeled foods for human consumption makes us confident that such diets would meet the standards of a feeding trial. We respect that some veterinarians find feeding trials important, and we agree that it’s good for diets to have been fed for a period of 6 months to ensure adequacy. Our formulas have all been given to customers for at least that period and no abnormalities have been reported.
- For more information, Dr. Shmalberg expands on AAFCO’s standards in this video.
- My thoughts: I love that they aim to meet and exceed AAFCO standards. And NomNomNow is totally correct that AAFCO is a minimum standard. The response does sound a touch defensive, and I’m not sure why they’ve decided not to go through with feeding trials.
- Where are your foods produced and manufactured?
- Our fresh, human-grade recipes are made in our state-of-the-art kitchens (located in San Francisco Bay Area and Nashville, Tennessee), which are 100% owned and controlled by NomNomNow. The kitchens are inspected and approved for the preparation of food for human consumption.
- My thoughts: This sounds excellent and is a very good response!
- What specific quality control measures do you use to assure the consistency and quality of your ingredients and the end product?
- Our food is made by the NomNomNow kitchen team (all of whom are direct employees of NomNomNow). Every one of our kitchen team members has a State of California issued Food Safety Certificate and is educated in food safety and quality control. From receipt of ingredients through cooking through packing through handoff to our delivery partner, our NomNomNow kitchen team adheres to strict quality control procedures.
- We do not use co-packers, as we insist on being fully involved in every step of the process to ensure our product is of the highest quality possible.
- My thoughts: again, this is a pretty good response. I like that they’re in control of the whole process.
- Will you provide a complete nutrient analysis for the dog or cat food in question?
- You can find our nutrient and guaranteed analysis on our recipe pages:
- My thoughts: I love that they make this easy to find on the site. It is potentially a bit misleading that you have to click on the small “guaranteed analysis” link in order to see the full ingredient list – which isn’t quite as short as the little one on the main page.
- What is the caloric value per gram, can, or cup of your foods?
- My thoughts: it’s up to you and your vet to determine how many calories per day are right for your pet. It’s good that this info is easy to find.
- What kind of product research has been conducted? Are the results published in peer-reviewed journals?
- We do not currently have peer-reviewed published data on the foods, but we have active investigations in collaboration with our internal scientists producing this data in a range of breeds, ages, etc.
- My thoughts: I’m a research junkie, so I’d love to see some research conducted and published. This is a bit of a downer, but, to be fair, I haven’t found many pet food companies with published research on their food at all. That’s not good overall, but it’s important to point out that lack of published research isn’t abnormal in this industry.
What My Pets Think of NomNomNow
Barley the Athlete
I'll start with my dog Barley. Barley is a bit of a chowhound. If I stop running or hiking with him (or we get careless with food storage), he eats too much and gains weight quickly!
I've loved how his coat looks and his body feels on home-prepared raw food. But I hate not knowing if I'm giving him the exact right diet.
Needless to say, Barley scarfed down the NomNomNow meals in no time, licking the bowl clean. We didn't keep him on NomNomNow food for long enough to see if it changed his coat or anything like that, but he definitely enjoyed the food!
I did notice that he seemed really energetic while eating NomNomNow, but that's not terribly abnormal for him. I think the fresh, high-quality ingredients would certainly help keep him fit and active.
Maya, the Aging Dog with Stomach Problems
Our older dog Maya is nearly 15. She's got a tumor in her abdomen and her her appetite can be quite poor nowadays.
Maya also LOVED NomNomNow, licking the bowl clean. I actually ended up giving most of Barley's portion to Maya, because she really needs to be eating more. If she'll eat NomNomNow, I want her to have it.
It's great to see an old, picky dog licking the bowl clean.
Panda, the Geriatric Cat with a Picky Streak
Panda used to be a big-time eater. But as he's gotten older (he's nearly 18), his appetite has decreased a lot. His teeth seem a bit painful, and he's reluctant to eat dry food.
But many canned foods seem rough on his stomach, leading to soft stool and even litterbox issues.
He also really loved NomNomNow! He didn't quite finish the portions offered to him, but they also seemed quite big. Perhaps for a younger, more active cat?
Panda seemed to prefer the fish-flavored NomNomNow, but he still really loved the chicken.
NomNomNow Review: My Final Verdict
NomNomNow sent me a week of free food for my pets. That's a $114 value (roughly), given that dog meals are $50 per week and cat meals are $14 per week.
I honestly doubt that I'll pay $50 per week for Barley's food in the future. I pay about $50 per week for MY food, and doubling that is just a big financial ask right now.
If it weren't for the cost, though, I think NomNomNow is my favorite pet food that I've tried so far.
I love that it's curated by experts, fresh, and delivered. I LOVE that.
My only other hesitation is the packaging. I wish there was a bulk option that came with a measuring cup, to reduce all that waste. Again, yes, the packaging is recyclable.
But with all the washing and rinsing to get it ready and the fact that some facilities can't handle ultra-soft plastics, it's not really a good counterpoint.
As I said before, I'm more of a "reducer" than a "recylcer" whenever possible. Even when I'm making more money and can afford NomNomNow, all that packaging will give me pause.
NomNomNow also sent me a microbiome testing kit and some microbiome supplements. I'm waiting to review those until I'm feeding Barley a consistent food again, so that I can fairly look at their effects. Stay tuned!
Kayla grew up in northern Wisconsin and studied ecology and animal behavior at Colorado College. She founded Journey Dog Training in 2013 to provide high-quality and affordable dog behavior advice. She’s an avid adventurer and has driven much of the Pan-American Highway with her border collie Barley. She now travels the US in a 2006 Sprinter with her two border collies, Barley and Niffler. Aside from running Journey Dog Training, Kayla also runs the nonprofit K9 Conservationists, where she and the dogs work as conservation detection dog teams.