The market for fresh, natural food has experienced a boom in recent years. US Foods states that the trend of farmer’s markets has also exploded, quadrupling over the last 20 years. So why shouldn’t our beloved pups get in on this fresh action too? Why not transform their boring bowl of biscuits into something new and tasty? That’s where The Farmer’s Dog steps in.
In this review, we will look at this relatively new concept of this as-fresh-as-it-comes personalized dog food. From the brand’s history and how the whole process works to the ingredients and nutritional benefits, we share the honest details about whether they are truly different from the other brands.
Maybe you’re wondering how to update Fido’s diet into something tastier. Or perhaps you’ve had no luck alleviating your pup’s health problems with shop-bought kibbles. Trying this human-grade fresh food could be the answer you and Fido are looking for. So, let’s get down to our foodie findings.
At a Glance: The Farmer’s Dog Food Favorites
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The Farmer’s Dog (TFD) brand is a new company founded in 2014, but their journey began a little before this. It all started with one of the founder’s beloved Rottweiler pup, Jada. She suffered from severe digestive problems for two years. And after trying almost every high-quality kibble out there, their vet recommended trying Jada on homemade food to resolve the issues.
Immediately Jada’s dad, Brett, could see that simple, fresh, homemade food began working its magic almost overnight. And as they say, the rest is history!
Their mission is to turn their unconditional love into uncomplicated care – starting with what goes into our doggo’s bowls. They have created this bespoke service using decades of nutrition research and joining forces with top vet nutritionists. Not only do they claim that their food is nutritionally balanced and complete, but they also state that it is safe enough for humans to eat!
Their website states that they currently employ over 100 employees (and still hiring if you’re interested!). They also deliver millions of meals every month. They have over 185K followers on Instagram – showcasing all of the success stories across the country. Their success clearly shows that they are onto something, so let’s see what all the fuss is about.
A product recall occurs when it doesn’t meet the expected standards. It can be recalled voluntarily by the brand themselves or by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) who governs pet food standards nationally.
As it stands, TFD hasn’t had any food recalls. This means that they have met all the expected standards so far, which is always reassuring for us dog owners. There aren’t many well-known brands out there whose recall history is zero.
Range of Recipes
Currently, they only offer four recipes, which is fine for most dogs. But for those who are allergic to these commonly used proteins or have specific dietary needs are left without options. Thankfully, The Farmer’s Dog claims to be working towards building a wider range of formulas, so watch this space.
Currently, there are also no grain-inclusive options, only grain-free formulas. Again, this is not ideal for dogs who do better on grains. Or for parents who are concerned about the FDA’s investigations into the possible link between grain-free diets and heart disease. If you want to continue feeding your pooch grain-inclusive diet, simply blend some rice into the mix to add the grains.
There are also no specific options for puppies in their developmental stage or seniors who need fewer calories. However, once you take yourself through the food questionnaire, you input all of the details about your dog’s age, current weight, ideal weight, and activity levels, and more. Meaning that they calculate exactly how much your dog needs every day according to their requirements.
Additionally, all of their recipes are Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) compliant. AAFCO is the body that recommends standards for the pet food industry. This means the formulas are nutritionally complete for all ages and stages. So you can rest assured that your pooch will receive a well-balanced diet.
Pros and Cons
|Work with vets to create personalized plans||Limited range of formulas
|Meat from USDA-approved suppliers||Slightly more expensive than some other fresh meal brands|
|Uses human-grade, fresh produce||Need to be organized with thawing day before you need it|
|Cooked fresh and flash-frozen to maintain nutrition||Bags not resealable|
|Meals are conveniently pre-packed and pre-portioned|
|Delivered straight to your door a few days after made|
|Free nationwide shipping|
|Eco-friendly packaging and deliveries|
|Simple to make plan adjustments|
Farmer’s Dog Recipes
Sure, The Farmer’s Dog doesn’t offer a vast range of formulas, but let’s take a look at what they do offer. Here are the ingredients lists for the four recipes.
Let’s start with the meat because that’s what Fido wants to know about, right?! So each recipe uses one sole protein, which is always the first ingredient. This is a sure-fire sign of any high-quality recipe because it means it is the most prominent ingredient in the recipe. Using one sole protein also makes a recipe easier to digest, similar to most limited ingredient diets.
Three of the four recipes also list liver, which is from the same animal source. Liver is rich in nutrients and high in protein, plus it’s super tasty too. Fish oil is also in every recipe, adding healthy omega fatty acids. Omega oils are essential for a well-balanced diet, healthy skin and coat, joint support, digestion, cardiac fitness, organ development, and much more.
Each recipe lists its own blend of vegetables to provide the prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, and more. Included vegetables depend on the recipe, but they range from brussels sprout, broccoli, and sweet potato, to carrots, kale, and spinach, packing a punch of prebiotic fiber to aid smoother digestion. Plus, all of their recipes finish with ‘TFD Nutrient Blend.’ Meaning every formula is enriched with even more vitamins and chelated minerals (which dogs find easier to absorb) to support your pup’s immune system.
TFD never uses feed-grade ingredients that most other pet food brands use. They only use human-grade food. This means if you run out of ingredients for your own dinner, you could always join Fido! They also never use artificial preservatives that can irritate doggy digestive systems found in many pet foods.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into the scientific ratios of what these ingredients really offer your dog. Although we are reviewing wet food here, we have to compare it on a dry matter basis. Otherwise, it’s like comparing apples with bananas.
According to the Dog Food Advisor, the four recipes offer an average protein content of 40% and a mean fat ratio of 28%. Meaning the fat to protein ratio is 69%. These figures suggest that The Farmer’s Dog offers an above-average protein level, above-average fat level, and a below-average carbohydrate level. This is why they ‘enthusiastically recommend’ this premium brand.
Where Is the Food Made?
As you’ll notice, each animal protein states ‘USDA’, which stands for the United States Department of Agriculture. This is the government agency that regulates the agricultural food industry. By stating that an ingredient is USDA certified on the label, TFD assures us that all meat used in their recipes is only from USDA-approved suppliers, local farms, and other human food purveyors. This guarantees that consumers get high-quality ingredients that pass safety regulations. Further, each recipe is made in the USA in USDA kitchens. Another benefit to using USDA-approved kitchens is that all food made by TFD is from human-grade ingredients. So while you may not wish to eat it, you could!
However, TFD is unclear about where the other ingredients are sourced. Although the recipes are made in their American USDA-approved kitchens (guaranteeing all ingredients are human-grade), the non-USDA labeled ingredients could be sourced overseas. While we cannot confirm where TFD gets them, it’s common for dog food companies to source their micro-ingredients (i.e., vitamins, minerals) overseas.
How Does The Farmer’s Dog Work?
The first step towards filling your pup’s bowl with this premium food is to create an online profile on the TFD website. You need to input the basic information about your pup, such as their name, age, sex, weight, and breed. They’ll also ask about Fido’s body shape, behavior, activity levels, health issues, and routine diet. You also need to enter your name, zip code, and email address. This process only takes a few minutes.
Once you hit the button, using the information you’ve provided, they calculate exactly how much food your dog needs and which recipes are the top choice. After that, you review your order and submit your delivery details. It really is as simple as that!
Within a week of placing your order, you receive a two-week taste trial straight to your doorstep. After that, you receive food (and an auto-bill) every eight weeks to ensure your dog never runs out of food again.
The meals are pre-made and pre-portioned based on your pup’s daily calorie requirements. As soon as the meals are made, they are flash-frozen (never deep-frozen) to keep fresh without losing nutritional value.
The box ships with your frozen food packets, kept cold with dry ice. You can place it in the fridge or freezer as soon as you receive your delivery, depending on how soon you need it.
How Much Does it Cost?
According to the website, TFD’s plans start at $2 a day for smaller dogs. Every dog is unique, meaning that every plan and price is unique. To determine the exact cost for your pup, you can fill out the questionnaire. The price is based on weight. So for an average 55-pound dog with no health issues, you’re looking at a cost of $8 to $9 a day.
Sure, this is more expensive than feeding your pooch a dried or lower-quality diet. But you can be sure that your pup is getting a nutritionally complete diet that is above the market average in quality. It’s also very convenient because it’s delivered straight to your door and already pre-portioned. This is a great option if you can spend a little more on a higher-quality diet for Fido.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below we have listed some of the most frequently asked questions about TFD, so let’s clear the last few things up.
Is this a high-quality brand?
Yes, it is. As you can see from our review above, the brand’s mission is to provide food for your dogs to thrive on, not just survive. They have worked closely with canine nutritionists to design recipes are backed by science. They use the best quality and freshest ingredients and never use harsh preservatives or chemicals. Several review websites rate them highly with enthusiastic recommendations.
How does TFD know what food my dog needs?
They use the information that you have provided about your pooch. And using their details, such as sex, age, weight, lifestyle, and breed, they work closely with their vets to calculate the optimized nutrition. From there, you can trial the food for two weeks. Should something not be just right, their customer team is available to help monitor your dog’s progress and make any necessary adjustments.
Do I need to cook the food?
No, there is no need to cook the food. It is ready to serve up straight from the packet. If your pooch prefers warmer food, simply add a splash of warm water.
What if my dog doesn’t like the food?
From the reviews from other dog parents, it’s easy to see that this doesn’t happen often. However, dogs are creatures of habit and will take time to adjust to any new food. If you cannot entice them a splash of warm water or low-sodium broth, TFD states that they will offer you a refund for your food. Then you can donate it to a dog shelter.
Can I change my order at any time?
It’s super simple to amend your plan, change your address during vacation, rush, or delay an order. Just log into your account on the website and change the delivery details. You can also cancel or reactivate your subscription at any time.
Admittedly there isn’t much choice in their formulas, but TFD is working on adding to their range. The food is made in the USA at USDA-approved kitchens, ensuring human-grade food every time. Further, the meat ingredients are fresh and sourced from USDA-approved suppliers. And the recipes are topped off with everything your dog needs in its diet, securing the AAFCO seal of approval.
The Farmer’s Dog is more expensive than dried kibble or more basic doggy diets. However, if you have the budget for this plan, it offers you the peace of mind that you are providing the very best for your dog. And Fido is also satisfied with the tasty food that’s waiting for them every day in their bowl. And a healthy dog is a happy dog. So everyone’s a winner!