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For decades, dogs have been dealt a bad hand when it comes to their nutrition. Most commercial dog foods amount to little more than a daily diet of fast food would for us humans, due to over-processed ingredients and the steps taken to make dog kibble shelf-stable.
Fortunately, many dog owners are starting to pay attention to the food they feed their canine family members, and brands like The Farmer’s Dog are stepping up to provide the holistic nutrition dogs deserve. Keep reading to see us unbox and test The Farmer’s Dog in this review.
VERDICT (if you’re in a hurry): Max (our four-legged food critic) loved it. He’s been picky in the past, but he chowed down on The Farmer’s Dog food right away, and we think your pup will, too.
In this review:
- The Farmer’s Dog Food: At a glance
- Our unboxing video
- Our The Farmer’s Dog Food review
- How it works
- How long does The Farmer’s Dog food last
- The Farmer’s Dog ingredients & recipes
- Is the Farmer’s Dog food safe?
- How Much Does The Farmer’s Dog cost?
- How to thaw Farmer’s Dog Food
- How does The Farmer’s Dog compare to other dog food delivery services?
- Other The Farmer’s Dog reviews
The Farmer’s Dog Food: At a glance
- Real nutrition: The Farmer’s Dog uses only human-grade ingredients, so you or I could eat it. The food is slow-cooked to preserve nutrients, then quickly frozen to keep it fresh without most of the unnatural preservatives most dog food includes.
- Accreditations: Fresh food is prepared in a controlled USDA-certified kitchen using safe ingredients. The recipes are created by board-certified veterinary nutritionists following AAFCO standards and are appropriate for all life stages.
- Pup-tailored diet: The Farmer’s Dog uses specific information about your dog, such as their age, breed, and activity level, to create a personalized meal plan to meet their unique nutritional needs. This is immensely valuable to those whose dogs have food allergies or digestive issues.
- Door-to-door service: Meals are freshly prepared and shipped to you on a regular schedule. Food usually arrives within two days of when it was packaged. No more last-minute shopping or 50-pound bags of dog food in the pantry. There are options to alter your delivery schedule if you want to pause the service or mix your fresh meals with other food sources.
- Environmentally-friendly: The packaging used to store the food is biodegradable and BPA-free. The insulation used for shipment is compost-ready.
The Farmer’s Dog unboxing video
The Farmer’s Dog Food review
The Farmer’s Dog was founded out of a desire to provide nutritious, whole-food options for man’s best friend, and they’re doing just that.
The brand only uses human-grade USDA ingredients you’d see on your own grocery list, and none of the recipes contain artificial preservatives or fillers. All ingredients are sourced from reputable food suppliers, local farms, and other human food purveyors that meet USDA standards. Human-grade dog food has been shown to offer health benefits to dogs, including improved bowel health, coat quality, energy levels, and general long-term wellness.
Additionally, the Farmer’s Dog team prepares all meals in a USDA-approved kitchen where they slow-cook the meats and veggies over low heat to preserve the nutrients your dog needs.
The company partners with veterinary scientists to create personalized plans for each specific pup they feed. These meal plans are based on information like your dog’s breed, size, activity level, and sex—data points that allow them to tailor each meal to your dog’s nutritional needs.
The Farmer’s Dog is convenient
Another important aspect of The Farmer’s Dog is that online ordering and shipping make it possible to receive your dog’s food in appropriate quantities when and where you need it. They use just-in-time shipping to keep your supply of food manageable without incurring waste. No more last-minute runs to the pet food store, and no more bags of spoiled kibble.
- Max loves it: Max has been a picky eater in the past and we’ve had to change his food brand to get him to eat. But he scarfed down The Farmer’s Dog food as soon as we started feeding it to him.
- Exclusive discount: The company normally offers 20% off your first shipment, but The Dog Tale readers can get 60% off, so it’s easy to try The Farmer’s Dog without spending too much upfront.
- Vet portal: Many dog owners want to consult their vet before changing their pup’s diet. If your vet has questions about the food, The Farmer’s Dog offers a Vet Portal where your veterinarian can learn more about the recipes and how they may be used to manage an individual dog’s health.
- Flexibility: There are no long-term contracts with The Farmer’s Dog. You can cancel at any time, and you can easily update your quantities, shipping dates, and shipping location.
- Price calculator: Their website provides a wealth of information about their dog food, and it’s easy to estimate the cost of your plan using their price calculator.
- Sustainability: Since the company delivers its product by mail, they wanted to take every step possible to minimize their environmental impact. Almost all of the packaging included in your shipment is either recyclable, compostable, or made from recycled materials.
- Customer service center: The Farmer’s Dog has dedicated customer support staff available by phone and email. This is a plus for those with dogs who have specific dietary needs, since you may have questions.
- Quality: When evaluating fresh dog food, we like to see real, whole foods you or I would be happy to eat. In this regard, The Farmer’s Dog food passes the test.
- Accreditations and standards: The Farmer’s Dog has gone through the trouble and expense of adhering to USDA standards and is AAFCO certified for all life stages.
- Convenience: Feeding your dog store-bought kibble is convenient, but may not be the best for their long-term health. Feeding them homemade dog food can be a great option if you are able to make each meal nutritionally balanced, but even then it’s an added weekly responsibility. The Farmer’s Dog meal pouches make feeding your dog cleaner and easier than cooking or most other dog food packaging.
- Cost: Anyone new to fresh dog food may be surprised by the cost difference, but that’s the price you pay to give your dog a healthy diet made with real food. We like to think of it as an investment toward their health and, hopefully, fewer vet bills down the road. It’s worth noting that your price will be based largely on the amount of food your dog needs, so those with small breeds will pay a lot less than those with big dogs.
- Portioning could be better: Depending on the size of your dog, you will need to divide each meal pouch into multiple meals. Most other fresh dog food subscriptions operate similarly but have easy peel packaging that makes it a little easier to scoop out each meal’s portion. This isn’t a major inconvenience, though, especially if you have a medium or large dog who will get fewer meals per pouch.
- Not ideal for unpredictable lives: The Farmer’s Dog requires regular and steady shipments to keep you in stock. If you travel frequently or have other unpredictable elements in your life, a subscription-based service may not be for you. Like we said above, your subscription is flexible and you can edit your orders whenever you want, but if you’re in a different place from one week to the next, it will be difficult to manage.
Can I feed it to my puppy?
Yes, but keep reading for more info. All of The Farmer’s Dog’s recipes are AAFCO-certified for all life stages, so they’re safe to feed your puppy once they reach 8 weeks of age. However, none of their recipes are specifically tailored for puppies. If you’re feeding a puppy, we recommend the beef recipe, since it has the highest protein content of all options (which is one of the basic benefits of puppy foods). Learn more in our article on The Farmer’s Dog puppy food.
Growing puppies require more calories, fat, protein, and essential nutrients per pound than adult dogs, so be sure to use the Farmer’s Dog feeding calculator to determine the correct amount of daily calories to feed your little pup.
How it works
To get started, The Farmer’s Dog leads you through a quick questionnaire where you can enter specific information about your dog. This does two things:
- You get a meal plan designed to fulfill your dog’s nutritional and caloric needs.
- You will see your plan’s price broken down for you before you make any type of commitment.
Following are the basic steps involved in creating your dog’s meal plan. The website’s questionnaire considers many complicated variables to tailor your pup’s ideal meal subscription.
Step 1: Enter your preliminary information and zip code
Tell the company how many dogs you own, their names, and other basic account info.
Step 2: Enter your dog’s details
Next, you will have to provide some information about your dog, such as their breed, age, and weight. If you have multiple dogs, you’ll need to do this for each one. This is an important step, as some dogs metabolize foods faster than others. They’ll also ask you whether your dog has any health issues and how many treats or table scraps they get.
Step 3: Select your protein
Next you will select a base protein for your dog’s meal plan. You can choose between turkey, beef, chicken, and pork. The Farmer’s Dog will make a suggestion based on your dog’s information, but you can add or remove a recipe if wanted.
Step 4: See your subscription price and enter payment information
The final page of the online questionnaire shows the meal subscription cost and available discounts. Here is where you will enter your credit card information and shipping address.
If you have any questions throughout the process, you can contact the company’s customer support center via phone or email for more information before completing your first order or subscription updates. Due to the complexity of each meal plan and the costs of preparing them, it’s best to reach out to a representative as early as possible before your next shipment.
Step 5: Receive fresh, human-grade dog food without lifting a finger
Your first shipment of food will arrive within just a couple of days of being packaged, so you know it’s fresh. The food is shipped over dry ice and can remain cold for hours, so it’s fine if you’re at work or running errands when the delivery arrives. All of our food arrived completely frozen, but The Farmer’s Dog says that as long as your packs feel very cold and at least one pack is still partially frozen, it is safe to re-freeze and feed as needed.
Your shipment will include portioning instructions so you know exactly how much of each food packet to give to your dog per meal (large dogs may get individually portioned packets, while small breeds may get as many as 4–8 meals out of a single pouch). You can watch our unboxing video at the top of this page to get a better understanding of how it works.
How long does The Farmer’s Dog food last
Once the food pack is thawed, the food stays fresh for up to 4 days. The Farmer’s Dog food is truly fresh without the use of preservatives in any of the recipes, so be sure to treat it like real food—because it is!
Food you don’t plan to feed your dog in the next 24 hours should be stored in the freezer. Simply move tomorrow’s food from the freezer to the fridge each night and you’ll be good to go. If you forget, just put the pouch in warm water to soften it up. When you feed your pup, you can warm it up or serve it cold—most dogs don’t care either way.
Food packs stored in the freezer should stay fresh for several months.
The Farmer’s Dog ingredients & recipes
The Farmer’s Dog offers four meal options, each based on a different meat source: turkey, beef, chicken, and pork. Note that every Farmer’s Dog ingredient list begins with real, whole meat. You don’t see any meat “meals,” powders, or fillers you’d see at the top of the ingredients list for store-bought kibble.
- Crude protein: 9% minimum
- Crude fat: 4.5% minimum
- Crude fiber: 1.5% maximum
- Moisture: 76% maximum
- Turkey, Chickpeas, Carrot, Broccoli, Parsnip, Spinach, Fish Oil, Nutrient Blend
- Crude protein: 11% minimum
- Crude fat: 8% minimum
- Crude fiber: 1.5% maximum
- Moisture: 73% maximum
- Beef, Sweet Potato, Lentils, Carrot, Beef Liver, Kale, Sunflower Seeds, Fish Oil, Nutrient Blend
- Crude protein: 10% minimum
- Crude fat: 6% minimum
- Crude fiber: 1% maximum
- Moisture: 77% maximum
- Chicken, Brussel Sprout, Chicken Liver, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Fish Oil, Nutrient Blend
- Crude protein: 9% minimum
- Crude fat: 7% minimum
- Crude fiber: 1.5% maximum
- Moisture: 75% maximum
- Pork, Sweet Potato, Potato, Green Beans, Cauliflower, Pork Liver, Fish Oil, Nutrient Blend
The Farmer’s Dog will use your dog’s information to determine which recipe is best for their body. If your dog has specific dietary needs, it is a good idea to check with your vet to ensure they agree with your meal plan.
>> Read more: Is Farmer’s Dog Grain Free?
Is The Farmer’s Dog food safe?
Yes. To this date, The Farmer’s Dog has never been recalled. The Farmer’s Dog goes through several steps to ensure all of the food they ship is safe:
- All procedures meet human-grade industry standards
- They test and inspect all inbound ingredients
- They ensure proper cooking methods in a USDA-inspected kitchen
- They implement strict controls to prevent any harmful contaminants
- Finally, they test samples from each batch before the food leaves the facility
Not only is the food safe, but it also promotes good health since the food is created to be nutritionally complete and balanced by a team of canine-nutrition experts and experienced recipe formulators, including board-certified veterinary nutritionists. Recipes are regularly tested at a third-party lab to ensure each batch meets or exceeds AAFCO nutrition standards.
How much does it cost?
The Farmer’s Dog price starts at around $2.77 per day with free shipping. However, pricing will vary according to your dog’s needs.
Using the price calculator on The Farmer’s Dog website, we estimated the cost of a meal plan for a 50-pound, mixed-breed male dog shipping to Utah. It came in at about $7 per day. If you’re feeding a 30-pound dog, you’ll pay a couple of dollars less per day. And if you have a 6-pound Yorkshire Terrier, like we do, you’ll pay a lot less—about $2.80 per day, or $1.40 per meal. Learn more: How Much Does The Farmer’s Dog Food Cost?
It may be helpful to compare the cost of The Farmer’s Dog to that of other brands. For example, in our The Farmer’s Dog vs Ollie comparison guide, we noticed that Ollie is cheaper for large and small dogs, while The Farmer’s Dog is cheaper for medium-sized dogs. Generally speaking though, they tend to come with similar prices.
Is The Farmer’s Dog worth it?
Ultimately, the decision comes down to how much you’re willing to pay to give your pup a healthier diet. The Farmer’s Dog will definitely give your dog a more nutritious meal than what is commonly available in stores. And the service is convenient. But the cost could be prohibitive for those on a budget.
Keep in mind, though, that many dogs experience health issues and disease as they age, and feeding them an appropriate diet could help mitigate these risks. After all, you are what you eat is true for pets, too. The long-term savings in vet bills may outweigh the costs of feeding your dog a human-grade diet.
To help you save, The Farmer’s Dog also offers Topper plans—smaller meal plans that you can mix in with your dog’s current food to boost its nutritional content. This is especially useful if you have a picky eater who’s gotten bored of their current food.
If you decide to go this route, we recommend you choose a high-quality kibble, such as HALO, to stretch the food and reduce costs while still supplying real nutrition. But remember—even the highest-quality kibble is no substitute for the minimally processed fresh food offered by services like The Farmer’s Dog.
Overall, we give The Farmer’s Dog a solid recommendation for its multiple benefits and tailored services. In partnership with your vet, you will be in the best position to decide if it is right for your dog.
>> Read more: How Much Does Nom Nom Dog Food Cost?
How to thaw Farmer’s Dog Food
The best way to thaw Farmer’s Dog food is to move the next pack of food from the freezer to the refrigerator the day before you plan to feed it to your dog. It will take about 12 to 18 hours for a pack of food to defrost in the refrigerator, but you won’t have to worry about it spoiling at room temperature.
If you forget to move your dog’s next pack of food to the fridge the day before, put it in a bowl in the sink and drip room-temperature water over it until it is soft enough to measure out and feed to your dog. Your dog may be happy to eat the food while still partially frozen.
Make sure to move any unused food to the fridge before it reaches room temperature.
If you want a fresh dog food that you don’t have to thaw at all, check out our Maev vs Farmer’s Dog comparison. Maev offers diced pieces of food that are meant to be chewed straight from the freezer, so it’s no problem if you forget to defrost.
How does The Farmer’s Dog compare to other dog food delivery services?
Given the significant differences in ingredients and cooking methods, it does not make sense to compare The Farmer’s Dog with store-bought, kibble-based pet foods. However, it may be worth evaluating the other human-grade dog food brands out there.
Nom Nom offers a bunch of products The Farmer’s Dog doesn’t, such as microbiome testing kits, supplements, treats, and cat food. You can learn more about it in our Nom Nom Dog Food review or our Nom Nom vs The Farmer’s Dog comparison.
Ollie also offers treats, plus a lamb-based recipe, which may be good for dogs intolerant to common meats. But it doesn’t offer the pork recipe that The Farmer’s Dog offers (the rest of their protein sources are the same). Like The Farmer’s Dog, Ollie also includes organ meat, which is rich in natural nutrients. Learn more in our Ollie Dog Food review or our Farmer’s Dog vs Ollie comparison.
If you’re interested in feeding your dog a raw diet, but don’t want to deal with the mess or hassle, check out our We Feed Raw Dog Food review. We Feed Raw offers six recipes made with human-grade raw meats from the U.S. and New Zealand.
Just Food For Dogs also offers cat food, treats, supplements, and nutrient blends, although its meal plans aren’t as personalized as what The Farmer’s Dog offers. You can learn more in our Just Food For Dogs review and our The Farmer’s Dog vs Just Food For Dogs comparison.
A Pup Above is worth looking into if you want protein-dense fresh dog food. Their service is slightly less customized than The Farmer’s Dog since they only sell preportioned food amounts, but they have substantially more protein in every meal due to their use of extra organ meat. Learn about it in our A Pup Above Dog Food review or our A Pup Above vs Farmer’s Dog comparison.
PetPlate offers partial meal plans for small breeds (The Farmer’s Dog only offers them to medium-sized breeds and up). It also offers treats, one of the only areas where The Farmer’s Dog falls behind other brands. However, Pet Plate’s shipping options aren’t as flexible. Learn more in our full PetPlate review or our PetPlate vs The Farmer’s Dog comparison.
Spot and Tango doesn’t have the shipping flexibility of The Farmer’s Dog, and it falls short on meal flexibility. It offers only three fresh recipes, and two are far more expensive than the other. However, it does offer a healthier kibble alternative called UnKibble, which may be a good option if you find that healthy fresh food is totally out of your budget. Learn more in our Spot and Tango review or our Spot and Tango vs Farmer’s Dog comparison.
If healthy dry food interests you—especially if you want to be environmentally conscious, then check out our Chippin Dog Food review. Chippin makes gently baked dry food with human-grade ingredients, so you get the convenience of kibble without all of the additives. And they’ve gone to extensive lengths to make their entire operation more eco-friendly.
Open Farm offers a ton of products no other brand has, like bone broth, kibbles, and “rustic stew” wet foods. However, its fresh food subscription isn’t nearly as personalized as The Farmer’s Dog’s service, so it’s not as good if you want a meal plan customized for your individual pup. Dig deeper in our Open Farm review.
Freshpet offers a wider variety of products and it’s cheaper, but it’s overall quality is lower than The Farmer’s Dog and it doesn’t offer a convenient subscription model. You can learn more in our guide to Freshpet vs Farmer’s Dog.
Despite all of these small differences, we’ve personally tested each of these brands, and we think your dog would be lucky to have any of them.
>> Read more: The Farmer’s Cat: Does The Farmer’s Dog Make Cat Food?
Other The Farmer’s Dog reviews
Here’s what other customers had to say:
My picky eater loves this food. Even her daycare/boarding notices how much better she eats! She does have a sensitive stomach. The transition was pretty tough, we took about two weeks and still had some nasty challenges, but now that we are through it her poops are MUCH better than on ******. Hope to see even more benefit with time. Customer service has been exceptional.
Customer service has been wonderful, I had a problem with one of the recipes (turkey) my dog just didn’t like it. I called customer service and they changed my order with no questions asked. The food always comes on time and still frozen solid even during this covid crap. My pup has been thriving ever since I made the switch. Shes gained some weight but not too much to where she’s turning obese. She loves this food except for the turkey and I don’t have to force feed her with a spoon anymore. thank you farmers dog!!
>> Read more: How To Cancel The Farmer’s Dog Subscription