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The pet food industry is full of companies that have cut every corner to make their products cheaper, easier to manufacture, and easier to store on supermarket shelves. But many of these shortcuts are bad for pets, and they’re bad for the environment and other animals, too.
Open Farm helps pets live their healthiest, happiest lives by delivering exceptional nutrition made from the world’s best ingredients. Their strict sourcing standards are what sets their recipes apart, and the result is better food for our pets. Their sustainability efforts and humane sourcing also align with the values of today’s pet parents.
Open Farm exclusively works with farms audited by Certified Humane® and Global Animal Partnership®, who test for the quality of life of farm animals. Their standards include a wholesome and nutritious diet, space to roam freely, prohibiting the use of preventative antibiotics or growth hormones, and on-site farm audits. This ensures the highest quality meat protein goes into each recipe: Grass-fed beef, pasture-raised lamb, wild-caught salmon, and more.
We’ll unbox and test a bunch of Open Farm’s products in this Open Farm pet food review.
Verdict (if you’re in a hurry): Open Farm’s impeccable sourcing of ethical, human-grade ingredients earns it a thumbs up from us, and our dog, Hobbes, loves it too. Combine a Gently Cooked fresh food subscription with some of Open Farm’s other products to give your pup a rotational diet that will never bore them.
In this review
- High-level overview of benefits
- Open Farm Dog Food unboxing video
- Our Open Farm review
- How does Open Farm work?
- How much does it cost?
- Have there been any recalls?
Open Farm Pet Food: At a Glance
- High-quality ingredients: All of Open Farm’s products include high-quality ingredients like whole meats, GMO-free produce, and superfoods like chia seeds, turmeric, and chicory root.
- No GMOs, antibiotics, or added growth hormones: All of Open Farm’s pet food is made with meat free from antibiotics and added growth hormones. All fruits and vegetables are non-GMO and some are organic.
- Options for sensitive stomachs: Open Farm offers a wide variety of products to suit dogs and cats with food allergies. You can view their sensitivity chart at the bottom of this page to see which products suit your pet’s needs.
- Ethically sourced: 100% Certified Humane chicken, turkey, and pork; pasture-fed beef and lamb raised without antibiotics. Open Farm’s partner farms are regularly audited to verify humane standards are maintained. No animals are kept in cages.
- Traceable: Your food will come with a code you can punch into Open Farm’s website to trace where your ingredients came from. This level of transparency and accountability is a top priority for the company.
- Human-grade fresh: Open Farm’s top option, its Gently Cooked fresh food, is made entirely from human-grade ingredients that will give your dog a diet as good as your own. This should have a profound impact on your dog’s health.
- Single purchase or subscriptions: Open Farm allows one-off purchases or subscriptions. We recommend subscribing to earn a discount and to knock one more item off your grocery list—permanently. Get 15% off your first purchase with code DOGTALE15.
- Completely recyclable: All of Open Farm’s packaging is either curb-side recyclable, compostable, or recyclable through its partnership with TerraCycle.
- Open Farm gives back: We reached out to Open Farm to see if they participate in any charities or animal welfare programs. Here was their response: “Open Farm stands by their ‘Do Some Good’ mission. In 2020 we donated 75k meals to rescue animals across the US and Canada and as well advocate for causes that matter to us including partnering with BetterHelp to shine light on mental health awareness. Our customers can easily get involved as well, every time pet parents send in their Open Farm bags to TerraCycle, they earn points to be redeemed for a variety of charitable gifts, or a payment to the non-profit organization or school of your choice.”
Unboxing Open Farm dog food
Open Farm Dog Food review
We tried out a bunch of Open Farm’s dog food products, so we could take a closer look at what’s inside and what they’re really like. If you’re interested in Open Farm cat food, we’ll provide some info on that, too.
- Gently Cooked fresh food
- Rustic Stew wet food (for dogs or cats)
- Freeze-dried raw food
- Kibble (dogs & cats)
- Rotational bundles
- Bone Broth (dogs & cats)
“Gently Cooked” fresh dog food
The Gently Cooked fresh food is by far Open Farm’s best option. It’s made entirely from human-grade ingredients, so you or I could eat it, too. As the name says, all ingredients are gently cooked at a low heat to preserve more of their original nutrients. Then the food is flash-frozen and shipped over dry ice, so your dog can get the freshest meal possible without any extra work from you.
Aside from being human-grade, all of the ingredients in the Gently Cooked food are super high-quality. All fruits and veggies are non-GMO, and the meats are free from antibiotics or added growth hormones.
Open Farm has also partnered with Certified Humane and the Global Animal Partnership to make sure these meats are sourced ethically. All animals used in Open Farm’s food are raised cage-free and pasture-fed, and the farms are regularly audited by an independent third party to maintain these standards. If fish are included in the recipe, they are hook-and-line caught, never from fisheries, and they come recommended by Ocean Wise to mitigate overfishing or bycatch.
Why fresh food?
Fresh food is better than traditional, store-bought kibble by a long shot. This is due to a number of reasons:
- Ingredient quality: The biggest names in the pet food industry rely on some awful ingredients to make their food cheaper and more shelf-stable. You’ll see lots of meat meals made from the corpses of livestock that you’d never want your dog to go near. You’ll also see tons of preservatives. None of this can be found in Open Farm’s Gently Cooked food—only human-grade ingredients.
- Less processing: The process used to make kibble destroys a ton of the ingredients’ original nutrients. The food is cooked at high temperatures, dehydrated, ground into a powder, then extruded into those little brown pellets. It’s kind of like eating fast food or beef jerky every day for every meal, your entire life. By contrast, fresh food is slowly cooked over a low heat, then immediately sealed and frozen, so your pet gets the same type of nutrition you’d want for yourself.
- Long-term implications: Research shows that what your pet eats will have a profound impact on their holistic health.1 When you combine the two points above, you can see how feeding your pet a fresh diet could not only help them live a longer life, but it will help those years be healthier for them and less stressful for you, too. Fresh food is, naturally, going to be more expensive. But if it mitigates vet bills down the road, it’s easier to justify the price.
Open Farm fresh dog food recipe options
- Grass-Fed Beef: Beef, carrots, kale, beef liver, zucchini…
- Harvest Chicken: Chicken, carrots, kale, butternut squash, apples…
- Surf & Turf: Beef, carrots, kale, salmon, beef liver…
- Homestead Turkey: Turkey, kale, carrots, apples, butternut squash…
How does Open Farm compare to other fresh dog food brands?
When we compare fresh pet food brands, we usually consider five main factors: ingredient quality, meal options, price, sustainability, and what other products are available.
Open Farm knocks four of these five categories out of the park. They have recipe options you won’t see from any other fresh food brand, the ingredients are top-notch, every single piece of food and packaging is sustainably and ethically sourced, and there are a whole lot of other products you can add to your subscription.
The brand definitely gets a thumbs up from us.
The only category where Open Farm didn’t shine was price—it’s on the higher end of the price range, with prices similar to Spot and Tango’s cost. However, you can reduce your price by subscribing instead of placing a one-off order, and you can knock it down further by ordering 18 pounds per shipment instead of 8 pounds. (If this sounds like too much food, you can simply increase the amount of time in between each shipment.) On top of these discounts, don’t forget about the additional 15% off your first order with code DOGTALE15.
Open Farm’s pricing system is a little bit different than some other fresh food brands, such as NomNomNow or The Farmer’s Dog, where your dog is delivered the precise amount of food they need at a unique price. Instead, Open Farm delivers its food in standardized 16-ounce portions. You then follow their feeding guide to determine how many packs your dog should eat per day.
This isn’t as personalized as some other services, but it makes pricing transparent and straightforward—especially if you plan to use the fresh food as a topper on your dog’s current kibble, rather than an exclusive diet. Some other services let you order topper portions, but the discount for ordering these partial plans isn’t proportional to the decrease in the amount of food you receive. With Open Farm, you’ll know that ordering half as much food will simply cut your price in half.
If you like Open Farm’s ethical sourcing, but you’re more interested in dry dog food than fresh, then we recommend checking out Chippin. Chippin has taken extensive steps to ensure every part of its service is planet friendly, and we’re super impressed. We also like that its food doesn’t include any meat meals like Open Farm’s does. Learn more in our Chippin Dog Food review.
Another dry dog food worth checking out is Sundays. While it doesn’t offer the planet-friendly approach Chippin takes, its ingredients and air-drying process lead to a really solid product for your dog. Learn about it in our Sundays Dog Food review.
>> Read more: Smalls Cat Food Review
Rustic Stew wet food (for dogs or cats)
If you want to feed your dog a human-grade diet, but you don’t have the freezer space for the Gently Cooked fresh food described above, check out Open Farm’s Rustic Stew wet food. The same goes for felines who are tired of gelatinous cans of wet cat food.
These recipes are gently kettle-cooked at 165º F for about 35 minutes, then finished in a pressure cooker at approximately the same temperature. It yields a thick, pourable stew that delivers the same humane, antibiotic-free meat and non-GMO produce that are used in the Gently Cooked fresh food. However, Rustic Stew is also mixed with nutrient-rich bone broth to give the food a soft, pourable texture some pets crave. The only other fresh food subscription brand we know of that also offers fresh, human-grade, shelf-stable food is Just Food For Dogs.
What we like:
- Great for pets with sensitive teeth. Soft, wholesome ingredients mixed with bone broth to make the food delicious and easy to consume.
- Better than canned: Rustic Stew is stored in BPA-free Tetra Paks, which are resealable and recyclable.
- Perfect as a standalone meal or topper: Rustic Stew meets AAFCO standards for all ages, so you can serve it as a complete meal. But its pourable texture also makes it easy to mix with kibble as a delicious, nutritious topper.
- High in protein. The whole meat content makes this stew a much more substantial topper than some other topper mixes. However, if you want an even higher protein option, check out A Pup Above or Raised Right Dog Food.
- Clean. No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Meats come from audited high welfare farms, and the ingredients are 100% traceable.
First 5 ingredients:
- Grass-Fed Beef: Beef, Beef bone broth, pumpkin, carrots, green beans…
- Harvest Chicken: Chicken, chicken bone broth, pumpkin, carrots, green beans…
- Chicken & Salmon: Chicken, chicken bone broth, wild Pacific salmon, pumpkin, carrots…
- Homestead Turkey: Turkey, turkey bone broth, pumpkin, carrots, green beans…
- Herring & Mackerel: Ocean herring and mackerel, water sufficient for processing, pumpkin, carrots, green beans…
- Wild-Caught Salmon: Wild Pacific salmon, pumpkin, carrots, green beans, spinach….
Freeze-dried raw dog food
We prefer and recommend fresh cooked food. But If you have your dog on a raw diet, yet you want the convenience of kibble, you may want to check out Open Farm’s freeze-dried raw dog food.
In every freeze-dried raw recipe, 85% of the protein is made up of ethically sourced and humanely raised farm animal ingredients. These ingredients are then combined with locally sourced, organic foods like coconut oil, spinach, and kale to form a balanced meal.
The freeze-drying process pulls the moisture from the food to make it shelf-stable and easy to store and serve, but it doesn’t destroy the bioavailable nutrients in the ingredients by cooking them. The resulting clusters resemble really large pieces of kibble, but they have an airier, crunchier texture that your dog will love to chew.
What we like:
- Raw without the mess. Get all the necessary components of a raw diet, like whole meat, organs, and bone, but without any of the mess or complicated preparation.
- Serve as a topper, treat, or a meal. Perfect as a whole meal if you’re on the go, or mix it into your dog’s other food to provide more nutrition or keep them interested. The large pieces also make great treats.
- Humane. All ingredients from 100% Certified Humane farms and audited welfare farms.
- Local & traceable. Veggies (like non-GMO pumpkin, squash, and leafy greens) are organic and locally sourced in North America. Check the lot number on each pack to trace your ingredients.
- No meals. No rendered poultry or meat meals or byproducts.
First 5 ingredients:
- Grass-Fed Beef: Beef, beef heart, beef kidneys, beef liver, ground beef bones…
- Harvest Chicken: Chicken with ground bone, chicken livers, chicken necks, chicken hearts, organic carrots…
- Surf & Turf: Beef, beef hearts, wild Pacific salmon, beef kidneys, beef livers…
- Homestead Turkey: Turkey with ground bone, turkey livers, turkey necks, turkey gizzards, organic carrots…
- Pasture-Raised Lamb: Lamb, lamb heart, lamb liver, ground lamb bone, organic carrots…
- Farmer’s Table Pork: Pork, pork heart, pork liver, ground pork bone, organic blueberries…
Dry dog food & cat food (kibble)
As we explained above, gently cooked fresh food is far better for your pet than kibble. It’s hard to understate the nutritional impact of feeding your dog or cat real, whole foods that haven’t gone through extensive overprocessing to dehydrate, shape, and preserve the ingredients.
That said, it’s also hard to compete with the price and convenience of kibble. That’s why we also encourage pet owners who are on a budget to consider mixing human-grade fresh food or rustic stews with kibble as a compromise between nutrition and price.
Open Farm offers 16 high-quality dry food recipes for dogs and four for cats. A few of the dry dog food recipes available include Homestead Chicken & Turkey, Grass-Fed Beef, Wild-Caught Salmon & Ancient Grains, and New Zealand Venison. See all the options for dogs here and cats here.
All recipes meet AAFCO standards for all life stages, including the growth of large breeds (70-lbs+). All recipes feature whole meat as the first ingredient, such as whole chicken, venison, beef, or Ocean Whitefish. And like all of Open Farm’s other products, all animal protein comes from verified humanely raised sources.
Open Farm also makes it super easy to filter your options for various food sensitivities and needs, such as gluten intolerance, no corn / wheat / soy, or single-protein requirements.
The only qualm we have with Open Farm’s kibble is that it does feature either Ocean Whitefish meal, Herring meal, or Menhaden meal in the recipes, although never as the first ingredient. Meals aren’t as desirable as whole meat, but fish meal is generally less concerning to us than beef or chicken meal, which have been known to sometimes include very low-quality carcasses.
Also, as with any meat meal, the source is as or more important as the form of the protein. With Open Farm, you know that all fish-based ingredients come recommended by Ocean Wise and are sourced from the ocean, never fish farms.
The rest of each ingredient list is top-notch, featuring wholesome fruits and veggies like apple, carrot, pumpkin, and chickpeas, as well as supplemental ingredients like taurine for heart health or turmeric for inflammation and antioxidants.
Prices vary by recipe and the size of the bag you choose, but generally, Open Farm’s dry dog food is in the same price range as Orijen’s high-quality kibble. And don’t forget that you can subscribe to regular kibble shipments to get a discount.
Open Farm offers a few rotational bundles, like the Puppy Essentials Pack, which introduces your little pup to a variety of flavors and textures, rather than just one formula.
Periodically switching protein sources and formulas not only keeps picky eaters interested but also reduces the chance of allergy development and ensures your pal receives a variety of essential nutrients. The variety also increases their tolerance to dietary changes. Just remember to make changes slowly and follow Open Farm’s transition guide.
Another perk of rotational diets is that mixing different types of food can also help you provide your dog with highly nutritious and affordable foods at the same time. A diet consisting of exclusively fresh or wet food recipes would be better, but it can be expensive.
As with all of Open Farm’s products, you can subscribe to a rotational bundle (at a discount!) to make sure your dog always has all the nutritious foods they need without ever worrying about restocking.
- Puppy Essentials Pack: Puppy Dry Food, Surf & Turf Freeze Dried Raw, Dehydrated Chicken Treats and Dehydrated Turkey Treats.
- Shiny Fur & Coat dog food bundle: Wild-Caught Salmon Dry Dog Food, Surf & Turf Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food, and Harvest Chicken Bone Broth
- Ancient Grains dog food bundle: Pasture-Raised Lamb & Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food, Grass-Fed Beef Freeze Dried Raw, and Grass-Fed Beef Rustic Stew,
- Bone Broth bundle: Homestead Turkey Bone Broth, Harvest Chicken Bone Broth, and Grass-Fed Beef Bone Broth
See all bundles here, or build your own bowl through the button below. And don’t forget to use code DOGTALE15 for 15% off your first shipment.
>> Read more: What’s the Difference Between Puppy and Adult Dog Food?
Bone Broth & Kefir (toppers & supplements)
Open Farm offers a variety of nutrient-dense bone broths in single proteins or combo packs to supplement your dog’s current food. Bone broths are rich in collagen and support healthy digestion, skin and coats, and immune systems.
The cow and goat milk kefirs contain 12 billion live probiotics, high levels of vitamin B12, folic acid, and anti-inflammatory superfoods like organic turmeric and cinnamon. These toppers aid overall digestion and gut health, bone health, and immune system support.
Currently, Open Farm offers three goat milk blends that combine calcium-rich goat milk with nutrient-dense foods like blueberries, spinach, or chicory root. These milk blends are each formulated for specific issues such as a boost of antioxidants, digestion aid, or relaxation. However, kefir is not currently available online—only in select stores.
You can order the bone broth online, so we got some Chicken Bone Broth to try out. We like to use it as a topper for the meals when we feed our dog kibble. It makes it a little bit tastier and more nutritious, and we love that it adds some moisture to his dry meals during the hot summer months.
Open Farm offers five types of dog treats. These treats feature high-quality ingredients like 100% humanely raised meats, chickpeas, and rosemary extract. They’re free from glycerine, glutens, and artificial preservatives, so they make for a great mid-day snack or training aid.
Open Farm dog treats
- Dehydrated Cod Skins
- Dehydrated Chicken Treats
- Dehydrated Turkey Treats
- Dehydrated Beef Treats
- Dehydrated Pork Treats
Ninety percent of the meat-based treats are the whole meat in the treat’s name, so they’re all good options. But the cod skins are the only single-ingredient treat in the bunch, so take a look at that one if you’re interested in a really simple recipe.
How does Open Farm work?
Open Farm’s fresh dog food subscription works similarly to other pet food delivery services. You can take their brief Build Your Own Bowl quiz to get product recommendations for your dog or cat. However, note that this quiz will mainly recommend recipes in the same food type as your pet currently eats. So, if your dog currently eats kibble, but you want to try out fresh food, make sure you select “Fresh” when it asks what type of food your dog currently eats. The quiz will also suggest some other food and supplement types to try.
Once you’ve determined how much food your dog needs and which recipes you’d like to try, you can order a single shipment or subscribe, so the food will be shipped to you on a regular schedule. It’s packaged over dry ice so that it remains cold until you’re able to store it in your freezer—even if you’re not home exactly when the delivery arrives.
There are really just two major differences between how Open Farm works and how other services function.
The first is that you won’t get custom portion sizes based on your pet’s size, age, or activity level. The food comes in standardized portions, and you order however much food you need (aided by the feeding guide on their website).
This makes the service a little less personal, but it delivers in every area that counts. The meal options are great, the ingredients are impeccably sourced, and the packaging is entirely recyclable.
The other difference is the host of options for you to choose from when setting up your subscription. Several other fresh dog food services offer treats, but none offer as many treats, supplements, and alternate food types as Open Farm.
As we’ve explained in a few places above, no other food type will come close to the nutritional benefit of feeding your dog a diet of gently cooked fresh food. But we do know that can get expensive, so we love that you can subscribe to all sorts of different foods—or one of Open Farm’s convenient bundles—to keep costs down and mix up your dog’s meals.
You can order one or several of Open Farm’s products as a single purchase, but you’ll get a bigger discount by setting up a subscription. And you don’t need to worry about not liking what you get—your subscription can be edited or canceled at any time, and Open Farm accepts returns within 15 days of your purchase.
Finally, don’t forget you can get an additional 15% off your first order with code DOGTALE15.
How much does it cost?
How much you pay for Open Farm will depend entirely on what types of products you choose to mix and match. Just remember that paying for quality food will pay dividends down the road when your pet is healthier and incurs fewer vet bills. The table below will give you a rough idea, or dig deeper in our look at Open Farm dog food prices.
|Gently Cooked (Fresh)||$7.92 per pound|
|Rustic Stew (wet food)||$47.99 for a case of 12|
|Freeze-Dried food (raw)||Starts at $9.99|
|Dry foods (dog)||$2.94 – $4.75 per pound (large bags)|
|Treats||Starts at $9.49 per bag|
|Bone Broth||$20.99 per 3-pack|
>> Read more: Best Dog Food for IBD & IBS
Is Open Farm worth it?
It’s up to you how you want to balance cost and quality. If you can afford to feed your dog a fresh diet, you could see a big impact on their overall health—especially if your dog struggles with dietary sensitivities and other ailments.
But even if you can’t, you can still make a big impact on their health by upgrading just part of their diet. The more you can mix in foods with real, whole, less-processed ingredients, the more you can give their body the raw nutrients it needs to do its job and feel the best.
Taking advantage of the discounts Open Farm offers, such as subscribing, as well as using our discount code above can help make that upgraded diet a little more affordable.
Have there been any recalls?
No, Open Farm has never been recalled as of the date of publication. You can learn more in our statement on Open Farm dog food recalls.
>> Read more: Ollie Dog Food Recalls