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Many dog parents are making the switch to fresh dog food because it’s often healthier and more customizable than kibble. Yet, if your dog has been eating dry food their whole life, it can be a drastic change. So, you’ll need to take a lot of aspects into consideration before choosing the best fresh dog food brand for your furry friend.
What is Fresh Dog Food?
Fresh dog food is usually made with fresh, natural ingredients that are cooked at a lower temperature to preserve their nutrients. When you look at the dog food, you’ll see full chunks of meat and vegetables, so you’ll know exactly what’s going into your dog’s tummy. Most fresh dog food brands offer customizable plans to cater to your dog’s needs.
However, fresh ingredients mean the food has a shorter shelf life. So, the food will need to be refrigerated or frozen to keep it fresh. To ensure that your dog’s fresh food never goes bad, the brands will send the meals on a regular schedule. The formulas are often made specifically for your dog before being sent to your door.
Many pet parents haven’t tried fresh food yet because it’s pricier than kibble. Yet, the price is worth it if you consider the quality of ingredients and customization offered. Plus, many dogs prefer the flavor of fresh food over dry food. If it’s within your budget, it’s worth a try.
Overview of the Fresh Dog Food Brands
If you’re considering buying fresh dog food for your pup, Nom Nom and Farmer’s Dog are two brands you’ll likely come across. Here are the aspects we’ll compare:
- Customer Service
Nom Nom is a customizable fresh dog food brand. After filling out a questionnaire about your dog, they will formulate a personalized meal plan for your dog. The meals are shipped cold and fresh to your door, and they’re in serving-size packages. The food is gently cooked to preserve nutrients, and it’s free of filler ingredients.
The Farmer’s Dog is a similar company. They also operate by asking you to fill out a series of questions so they can create a personalized meal for your dog. The food ships to your door in frozen, ready-to-serve packages on a schedule. Like Nom Nom, all the recipes are cooked at a low temperature to maintain a high nutritional value.
Nom Nom vs Farmer’s Dog
Now that you know a bit about each brand, let’s dive into the details of their qualities. For each category, we’ll list a winner, even though they’re close calls. One brand isn’t overall better than the other, so it’s up to you to decide which categories matter most for your dog.
Both brands use fresh, human-grade ingredients. The ingredient lists will give you a clear understanding of what you’re giving your dog. While the ingredient quality of both brands is similar, they use unique formulas.
Nom Nom’s recipes are created in made-to-order batches. The ingredients are fresh and slow-cooked to preserve nutrients. Real meat is always listed as the first ingredient in their recipes, followed by ingredients like potatoes, eggs, and brown rice, depending on the recipe.
About 72% to 77% of the food is moisture, so around 7% to 10% is protein. Each formula uses one main protein paired with a series of vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach. The full ingredient list and guaranteed analysis are listed on Nom Nom’s website, so you will have some idea of what to expect before filling out your dog’s details.
The Farmer’s Dog also slow-cooks made-to-order recipes from fresh ingredients. Like Nom Nom, meat is also the first ingredient listed, followed by vegetables like carrots, green beans, and broccoli. They also focus on fiber-rich ingredients like chickpeas, lentils, and sweet potatoes.
This brand doesn’t list recipe details on its website, such as potential ingredient lists and guaranteed analysis. However, other sources state that the recipes have between 73% and 77% moisture and 9% to 11% protein. Their ingredient lists are also shorter than Nom Nom’s which could be good for dogs with allergies.
Winner: Farmer’s Dog
It’s a very close call, but Farmer’s Dog wins because it’s better for sensitive dogs. Not only does it have fewer ingredients, but it avoids vegetables that don’t add as much nutritional value and could cause allergies, such as russet potatoes and peas. However, Nom Nom stands out because it has all its nutritional information easily accessible on the website while Farmer’s Dog doesn’t.
Both brands offer personalized meals for dogs, but their methods of gathering information are slightly different. Both of them require you to fill out a questionnaire before they’ll recommend the food.
Nom Nom asks a lot of general questions about your dog, such as their breed, sex, age, weight, and body condition. They also ask if dogs have specific health conditions, such as joint concerns, digestive problems, and allergies. If your dog’s condition isn’t listed, they suggest you contact them. You can talk with their canine nutritionist to decide which formula is best for your dog’s needs.
Even though they ask about health conditions, they don’t have any formulas that are specifically designed to help those areas. For example, if you mark that your dog has allergies, they’ll suggest the pork recipe since its ingredients are the least likely to cause allergies rather than finding out what specific allergies your dog has.
Farmer’s Dog asks for a lot of the same information, plus a few extra things. They want to know your dog’s breed, sex, weight, age, body shape, activity level, current food, and whether they’re fixed or not. The extra factors can affect calorie count. They also ask about your pup’s current health conditions.
Like Nom Nom, none of the meals are specifically made to help with certain health conditions, but the brand will recommend which formula is best based on how you answer the questions. Right off the bat, they also ask you a few personal questions before getting into your dog’s details.
Winner: Farmer’s Dog
The Farmer’s Dog questionnaire is more detailed than Nom Nom, making the food a little more personalized. However, that means it will also take longer to get your dog’s meal plan set up.
Convenience is important to both these brands because they package the food, keep it cold, and ship it to your door so you don’t have to carry food home from the store.
When Nom Nom’s food arrives at your door, it’s already portioned into serving sizes. So, all you have to do is open a package for each meal without doing any measuring. The packages are stored in a box with dry ice to keep the food cold until you receive it. The packaging is convenient and shows you exactly how many calories your dog is getting, but it means you have more packaging to recycle as a result.
The first portions you receive from Nom Nom will be transition meals. So, they’re smaller portions that you can mix with your dog’s old food for a week to avoid digestive problems. If your dog is already eating fresh food, you can choose to skip the transition meals. Unused food should be stored in the freezer, but it needs to be moved to the fridge 24 hours in advance to thaw.
This brand’s food is also packaged with dry ice to keep it cold until you receive it. Each package has the same amount of food, so you will need to portion out the food based on the brand’s instructions. Small dogs can get about eight meals out of one pack, while large dogs may only get one or two. The company packages the food like this to reduce plastic usage.
The packs are not resealable once open, but you can fold up unused portions and store them in the fridge in their biodegradable storage container. Any unopened packages can be frozen, but you’ll need to remember to thaw them 24 hours before your dog’s meal.
Winner: Nom Nom
Nom Nom is by far the better option for convenience because it has pre-portioned packages, so you won’t have to worry about measuring out your dog’s meals and making a mess.
Not all dogs have the same favorite flavors, and some dogs have allergies and sensitivities. So, having a variety of product options is a great way to ensure that every pup gets what they need.
Nom Nom offers four main recipes, each with a different protein: Beef Mash, Chicken Cuisine, Pork Potluck, and Turkey Fare. You can choose between half and full food portions depending on your dog’s needs. The company also offers a few supplements to give dogs a health boost.
The Farmer’s Dog uses the same four meat proteins in their meals: pork, chicken, turkey, and beef. You can order full meals or choose a topper plan if you’d rather mix it with dry food. Farmer’s Dog doesn’t offer any additional treats or supplements.
Winner: Farmer’s Dog
Even though the two brands have similar meal options, Nom Nom goes a bit above and beyond by also offering supplements.
Both brands are priced similarly, but the cost of meals will vary based on your dog’s weight and dietary needs. For reference, dry dog food often costs $1 to $2 per day, but prices vary based on the brand.
Nom Nom meals start at $2 per day. Half meals that you can mix with your dog’s dry food will be cheaper than full meals. For full meals, small dogs are between $2 and $5 per day, medium dogs are $5 to $7 per day, and large dogs are $7 to $14 per day.
Shipping is free, and you can get your money back within 30 days of receiving the first box if you’re not satisfied.
The Farmer’s Dog has similar prices. Their meals also start at $2 per day. Small dogs will cost $2 to $5 per day, medium dogs will cost $6 to $8 per day, and large dogs will cost $8 to $11 per day.
Shipping is free, and if you’re not satisfied with the food, you can get a full refund if you donate the food to a shelter or rescue.
Winner: Farmer’s Dog
There isn’t a huge difference in pricing for these two brands, but Farmer’s Dog has a better deal for large dogs, even though their meals for medium dogs are slightly more. Nom Nom’s meals for large dogs often surpass $10 per day, while The Farmer’s Dog rarely sells meals that cost that much.
The Farmer’s Dog also has a better policy for refunds. Customers always have an opportunity to get a refund if not satisfied, and the brand encourages shelter donations too.
Dog food can take up a lot of space, but fresh food specifically needs to go in the fridge or freezer. So, is it easy to store these brands?
When you receive the food, you can put the first two meals in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. The food needs 24 hours to thaw, so when you serve a meal to your dog, you can put another meal in the fridge to prepare for the next day. You can get up to a weekly delivery for Nom Nom, so the food won’t take up too much space at a time.
The Farmer’s Dog sends larger packages, so they may take up more space in your fridge or freezer. However, like Nom Nom, you can choose how often you’d like to receive food. One week is the most frequent delivery option.
Winner: Nom Nom
Nom Nom’s bags are smaller, making them easier to store. Since each package is also one serving, you never have to worry about storing already-opened bags.
Safety should be a priority for all dog food brands. Luckily, neither brand has had any recalls. Both brands are also safe for the environment because they use recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable packaging.
Nom Nom uses ingredients sourced in the United States, and they focus on sustainable sourcing whenever possible. The food meets USDA and AAFCO standards, but it’s not cooked in USDA-certified kitchens. Nom Nom works with veterinary nutritionists to formulate the safest meals for dogs.
The Farmer’s Dog only sources food from suppliers approved by the USDA, and their food exceeds AAFCO standards. The ingredients are then cooked in USDA-certified kitchens. They have the same standards as human food production. Farmer’s Dog also works with veterinary nutritionists when formulating recipes.
Winner: Farmer’s Dog
Both companies have similar safety standards, but Farmer’s Dog won by just a hair because they cook their food in USDA-certified kitchens.
Finally, customer service is an important aspect that’s often forgotten. You’ll want a brand that’s easy to get in touch with if you have any questions.
Nom Nom’s communication is highly rated. According to customers, the company makes it easy to change, pause, or cancel your order. If anything is wrong with your order, they’re quick to respond and fix it. When you place an order, they send an email so you can track where it is.
When it comes to basic questions, you might not even need to contact the company. Nom Nom’s website has lots of details about its products and process, so you can learn a lot about them without needing to talk to anyone.
Farmer’s Dog’s customer service has more mixed reviews than Nom Nom, but most are positive. Customers have said that they’re quick to respond to issues, and they go above and beyond to make things right. Some reviews even stated that they send flowers when pets pass away.
They also have a lot of commonly asked questions on their website, but they lack details about their food formulas, so you would have to call to ask about that.
Nom Nom’s customer service has more praise from customers than The Farmer’s Dog, and they have more information on their website. Yet, both companies seem to have great communication.
Choosing the Best Fresh Dog Food
Overall, both Nom Nom and The Farmer’s Dog are some of the best fresh dog food companies. To decide which one is better for your dog, you’ll need to look at all the aspects mentioned above. The Farmer’s Dog won several categories while Nom Nom won others, so you’ll need to think about which areas matter most to you. No matter which one you choose, your dog will be enjoying flavorful human-grade food.