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Author Kenaz Filan
Kenaz Filan Writer
Updated on Apr 23rd, 2024
Fact checked by Emma Vince

Freshpet vs. The Farmer’s Dog 2024: Variety or Ease?

Freshpet and The Farmer’s Dog both offer high-quality, fresh dog food and use in-depth questionnaires to narrow down the best meals for your pup. However, they’re very different services, which means that one is probably better for your needs than the other. 

Overall, I found The Farmer’s Dog the more convenient choice. It’s purely a subscription service, which means you can put feeding your dog on autopilot. Plus, the food arrives pre-portioned, making it easier to serve. Unlike Freshpet, the food is also human-grade, so you really are getting the best for your pet. 

Freshpet might be better for some. It has more recipes than The Farmer’s Dog (over 50 compared to The Farmer’s Dog’s 4). You can’t buy from the Freshpet site, though. Instead, it’ll direct you to other online stores like Amazon, or brick-and-mortar stores which is useful for one-off orders. Depending on your zip code, you might also be able to get Freshpet on subscription.

Continue reading for a side-by-side comparison of both services to see how they compare in pricing, delivery, ease of ordering, and more.

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

💲 Price:

The Farmer’s Dog ($2/day)

🍗 Ingredient Quality:

The Farmer’s Dog

🍴 Recipes

Freshpet (50+ recipes)

⏰ Packaging and Prep

The Farmer’s Dog

👍 Ordering and Delivery:

The Farmer’s Dog

👑 Overall Winner:
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 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. Ingredient breakdown for The Farmer's Dog Beef Meal

The Farmer’s Dog food is made in USDA kitchens and exceeds 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. The ingredient list of The Farmer's Dog's Turkey Recipe

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%.

A Quick Note About Ingredient Quality

The Farmer’s Dog claims that it never uses feed-grade ingredients and that it doesn’t process them to be shelf-stable. I like that the company refuses to use any wheat, soy, or grains in its meals. You can be certain that its meals will always be 100% free from these undesirable things. The company also promises that you won’t find any preservatives or artificial ingredients in the meals.

On the other hand, Freshpet promises to use “all-natural”, farm-raised poultry, beef, or fish. The word “natural” is sort of a misnomer, though. On its own, it doesn’t mean anything since, technically, any food is natural. The only man-made foods include trans fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils.

The dog food meals from Freshpet also appear to be fully soy and wheat-free. However, don’t expect all of the meals to be grain-free. Some meals are labeled as grain-free, and some aren’t – so it’s worth taking a close look at any of the meals you’re considering buying. 

The company also promises that the meals are preservative-free. Freshpet states that they also contain no meat powders, meals, or by-products.

Meals and Customization

Winner: Freshpet

Freshpet wins this category because of its enormous variety, with several product lines and about 50 different types of meals, plus a selection of a few 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. You can buy treats from The Farmer’s Dog, too, but only once you place an order. The Farmer's Dog's questionnaire

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.

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 has an even more thorough questionnaire, including questions about your pet’s activity level, body type, treats, and optional health issues. The screen around health issues is particularly detailed. The Farmer's Dog quiz's health issues and prescription diets

You can check out and immediately purchase The Farmer’s Dog food recommended by the questionnaire straight from the final screen.

Freshpet has around 50 products, but the questionnaire only screened for 3 health concerns – “Itchy Skin,” “Tummy Trouble,” and “Joint Pain.”

The Farmer’s Dog allows you to screen for 23 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 distributes its food through third parties like grocery stores, Walmart, and Amazon. If you want a one-off order, though, this might appeal to you.

You can’t get Freshpet delivered directly from its site. The website simply advertises the products and redirects you to other stores where they’re sold. You can buy Freshpet at different locations offline, at a grocery store, or online through sites like Amazon and Petco. The Farmer's Dog's meal recommendations

Some people may be able to sign up for Freshpet Custom Meals. This is a subscription service for Freshpet food. This offering is more similar to The Farmer’s Dog with recommended recipes for your pup and delivery to your home. It’s only available regionally, but you can find out if it delivers to your zip code in the questionnaire. 

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. Delivery details on The Farmer's Dog's website

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, and you can download its app from Google Play.

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. The Farmer's Dog Beef, Chicken, and Turkey recipes

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. Prepping the meals is similar to The Farmer’s Dog, though. 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's shipping box

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 Custom Meals arrive in an insulated tote bag that can be reused. If you want to return it, you simply leave it for pickup on the day of your next delivery.

If you buy Freshpet from a physical store, it won’t come with extra packaging. Otherwise, it depends on the retailer. Freshpet 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 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. Screenshot of Mookie's meal plan with The Farmer's Dog

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 $35.99. That’s $8.99 a day, which is considerably 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 ($3.59/day). Big George, the St. Bernard/Newfoundland mix would need half a roll per day ($17.99/day).

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

Freshpet Custom Meals plans start from $2 per day, although this will be higher for larger and more active dogs. The subscription includes free delivery, though. There's also a half-plan available.

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.

Freshpet vs. The Farmer’s Dog — Quick Overview

 

Freshpet

The Farmer’s Dog

Best for

Variety

Human-grade food

Starting price

<$5/pack; from $2/day for a Freshpet Custom Meals subscription

$2/day 

Shipping cost

Varies

Free

Subscription

Only to limited areas; One-off purchases available through grocery stores

2 week-trial followed by 6-week subscription periods

Recipes

50 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

8.0

9.8

Current deal

No active deal

Get 60% off on your first order!

And The Winner Is: The Farmer’s Dog

The Farmer’s Dog offers the most convenient method to order fresh pet food regularly. The subscription delivers perfectly portioned, fresh food targeted to your pup, so it’s one less thing to think about. 

With a money-back guarantee and a trial period, testing out the service is essentially risk-free, even if your dog is a picky eater. While it may not offer as many recipe choices as Freshpet, the service does boast a higher quality, featuring human-grade, USDA-approved ingredients. 

The Farmer’s Dog is also less expensive than Freshpet, particularly if you utilize a discount code (like this one: Get 60% off on your first order!). You’re also guaranteed free shipping, while shipping varies with Freshpet depending on which third-party retailer you decide to buy from. 

Freshpet could be your choice if you prefer placing single orders or want a broader range of options, including treats. Also, if you own dogs and cats, Freshpet might be a better pick as they offer a specific line for cats, enabling you to shop for both pets simultaneously. Freshpet's subscription offer is currently very limited, but may expand nationally in the future. 

In my opinion, The Farmer’s Dog is worth checking out if you want easy, fresh dog food delivered to you. It’s also the only service that made it onto our list of the top fresh dog food delivery services of the year.

FAQ

Do vets recommend Freshpet dog food?

Yes. Freshpet was developed by and prepared with the assistance of veterinary nutritionists. Plus, Freshpet facilities are registered with APHIS (Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service) and the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration), and all meals are subject to 20+ quality and food safety tests before being dispatched.

Is The Farmer’s Dog expensive?

The Farmer's Dog costs more than regular dog food. But, I think it's worth it for fresh, high-quality 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.

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We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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