By now, every dog owner in the US has heard of The Farmer’s Dog - a new company cooking up a line of fresh, nutritionally-balanced food made with human-quality ingredients that gets shipped right to your front door. It’s nutritionally balanced to meet your pooch’s needs and cooked with high-quality ingredients that you could actually eat. Like a lot of owners, I noticed their ads on Instagram, and after some deliberation, decided to try it out. Well, I mean, my pup, Denver, tried it out. And thanks to the Farmer’s Dog for sending me some free samples so I could write this review and have Denver try it!
Did Denver dig the fresh food from The Farmer’s Dog?
We’ll cut right to the chase: three weeks into trying out the fresh food, Denver is loving it. She’s jumping up and down (and around and around) in excitement for her food like never before. And I’ve noticed some pretty happy changes in her health, like improved digestion, fur that seems thicker and more cuddly. Overall I’m very pleased, and plan to continue with fresh food until
Meet my Denver
“Denver” is my two-year old, 85-pound, all-white shepsky. Super happy, great on the trails and super loving (and sometimes protective) at home, she’s a great pet and friend. Unfortunately, she’s also had a sensitive tummy. So I’ve not had a ton of luck with traditional kibbles or wet food, which can give her tummy troubles and mean a quick trip outside so she can relieve herself.
Her tummy troubles were so bad that I’ve had some not-so-cheap visits to the vet to try to find a solution. Her vet prescribed a “sensitive stomach” dog food brand. Thankfully this fixed her diarrhea problem. But, she never really loved the food like she used to. I began topping her kibble with doggie-safe food scraps from my kitchen to try to encourage her to eat.
Next thing I knew, I was basically a full on doggie chef, making gourmet meals just to get her to eat! Not only was I spending a lot of time in the kitchen, I started spending extra cash on groceries - and prescription dog food. Of course, like every animal owner, I wanted Denver to be happy, but when I saw the advertisements for The Farmer’s Dog, I started thinking...
Would my picky eater actually eat The Farmer’s Dog’s food? And would it give her the nutrition she needs? And would it not upset her sensitive stomach? I decided it was worth a shot.
Why The Farmer’s Dog?
The Farmer’s Dog full meals that combine fresh animal and plant proteins, veggies and fruits and grains, with a convenient delivery service. So you don’t have to be a doggie chef like me, but can still offer high-quality, personalized nutrition to your pooch.
Every week, they’ll send you frozen meals. They come in pre-portioned packs, so there isn’t any mess or measuring. You simply take some out of the freezer and plop them into the fridge the night before to de-thaw (a new word I just created that’s a cross between defrost and thaw
). Every meal is compact (which matters if you’re like most people and have limited freezer space).
One of the things that caught my eye about The Farmer’s Dog was the fact that they have exciting flavors. And while they definitely aren’t the only option in the “fresh dog food subscription” market, I liked the fact that they had a flavor that I thought Denver might like (pork, in case you are wondering - although we also tried the beef and turkey too.)
The fact that Denver is excited at meal time now and enjoys her dinners is great. Picky eaters can make life really stressful, so it’s awesome to have a happy and healthy pup! In this regard, The Farmer’s Dog has been a Godsend.
TFD is for pup owners who care about their pet’s health.
Besides the fact that Denver is now eating pigging out, there are some other things I really like about The Farmer’s Dog.
First of all, because the meals come pre-portioned, it’s a lot harder to overfeed your pet. So now I don’t have to stress as mucch about Denver getting obese.
Secondly, every owner knows a lot about their pup’s poo. And Denver’s poop is a nice and firm consistency when she eats these fresh meals. I believe that’s because the meals contain a nice mix of fresh fruits, veggies, grains and healthy proteins. No more tummy troubles, thankfully. If your pet has had digestive issues, you know what I’m talking about - and how nice it is when everything operates nice and smoothly.
Fresh food also promises a lot for your dog’s long-term health, including the ability to build lean muscle, and to keep a safe body weight. And balanced meals like these can help improve fur, skin, nail and bone health. Just like with humans, improved doggy diets have lasting repercussions in most other areas of health.
PLUS: The Farmer’s Dog has better packaging.
Don’t you hate it when your space gets overwhelmed with boxes and plastic shipping wrap? Thankfully, The Farmer’s Dog cares about sustainability and has invested in minimal biodegradable packaging.
In addition to recyclable cardboard, the insulation is made from corn syrup -- which is both biodegradable and compostable. Pretty cool for those who care about the planet!
Crazy as it sounds, you can actually MELT the foam packaging in water. Wanna see? Watch this video of me unboxing The Farmer’s Dog:
Overall: way less waste than buying traditional kibble in plastic packages that don’t belong anywhere but a landfill.
The Farmer’s Dog: a new (but actually very old) approach to doggie nutrition
Dogs adapted to life with people, and people food, over the past forty thousand years or so. Hanging out with our ancient ancestors, eating their scraps, then hunting with us and eventually protecting our crops and herds. Pups ate as we ate, and so their bodies and digestive tracts have become “specialized” to digest the things we eat, becoming less like their all-carnivore wolf ancestors and more like us, eating fruits and veggies.
In the 1800s, an inventor created the first dog biscuit by mixing wheat, vegetables and beef (and something called beetroot). Kibbles were created and a whole new industry was developed! Middle class families could now treat their pets to supposed nutritious, easy to purchase and store meals.
But clearly it’s not 1800 anymore. And modern pet owners are looking for something better than old-school kibble.
Brands like The Farmer’s Dog are changing the way pet owners think about their pet’s nutrition. High-quality products, with quality you can easily see, plus no preservatives— that dogs (like mine) love and customers can feel good about serving up.
Why shouldn’t I just cook my own dog food?
Many people look at a service like The Farmer’s Dog and think: I might as well cook gourmet fresh meals for my dog. Well, I’ve done it, so I know it can be done! And while I found it was better for my pooch’s stomach health than kibble, other studies have found even greater health benefits. In fact, a 2005 study at Purdue University found that by simply adding fresh vegetables to a pooch’s kibble reduced a particular kind of cancer risk in Scottish Terriers.
If you are looking for some at-home recipes, you can find some solid ones on The Farmer’s Dog website. But, subscribing to the Farmer’s Dog can save you time and money. Here is how the basic math for me and Denver worked out:
Money saved on groceries (on average ~$50 month)
Less cooking time in the kitchen (hard to say exactly, but maybe 20 min/day on average?)
Fewer trips to the store to get food (possibly an extra 10 minutes each trip?)
Another huge advantage vs my home cooking is that the company worked with board-certified pet nutritionists, and their meals meet all standards set by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). Their kitchens are also USDA inspected.
The Farmer’s Dog Recipes
How to transition your dog to fresh food.
So, don’t make a mistake and try to switch your dog over all at once (I made this mistake - don’t do it!) You want to slowly move your pet onto the fresh food over two weeks by introducing an ever-greater percentage of the fresh food vs. what you were originally serving. If you go too fast, you can give your pup a stomach ache, cause diarrhea - or, if you’ve got a picky eater (hello Denver!) make them turn their nose up at the new meals.
I’d recommend you go with the transition plan that they recommend, which is done over two weeks:
Days 1-8 : 25% The Farmer’s Dog, 75% old food
Days 9-14 : 50% The Farmer’s Dog, 50% old food
Days 15+ : 100% The Farmer’s Dog
Trust me: your dog is going to like The Farmer’s Dog.
My picky eater is super excited at dinner time, thanks to fresh meals from The Farmer’s Dog.
The good news is that they’ve also got great customer service, so if you have questions or problems you can just reach out. I asked for more information, and received a prompt response. And with 50% off your first box, they make it exceedingly easy to try without commitment.
Your dog deserves more than just dried kibble, and based on other reviews I’ve read, I’m willing to bet your pooch will love The Farmer’s Dog as much as Denver does! Give it a shot, and let us know how it goes.