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Whether you’re one of the many people who adopted a “pandemic puppy” or a “quarantine kitten” or you’re an experienced pet parent in search of even more nutritious food for your cat or dog, we’ve got some ideas for you to consider. Our correspondent has curated a list of the 9 absolutely best luxury gourmet pet cat and dog food brands, including wet, dry kibble and home delivery options.

a golden era for gourmet pet food

Pet food has certainly evolved from my childhood memories of owning cats and dogs. As the older, wiser and more responsible sibling (sorry, little bro), I was tasked with feeding our furry friends every morning and evening. Though I loved seeing our animals get so excited, for me it was an odious task.

That stuff was certainly not a fancy feast. More like a really smelly one.

These days, though, gourmet pet food options have evolved into more thoughtful and inspired concoctions.  That means that they’re healthier for our pets and less onerous on our human senses, too.

Recently the Food Network star and celebrity chef, Bobby Flay, launched a high-quality cat food brand, Made by Nacho, named after his beloved Maine Coon kitty.

best luxury gourmet pet cat and dog food brands, including wet, dry kibble and home delivery

The best luxury gourmet pet cat and dog food brands, including wet, dry kibble and home delivery options.

He joins the ranks of other pet-loving celebrities involved in gourmet pet food brands like Ellen Degeneres’ Halo and Rachel Ray’s Nutrish.

And in our one-click shopping culture, it’s easier to get these and other customized gourmet pet food brands delivered right to your home.

ready to level up your pet’s daily meals?

If you’re one of the many new pet owners to emerge from the pandemic, here is our guide to the best of the best brands of gourmet pet food to pamper your pooch or kitty. ‘Cause why not upgrade from the usual supermarket fare, and choose from sustainable salmon, venison stew or heritage bison.

The best luxury gourmet pet cat and dog food brands, including wet, dry kibble and home delivery.

Of course, lots of pet parents opt to cook for their fur babies, since many of the things we eat are equally healthy and nutritious for them. We are somewhat ashamed to admit it, but since we don’t cook much for the humans in our family, we’re just not seeing ourselves cooking for our pets. Given our kitchen skills, they’re probably really relieved to hear that.

So, we’re back to the luxury brands that promise the flavor and nutrients of a home-cooked meal with the convenience of supermarket brand. All of the brands on our list adhere to what veterinarian Jennifer Freeman says is necessary in “premium” pet food: meat for protein, vitamin-packed vegetables and fruit,  and omega fatty acids for a shiny coat.

The best luxury gourmet pet cat and dog food brands, including wet, dry kibble and home delivery.

They are also less likely to contain fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy. Whether your cat or dog needs or prefers dry, wet, raw or fresh food, here are the luxury gourmet pet food brands to know to make your pet’s meals a breeze.

Unfortunately, if you’re human, you’re on your own.

The best gourmet dog and cat pet food brands right now

Best Gourmet Kibble and dry dog and cat pet food brands

Kibble is the most popular food for dogs. It is estimated that upwards of 80 to 90 percent of owners feed dry food to their pups. The pellets are comprised of meat, grains, vegetables and other nutrients that are made into a dough. Like the puffed breakfast cereal that is made for human consumption, the dough is pushed through a machine.

It uses pressurized steam or hot water to cook the ingredients. While less popular for cats, some owners turn to kibble for convenience and for particular dietary considerations in different life stages. In looking for the best dry food, Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine points out that dogs and cats “evolved as hunters that consume prey that contains high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates, and their diet still requires these general proportions today.”

1. Orijen.

Orijen is consistently ranked as one of the best pet foods by top pet publications. It has also won awards like Best Pet Food of the Year from The Glycemic Research Institute. Their WholePrey ratios mirror the foods dogs and cats evolved to eat over thousands of years which means it incorporates fresh meat, organs, cartilage and bone. There is no need for long lists of synthetic additives because almost every nutrient your dog or cat needs is in those first five ingredients.

best gourmet pet food brands

2. Merrick.

Merrick is known for their novel protein sources like buffalo, duck, venison, and rabbit in addition to more common menu items like beef, chicken, and salmon. Moreover, their pet food leads the industry in levels of Omega-6 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids for healthy skin and shiny coat. In side to side comparisons with other pet food brands, it has come out on top for more protein and a better balance of ingredients.

3. Ziwi.

Doesn’t everything from New Zealand just seem healthier? Ziwi is a pet food company borne from the island and uses a slow and gentle air-drying technology that locks in the goodness of its raw ingredients, without the use of artificial preservatives. The process is also known for removing pathogenic bacteria like E. coli, salmonella, and listeria. As for taste, high inclusions of meat, seafood, organs, and bone in whole-prey ratios satisfy your pet’s inner beast.

Best luxury gourmet Wet dog and cat pet food brands

Wet food is typically thought of as more appetizing to dogs and cats but has the reputation of being less healthy. Some common concerns are that it contains too much fat for certain breeds of dogs. It also increases tartar buildup faster than a kibble diet.

While your vet will ultimately be the best person to guide you and your pet, wet food does have many pros according to Jenna Stregowski, RVT It has a higher water content which is beneficial for pets who don’t drink much water naturally. And wet food is usually less processed than kibble and higher in protein and fat which mimics the animals’ ancestral diets.

4. Taste of the Wild.

In our research across mainstream lifestyle publications and pet specific blogs, the Taste of the Wild brand is consistently and enthusiastically recommended. The high quality formulas incorporate unique and highly digestible animal proteins including real venison, salmon, lamb, wild boar, roasted fowl or bison. Its products have been the recognized by the Pet Independent Innovation Awards.

best gourmet pet food brands

5. Open Farm.

If you’re an animal lover, it makes sense that you’d care about ethically sourced meat for your pet. Open Farm uses the best human grade ingredients and each recipe is made with sustainably sourced meat or fish and non-GMO veggies. The proteins are also free from antibiotics or growth hormones. We love the re-sealable carton packaging for us humans which means no more open canned pet food staring at us in the fridge!

6. Weruva.

Weruva is a family-owned company who makes their pet foods in a human grade food facility. Their standards have been certified by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). Each meal must meet the strictest standards, including those of the European Union. In fact, we’d caution pet owners to keep their dog food cans far away from their pantry lest they mistake it for a can of soup in a pinch. Their pet foods use the same ingredients that actually go into products for people. This includes boneless, skinless chicken breast and fish loins hand-flaked off the bone.

Best luxury gourmet Fresh dog and cat pet Food brands

Think of it as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh for your pets. The newest thing in pet food is fresh food subscriptions that deliver straight to your door. According to Dr. Lindsey Bullen, a veterinary nutritionist with the Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas, fresh pet food is simply pet food that’s made with fewer or no preservatives.

It can be made at home or packaged in a facility and then frozen. Many of these fresh pet food brands also customize their meals for your pet’s profile. If you have pets who are picky eaters or who need a health makeover, many owners are adamant that fresh food has made a huge difference in their pet’s weight and energy.

7. The Farmer’s Dog.

The Farmer’s Dog, currently only available for canines, was created by two dog lovers who did not feel good about feeding their pets with “highly-processed, burnt brown balls.” Working with top vet nutritionists, the food is formulated and pre-portioned for your dog’s specific needs. Think breed, age, activity level, weight and sensitivities. They source from reputable food suppliers, local farms, and other human food purveyors that meet USDA standards. Just open and poor and save your dog from unnecessary preservatives.

best gourmet pet food brands

8. Spot & Tango.

Another popular fresh food brand for discerning dog owners and dogs is Spot & Tango. The company produces an “UnKibble” line of dry foods and fresh food. Both are made with 100% fresh, human-grade ingredients and contain no artificial preservatives, fillers, or additives. They are also GMO and hormone free. Each menu is customized using a proprietary questionnaire and based on your dog’s age, weight, breed, and health goals.

9. Nom Nom.

Using only restaurant-quality proteins and vegetables, Nom Nom produces fresh dog and cat food prepped right here in the USA. Each ingredient is cooked individually to retain maximum nutrients which means the food is highly digestible. Once cooked, the ingredients are mixed into small batches, perfectly balanced for your pet. The subscription based service delivers right to your door.

Smalls produces both dry and fresh food just for the felines. The dry food is freeze-dried and raw- just like in the wild. It’s available in chicken, turkey and duck recipes that retain the nutritional benefits of a high-protein diet. Their fresh food options are all produced with USDA-certified. They are all humanely-harvested, and sustainably-sourced ingredients from Wild Alaska Pollack to beef to turkey. Knowing how picky cats can be, Smalls makes these foods available in “smooth” and “ground” mouthfeels.

The best gourmet dog and cat pet food brands

That’s our take on how to treat your fur babies to the best luxury gourmet cat and dog food brands, whether you’re in the market for wet, dry kibble or fresh pet foods and ideas for home delivery. What do you think, dear reader? Are you ready to level up when it comes to your beloved pet’s food?

Julie Murphy

Julie began her career in fashion as a design intern at 3.1 Phillip Lim after graduating from Parsons School of Design. As the fashion editor at Dandelion Chandelier, she brings over a decade of experience as a designer and marketing creative to cover trends and styling.