Finding the perfect food for your VIP (Very Important Pet) can feel like an impossible challenge. You want something tasty, healthy, and convenient. In my quest to find just this for my dog, I had the pleasure of reviewing Butternut Box. But what makes Butternut Box so special? To begin with, the food is so fresh and made with only the best quality ingredients that you could eat it.
Your box arrives on your doorstep and you’re made very aware that bulk buying traditional dog food won’t take up as much space in your fridge-freezer as this will. However, traditional dog food doesn’t offer recipe options like Butternut does.
Nothing goes into the food that isn’t beneficial, and this is where it stands out amongst the crowd. Subscription boxes can feel like a faff, and sometimes an unnecessarily expensive one, but Butternut Box offers what traditional stores can’t. The menu is completely tailored to your dog, their likes and dislikes, and any health conditions are taken into consideration. One diet does not fit all, just as is the case with humans. Pet food products are changing, and Butternut Box are one of the best at what they do.
At a Glance: What We Reviewed
|Our Favorite||Chicken You Out||
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|Beef It Up||
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|Gobble Gobble Turkey||
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|Pork This Way||
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|Duo of Duck & Chicken||
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Butternut Box Dog Food Reviewed
Here’s a little bit of background about Butternut Box and the overall compatibility of their products and your dog.
Who Makes Butternut Box and Where Is It Produced?
The Butternut Box story began in London, with two friends (Kev and Dave) and a dog who couldn’t stop farting. In February 2010, Dave’s family rescued a dog with health problems. They struggled to find the right diet to help their flatulent dog, so they started to cook their own meals.
When Dave shared this journey with his friend Kev later in 2015, they decided to cook for more dogs. They worked nights and weekends and delivered the food themselves. They made the leap in 2016 to focus solely on creating fresh meals for dogs, and so Butternut Box was born.
From there Butternut Box has only grown, they’ve moved out of Dave’s kitchen, more people have joined their journey, and they’ve added new recipes to their menu. Their aim is to feed dogs good quality food, and they are one of the best at it—they even donate a meal to those less fortunate with each new sign-up.
Which Types of Dog is Butternut Box Best Suited For?
One of the best things about Butternut Box is it is completely tailored to your dog. When you first sign up you’ll be asked some questions: how active is your dog; are you aware of any allergies; are they fussy; are you aware of any health issues? Once you’ve answered all the questions, a menu is created specifically for your dog and all of their needs.
Dogs can go from fussy eaters to a foodie. Butternut will grow with your puppy, as you change the information in your dog’s account the meals will also be adjusted. Is your aim to help your overweight dog lose a few pounds? Butternut will create perfectly portioned, low-fat meals, and as they lose weight, the pouch sizes will change too.
Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good & Bad)
Since Butternut Box prides itself on its healthy, fresh ingredients you’ll want to feel assured that’s what you’re getting when you sign up. Butternut offers 10 varied recipes and we’ve gone through their ingredients for you, to give you some peace of mind.
The Main Ingredient: Protein
Animals primarily use protein as a main energy source, and it plays a vital role in healing, building, and maintaining body tissues to both regulate and protect body processes, like the immune system for example. So, the quality, type, and amount in each meal are crucial, not only to your dog’s enjoyment but also to her health.
Chicken is considered to be a lean meat and provides your dog with its main energy source without a big calorie count. It’s also full of omega fatty acids and amino acids, which will maintain a healthy coat and skin.
Beef is a quality source of protein that builds muscle mass. It’s high in fat which makes your dog feel fuller quicker than other sources of protein may. It’s also an excellent source of nutrients like B vitamins, zinc, iron, and selenium.
Just like chicken, turkey is a lean, white meat. It’s a highly digestible source of protein that promotes strong bones and helps dogs to build muscle. It’s full of thiamine (also known as vitamin B1), which is good for the brain and other high-energy organs. Turkey also offers an alternative option for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities to a beef or chicken-based recipe.
Pork is a perfect source of amino acids and is also rich in thiamine, like turkey. It promotes strong bones and builds muscle and tends to be a less common choice in dog foods.
Lamb is packed with vitamin B12 and is an excellent source of high-quality protein and essential dietary fats, as well as amino acids which are vital nutrients for your dog.
Duck is a lean, easy-to-digest protein. It is rich in iron and an excellent source of amino acids, which promote strong muscles. Duck is sometimes offered as an alternative to dogs suffering from food sensitivities or allergies.
Fish is a healthy source of protein and is an excellent alternative for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies to chicken-based recipes. It is rich in omega fatty acids and relatively low in saturated fats.
Game (Minced Venison, Wild Boar, Guinea Fowl)
Venison and wild boar are packed full of nutrients and contain iron, zinc, and high amounts of B vitamins. Both promote a healthy immune system, organ function, and overall well-being of your dog. Guinea fowl is high in protein and low in fat, so it’s a leaner alternative to chicken with a richer flavor. Its meat is rich in essential nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin A.
Going grain-free has come under scrutiny because there’s some debate that a lack of grains in a dog’s diet is more harmful than healthy. However, can the value of food really be down to one ingredient? Well, yes and no.
Dogs with grain intolerances will benefit from the lack of itchy skin, stinky poops, and all that farting that has their best friend (you) avoiding them for the rest of the day with these recipes. Dogs without this intolerance also benefit from more energy, better digestion, and an enviable shiny coat. A grain-free diet done this way has its advantages; obesity is a very common health problem in dogs and when they eat food filled with grains it may result in a higher intake of energy than they’re burning off, leading to weight gain.
The point of Butternut Box is the convenience of home-cooked food delivered to your door. In other words, if you were to think up recipes for that very special pooch in your life, this is probably how you’d do it.
Something Else You Should Know
Butternut Box has been developed alongside nutritionists and everything in a recipe has been carefully selected. The idea behind each meal was they would be made using freshly prepared human-quality ingredients, a mixture of whole lentils, vegetables, herbs, and omega oils from seeds.
Carbohydrates are an important part of your dog’s diet, they are a great source of energy and they’re coming from lentils, sweet potatoes, and vegetables in these recipes. These are examples of complex carbohydrates and because they have a low glycemic index they don’t cause spikes in blood sugar.
Ready Steady Veggie and Plant Get Enough are non-meat options that are low in fat and easy to digest. The Ready Steady Veggie recipe includes butternut squash, cottage cheese, eggs, and parsley. Plant Get Enough is a hearty casserole made up of sweet potatoes, butternut squash, linseed, and cranberries.
Butternut Box announced these new options after owners stated they wanted to offer their dogs a vegetable-based dish once a week. These dishes don’t compromise on the essential protein or nutrients that your dog needs to stay healthy.
A Quick Look at Butternut Box Dog Food
Reviews of the 3 Best Butternut Box Dog Food Recipes
1. Chicken You Out — Our Favorite
The chicken recipe is not just our favorite, it is also Butternut’s most popular recipe for dogs and puppies alike. It’s one of the lighter dishes and the smell will remind you of homemade chicken pie!
There is nothing to hide, so Butternut Box lists all of their ingredients and nutritional information clearly on their website so you know exactly what you’re feeding your beloved dog. Like all of its recipes, it’s grain-free. It’s low in fat and not filled with any nasty preservatives or fillers. The nutritional information breakdown is as follows: 13.0% crude protein, 5.0% crude oils and fats, 0.7% crude fibers, 2.0% crude ash, and 69.0% moisture content.
The meals always begin with protein and this dish uses 60% chicken: minced chicken and chicken liver. So, not only is your dog getting the benefit of this lean meat, but they’re also benefitting from the liver which is rich in amino acids, and a wonderful source of zinc, copper, iron, and vitamins A, B, and D. These vitamins look after the digestion, reproductive organs, immune function, and mental and nerve health.
From the first bite of this meal our dog fell in love with this recipe and licked the bowl clean. It smells great and even looks pretty appetizing, which was a bonus you don’t really appreciate until you’re not having to spoon traditional wet food out of a can anymore. Chicken, of course, might not work for some dogs, especially those suffering from food allergies and sensitivities.
2. Beef It Up
This recipe is described as being like shepherd’s pie and is made with 60% beef (Minced Beef, Ox Heart, and Ox Liver.) Organ meat is packed with vital nutrients and is a rich source of vitamins A, B, D, and E, as well as important minerals such as iron, phosphorous, selenium, and zinc.
Just like the chicken recipe, it is grain-free, and because it’s frozen straight after cooking it’s free from preservatives and fillers. I struggled to find something that could be improved upon with this recipe, but the only thing worth noting is she filled up faster on this so I ended up with more leftovers in the fridge, which would be an issue if you’re tight on space.
3. Ready Steady Veggie
We didn’t get this recipe with our two-week introduction to Butternut, but I wanted to mention it because it’s new and a pretty exciting addition to the menu. The idea of feeding a dog a vegetarian meal seems controversial. They’re carnivores through and through, right?
According to Butternut Box, domestic dogs are actually omnivores. This means they can eat all different types of food, which is kind of proven by all the veggies dogs seem to enjoy in the meat recipes. You’re not losing anything nutritionally either: the crude protein is 10.0% and the recipe is packed with essential minerals and vitamins A, D, and E.
These veggie meals can be eaten alone or mixed in with a meat of your dog’s choice and it offers something different from what both of you are used to. It’s packed with fiber and the cottage cheese, eggs, pulses, and the protein in the potato (yup, it turns out you can get protein from a potato) work together to provide the amino acids to build up your dog’s healthy muscles!
This choice isn’t for everyone, however, but luckily there are a lot of other choices if the veggie option isn’t for you.
Our Experience With Butternut Box
The experience with Butternut Box was a pleasure from beginning to end. The website is easy to navigate and took me through all the questions about my dog from her name, age, breed, and weight to more specific questions about how many walks she takes and does she have any allergies. Once I had our plan, getting the food was so simple. I was informed every step of the way about the status of her food.
I was given a time slot for my delivery and it arrived right on time. The food was well packaged and undamaged when it got to me. Two of my sachets of food had started to defrost by the time I got them, but the information inside the packaging let me know that if that happens, the food is fine and I could just stick it in the freezer.
Portions and Personalization
My dog Maddie is a foodie, so I knew I wouldn’t have a battle in easing her into this transition like I might have had to do with a fussier eater. I set aside 7 sachets in the fridge as instructed and kept the rest in the freezer. The packets aren’t resealable, but I just kept half in a tub in the fridge for Maddie’s next meal.
I followed the advice and mixed in her new food with her old, just in case there were any tummy upsets but she transitioned easily. Maddie enjoys warm food and usually warming up dog food is an unpleasant experience but the food smelled amazing—good enough for my dinner, although I don’t think she would have liked to share.
Before we started this diet she had been having some problems with pooping regularly, but I noticed a difference very quickly that she became much more regular again. In all aspects, the food was a success. Maddie started to become excited about mealtimes again and would pace and whine at me if I was a little late.
Space in your fridge and freezer could become a problem if you have more than one pet on this diet or a large dog, but it wasn’t a problem for us. And as previously mentioned, it is going to cost you for this service, but with Butternut Box, it isn’t just about the food, it’s about the dog’s well-being as a whole. Their attention to detail and their customer service really makes you feel like they care about your dog, which is obviously what you want, considering we all think our dog is the best dog there ever was (and we’re all right.)
The website from beginning to end is very user-friendly, even if computers confuse you a little. You can amend, pause, and cancel your subscription easily. A week into using the product, I received a call from Butternut Box asking how we were getting on with the food, and letting me know about the treats my dog might like based on her food preferences.
You can get biscuits and chews, and they even sell compostable poop bags that you can add to your next delivery. You also have access to a 24-hour vet service through your account which was an added extra I hadn’t expected.
My experience with Butternut Box was an interesting one — I didn’t know dog food could have big chunks of vegetables in it that my dog wouldn’t turn her nose up at, or smell as good as it did. Not only did I know the food I was giving my dog was healthy, but it was also tasty. She became excited about mealtimes again and bowls were licked clean.
The price and the space the food takes up may be off-putting, especially if you have large dogs using this plan exclusively. However, if you have the space and the money, it’s definitely worth it. This food gets two thumbs up from me and a rating of “paw-fect” from Maddie.