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.
According to the vets I know, dogs don’t tolerate too much change in their diet. 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.
The Farmer’s Dog’s 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.
The Farmer’s Dog ($2/day)
🍗 Ingredient Quality:
Freshpet (45 recipes)
⏰ Packaging and Prep
👍 Ordering and Delivery:
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 food to retain nutrients.
But 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.
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).
There are several superfoods used in The Farmer’s Dog recipes. Some examples include lentils, bok choy, brussels sprouts, and parsnips. Minimum protein counts range between 8% and 11.5% depending on the recipes chosen.
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.
Your dog will appreciate the nutrient-packed superfoods Freshpet includes in its meals. Depending on the formulation, Freshpet meals include ingredients like kale, blueberries, quinoa, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and spinach. Minimum protein levels range between 8% and 11%.
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:
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.
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.
You can check out and immediately purchase The Farmer’s Dog food recommended by the questionnaire straight from the final screen.
Freshpet has 45 products, but the questionnaire only screened for 2 health concerns – “Itchy Skin” and “Tummy Trouble.”
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.
Winner: The Farmer’s Dog
The ordering processes for these services are completely different.
Freshpet isn’t 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. The Farmer’s Dog lets you track your order’s progress on its website, but it doesn’t have an app.
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 it always 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 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 warm 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.
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 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.
Feeding Big George, an active 10-pound Chihuahua mix, would cost $3.56 a day. If Big George were a lazy 180-pound St. Bernard/Newfoundland mix, his The Farmer’s Dog subscription would be $14.96 a day.
Freshpet’s questionnaire recommended its Grain Free Beef & Bison Recipe. 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.
At Petco, a 5-pound roll of Grain Free Beef & Bison costs $38.49. That’s $9.74 a day, which is 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.
Big George the Chihuahua mix would take 10 days to finish this roll ($3.85/day). Big George, the St. Bernard/Newfoundland mix would need half a roll per day ($19.25/day).
The Farmer’s Dog states that if your pup doesn’t like the food, you can get a refund as long as you agree to donate your remaining unused food to a dog shelter.
Freshpet refunds go through the third party from which you made the original purchase. They’re available, but they might be trickier to process and will vary depending on the store.
One-off purchases through grocery stores
2 week-trial followed by 6-week subscription periods
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?
All natural, fresh, minimally processed ingredients
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
Yes, June 13th 2021
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
The Farmer’s Dog subscription service is a more convenient way to order pet food. It’s also cheaper than Freshpet – especially if you use a discount code (like this one: Get 60% off on your first order!).
Freshpet might be your go-to if you prefer making single orders or want a more extensive range of options. What's more, Freshpet has a line specifically for cats, unlike The Farmer’s Dog, which only provides dog food.
Freshpet was developed by and prepared with the assistance of veterinary nutritionists.
The Farmer’s Dog is more expensive than mass-produced dog foods. However, I found the price to be good value for fresh, human-grade meals.
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.