More and more of us are concerned about what our pets are eating. Not only do the ingredients lists need attention, but an increasing number of our dogs also have health issues, so finding the right food can really make a difference.
Tails is a subscription dog food service which tailors your dog’s food recipe to what they need. If they suffer from allergies or intolerances, need to lose/gain a bit of weight, or need a bit of help with their digestion, Tails adjusts their ingredients list to suit.
The food you buy from the supermarket isn’t always clear on contents and may not cater towards what exactly you need – so Tails will give you peace of mind across the board. Plus, it is delivered straight to your door when you need it.
How Tails.com Works
You input their age, breed, weight, activity level, health issues and potential allergies. Once you’ve submitted the key details, Tails can create your unique recipe using their specialised algorithm.
The questionnaire is super easy to fill out, with tick boxes and autofill options to ensure you give the right answers, and it isn’t too confusing. They have a team of vets and nutritionists, so it can really narrow down your choice.
The food gives your dog the perfect balance of meat, vegetables and minerals while adding and leaving out any ingredients which are beneficial or detrimental. You can choose to leave out some of the most common allergens, such as beef and grains, as well as alerting the team to any digestive, joint, or skin issues.
They will ask you whether your dog currently eats dry or wet food and whether you need some treats too. All of the data you input will allow them to choose from over 1 million combinations to find your pooch their ideal food.
All of the food and combinations are overseen by the Tails head vet Sean McCormack, as well as a small team of pet nutritionists to ensure that every ingredient is safe and works with the other combinations to provide something which is safe and perfect for your dog.
And, it is delivered to your door every month (the food is worked out to last this long), and your first bag comes with a handy scoop as well as some information about the food, and how to safely switch them to the new stuff.
What We Tried
The team over at Tails were kind enough to gift some food so we could see what all the fuss was about.
We tried it out on 3 of our office dogs, all with different needs. First up was Staffordshire Bull Terrier x Lurcher x Lab Retriever Pippa, who has a lot of allergies which cause skin irritation. She needed food which avoids using wheat, beef, chicken, soya, dairy and egg, so salmon and lamb were on the menu.
Then, Lab x Staffie x Pointer Dodger. There are no foods he needs to avoid, but he has a couple of digestive issues from time to time, which give us everything from wind to toilet trouble. He’s also a little fussy – if he doesn’t like what is in his dish, he is stubborn enough to go on a hunger strike.
Finally, French Bulldog Hugo. He has no known allergies but gluten had to be excluded due to an intolerance, and he can also suffer from a sensitive stomach so needs food changing slowly to avoid tummy upsets.
All of the most common allergen ingredients were off the menu with Pippa, including chicken, which is the meat often used in hypoallergenic foods as it isn’t seen as being as great a risk, and is easy to digest. So, salmon and lamb were chosen by Tails to be the main protein sources for her blend.
The addition of prebiotics also helps with digestion, as do natural ingredients such as brown rice and beet pulp. The food went down a treat and was mixed with a bit of Pippa’s original wet food (which you can also do if this is how your dog usually has their meals). When you’re selecting what food to get, just input that they usually have wet too, as well as any treats.
Knowing how much to feed your dog is also a confusing point for many dog parents, so the scoop which can be adjusted to suit the size needed is a great little tool. Pippa needed two scoops of food on setting L-11, which is 280g in total.
As mentioned, Dodger has sensitive digestion. There are no allergies or intolerances, but we worked out through trial and error that he is best on plain dry food to avoid the loose motions and flatulence. And we really really wanted to avoid any more of the latter for the sake of our noses.
He is also fussy, simply staring at anything you put in his dish which he doesn’t like. The food was delicious enough to encourage him to stay at his dish as he ate, as he has a habit of bringing his food into the living room so he doesn’t miss out on anything which is going on. Plus, it did the job with his digestive system.
Initially a little bit wary of what we were up to, Dodger soon accepted his new food. He needed two scoops of the biscuits on the H-8 setting, which was actually a bit more than we were feeding him (he didn’t complain, of course). The scoop was, therefore, a really handy addition to the food
Because Hugo can suffer from an upset stomach with quick food changes, switching to a new brand isn’t something which is done regularly. So, the advice which Tails gave his owners about switching was very welcomed.
It is a plan organised by their team of vets, using 70% old and 30% new on day 1 and 2, 50% old and 50% new on days 3-4, 30% old and 70% new on days 5-6 and finally on day 7 they can have 100% new food.
The switch was really easy, with no health or digestive issues to report. And the food received no complaints, either.
What Extras They Offer
Their tailor-made dry dog food is their main product, but they also make puppy, senior, wet, hypoallergenic and sensitive stomach food.
Tails don’t just do their main meals either – they have a shop with chews, treats, dental dailies, and even poo bags. The ability to add these to your delivery every month will definitely come in handy for anyone who runs out of anything regularly.
For anybody concerned about how the production of pet food is affecting the planet, they’re also big on social responsibility. They use everything they can to reduce waste in the world, any waste from production doesn’t go anywhere near landfill, and 85% of the packaging they use is recyclable.
As mentioned, the food is delivered straight to your door. This will likely be a selling point for some people alone. The food is delivered monthly, although you can change this. But the idea behind the different sized bags is that the food should last one month, to keep you on track.
Once you have ordered, you have a handy online account which has all of the information you need for reference again, from what every biscuit kibble does to how much to feed them. From the Tails dog food login page, you can pause or adjust deliveries.
The price is mid-range, more expensive than you’d probably pay at the supermarket for those generic brands but well worth that bit more for the convenience. Oh, and if they don’t like it first time around, Tails will reblend it for free. There are also tips on their website on how to make it more delicious, such as adding gravy, heating it to release the flavour or moistening the biscuits.
Which Ingredients Do They Use?
Meat and fish are the standout main ingredients. They give your dog a source of protein, as well as essential fatty acids. Lamb fat and gravy, salmon and chicken are the meat sources which Tails use, which are all gentle on the stomach and unlikely to cause intolerances.
Vegetables and wholegrains also play a big part. Peas are widely beneficial, beet pulp is good for the digestive system and gut, and potatoes are an easily digestible carbohydrate. Brown rice, oats, sweet potatoes, and carrots are also used.
Prebiotics for gastrointestinal health and Glucosamine for joints are also added.
What Are The Negatives?
There aren’t many. Not every single combination is available yet – for example, food which excludes chicken automatically excludes grains too. There are no low-risk intolerance meats available, such as duck or venison, which some who need a hypoallergenic blend commonly switch to in order to keep the food risk-free.
But the five ingredients which are most likely to cause an allergic reaction (beef, eggs, dairy, soya, and wheat) aren’t used.
But there is a good chance that you will still be able to find a happy medium and something which your pup loves. As mentioned, if they don’t like it, Tails will reblend it for free, helping you to narrow down any issues.
How Much Is Tails.com Dog Food?
Your dog’s recipe is unique, which means your price will be too. Sorry, we can’t be any more narrow than that!
It is bought direct, which cuts down the price a little bit. Delivery is free for mainland UK, too. But for clarity, Dodger’s food would have been £23 for a 6.32kg bag.
Can I Cancel Tails.com Dog Food?
Yes! Cancel at any time, or just pause it if you will want to pick up again in the future.
Many people don’t like the idea of signing up to subscriptions for fear of long-running contracts, paying money up front and not getting the service you want. None of that is present here. If you have any issues, customer service is on hand to sort it out before you have to cancel.
This is the beauty of a subscription service – you have an online profile, and every control is just a click away, so you don’t even have to talk to a real human to cancel!