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Written by: Kenaz Filan on Jan 21st, 2023

Freshpet vs. The Farmer’s Dog 2023: Variety or Convenience?

So, your little buddy wants an upgrade in food? Freshpet has a huge variety, but The Farmer’s Dog offers the convenience of an online delivery service. Both have high-quality, fresh meals, but overall I found The Farmer’s Dog the better choice. 

If this was a service for humans, I’d give the nod to Freshpet due to its 40+ options. But when it comes to dog food, variety isn’t always a good thing. According to the vets I know, dogs don’t tolerate too much change in their diet. 

The Farmer’s Dog only offers 4 meal types, however, its in-depth questionnaire helps ensure your dog is getting the right meals for their needs. Plus, its regular subscription deliveries are more convenient long term. 

Read on to find out more about what each brand offers your furry friend.

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

💲 Price:

The Farmer’s Dog ($2/day per serving)

🍗 Ingredient Quality:

The Farmer’s Dog

🍴 Recipes

Freshpet (45 recipes)

⏰ Packaging and Prep

The Farmer’s Dog

👍 Ordering and Delivery:

The Farmer’s Dog

Ingredient Quality

Winner: The Farmer’s Dog

Both companies use veterinary nutritionists to develop meals and meal plans. Each company takes into account factors like breed, age, and activity level, and both gently cook the meals to retain nutrients. 

The main difference is that The Farmer’s Dog uses human-grade meats and veggies in its dog food. The standards that regulate human food production are much higher than those applied to pet food production, which means the ingredients will be of higher quality and include the most natural nutrients.

Ingredient breakdown for The Farmer's Dog Beef Meal

The Farmer's Dog never uses feed-grade ingredients.

The Farmer’s Dog food is made in USDA kitchens and exceeds the normal industry standards required for dog food. You also won’t find any preservatives or meals in the food (meals are made from parts of animals not allowed to be sold for human consumption, like offal). 

Bag of Freshpet dog food

Freshpet dog food with chicken, beef, egg, and salmon

Freshpet’s ingredients are still good quality, even if they’re not human-grade. Around 97% come from either the USA or Canada and all poultry, meats, and fish come from registered suppliers (including the USDA). The food is also free of corn, wheat, rendered meals, preservatives, and antibiotics.

Meals and Customization

Winner: Freshpet  

Freshpet wins this category because of its enormous variety, with 7 product lines and 45 different types of meals, plus a selection of 5 treats.

 In contrast, The Farmer’s Dog has only 4 products:

  • Chicken

  • Beef

  • Turkey

  • Pork

That’s average for most online delivery services for pet foods, but it’s clearly not as wide a variety as Freshpet’s offering. Also, unlike Freshpet, the Farmer’s Dog has no treats..

Freshpet has several questionnaires on its site to help you find the best product. One asks about your pet’s characteristics to help you narrow down the best food. There’s also a questionnaire to compare Freshpet foods with other brands.

However, it’s important to note that Freshpet isn't a delivery service. You can buy Freshpet at different locations offline, at a grocery store, or online through sites like Amazon and Petco. The website simply advertises the products and redirects you to other stores where they’re sold.

Freshpet’s questionnaire has 9 pages, with 1 or 2 questions per page. The questions include basic info like your dog’s name, breed, and age as well as more specific details like their health concerns, dietary preferences, ingredients to be screened out, and type of food currently eaten.

Screenshot of a questionnaire page from Freshpet

It's quick to fill out Freshpet's questionnaires.

The Farmer’s Dog also has an equally thorough questionnaire, including questions about your pet’s activity level, body type, and treats. The second screen around health issues is particularly detailed.

Health Concern Screen from the Farmer's Dog questionnaire

The Farmer's Dog questionnaire takes around three minutes to complete per dog.

The main benefit of The Farmer’s Dog is that you can check out and immediately purchase the food recommended by the questionnaire straight from the final screen.

When it comes to customizing meals for health issues and allergies, I feel the companies are tied. Although Freshpet has 45 products in its line, the questionnaire only screened for 2 health concerns – “Itchy Skin” and “Tummy Trouble.”

In contrast, The Farmer’s Dog allows you to screen for 21 health conditions, but only offers 4 different kinds of pet food, which implies that there are only a few broad ways of treating most health concerns.

Ordering and Delivery

Winner: The Farmer’s Dog 

The ordering processes for these services are completely different. 

Freshpet is not a subscription delivery service for dog food. Instead, it distributes its food through third parties like grocery stores, Walmart, and Amazon. Ordering online from those sites might be easy if you use them regularly, but there’s no quick way to set up a recurring subscription. If you want a one-off order, though, Freshpet might be the better choice.

Ordering from the Farmer’s Dog is done via its website, although you’ll have to take the questionnaire first. On the last screen, you’ll find the Checkout page. This is where you can start your subscription by signing up and ordering a trial. The cost and the length of time will vary by dog depending on its needs.

The minimum order size is dependent upon your dog’s size. For a larger breed, the minimum is 7 days’ worth of food. 

Although The Farmer’s Dog doesn’t offer one-off orders, it does have a trial period. In my case, the trial period was 2 weeks, after which an order would be billed and shipped every 6 weeks. The Farmer’s Dog ships to the 48 contiguous states and orders typically arrive sometime between Tuesday and Saturday.

You can easily rush, edit, delay, or change the address for orders. Simply go to the Subscription tab of your Customer Account and make any changes you need. 

While The Farmer’s Dog doesn’t have an app for tracking, there’s a page on your account with all the information you’ll need to follow your order’s progress. 

How Do the Meals Arrive?

Winner:  Tie

Meals from The Farmer’s Dog come in plastic bags stored in a cooled box. The bags are labeled to differentiate between recipes and are pre-portioned for your pet. 

The Farmer’s Dog meals should be stored in either the refrigerator or freezer. They come with a feeding guide that’ll help you sort through the details. As a general rule, thawed meals last 4 days in the fridge and can be frozen for 4 months in the freezer.

Freshpet’s packaging will vary depending on where you buy the products from but contains instructions and use-by dates. It’s best to store them in the refrigerator, where opened packages can last up to 7 days. However, they can be frozen if needed and will last 1-2 months. The nutrition and flavor won’t be affected, but the appearance might change a bit.

With Freshpet, you’ll have to portion the meals yourself but otherwise prepping the meals is similar to The Farmer’s Dog. Simply pour or scoop the portion into a bowl and cut it up if necessary. You can add a little hot water if your pet prefers warmed food. 

As for environmental concerns, the companies both make a good effort to be green.

The Farmer’s Dog cardboard box is recyclable. The insulation is biodegradable and will even dissolve under running water. The food-storage containers are also biodegradable and the packs are all made from non-toxic, BPA-free materials.

Freshpet doesn’t need so much packaging as it’s not being delivered. It also has several initiatives and programs that focus on the environment, for example, it never uses landfills, uses renewable energy, and saves water where possible.

Pricing

Winner: The Farmer’s Dog  

Freshpet’s prices vary depending on which store you buy them from, and tend to be more expensive with mark-ups and the overheads of physical stores. Because you deal directly with The Farmer’s Dog, its prices stay lower and more consistent.

Feeding my late and much-missed 70-pound pit bull Mookie a full The Farmer’s Dog diet would cost $8.14 a day after his trial box. That’s not cheap when compared to mass-market kibble, but it’s well within the standard range for higher-end dog foods and the food is considerably better for your pet. 

Screenshot of Mookie's meal plan with The Farmer's Dog

The Farmer's Dog trial lets you try out the recommended meals for less.

After I completed Freshpet’s questionnaire, it recommended its Grain Free Beef & Bison Recipe with Spinach, Cranberries & Blueberries. Because Mookie was chunky, I calculated for a 60-pound dog (his ideal weight). Using Freshpet’s recommended 1.25 pounds of food per day, a 5-pound roll would last 4 days. 

A screenshot of Petco's price for a 5-pound roll of Freshpet Vital Grain-Free Beef and Bison Food

Feeding Mookie Freshpet would cost $9.74 a day.

At Petco, a 5-pound roll of Grain Free Beef & Bison costs $38.49. That’s $9.74 a day – nearly 20% higher than the cost of The Farmer’s Dog. That also doesn’t include shipping costs if ordering online, while The Farmer’s Dog offers free shipping.

When it comes to refunds, The Farmer’s Dog states that if your pup doesn’t like the food, you can try some of its other recipes instead, or you can get a refund as long as you agree to donate your remaining unused food to a dog shelter.

In contrast, Freshpet refunds have to go through the third party from which you made the original purchase. They are available, but they might be trickier to process and will vary depending on the store. 

Features Comparison: Freshpet vs. The Farmer’s Dog


FreshPet

The Farmer’s Dogv

Best for

Variety

Human-grade food

Starting price

<$5/pack

$2/day 

Shipping cost

Varies

Free

Subscription

One-off purchases through grocery stores

2 week-trial followed by 6-week subscription periods

Recipes

45 choices

4 choices

Meal storage

7 days in the fridge.

1-2 months in the freezer.

4 days in the fridge.

4 months in the freezer.

Are meals pre-portioned?

No

Yes

Ingredient quality

All natural, fresh, minimally processed ingredients 

Human-grade, USDA-approved 

Free-from

No artificial preservatives or other unnatural chemicals, free of corn, wheat, and rendered meals

No preservatives or meals

Customizable based on:

Dog v Cat, weight, age category, special dietary needs, favorite foods, ingredients to be screened out, type of food

Age, sex, weight, breed, body type, ideal weight, activity level, eating style, health issues, type of food, treats, prescription diets, fixed or not 

Recalls

Yes, June 13th 2021

None

Money back guarantee?

Check individual third-party store

Yes, provided you agree to donate your remaining food to a dog shelter

Our reviewer’s rating

8.88

9.30

Current deal

N/A

Get 60% off on your first order!

And The Winner Is: The Farmer’s Dog

The Farmer’s Dog subscription service is a more convenient way to order your pet’s food. It’s also cheaper than Freshpet – especially if you use a discount code (like this one: Get 60% off on your first order!).

However, if you’re happy making one-off orders or want a larger selection to choose from, Freshpet may be the better choice. Plus, Freshpet has a line for cats while The Farmer’s Dog only offers dog food.

FAQ

Do vets recommend freshpet dog food?

Freshpet was developed by and is prepared with the assistance of veterinary nutritionists.

Is The Farmer’s Dog expensive?

It’s more expensive than mass-produced kibble you can get in a grocery store. However, I found the price to be good value for fresh, human-grade meals.

Is The Farmer’s Dog a raw diet?

No. The Farmer’s Dog isn’t a raw diet. It’s a fresh diet made from human-grade food, but it’s gently cooked to seal in nutrients and therefore doesn’t constitute a raw diet.

About The Author

Kenaz Filan
Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank
Based in New Jersey, Kenaz has decades of experience writing on many subjects and sampling the many cuisines his neighborhood has to offer. Working from home, Kenaz is writing a book between reviewing meal delivery services and raising a family.
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