Sunday, June 21, 2015

Review/Giveaway: Open Farm Dog Food


Feeding your dog seems like an easy thing. You go into the grocery store and choose a food — canned or bagged, wet or dry — look up the appropriate amount and put it in the bowl.

It’s all fine, until you look at the ingredients. Then you’ll probably see a list like this one (taken from a real, popular dry dog food):
Whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), corn gluten meal, meat and bone meal, brewers rice, soybean meal, barley, whole grain wheat, animal digest, calcium carbonate, salt, calcium phosphate, potassium chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, added color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2, Yellow 6), DL-Methionine, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, copper proteinate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, Vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.
What do you not see there? Actual meat, for one thing. There’s some “poultry by-product meal” (think ground up chicken feet and beaks), and some animal fat. There is “meat and bone meal.” There is also a  whole lot of grain, and amazingly, food coloring, like your dog will care what color it is.

The food is probably nutritious enough (for low standards of nutrition), thanks mostly to added vitamins and minerals. But even your dog probably thinks it is pretty crappy food, and it's certainly not a sustainably-produced product.

That’s why I was pleased to try Open Farm’s line of dog foods. Open Farm, based in Toronto, Canada, creates its food from fresh meat and fish, and locally sourced vegetables and fruits. They pledge that their recipes are free of grain, corn, wheat, soy, rendered meat, poultry meal and by-products, among other things. In addition, they make sustainable practices a priority, and insist on buying ingredients from farms that treat their livestock animals humanely.

All of that is well and good, but how is the food? To answer that question, I subjected each of the three varieties of food they sent me to rigorous testing, with the help of my resident taste tester, Sadie the Ancient Beagle.



First up: Farmer’s Market Pork & Root Vegetable Recipe

The primary ingredients: Humanely raised pork, garbanzo beans, ocean-caught whitefish meal, field peas, green lentils, ocean-caught menhaden meal and sweet potatoes. It also includes pumpkin, squash, beet root and carrots. (See the website for the complete list of ingredients.)

The kibble itself is fairly uniform across all three varieties, small and firm pieces. The aroma of this variety is predominantly pork, but the fish also makes its presence known.

Sadie has been eating wet food for a while, but the switch back to dry did not seem to faze her. That might be partly because the food was good. Judging by the speed and eagerness with which she ate it, it must have been. She polished off the sample bag within in a minute or two and looked hopeful for more.




Next: Catch-Of-The-Day WhiteFish and Green Lentil Recipe.

The primary ingredients are almost the same as the first one we tried, minus the pork:

Ocean-caught whitefish, garbanzo beans, ocean-caught whitefish meal, field peas, green lentils and ocean-caught menhaden meal. This one also features cranberry, apple, carrots and alfalfa. (Again, see their website for the complete list of ingredients.)

As you would expect, the fishy aroma is strong with this one. A cat would probably like this at least as much as a dog.

Sadie seemed to like it pretty well, eating it with some gusto. (She sometimes eats cat food when she wants something exotic, and this probably fit right in to that family of flavors.)




Finally: Homestead Turkey and Chicken Recipe.

The ingredients list here leads with humanely-farmed turkey and chicken, along with whitefish meal, russet potatoes, garbanzo beans, field peas and green lentils.

While turkey and chicken are the first ingredients, the food has a distinct fishy smell.  Whitefish meal is the third ingredient, with menhaden and then salmon oil coming later. For some reason, the fish aromas overpower the chicken and turkey more than they did the pork in that variety.

Sadie might have had some appetite depression the day we tried this one, or maybe she just did not care for it. She ate it all, but slowly and without as much eagerness. When there was no more to be had, she did not seem to be heartbroken.  That said, the inclusion of fish in all the ingredients are a really healthy inclusion full of Omega-3s that help our old girl with the usual consequences of age.

All in all, I was impressed with Open Farm’s dog food. It is all made with real food ingredients, no by-products, grain fillers or artificial ingredients. Sadie like two of the varieties a lot, and ate the third one even if a bit less enthusiastically.



Open Farm does not sell its food directly from its website, but offers a store locator to help you find nearby retailers. I spot checked a few zip codes, and retailers — mostly specialty pet stores — seem to be plentiful. Their food is available online through doggiefood.com.

For US RCHReviews readers, Open Farm is offering a Giveaway 4.5-pound bag of their Turkey & Chicken recipe as a giveaway. To enter, see below!





To enter the giveaway, leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Rafflecopter, then leave the name you commented under and your email in the box in the Rafflecopter entry. (This allows us to contact you if you win!)  This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning.

This giveaway is open to US RESIDENTS ONLY
and will end just before midnight ET on 7-5-15. 

The winner will be notified by email within 24 hours after the end of the giveaway.  In order to claim the giveaway prize, the winner will need to respond within 24 hours of notification, or an alternate winner will be selected.

Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

34 comments:

  1. "All of our fresh poultry and meat are sourced directly from farmers that supply national grocers and natural food retailers across the U.S. and Canada."

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  2. Sounds like a good brand to look into! Hard to find a quality food for the pups!

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  3. Sounds like a good brand to look into! Hard to find a quality food for the pups!

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  4. I learned that their meat and poultry are free of hormones and antibiotics (hard to find) and the fish comes straight from the ocean. I love that! I have to be careful about my dog's diet because he developed allergies a couple of years ago. It was a nightmare trying to identify the culprit, and now I am just very, very careful about unnecessary chemicals and other additives that I feed him. He counts on me to take care of him and keep him healthy; I can't let him down!

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  5. I love it's a family run business that makes sure the products are free of antibiotics and hormornes. My dog had seizure till I switched to all natural organic dog food, now no seizures! To keep my dog healthy I'm picky!

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  6. I love that this dog food has actual meat, and that it's humanely farmed — double win!! :D

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  7. Our cat developed crystal in his bladder. Now on grain free diet. I decided to put my dog on grain free also.

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  8. I really like that they helped start a pet food bag recycling program. For my pets, I find I have to balance quality (including grain-free, REAL protein sources - not random "meat" that could even contain euthanized shelter animals, and fruits and vegetables) with affordability (I have four Coonhounds and three cats - all rescues). I have upgraded from typical mass-produced products you might find at the grocery store to ones that are healthier. It's a process and I'm always looking at other healthy brands to try.

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  9. family owned business, recycles pet food bags program, no grain, no hormones or chemicals

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  10. This sounds like a great food and an awesome giveaway! Thank you for sharing this at the #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup!

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  11. I learned that the poultry and meat they use is free of antibiotics and growth hormones. My primary considerations when looking for food for my dog are the ingredients and where it is made!

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  12. I don't have a dog anymore but if I did I would try this brand out, it looks good and more healthier for dogs. #ProductReviewParty

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  13. Family owned business, and all natural.

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  14. I love that it's Humane meat, no grains or antibiotics and its a family run business. :)

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  15. No dogs here anymore, but thanks for sharing this great info with SYC readers!
    Jann

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  16. Open Farm meat and poultry is 100% certified by the Humane Farm Animal Care Program. I look for quality.

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  17. I learned that the fish used is always ocean caught, meaning it consumed a natural and antibiotic free diet.

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  18. The standards section is very informative and also the FAQ section but I could not find the calorie content on the website, my vet has my dog on a diet. Even though I couldn't find the calorie information based on what I saw about the product I would feel comfortable feeding my dog Open Farm.

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  19. I am very concerned about what is in pet food. The all natural, grain free ingredients and the fact that it's a small, family owned business, has me wanting to try it.

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  20. I am very concerned about what is in pet food. The all natural, grain free ingredients and the fact that it's a small, family owned business, has me wanting to try it.

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  21. I learned that they have a recycling program for the bags that the food comes in. They seem like an extremely green eco-friendly company.

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  22. We have a small family business love that this is a family business. thankyou, ken pohl19@comcast.net

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  23. Its a family business & that the poultry and meat they use is free of antibiotics and growth hormones.

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  24. This is a great post and is very helpful for those who are confused about dog food.
    Buy Dog Food India

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  25. Nice and Informative information. Thanks for sharing with us. I would like to suggest Green Foods Barley Grass Juice Powder for Dog. It prevents the pet from the throat and stomach irritations that may be caused due to eating of fresh green grass. This product added to the food helps to enhance the taste and absorption of nutrients. It is an ideal supplement for Dog Food.

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  26. A family owned company trying to screw over a very small family owned rescue over a voting problem that is their fault.

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  27. what are the best grain and gluten free dog foods?
    Best Grain Free Dog Food

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  28. Great review! We recently had the chance to try Open Farm as well and really loved it. It is so refreshing to find a company willing to go the extra mile and assure that the animals used in food production are treated humanely.

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