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For years, all dog food looked the same. Cheap ingredients were processed, cooked, dehydrated, and processed some more until you ended up with a shelf-stable bag of little burnt balls called kibble.
Recently, however, it’s been going through a renaissance. New research has shown that traditional dog food just isn’t that nutritious, but minimally processed, fresh ingredients can have a profound effect on a dog’s overall health.
In fact, Veterinarian Michael W. Fox states, “paying more for quality foods means paying less for health problems because good nutrition is the cornerstone of preventive medicine and sustainable health-care.”1
A number of companies have emerged in recent years to create fresh dog foods that contain the appropriate vitamins and minerals that dogs need to thrive. But with so many services available, it’s hard to know which one is best for you and your dog.
In this review, we’ll compare two fresh dog food delivery services, Nom Nom and The Farmer’s Dog, and highlight the best of each company to help you decide which subscription service is right for you.
In this comparison:
- Nom Nom vs The Farmer’s Dog: At a glance
- Which is better for you (by category)
- What about Ollie?
- Overall winner
Nom Nom vs The Farmer’s Dog: At a glance
|Price||Starts at $2 a day*||Starts at $2 a day*|
|Promo discount||20% off your first order, or 50% off with our link||20% off your first order, or 60% off with our link|
|Protein options||Beef, Chicken, Turkey & Pork||Beef, Chicken, Turkey & Pork|
|Sourcing||Restaurant-quality proteins and vegetables are sourced from reputable U.S. growers and suppliers||All human-grade ingredients are sourced from reputable food suppliers, local farms, and other human food purveyors that meet USDA standards|
|Offers treats?||Yes; 2 single-ingredient options||No|
|Partial meal plans?||Yes. You can choose between full or half portions.||Yes. The Topper plan offers smaller meals to mix into and supplement current diets|
|Recipes created by board-certified veterinary nutritionists?||Yes||Yes|
|Accreditation||AAFCO certified for all life stages||USDA certified kitchen and meats, AAFCO certified for all life stages|
|Money-back guarantee?||Yes, for your first 30 days of food.||As long as you agree to donate the unused portion to a shelter, you’ll receive a full refund.|
|Cancel at any time?||Yes||Yes|
|Giving back||If you have adopted through a partner shelter, they’ll donate $50 back to the shelter or rescue in your name||No official charitable donation|
Nom Nom Dog Food vs The Farmer’s Dog: Which is best for you?
Next, we’ll compare how each company performs in different categories. Click an option from the list below to jump to that section.
- Snack options
- Ingredient quality
- Meal options
- Customizability (allergies, portion sizes & mixed recipes)
- Other products
- Packaging & sustainability
>> Read more: Spot and Tango Dog Food Review: Is It Worth It?
In addition to Nom Nom’s four meals, they also carry two single-ingredient snack options made from 100% USDA meats: chicken jerky and sirloin beef jerky. These treats are a big hit with our dog, and we love that they don’t contain any of the nasty chemical preservatives most dog treats include. You can make a one-off purchase or add them to your regular Nom Nom subscription.
Currently, The Farmer’s Dog doesn’t offer any dog treats.
Winner: Nom Nom
Feeding your pup quality ingredients is the top priority with these services. Not only do Nom Nom and The Farmer’s Dog use fresh ingredients, but you can also expect to see real food pieces like carrot and potato in each recipe. All meals are human-grade and formulated by board-certified veterinary nutritionists to be nutritionally balanced.
Both services minimally process the ingredients by cooking them separately over low heat to preserve as many nutrients as possible. You won’t see any of the artificial flavors, preservatives, fillers, meat-meals, or other nasty animal by-products traditional dry food includes. Once the food is cooked, it’s packaged and shipped, so you get fresh meals in a matter of days.
Nom Nom only uses restaurant-quality proteins and vegetables you would find on your own plate. The food is sustainably sourced whenever possible from trusted and reliable U.S. growers and suppliers. They prepare all their meals in relatively small made-to-order batches in their own Nashville and San Francisco kitchens, where the ingredients are inspected and rigorously tested. Nom Nom does their best to ensure zero food waste in their facilities.
The Farmer’s Dog recipes are made with USDA meats and the ingredients are sourced from reputable food suppliers, local farms, and other human food purveyors that meet USDA standards. The meals are prepared in a New York USDA-certified kitchen that has the same standards applied to human food. It is then gently cooked at low temperatures and then quickly frozen to be shipped.
Winner: Too close to call
Both pet food companies do an excellent job of sourcing healthy ingredients, so you’re in safe hands with either choice. However, we will say that in a side-by-side test, Nom Nom beats most other brands visually. Nom Nom’s meals feature whole morsels of food, so each bite is an identifiable ingredient. You can certainly see various real ingredients in The Farmer’s Dog food, but it’s more finely ground.
When comparing Nom Nom Now vs Farmer’s Dog, you’ll notice they have many similarities. Not only do they offer the same four protein options but even some of the same secondary ingredients.
Both food services utilize five to six core ingredients per meal, consisting of whole meats, healthy starches, and vegetables. But both then add supplemental minerals and essential vitamins to ensure the meals are nutritionally balanced for the health of your pet.
Both services have whole meat as their number one ingredient. Nom Nom uses eggs in two of their recipes as a second protein, while The Farmer’s Dog uses animal liver in three of their meal options.
For those who are concerned about the connection between heart disease and taurine-deficiency, it’s important to note that all of the recipes contain added taurine. It’s also important to point out that with the exception of Nom Nom’s turkey recipe, which contains brown rice, all recipes are grain-free. Some dog owners prefer grain-free meals, but you should be aware of the FDA’s warning2 about the unconfirmed link between grain-free diets and heart disease.
Nom Nom maintains a minimum of 8% to 11% crude protein in their recipes, while The Farmer’s Dog maintains a minimum of 9% to 11%.
Nom Nom’s meal options
- Beef Mash: Ground beef, russet potatoes, eggs, carrots, peas, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, fish oil, sunflower oil, vinegar, citric acid (preservative), taurine, choline bitartrate, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), selenium yeast, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), potassium iodide.
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein: 10% min, Crude Fat: 5% min, Crude Fiber: 1% max, Moisture: 73% max; 1239 Kcal/kg
- Chicken Cuisine: Diced chicken, sweet potatoes, yellow squash, spinach, sunflower oil, canola oil, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, fish oil, vinegar, citric acid, taurine, choline bitartrate, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), selenium yeast, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), potassium iodide.
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein: 8.5% min, Crude Fat: 6% min, Crude Fiber: 1% max, Moisture: 77% max; 1255 Kcal/kg
- Pork Potluck: Ground pork, russet potatoes, green beans, yellow squash, kale, brown mushrooms, dicalcium phosphate, salt, fish oil, vinegar, citric acid, taurine, choline bitartrate, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), selenium yeast, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), potassium iodide.
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein: 8% min, Crude Fat: 5% min, Crude Fiber: 2% max, Moisture: 75% max; 1246 Kcal/kg
- Turkey Fare: Ground turkey, brown rice, eggs, carrots, spinach, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, fish oil, vinegar, citric acid, taurine, choline bitartrate, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), selenium yeast, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), potassium iodide.
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein: 11% min, Crude Fat: 5% min, Crude Fiber: 1% max, Moisture: 70% max; 1479 Kcal/kg
The Farmer’s Dog meal options
- Pork recipe: USDA Pork, Sweet Potato, Potato, Green Beans, Cauliflower, USDA Pork Liver, Fish Oil, TFD Nutrient Blend*.
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein: 9% min., Crude Fat: 7% min., Crude Fiber: 1.5% max., Moisture: 75% max. 1390 kcal per kg / 630 kcal per lb.
- Chicken recipe: USDA Chicken, Brussels Sprout, USDA Chicken Liver, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Fish Oil, TFD Nutrient Pack*.
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein: 10% min., Crude Fat, 6% min., Crude Fiber: 1.0% max., Moisture: 77% max., 1300 kcal per kg / 590 kcal per lb.
- Turkey recipe: USDA Turkey, Chickpeas, Carrot, Broccoli, Parsnip, Spinach, Fish Oil, TFD Nutrient Blend*.
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein: 9% min., Crude Fat: 4.5% min., Crude Fiber: 1.5% max., Moisture: 76% max. 1170 kcal per kg / 530 kcal per lb.
- Beef recipe: USDA Beef, Sweet Potato, Lentils, Carrot, USDA Beef Liver, Kale, Sunflower Seeds, Fish Oil, TFD Nutrient Blend*.
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein: 11% min., Crude Fat: 8% min., Crude Fiber: 1.5% max., Moisture: 73% max; 1530 kcal per kg / 694 kcal per lb.
*TFD Nutrient blend ingredients: Tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, vitamin B12 supplement, choline bitartrate, taurine, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, vitamin E supplement, copper amino acid chelate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid
All of the meal options are great and similar in their ingredients. The best option for you is going to depend upon your dog’s specific needs.
For weight gain & allergies
In order to select the optimal recipe for your dog, both services gather information including your dog’s sex, age, breed, body shape, current weight, and activity level. This allows them to determine the number of calories your dog needs to maintain an ideal weight.
Nom Nom asks if your dog has any health issues or allergies but recommends recipes without knowing what those allergies are. If you indicate that your dog has allergies, they recommend the pork recipe, because pork is a less common food allergen than chicken or beef, according to veterinarians Catherine Barnette and Ernest Ward.3 Still, we thought it was odd to recommend a recipe without knowing the allergens.
After you’ve signed up for a paid plan, Nom Nom has far more extensive surveys so you can detail your dog’s specific health issues, such as joint health, microbiome/digestive health, and allergies. If you do not see the specific health issue, Nom Nom suggests you reach out to their team. They state they are happy to discuss your pet’s specific needs and, if needed, to work directly with their vet nutritionist, Dr. Justin Shmalberg, to find a meal that will work well for your pet.
The Farmer’s Dog is a bit more thorough in investigating your pup’s needs before making a recommendation. The company gathers information such as whether or not your dog is neutered (which affects calorie count), whether they have specific health conditions like bad breath, constipation, and gluten sensitivity, or if your dog has a prescription diet for health issues like joint, skin, or liver issues.
Just be aware that none of the meals are specifically formulated to address any of these issues, so you may want to get your vet’s approval first.
Supplemental meal plans
Both pet food delivery services offer supplemental meal plans for those who simply want to add variety or nutrition to their dog’s current diet. This is a good option for those on a budget.
Nom Nom gives the option to choose a half portion. The half portion will save you anywhere from 41 to 44% in cost.
The Farmer’s Dog allows you to select from a few different price and portion options, depending on your dog’s size. They eliminate some options as the whole meal’s calorie count goes down, so bigger dogs have more options. A 50-lb. dog may have up to three portion sizes to choose from, but because our little Yorkie eats only about 154 calories per day, there were no other portion sizes available for him.
Nom Nom offers a sample pack of all four recipes for $15, so you can test which flavors your dog enjoys before committing to a subscription. With this sample, Nom Nom throws in some jerky treats to try for free.
If you’d like a mix of recipes in each shipment, Nom Nom charges a flat $5 per order, or you can automatically rotate between recipes each delivery at no additional charge. Weekly customers are eligible to receive two different recipes in each delivery. Biweekly and monthly customers are eligible to receive two or four different recipes in each delivery.
The Farmer’s Dog allows you to mix a variety of meal options in one shipment, or you can stick with one flavor.
Winner: The Farmer’s Dog
The Farmer’s Dog wins by a hair because it’s more thorough in gathering health information to find suitable meals for your pet, and it offers additional portion options for those looking for a supplemental plan. The company also doesn’t include a surcharge for mixing recipes in a single shipment. Nom Nom, on the other hand, states they will work hand-in-hand with their veterinary nutritionist to try to find an appropriate option for your pup, and they make it easy to rotate recipes for free, so you really can’t go wrong with either option.
At Nom Nom, they don’t just stop at dog food. True animal lovers will be pleased to discover that Nom Nom offers cat food as well. This means you can keep all of your pets’ food freshly stocked without ever visiting the pet store.
The company also has a range of gut health products. First, they offer a microbiome kit, which you can use to gauge your dog or cat’s gut health and dietary needs. This can be a valuable first step for those who suspect there’s something wrong with their pet’s diet.
Second, Nom Nom offers three probiotic supplements (two for dogs and one for cats). One of the dog supplements provides a general boost to your dog’s immune and digestive system by helping them absorb more nutrients from their food. The other is more targeted toward rebalancing the guts of dogs with gastrointestinal issues. You can find out more about these products in our full Nom Nom Dog Food review.
Finally, Dr. Justin Shmalberg, the chief veterinary nutritionist who also created all of Nom Nom’s recipe formulations, is leading the company’s scientists in research and development in the dog health space. They even have current studies that your dog can participate in if he or she qualifies. The data you provide goes toward furthering the understanding and improvement of pet nutrition worldwide.
The Farmer’s Dog currently only sells dog food, and they don’t have any other products or treats, as Nom Nom does.
However, The Farmer’s Dog team is currently developing a nutrient pack (to contain 9 essential nutrients), and it appears they will sell this pack separately for those pet owners who want to make their dog’s food at home. Homemade dog food may be necessary for pets with advanced allergy issues, and the nutrient pack will help ensure these dogs still get a nutritionally balanced meal.
Winner: Nom Nom
Nom Nom has developed a full line of tasty food options and science-backed tools to help pet owners provide better nutrition for their furry family members.
>> Read more: The Farmer’s Cat: Does The Farmer’s Dog Make Cat Food?
With both companies, your price per day is going to depend on how much food your dog needs. This is determined by your dog’s size, breed, age, energy levels, the recipes you chose, and other factors. Here’s the pricing breakdown:
Nom Nom’s prices range from $2 a day for small dogs to $11+ a day for large dogs. They also charge a flat $5 per order if you chose to mix multiple meal options in one order, but rotating various meals each shipment is free.
You can also add a bag of jerky to your subscription for an extra $15.
For example, we ran a quote for a 60-lb Afghan hound receiving multiple recipes per box, and the total cost was $74.54 per week. However, when we reduced the meal plan to one recipe per box, the cost was $72.04 per week. The recipe you choose will also affect your price. We found that the turkey option will save you the most, coming in at $61.90/week. This specific meal plan was cheaper than The Farmer’s Dog, although Nom Nom is more expensive with most options.
Nom Nom also offers half-portions that will save you approximately 42%. Our $74.54 order was reduced to $43.24 per week.
Nom Nom states that they provide cost savings for less frequent deliveries and offer a multi-pet discount.
The Farmer’s Dog states that subscriptions start as low as $2 a day and go up to $10+ a day. Some of the recipe options are more expensive than others. You can expect to pay more for the chicken and turkey recipes than the beef and pork options.
For those on a budget, The Farmer’s Dog’s Topper Plan offers smaller meals to mix into and supplement a dog’s old diet. For our 60-lb. Afghan Hound, the Topper Plan gave us 3 different portion options to choose from: a half portion at $37.47 per week, a quarter portion at $28.84 per week, and a little bit more than 1/8th portion at $17.92 per week.
|Nom Nom price||The Farmer’s Dog price|
|6-lb. Yorkie male||$3.10 day / $21.74 week||$2.80 day / $19.60 week|
|25-lb. Pembroke Welsh Corgi male||$5.32 day / $37.27 week||$5.08 day / $35.56 week|
|60-lb. Afghan Hound male||$10.65 / $74.54 week||$10.10 day/ $70.74 week|
Winner: The Farmer’s Dog
With the exception of Nom Nom’s turkey meal, our calculations found The Farmer’s Dog to cost less than Nom Nom, especially when you factor in a $5 fee to mix meals. If you’re happy to feed your dog Turkey and/or you only want to rotate recipes each shipment, Nom Nom’s prices can be reduced.
At both Nom Nom and The Farmer’s Dog, vet nutritionists carefully calculate the calorie requirements of each dog to determine optimal portion sizes. However, each service portions their meals differently.
Nom Nom packs are small, consisting of a single serving in each pack. If you have a tiny dog, like a Chihuahua or Yorkshire Terrier, you may get two meals in each pack. These small packs make storing a day’s food in the fridge or freezer easier. And, since they are mostly a single serving, there’s no measuring involved and you know just how many calories your dog is getting. This can help if your dog needs to gain or lose a few pounds. The downside to this convenience is that there is more packaging to recycle.
Nom Nom starts dogs off with transition meals for the first seven days. These consist of 50% of the regular portion, so the dog can slowly adjust to the new diet. You have the option of skipping transition meals if your dog is already eating fresh dog foods. If you notice your dog is experiencing unwanted weight loss or gain, Nom Nom encourages you to reach out to them, so they can adjust the portions accordingly.
With The Farmer’s Dog, how many meals you get out of one pack depends on the size of the dog. A small dog may get eight meals (four days worth) per pack, while a large dog may get one or two meals per pack. They suggest this helps them keep costs down and reduce plastic usage.
The meals come in soft bags that need to be cut open and are not resealable. If you have more than one meal per pack, you’ll need to fold up the leftover pack and store it in the fridge in their biodegradable storage container. On the other hand, you won’t need to remember to thaw the food as regularly, and you’ll have less packaging to recycle.
Winner: Nom Nom
If you’re looking for easy, no-brainer portion control, Nom Nom is your winner.
Packaging & sustainability
Packaging & storage
Both companies pack their boxes with enough dry ice to keep the food cold until you get home on delivery day. The Farmer’s Dog food is shipped already frozen, while Nom Nom is shipped fresh. However, the dry ice is so cold that it’s common for Nom Nom’s food to freeze in transit.
In either case, simply pop the next day’s food into the fridge where it will last for about three to four days, and put the rest in the freezer where, unopened, it will stay safe for up to six months. Thaw the amount needed in the fridge 24 hours in advance.
Nom Nom packs their food in small, easy-open packages, about the size of one or two stacked smartphones, depending on the size of your dog. The small packaging coupled with the option for weekly delivery makes Nom Nom a great choice for those with little freezer space.
The Farmer’s Dog food packs are larger since you’ll get multiple meals out of each pack. This means each pack may take up more fridge space, although the overall amount of food spread between the fridge and freezer should be about the same with either company (assuming the same delivery frequency).
In your first Nom Nom order, you’ll get the meals (and treats or supplements, if ordered), a transition and feeding guide, and a small packet containing “flavor flakes.” These flakes are made of dried beef liver and bonito fish to entice the picky eaters. But in our experience, your dog will just chow down without invitation.
With your first The Farmer’s Dog order, you’ll get the food, a transition and feeding guide, a storage container, and a reusable, insulated tote bag.
The Farmer’s Dog makes feeding multiple dogs easy by individually labeling each food pack with the dog’s name and their specific feeding instructions. Nom Nom food packs, on the other hand, are not individually labeled by name. Instead, they’re labeled with the number of grams in each pack, so unless the difference in size between your dogs’ meals is obvious, you’ll need to reference the number of grams listed in each dog’s feeding instructions, which are included with each box and in your Nom Nom account.
Both Nom Nom’s and The Farmer’s Dog’s packaging is 100% recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable. Food from both companies arrives quickly in well-insulated, cardboard boxes and is vacuum-sealed to keep food fresh without the use of preservatives or chemicals.
Additionally, The Farmer’s Dog’s packaging is non-toxic and BPA-free. To prevent you from filling your recycle bin, the food storage container meant to hold your leftovers is biodegradable, and the insulation that lines each shipment is made from cornstarch, so it can be composted or dissolved under running water.
If you really want to be as sustainable as possible, The Farmer’s Dog allows you to order as much as eight weeks of food at a time, reducing the number of packages you receive. Of course, you’ll need the freezer space to store it.
Winner: Nom Nom for packaging, The Farmer’s Dog for sustainability
We really like the pre-portioned meals and easy-open seal on Nom Nom food packs. And the fact that the packs are small means they can easily be tucked into tight fridge or freezer spaces.
However, The Farmer’s Dog’s personalized name labels on each food pack not only look nice, but they’re helpful if you have more than one dog. And the dissolving insulation and option for eight-week order sizes means less stuff in your recycle bin.
Both services provide free shipping to your door. And they’ll even ship to you wherever you’re traveling in the continental U.S. as long as you give them your new location before your next order is processed. Initially, you’ll be shipped two weeks worth of food to transition your pet to whole food.
After the initial two-week transition period, Nom Nom defaults to a two-week shipping and billing schedule, but you have the option to change the shipping to every week or every four weeks if you prefer. If you have a tiny dog, like our 6-lb. Yorkie, Nom Nom will default to shipping every four weeks. The company states that it offers a discount for bulk ordering and ordering for multiple dogs or cats.
Nom Nom lets you adjust your shipping schedule so your pup will never run out of food. When your food leaves the Nom Nom kitchen, you’ll receive tracking information to let you know its whereabouts.
After your initial shipment, The Farmer’s Dog’s shipping schedule varies based on how much food is being delivered. It typically defaults to every three weeks for large dogs and every eight weeks for tiny breeds, but you can change the shipping frequency in your account, where you can also edit the address and rush or delay an order, assuming it hasn’t already been processed.
Winner: It depends on your preferences
Although both offer great delivery options, Nom Nom takes it a step further and offers weekly delivery, which is helpful for those who have little to no freezer space.
However, if you want to minimize your carbon footprint or you like the idea of rushing or delaying orders when unexpected needs arise, The Farmer’s Dog wins.
What about Ollie?
Ollie dog food is another human-grade meal delivery service that offers high-quality, USDA meats and produce sourced from U.S. farms. More than 60% of Ollie’s recipes are composed of meat, including nutrient-rich organ meats. While they also offer four meal choices, Ollie differs in that it offers a lamb meal instead of pork. And, depending on the calorie needs of your dog, Ollie may be a less expensive option than either Nom Nom or The Farmer’s Dog.
So which is the winner?
When you compare Nom Nom vs Farmer’s Dog, you’ll find that both services meet the goal of delivering top-notch dog food right to your door. The decision as to which one is better comes down to the fine details.
However, we really like how easily you can identify the ingredients in Nom Nom’s food, and the single portion food packs make for one less thing to worry about at mealtime. And the fact that Nom Nom offers weekly and biweekly shipping means you don’t have to store as much in your freezer. The service goes beyond just dog food, too; so if you are looking for supplements, cat food, or snacks, Nom Nom may be right for you.
For many dog owners, though, price is the top priority. In this case, The Farmer’s Dog wins by a hair. However, because there are so many factors that determine cost, like the dog’s calorie needs, the recipes chosen, and how often you need meals delivered, the best way to find out which service offers a better price for your dog, is to get a quote from each service.
You can do so for free and without any commitments (and score a 50% discount) by clicking either of the buttons below.
- Pet Food and Feeding Issues by Dr. Michael W. Fox
- FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy
- Food Allergies In Dogs by Catherine Barnette, DVM, and Ernest Ward, DVM