Between my environmental standards and my Australian Shepherd’s general pickiness, it’s pretty freakin’ hard to find a dog food that suits both of us. The Farmer’s Dog provides a custom solution that meets me and my dog’s standards… and it comes right to our door!

“Get an Aussie,” they said. “They are so clever,” they said. Well have you ever seen a dog pick individual grains of rice out of a bowl of kibble?!

I love my boy Pippen to death, but frankly I get sick of his mealtime shenanigans. (He’ll tell you he’s not picky, he just has a “refined palate”… don’t believe him). And I’m also not thrilled with the dog food industry in general. Between the recalls and harmful ingredients it’s hard to trust any dog food brand anymore.

So, we gave The Farmer’s Dog a whirl to see:

  1. Does it meet King Pippen’s lofty and ever-changing standards?
  2. Does it meet my standards for being eco-friendly and healthy?

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Is The Farmer’s Dog Tasty Enough for a Picky Aussie?

The whole reason we went looking for a new food is because SOMEONE just isn’t satisfied with kibble and I’m running out of tricks to get him to eat it. The Farmer’s Dog stood out because it’s fresh, healthy, and custom made for Pippen’s size, weight and breed.

So, per the instructions, we mixed up a meal of half kibble and half turkey recipe from The Farmer’s Dog. The results speak for themselves in the video below:

Pippen absolutely loves this food. He devours the turkey recipe, he scarfs down the chicken recipe, and he tolerates the beef recipe (he must know about the carbon emissions of beef). Meanwhile, I get to stand back and smile. Not only because he’s finally eating on a schedule, but because he’s eating human-grade meat, vegetables and greens.

You know… actual food.

Now, for a large dog like Pippen, The Farmer’s Dog isn’t cheap. Two weeks of meals cost $167.40 — nearly $11 per day. Yes, that is astronomical compared to dry food. Usually, I have a tough time justifying paying for premium products. But, given its readily apparent benefits, I’m having trouble justifying NOT paying for this fresh food.

Benefits of a fresh, healthy dog food diet

I swear Pippen is more evenly energetic throughout the day and sleeps better at night due to his new, regular diet. In the kibble days, he would go 23 hours without eating, then wolf down an entire day’s worth of food in the middle of the night. This led to irregular sleeping patterns and random bursts of energy and lethargy.

His coat is also noticeably softer and shinier — an indicator of good canine health.

And, of course, there is the peace of mind knowing that my dog is eating a balanced diet that was crafted by veterinary nutritionists for his age, breed and size. I don’t have to worry about the weird chunks and powders at the bottom of the kibble bag. And I don’t have to navigate through countless bags of kibble to find one with clear and recognizable ingredients.

Just like with humans, a healthy diet is an investment in your dog’s overall wellbeing. It’s hard to put the return on investment in dollar amounts, but I feel price of this food is worth a happier, healthier Pippen, and that’s enough to justify the cost for me.

So, The Farmer’s Dog is clearly working for Pippen. But does it meet my standards for being eco-friendly?

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Is The Farmer’s Dog Eco Friendly?

Like all products, it’s hard to definitively label The Farmer’s Dog as “eco-friendly” or not. Eco-friendliness is more of a spectrum than a black-and-white label. So, I’m going to list this brand’s eco-friendly qualities, and its not-so-eco-friendly qualities, and let you make a judgement call.

Eco-friendly qualities

  • Perfectly portioned meals reduce overfeeding and waste
  • Recyclable box with compostable packing materials that melt away in water
  • Locally sourced ingredients that meet USDA standards
  • Turkey and chicken options with lower carbon emissions than beef and pork
  • Made-to-order instead of mass produced
  • Direct to consumer shipping reduces emissions of shipping to retail middleman
  • No toxic chemicals in the food or packaging
  • The Farmer’s Dog is a small company with a smaller carbon footprint than giant pet industry corporations

Not-so-eco-friendly qualities

  • Human-grade ingredients tend to have a higher carbon footprint than byproducts, and could be used to feed humans instead
  • Daily portions are individually wrapped in plastic
  • Fresh food requires freezing and refrigeration which takes energy
  • More packaging materials overall than a dry food bag (even if they are recyclable and compostable)

I’m sure there are more factors up and down the supply chain that could make this product more or less eco-friendly. But, the way things add up now, it seems clear that The Farmer’s Dog is a more eco-friendly (and humane) option than most dry kibble products.

The Bottom Line

The Farmer’s Dog is very high quality food that, in many ways, is more eco-friendly than kibble. It’s no wonder, then, that it is also more expensive. In my household, our fur-baby is our only baby, so we have the wiggle-room in our hearts and wallets to feed our wiggle-butt this wonderful fresh food.