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Open Farm Dog Food Review: Super Sustainable Canine Eats!

Brand Reviews By Meg Marrs 20 min read July 21, 2021

Today, we’re reviewing Open Farm, a manufacturer of high-quality dry, wet, raw, and fresh foods, with an emphasis on sustainability along with humane and ethical sourcing.

Looking for a new food that’s not only good for your dog but the planet too? You’re in luck!

Today, we’re taking a close look at Open Farm — an eco-minded dog food manufacturer, who produces dry, wet, raw, and fresh foods using only humane and ethically sourced ingredients. 

Read on to learn more and see why so many owners are getting excited about this brand!


open farm dog food

Highlights:

  • All Open Farm foods meet the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile standards for all life stages (although some recipes do not meet the standards for large-size dogs – more on that later).
  • The manufacturer explicitly focuses on supporting sustainable farming practices and sourcing meat from local, humane family farms.
  • Meat is featured as the #1 ingredient in Open Farm recipes.
  • Their foods are made without artificial flavors, preservatives, or fillers. They also avoid the use of meat by-products, and only use non-GMO, locally sourced fruits and veggies.
  • Open Farm offers a variety of dog food options, from standard dry kibble to gently cooked fresh food, wet food, and freeze-dried raw recipes. They also produce both grain-inclusive and grain-free options.
  • Many of their recipes feature added “superfoods,” such as coconut oil, pumpkin, and chia seeds
  • You can earn discounts through their subscribe and save program. Customers who subscribe to Open Farm can get 5% off. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing!

Open Farm Dog Food & Ingredients

Let’s start off by diving into the basic options Open Farms offers:

  • Dry Food. Open Farm’s dry foods feature high-meat and low-carb content, and they’re available in grain-free and grain-inclusive formulas.
  • Wet Food. Their wet foods are classified as human-grade and available in resealable containers.
  • Freeze-Dried Raw Food. Open Farm offers raw foods that are high in protein and function as a standalone diets or toppers.
  • Gently Cooked Food. They also offer fresh, slow-cooked, human-grade dog foods that’re perfect for enticing picky eaters.
  • Treats. Open Farm isn’t just a food manufacturer — they also offer high-end dehydrated dog treats that are perfect for impactful training sessions when you really want your dog focused.
  • Bone Broth. They also offer pet-safe, collagen-packed bone broth that provides added nutrition, probiotics, and flavor to any standard dry food.

Open Farm’s Sensitive Diet Options

Open Farms provides a number of specialized diets, including grain-free options that rely on potatoes, peas, and lentils for carbohydrates, as well as grain-inclusive options with ancient grains (a term usually applied to whole grains, which are better for your doggo than the enriched alternative) like oats, millet, quinoa, and brown rice.

The Open Fams website makes it easy to find your perfect food, with an easy-to-use filtering tool that allows you to sort foods and find one that will be less likely to trigger your dog’s food allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities. A few examples include: 

  • Gluten-free grains
  • No corn / wheat / soy
  • No potatoes
  • No poultry
  • No white potato
  • Single protein

They also have several life-stage-specific options, such as:

  • Puppy recipe
  • High-protein puppy recipe
  • Senior recipe

In addition, Open Farms also offer bundles specially formulated to meet specific needs, such as:

  • Shiny Fur & Coat Food Bundle (which includes a dry food base, a raw food, and bone broth)
  • Puppy Essentials Pack (which includes dry food as well as high-value dehydrated treats)

Open Farm Ingredient List Breakdown

While an ingredient list doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about a dog food, it’s always great to see those that are packed with protein-rich meats. And Open Farm excels in this area. 

open farm kibble
Open Farm’s dry kibble

All of their recipes feature meat as the number one ingredient, and many recipes also feature other meats to the top of the ingredient list.

For example, let’s look at their Grass Fed Beef and Ancient Grains recipe:


Beef, Oats, Ocean Whitefish Meal, Millet, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Coconut Oil, Herring Meal, Natural Flavor, Pumpkin, Salmon Oil, Apples, Chia Seeds, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Chicory Root, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Zinc Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Selenium Yeast, Calcium Iodate, Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Turmeric, Cinnamon


You’ll see tasty proteins like beef and whitefish meal at the top, along with herring meal and healthy grains like oats, millet, and quinoa. There’s also a smattering of bonus “superfood” ingredients like salmon oil, coconut oil, and chia seeds, as well as some great fruits and veggies like pumpkin, and apples.

On the nutritional side, Open Farm looks great too. In their Nutritional Benefits panel, they note that this recipe is made with 90% of their protein from animal sources and 10% ancient grains. Plus, the beef in this recipe is actually grass-fed Wagyu beef, which makes me feel just plain jealous of Remy.

open farm GA

When breaking down the guaranteed analysis to a dry matter analysis (which is more appropriate for comparing different types of dog food), the crude protein comes out to 28%, which is quite good.

The only problem I saw with Open Farms is that some of the foods are not consistent with the AAFCO’s guidelines for large dogs (those that’ll weigh  70 pounds or more as adults). This is absolutely fine, but this disclaimer was actually pretty tricky to find, listed in small print below the ingredient list.

It’s worth noting that many of Open Farm’s foods are consistent with the AAFCO guidelines for large dogs. But this particular recipe – the Grass Fed Beef and Ancient Grains – is not. 

open farm ingredient list

This was the food I tried out for Remy. And while Remy is fine because he’s “only” 60 pounds, I did find it a bit odd that it wasn’t made more obvious that this would be an unsuitable food for a larger dog.

Open Farm Dog Food Review: Our Personal Experience

open farm dog food review
Remy is definitely excited about his new dog food!

Every dog is an individual, and my specific experience with Remy and Open Farm probably don’t mean a lot for your dog in the grand scheme of things.

However, anecdotally, I will note that Remy really enjoyed his Open Farm food. Previously I had been feeding him Taste of the Wild and he was notably not pleased with it.

When I filled Remy’s Kong Wobbler with Taste of the Wild kibble, he would go over to the toy, sniff it, and then look back at me as if to say “I don’t like this.” He’d even go back to his bed and wait a few minutes, hoping for an alternative, before finally begrudgingly eating the food (yeah, Remy is not the kind of dog who won’t eat at all, ha ha).

After switching to Open Farm, Remy appeared a lot more interested in his food, running over to his Bob-A-Lot the moment I put it on the floor, as I’d expect him to.

I was also happy to see that the food’s small, round kibble size allows it to work really well with puzzle toys. The round kibble balls were easy to pour into our Bob-A-Lot and did not require a ton of shaking on my part. 

open farm bob-a-lot

This probably isn’t a huge deal for most folks, but when you feed your dog via a puzzle feeder every meal, having a kibble that pairs with your chosen puzzle toy easily can be a pretty nice benefit.

On top of that, I did notice better formed, smaller poops from Remy on Open Farm compared to when he was eating Taste of the Wild. Your mileage may vary, but Remy seemed to do really well on Open Farm.

Open Farm Reviews from Other Members of the K9 of Mine Team

Remy and I weren’t the only ones to try out Open Farm products — contributor Kate Brunotts and her dog Spicy tried out some of Open Farm’s toppers, and our editor, Ben Team, tried out Open Farm Bone Broths with his dog J.B.

Check out what they had to say!

Kate & Spicy Try Open Farm Homestead Turkey Toppers

Hey, everyone! Kate, here! We had a chance to try out Open Farm’s toppers with my pupper, Spicy.

Spicy is normally a little picky and tends to graze her kibble throughout the day, rather than eating it all in one sitting.

However, that certainly wasn’t the case with the help of these toppers!

These toppers are freeze-dried and feature turkey along with leafy greens. They also contain natural, dog-safe “superfoods,” such as blueberries.

The toppers can be served as a standalone meal, or mixed in with kibble or wet food to make mealtime more appealing. 

To prepare the topper, I mixed in about a ¼ cup of the dehydrated turkey with Spicy’s kibble and a little bit of water per the packaging’s instructions.

I had to combine the mixture in a separate bowl to help break up the dehydrated turkey nuggets, but this is primarily due to Spicy having a slow feeder rather than a traditional bowl. 

Spicy trying out Open Farm toppers

Once served, Spicy licked her bowl clean and promptly asked for more.

She LOVED this stuff. Spicy also has a sensitive stomach, so I was happy to see that Spicy didn’t have an upset tummy after wolfing down her turkey topper meal

I like that the kibble topper comes in a resealable bag and doesn’t have a strong smell, even when wet. It’s also pretty cool that these toppers are certified humane and that Open Farm is committed to some conservation efforts.

Overall, Spicy and I give these kibble mix-ins two paws up! 

Ben & J.B. Try Open Farm Bone Broths

Trying Open Farm Bone Broth

Hey there, dog lovers. Ben, here.

J.B. and I had the chance to try out Open Farm’s line of bone broths.

I was particularly excited to check these products out, as my little lady is exceptionally picky.

She eats her kibble at dinnertime, but she doesn’t get really excited about it. I often sprinkle a little olive oil or shredded cheese on her food to help improve the flavor, as it’s really important to me that she enjoys her food.

Life is too short, you know? We should all get to enjoy foods we like. I know she’d want me to enjoy my food, were the roles reversed.

But I do worry that — over time — all that tasty, tasty fat I add isn’t exactly awesome for her waistline or overall health.

Hopefully, I thought, these bone broths would improve the taste of her food without adding a ton of empty calories to her nightly dinner. In actuality, the calories it contains are negligible; 2.25 Calories per tablespoon. That’s nothing for a dog of J.B.’s size. She probably consumes more calories than that by simply patrolling the kitchen floor while I’m cooking.

Plus, I was stoked that these would serve as a good source of collagen, which may provide some benefits to animals suffering from arthritis. She doesn’t have arthritis yet, but I imagine she will eventually. So, I’m keen to get a jump on things.

But before we get to our experiences, let’s talk about the products.

Like all other Open Farm products, their bone broths are made with ethically sourced, environmentally friendly ingredients. As a former environmental educator and someone who cares deeply about animal welfare, this obviously pleases me greatly.

And the ingredients used in these broths are pretty straightforward. Using the chicken flavored option as an example, the ingredients are:

  • Chicken bone broth
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Parsley
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon

Honestly, the inclusion of cinnamon is kind of a head-scratcher, but it certainly doesn’t bother me, and maybe it improves the flavor profile for my pup.

Open Farm also offers turkey- and beef-flavored bone broths. Each package contains 12 ounces of broth, and they’re sold singly or in packs of three. You can opt for three packs of the same flavor or a three-flavor sample pack.

Open Farm sent us the sample pack, so I started with the chicken flavor, as chicken is J.B.’s favorite food in the world.

Per the feeding instructions, Open Farm advises owners to:

Feed two tablespoons of broth daily for every 10lbs body weight or as desired.

That’s about 1 fluid ounce per 10 pounds of body weight per serving, meaning that a single pouch only really contains enough for 120 pounds of dog. In my estimation, using the quantity indicated would simply result in a soggy mess, but YMMV.

But in all honesty, I wasn’t going to measure this stuff out anyway. I just decided to wing it. J.B. weighs about 95 pounds, and her stomach isn’t particularly sensitive, so I just added a couple of glugs of broth to about 2.5 cups of food. I nuked the whole thing for about 30 seconds, made sure it wasn’t too hot, and then got ready to offer it to my pooch.

The moment of truth was now at hand, and I was excited to see if she liked it.

She. Lost. Her. Mind.

Kibble finished, bowl licked clean, and one happy pupper lazing about while licking her lips afterward.

J.B.’s normal excitement level for dinner is probably around a 4 or 5. She wants dinner, but she’s not particularly enthused about it. But with the bone broth added, her excitement level was easily in the 8 or 9 range — if not higher.

And it definitely wasn’t a fluke.

She was even more excited the next night when going through our pre-dinner protocol (I let her sniff dinner, then she has to bark three times, and then she has to pass through the “hug trap” before eating — it’s a whole thing. Don’t judge me. Like you don’t do anything weird with your dog.)

The package lasted about a week, and she enjoyed it every night. But the question was: Would she also like the turkey and beef flavors?

In short: Yup.

She loved them all (even the beef flavor, which I was a bit skeptical about).

Long story short (too late), J.B. absolutely loved all three of Open Farm’s bone broths, I love how happy they make her, and I’ve already ordered our next batch.

This doggo dad highly recommends Open Farm’s bone broths.

Open Farm Sustainability: Ethically Sourced Ingredients & Humanely Raised Meat

ethical farming

Open Far is fairly unique in the world of dog food, due to the fact that they put a heavy focus on sustainability and ethical farming practices.

While many dog food manufacturers say they care about these causes, few put forth as much planning and establish the kind of framework Open Farm does when it comes to actually achieving their sustainability goals.

 
Open Farm partners with several well-regarded farm animal welfare organizations such as Certified Humane and Global Animal Partnership to ensure their ingredients are always being sourced ethically and from farms that focus on the humane treatment of animals raised for food production.

Their partner farms are verified by third-party groups, and Open Farm notes that even the processing plants and manufacturing facilities are regularly audited to ensure that they continue to employ humane farming practices. 

This means that Open Farm meats are basically as ethical as it gets when it comes to dog food. Just check out the proteins they use:

  • Pasture-fed beef
  • 100% Certified HumaneⓇ turkey and chicken
  • Pasture-fed lamb
  • Crate-free, humanely raised pork

When it comes to fish, Open Farm does a great job there too. They even offer a “catch-of-the-season” style fish selection that changes based on seasonal availability. 

Open Farm’s wild-caught fish is sourced via sustainability standards set by Ocean Wise, which rely on fishing methods that minimize bycatch and utilize environmentally friendly fishing practices

Sustainable Packing

Open Farm doesn’t just leave the sustainability work to the farmers – they’ve also made some small but significant efforts to keep their packaging eco-friendly and sustainable.

For example, they’ve partnered with Terracycle, an organization dedicated to collecting difficult-to-recycle packaging that would otherwise end up in a landfill. What’s even more impressive is that Open Farm notes on their website that they have created the first nationwide dog food bag recycling program. 

As a customer, you can visit Terracycle.com and print a shipping label. Then, you pack up your Open Farm bag and send it to Terracycle, who then upcycles the dog food bags into new products.

Truthfully, most customers probably won’t bother to go through this whole process, but if sustainability is of the utmost importance to you, this program is worth keeping in mind. But whether you take advantage of their recycling program or not, it’s great to see a company that is this committed to sustainability.

Climate Goals

While many companies’ sustainability and climate programs are nothing more than a lot of big talk, Open Farm seems to take their environmental responsibilities quite seriously.

On their website, they openly discuss their 10-year roadmap for reducing their carbon footprint, with science-backed targets and pledges to reduce their emissions 42% over the next 10 years to meet the 1.5-degree Celsius goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Open Farms also discusses their plans to reduce and offset the emissions they generate via operation and manufacturing. Their 2021 offset program involves supporting the preservation of agricultural and forest ecosystems, including:

  • Grassland Portfolio, USA. Preserving grasslands in Southeast Colorado and Northeast Montana. 
  • Darkwoods Forest Conservation Project, Canada. Protecting habitats and at-risk animal species in British Columbia.
  • Teak Afforestation, Mexico. Creation of plantations to remove carbon dioxide next to land used for cattle farming.

On top of all this, Open Farm promises to disclose their emissions data publicly on an annual basis to ensure total transparency as they work towards their climate goals.

Transparency & Lot Tracer

In addition to transparency about their climate goals, Open Farm is extremely transparent about showing customers exactly where their ingredients are sourced from.

Open Farm’s website has a lot code tracer, which allows you to put in the lot number of your dog’s food. The tracer will then tell you exactly where each ingredient was sourced from. This is pretty incredible and quite unprecedented when it comes to most dog food manufacturers!

open farm lot tracker

Open Farm Summary & Rating

Overall, Open Farm is a solid dog food manufacturer who makes several attractive recipes for pooches. 

While it’s quite pricey, it is a great choice for owners committed to humanely-sourced meat and sustainability. In fact, you won’t find many other dog food companies that are so whole-heartedly committed to ethical farming and conservation. 

The company’s lot tracer is notably unique and illustrates Open Farm’s commitment to transparency. This makes them a dog food manufacturer you should feel fairly safe with.

Open Farm has a wide variety of food options, including grain-inclusive and grain-free varieties for owners who prefer either option. 

While they do offer a few solid puppy and senior dog recipes, they don’t cook up a ton of options for doggos of these life stages. At the time of this review, there is only a beef and fish option for senior dogs and puppies, and some owners might desire other protein sources for their elderly dogs or pups. 

Open Farms may not be the best option for dogs who need a limited-ingredient dog food, either. The only single-protein options Open Farm offers are beef-based raw and beef-based wet foods. 

We love that all Open Farm recipes feature meat as the first listed ingredient, along with a mix of other appropriately-sourced meats, properly identified meat meals, high-quality grains, along with a smattering of bonus ingredients. 

Their recipes are certainly not as protein-packed as some others, but most “hangin’ out around the house”  dogs don’t need more protein than Open Farm offers anyhow.

All in all, unless your dog has specific dietary needs that requires a limited-ingredient or other specialized diet, Open Farm is a solid pick!

The Pros & Cons of Open Farms Foods

Think Open Farms foods may be the right pick for your pooch? Just check out these pros and cons to learn more and make your final decision!

Pros:

  • The animal proteins used in their recipes are ethically sourced, pasture-fed (where appropriate) and Certified HumaneⓇ, with grass and pasture-fed animals that are raised without  the use of antibiotics or growth hormones.
  • Meat is the #1 ingredient in all their recipes.
  • Available in dry, wet, raw, and fresh varieties. 
  • Option for grain-inclusive as well as grain-free diets.
  • The organization is unquestionably committed to sustainability and ethical farming practices.
  • Open Farms provides an impressive dog food lot tracer that demonstrates the company’s transparency.

Cons:

  • Few options for puppies and seniors.
  • Only provide a few single-protein recipes. 
  • No large or small breed-specific options.
  • Unfortunately, Open Farms foods are fairly pricey.

Open Farm Dog Food FAQs: Answering Your Questions! 

Still have a lingering question or two about Open Farm Foods? We’ve got you covered! 

We answer a few of the most common queries owners have about this manufacturer and their recipes below. 

Is Open Farm AAFCO Certified?

The AAFCO doesn’t certify foods — high-quality manufacturers design their foods to meet the nutritional requirements set forth by the AAFCO. 

That said, all Open Farm recipes are formulated to meet the “complete and balanced” nutritional levels established by AAFCO for different life stages. Their foods and treats are also tested by accredited, third-party labs for nutritional content, pathogens, heavy metals, and other contaminants.

Most Open Farm recipes meet the AAFCO guidelines for all life stages, but some of their recipes are only appropriate for dogs under 70 pounds. Just be sure to check the AAFCO nutritional statement below the ingredient list to confirm that your chosen food is appropriate for your dog.

Does Open Farm Have a Canine Nutritionist on Staff?

Yes, one of Open Farm’s team members is a lead animal nutritionist who holds a Master Degree in Animal Science, Formulation and Animal Nutrition. They also employ a PhD Food Scientist.

Where Does Open Farm Source Ingredients From?

All of Open Farm’s animal proteins are sourced from ethical, Certified HumaneⓇ farms. While the exact origin of each individual bag of food can be tracked via Open Farm’s lot tracker, all of the meats they use are sourced from Western countries — most hail from the USA or Canada, but their lamb comes from New Zealand. 

The fruits and veggies used in their recipes are fresh, local, and non-GMO, with 40% of vegetables grown in the same town as Open Farm’s manufacturing facility. Similarly, 90% of their fruits and veggies are grown in-state or in a state neighboring the manufacturing facility.

All ingredients used in Open Farm recipes are fully traceable, with certificates of origin for every ingredient.

Where Does Open Farm Manufacture Their Dog Food?

Open Farm food is manufactured in Minnesota, USA. The company itself is based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and that is where all recipes are developed and formulated.

The Open Farm facility is inspected regularly by the company’s own team, as well as by independent auditors frm Certified HumaneⓇ and other food safety organizations. Samples of their finished products are sent to third-party labs for independent testing for salmonella, E. coli, and mycotoxins.

Does Open Farm Use Ingredients From China?

No. Open Farm does not source any of their ingredients from China. Nearly all of their ingredients are sourced from Canada and the USA. The exception is coconut oil and certain vitamins and minerals that are not available in North America. Instead, the vitamins and minerals are sourced from Europe, and the coconut oil comes from Indonesia, Thailand, or the Philippines.


Have you fed your dog Open Farm food before? What did your pup think of it? What do you think of Open Farm’s sustainability practices? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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