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The Farmer's Dog Food Review | Our Experience with the Fresh Dog Food Subscription Service

November 01, 2019 23 Comments

The Farmer's Dog Food Review - djangobrand.com

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Updated September 2021

About two years ago I (Steph) did some research into kibble dog food. I realized I knew very little about what kibble actually is... How is it made? Why is every single piece of kibble identical in shape and size? Is it considered processed (quick answer: YES, very processed)? And most importantly, is even the highest quality dog kibble the most nutritious food option for my dachshund Django?

I quickly learned that feeding Django the same kibble diet day in and day out was not in his best interest and explored other nutrient-rich options. I soon came across fresh dog food brands including The Farmer's Dog. Fast forward two years and The Farmer's Dog is now a regular part of Django's diet. Do Mike (my husband and Django's dad) and I exclusively feed Django The Farmer's Dog? Nope. We're big proponents of mixing up Django's meals to some degree. Mike and I feed Django a mix of high quality organic or all natural dry dog food and nutrition-dense freshly made food (aka The Farmer's Dog).

Below is an honest review and comprehensive overview of The Farmer's Dog. All opinions are our own and based on our own experience feeding our dachshund Django The Farmer's Dog meals. We value your opinions and would love to hear about your own experience with The Farmer's Dog (or another fresh dog food brand). Please don't hesitate to leave a comment below!

What is The Farmer's Dog?

The Farmer's Dog is a subscription dog food service that sends freshly-made meals directly to your door. Unlike dry dog food which is cooked at extremely high temperatures and de-moisturized to extend shelf life, Farmer's Dog food is gently cooked at low temperatures to preserve the nutritional value of each ingredient. The food is then quickly frozen (not deep frozen) and shipped to your home. No preservatives are ever used in The Farmer's Dog recipes, so the food has a much shorter shelf life of 4 days once it is thawed in the refrigerator. If kept frozen, the packaged meals will stay fresh for 4 months.

Subscription? Yes. The Farmer's Dog is an auto-renewing subscription with no long-term commitment. When you first sign up for a 2-week taste trial (more on this below), you simultaneously enroll in an ongoing meal plan subscription. You can select how much food you want to receive with each order, and you can obviously cancel unprocessed orders at any time.

The Farmer's Dog Unboxing

DJANGO Dog Blog - The Farmer's Dog unboxing and review

Each Farmer's Dog box is shipped out and delivered incredibly quickly. Our box typically reaches us in 2 days time once our order is processed. Each box is insulated and packaged with dry ice, creating a makeshift freezer that ensures meals are 100% frozen upon delivery.

Something also worth mentioning... The Farmer's Dog has taken deliberate steps to keep its packaging environmentally friendly. The main cardboard box is recyclable, all insulating materials are biodegradable, and the food storage container that is included (see photo above) is also biodegradable. Even the meal packages are made from BPA-free and non-toxic materials.

In addition to the frozen pre-portioned dog meals, each order comes with a food storage container and feeding guide. Mike and I actually never use the food storage container and prefer to store refrigerated meals in a reusable tupperware container.

Recipes, Nutrition, and Quality of Ingredients

Recipes & Guaranteed Analyses

The Farmer's Dog currently offers four dog food recipes: turkey, beef, chicken, and pork. Each recipe is a blend of real whole foods, vitamins, and minerals and balanced to meet AAFCO standards by veterinary nutritionists. We include the ingredient list for each recipe below as well as the respective guaranteed analyses. You'll notice high quality USDA animal protein is always the first ingredient, and each recipe is complemented by nutrition-dense legumes, carbs and vegetables such as chickpeas, sweet potatoes, broccoli and carrots. Essential vitamin and mineral supplements are also included and identified as 'TFD Nutrient Blend' and 'TFD Nutrient Pack'.

The Farmer's Dog recipes, ingredients, and guaranteed analysis and nutritional information

Quality of Ingredients

In terms of ingredient quality and nutritional value, The Farmer's Dog fires on all cylinders. 

The Farmer's Dog uses high quality ingredients that are sourced from restaurant suppliers, local farms, and other human food purveyors that meet USDA standards. All Farmer's Dog meats are all-natural and antibiotic free with no hormones added. This last point is especially important to Mike and I. We only purchase organic meat or meat for our family that is made without antibiotics, added growth hormones, or animal by-products in feed.

Feed-grade ingredients (i.e. lower quality ingredients used for animal feed) are never used, and ingredients are never processed to extend shelf-life. As mentioned earlier, meals thawed in the refrigerator should be used within 4 days; frozen portions can stay in frozen for 4 months.

The Farmer's Dog's cooking and delivery process always preserves the nutritional integrity of the ingredients. Recall that the food is cooked at very low temperatures, frozen immediately, and delivered to your door within days of cooking.

    Django the Dachshund's Taste Test

    Django can't express in words how he feels about his Farmer's Dog meals, but I can tell you this... Every time we open a container of Farmer's Dog, Django gets very excited - to the point where he starts barking and/or jumping up if we don't put his dinner bowl down fast enough! It was actually incredibly difficult to capture photos of Django with a bowl of Farmer's Dog because he kept trying to jump on me and attack the bowl as I kneeled down to snap photos! So while I can't tell you which Farmer's Dog recipe he prefers or why, I can confirm that Django undoubtedly loves The Farmer's Dog. His behavior clearly suggests he favors this fresh dog food over any dry kibble we've ever given him.

    Django the dachshund reviews The Farmer's Dog fresh food subscription service

    How to order

    To sign up for your dog's meal plan and determine pricing, head over to The Farmer's Dog website and click "REDEEM 50% OFF" - make sure to use one of our links so you get the 50% off discount. You'll enter a user-friendly portal that asks for your information (name, email) and your dog's information (age, weight, breed, dietary restrictions, etc). From here you will select your preferred meals: turkey, beef, chicken, pork, or a combination of the four. You can select up to three recipes to be delivered with each order. We always choose a mix of the recipes since we favor variation in the animal protein and legumes that Django eats.

    The first box you receive is a 2-week taste trial consisting of 14 daily meals. Since Django weighs 14lbs, our first box included 7 pre-portioned meal sleeves (3 beef, 2 turkey, 2 pork). You will receive more or less pre-portioned meals depending on your dog's breed and weight.

    Keep in mind that when you place your first order, you are simultaneously enrolling in an ongoing meal plan subscription. After checkout, you can alter how much dog food you want to receive with each order, and you can obviously cancel unprocessed orders at any time.

    How much does The Farmer's Dog cost?

    The Farmer's Dog pricing will vary based on your dog's weight. To give you a ballpark estimate for cost, we priced out three scenarios based on different dog breeds and weights: a 14 lb dachshund (what our sausage dog Django weighs), a 25 lb french bulldog, and 50 lb standard poodle. We highlight cost per day for (1) the 2-week test trial period (2) every billing cycle thereafter. Keep in mind these daily pricing include shipping costs and assume you are exclusively feeding your pup Farmer's Dog meals. The cost per day will obviously be cut in half if, for example, you feed your dog half Farmer's Dog and half organic kibble (like we do with Django).

    DJANGO Dog Blog - How much does The Farmer's Dog cost?

    You'll notice that shipment frequency depends on dog size. For a smaller dog like Django, our meal plan bills and ships every 8 weeks. For a 25 lb frenchie, the plan bills and ships every 5 weeks. For a 50 lb standard poodle, the plan bills and ships every 3 weeks.

    Click here to go to The Farmer's Dog main website and calculate the cost of a meal plan for your dog.

    Is it worth it? One final thought.

    Mike and I have tried almost every fresh dog food subscription service out there, and The Farmer's Dog is a clear favorite of ours. We'll continue to add the turkey, pork, and beef recipes to Django's dinner bowl so long as the quality and nutritional value of The Farmer's Dog remains stellar and Django continues to drool over the meals.

    What is the one downside of The Farmer's Dog for us? The cost. The daily cost of feeding Django The Farmer's Dog is obviously greater than the cost of just feeding Django dry dog food. Like meal delivery services for humans, we are paying more for fresh, high quality ingredients that are packaged conveniently and delivered straight to our door in record time. All of this understandingly demands a higher price than standard dry dog kibble which can stay packaged on a store shelf for years.

    If you are looking to save a few dollars, a great way to combat the cost of The Farmer's Dog is to use the meals as a 'topper' on top of a high quality dry dog food. Mike and I often do this at home with Django to significantly extend the lifespan of each Farmer's Dog box. The best part? Django doesn't seem to notice - he's just happy to be getting fresh, homemade dog food in his dinner bowl!

    Additional resources





    23 Responses

    DJANGO
    DJANGO

    October 26, 2021

    @JEN It’s nice to hear from you! One of our favorite organic dry dog food brands for Django is the Organix chicken and sweet potato recipe by Castor & Pollux. This recipe happens to be grain-free, which you may not want. Another really good option to consider is The Honest Kitchen’s Dehydrated Free Range Chicken & Whole Grain Dry Dog Food.

    You can read more about both recipes in this DJANGO Dog Blog article (copy/paste link in new browser bar). They are ranked #1 and #5 on our recently updated list:
    >>> https://djangobrand.com/blogs/news/the-best-organic-all-natural-and-grain-free-dog-foods <<<


    Hope this helps, Jen! Best to you and your pup <3

    Jen
    Jen

    October 26, 2021

    Thanks for the information! I like the idea of good quality organic kibble and topping off with farmer’s dog :) What brand of organic kibble do you feed your dogs? I am trying to find a good brand.

    DJANGO
    DJANGO

    October 13, 2021

    @SARA This is a great question! I went ahead and emailed The Farmer’s Dog support team with your question. We’ve actually never had to look into this question before since Django (our dachshund) devours his breakfast and dinner within minutes every time :)

    Here is the answer to your question from Lindsay at The Farmer’s Dog:

    “Thanks for reaching out! Once thawed, our packs stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days and can be kept in the freezer for 4 months.

    Since our food doesn’t contain any preservatives, I wouldn’t recommend leaving it out in the bowl longer than an hour. If your dog seems hesitant about eating his recipes, I’d suggest adding a touch of warm water and fluffing it up with a fork. This can help to take the chill off the food and typically gets pups back on track with their fresh recipes. Let me know if this helps at all. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions. Always here to help with anything you and Django need :)"

    Also, it’s good to mention that The Farmer’s Dog Customer Support team can be emailed directly via help@thefarmersdog.com. They are always incredibly receptive to emails and questions and reply back quickly!

    Sara
    Sara

    October 13, 2021

    How long can the food be out of the fridge in my dogs bowl to be good to eat?

    DJANGO
    DJANGO

    October 02, 2021

    @KIM COLLINS Hi Kim. I’m so sorry to hear about your pup’s allergies. Has he ever had fresh dog food before? Sometimes allergy tests aren’t completely accurate — there are instances where a dog who’s allergic to a specific ingredient in dry food does very well on the fresh version!

    If you haven’t already done so, I’d also suggest checking in with your dog’s veterinarian to see if The Farmer’s Dog recipes could be a good fit. The dog food could be worth a try, but I’d only proceed after getting your vet’s approval. Also, just a reminder that we included The Farmer’s Dog recipes’ full ingredient lists and guaranteed analyses above in our article.

    One last thing… The Farmer’s Dog’s customer support team is very responsive and helpful. You may want to contact them directly with any of your allergy concerns. Their support email is help@thefarmersdog.com.

    Laura Hudson
    Laura Hudson

    September 27, 2021

    Chezar mentioned anal gland issues. If the issue is excessive scooting and VERY painful expressions at the vet due to build up in the annal glands, I have an easy suggestion to cure it. My dog had this issue and the vet recommended removing the annal glands. I then went to an integrative (wholistic) vet for another option. She suggested chopping up apples and adding them to each meal. I chop up about a slice or a small handful for my 14 lbs dog each meal. You have to be patient, but in 6 months his annal gland issue disappeared. He needs the extra fiber the apples give him and whatever else is in them that works their magic on keeping his annal glands healthy.

    Kim Collins
    Kim Collins

    September 27, 2021

    Hi- My dog has many food allergies. Am I able to send what my dogs allergies are and you create a food of which he isn’t allergic to?

    Thank you,

    Kim

    DJANGO
    DJANGO

    August 17, 2021

    @DARLENE Hi! You ask a great question. It is not actually accurate to compare the Guaranteed Analysis of The Farmer’s Dog (or any other fresh dog food brand) to the Guaranteed Analysis of processed and dry dog food. This is because one dog food is fresh and still contains all of its natural moisture, whereas the other dry dog food contains very little water and is highly processed.

    The nutritional and fiber content percentages of The Farmer’s Dog and other fresh dog food are naturally very different from what you may be used to seeing on dry dog kibble labels. To accurately compare labels, you would have to convert the Guaranteed Analysis of The Farmer’s Dog to a dry matter basis.

    A few other things to keep in mind:
    - The Farmer’s Dog recipes are mostly meat alongside a variety of produce; the recipes are purposely designed to deliver an optimal protein and fiber profile for dogs while keeping protein/fat content in a healthy range.
    - The Farmer’s Dog recipes are formulated by board-certified ACVN nutritionists to ensure they are 100% nutritionally complete and balanced. This includes ensuring fiber content meets a proper threshold.
    - The Farmer’s Dog regularly sends batch samples to labs to confirm they show adequate levels of the appropriate nutrients for a healthy diet.
    - Some dry dog food counts by-products such as corn and wheat as fiber. In doing so, this makes the fiber content look very high when truthfully it counts as indigestible by-products.

    Lastly – and this is just from personal experience feeding The Farmer’s Dog to my dachshund Django – but my husband and I have never suspected that our little guy Django was more hungry after we switched to The Farmer’s Dog. If anything, I think he was more happy and satisfied after we made the switch. Fresh dog food is more aromatic and enticing for him, and he always seems pleased after eating it!

    Hope this helps answer your question!
    - Steph (and Django)

    Darlene
    Darlene

    August 17, 2021

    If the fiber content is so low how does the good fill a dog up?

    DJANGO
    DJANGO

    May 27, 2021

    @CAROL Hi Carol! No, The Farmer’s Dog does not contain anything with lutein in it. Although I suspected the answer was no, I contacted The Farmer’s Dog myself yesterday to verify this information. Here is the direct email answer from Holland, a customer service representative at The Farmer’s Dog:

    “While we do not offer lutein in any of our recipes; all of them include zinc, thiamin, and Omega-3 fatty acids- all of which aid in promoting your pup’s eye health. I’m including a link to our full AAFCO nutrient panel here​, which includes all of the information you requested. A few notes on how to read this document:

    The as-fed column lists the amount (in weight) for the macronutrients per 100 grams of each recipe as it comes out of the pack — these numbers cannot be compared to other brands
    The dry matter column lists the amount (in weight) for all nutrients per 100 grams of each recipe if you removed all the water and were left with just the dry solids — look here if you’re comparing to kibble
    The per 1000kcal column lists the amount (in weight) for all nutrients per 1000kcal of each recipe, and is standardized for any food type as long as you have the per 1000kcal numbers for another option — look here to calculate the amount per serving

    Additionally, I wanted to highlight that our fresh food contains all of its natural moisture (just like the food you buy for yourself from the grocery store!), while dry foods often have all of their moisture cooked out using harsh rendering and processing. This is the reason why you’ll notice our food has a higher moisture content than you may be used to seeing."

     Carol
    Carol

    May 26, 2021

    Does the farmers dog contain anything that has lutein in it

     Carol
    Carol

    May 26, 2021

    Does the farmers dog contain anything that has lutein in it

    DJANGO
    DJANGO

    February 10, 2021

    @JEANNIE Hi Jeannie, it’s nice to hear from you! You ask a great question about the kcal count for The Farmer’s Dog meals. You can view the exact number of calories your dog will eat per day on The Farmer’s Dog website when you are ordering and/or within your Farmer’s Dog account.

    Once you enter your dog’s information (breed, weight, age, etc), The Farmer’s Dog will let you select which recipes you’d like (up to three) and also show you the nutritional information for each recipe (under the ‘See details’ links). Here you can view each recipe’s ingredients, nutritional breakdown, and kcal count. In other words, how many calories your dog will get daily if you feed her exclusively The Farmer’s Dog.

    For instance, our dog Django is 13.5 lbs and a healthy weight for his breed. If we feed Django only The Farmer’s Dog, he will get a total of 265 calories per day. These numbers will obviously be different depending on your dog’s breed, age, weight, activity level, etc.

    As for whether your girl will be satisfied with 435 Kcals of The Farmer’s Dog, I can’t say! Django is definitely satisfied with The Farmer’s Dog and doesn’t beg for food afterwards (he does the opposite – plays or lays down contently after eating). But every dog is different and some dogs are insatiable! And don’t get me wrong, Django is happy after eating, but he’d definitely eat MORE if I let him :)

    DJANGO
    DJANGO

    February 10, 2021

    @STUART MCMILLAN Hi Stuart! You can select up to three recipes when you order The Farmer’s Dog. If you want to feed your dog only one recipe, this is definitely an option. In this case, you would simply select Turkey as your dog’s meal plan. If you want to feed your dog a more varied diet of two or even three recipes (i.e. Turkey, Beef, and Pork), this is also an option when you’re placing your order. Price-wise, it does not make a difference whether you order the same meal or a mix of 2-3 recipes. You will still get the same amount of food with your delivery.

    As for what is the better option for your dog (feeding him 1 recipe consistently or alternating recipes in his dinner bowl), this really depends on your dog and his tolerance for variation in his diet. If your dog does well with some variation like our dog Django, I personally prefer offering more variety with protein, legumes, veggies since it provides a more diverse nutrient profile.

    If your dog tends to do better with more consistency, however, selecting just one recipe at checkout may be the best idea. If your dog has a more sensitive stomach or a history of allergies, I’d suggest asking your vet for his or her recommendation on which recipe would be the best recipe(s) to proceed with.

    Stuart McMillan
    Stuart McMillan

    February 10, 2021

    Can you feed your dog just the turkey meal? Or do you alternate days with each type of meal? Should you use all 3 different meals are can you use just 2 different meals?

    Jeannie
    Jeannie

    February 10, 2021

    Our little ( not anymore) Mudge is a rescued girl. We don’t know her exact breed, but she is very overweight now at age 8 (we think ) . She is NEVER
    satisfied with 435 Kcals to help her lose weight. She is very demanding and won’t give up without further treats etc. What are the odds that she will be happy with 435 Kcals of Farmers Dog foods and is there a calorie count available on the packages to know
    how many she us getting?

    Jeannie
    Jeannie

    February 10, 2021

    Our little ( not anymore) Mudge is a rescued girl. We don’t know her exact breed, but she is very overweight now at age 8 (we think ) . She is NEVER
    satisfied with 435 Kcals to help her lose weight. She is very demanding and won’t give up without further treats etc. What are the odds that she will be happy with 435 Kcals of Farmers Dog foods and is there a calorie count available on the packages to know
    how many she us getting?

    DJANGO
    DJANGO

    February 10, 2021

    @HOWARD CHEZAR Thanks for the comment! It’s nice to hear from you, although I’m sorry to hear your dog is having anal gland issues. We’ve never had any issues feeding Farmer’s Dog to Django. Of course, every dog is different, and some dogs have specific food allergies or dietary needs that only a veterinarian can help you address. We’re not medical professionals – just loving dog parents – so please consult your vet with any health questions you have. Anal gland issues can be caused by several factors including food allergies, skin allergies, obesity, low thyroid, etc. Your vet knows your dog best and is the best person to figure out what is causing your pup’s problem. If food allergies are indeed the culprit, your vet should be able to determine which allergies exist and recommend any necessary dietary changes.

    Howard Chezar
    Howard Chezar

    February 10, 2021

    We r temporarily taking our dog off Farmer’s dog and going back to basic healthy kibble with grain
    Our dig has developed anal gland issues what do you think about the cause? Allergy to something possibly in FD chick peas etc are a protein substitute etc so we have to go back to basics

    DJANGO
    DJANGO

    February 10, 2021

    @CLAIRE Hello! It’s nice to hear from you, and thanks for the question. Our dachshund Django is just under 5 years old and in good health. Django is also a healthy weight. Luckily Django has never had any health issues, so we cannot (and would never) claim that any food we give him has helped address specific health issues or concerns. We are also not medical professionals — just loving dog parents — and would not feel comfortable saying one particular product has helped Django the most.

    What I can say is that we (Mike and Steph) strive to give Django the healthiest diet and lifestyle possible so he lives a long, happy, and healthy life with us. We only feed Django healthy dog food and treats and avoid anything with low quality protein sources, artificial ingredients, preservatives, etc. We often boil plain organic chicken for Django and add this as a topper to Django’s meals. Occasionally we add an organic egg to his bowl. This morning Django had a few chopped up fresh organic blueberries and strawberries in his breakfast bowl with leftover plain baked salmon from last night. You get the point :)

    We love The Farmer’s Dog because it checks all the boxes we’re after when it comes to high quality dog foods. It’s made with whole, real ingredients including high quality animal protein, and preservatives/chemicals/artificial flavors are never added. The food is gently cooked and nutrition dense vs. highly processed kibble. On top of that, Django loves it. Is The Farmer’s Dog the only good dog food out there? Of course not. But we love it and consider it to be a great option for those looking for fresh, healthy dog food options.

    If your dog has specific health issues, I would definitely recommend speaking directly to your vet and asking if there are specific dietary changes you can make that may help your dog. We’re not in a position to advise anyone on doggy medical issues or health concerns and would never suggest one food will successfully address a problem.

    Thanks again for reaching out, and let us know if you have any other questions of course. Stay well!

    Claire
    Claire

    February 10, 2021

    Thanks for your review. But what I’d like to know is that did it fix any issues Django had? Other than truly liking the food, I mean what doggie wouldn’t like that stuff?

    Claire
    Claire

    February 10, 2021

    Thanks for your review. But what I’d like to know is that did it fix any issues Django had? Other than truly liking the food, I mean what doggie wouldn’t like that stuff?

    NormanWilkes
    NormanWilkes

    February 10, 2021

    Useful and great knowledge to learn. thank you!
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