The Farmer’s Dog and Other Fresh Food Alternatives

The Farmer’s Dog and Other Fresh Food Alternatives

More than ever, people prioritize their pets' health and wellness — actively seeking out fresh, natural, and human grade food for their four-legged friends. In fact, in one 2021 study, two out of three pet owners claim to take better care of their pets than themselves!

In response to a growing demand for fresher and healthier alternatives to traditional kibble, there's been an influx of fresh food brands throughout the pet food market. One of the most well-known fresh dog food brands is The Farmer's Dog, which offers meal plans to suit dogs' specific needs.

Of course, The Farmer's Dog isn't the only fresh food brand on the market. Here, we'll be exploring some of the pros and cons of fresh food from brands like The Farmer's Dog, as well as some alternatives that may better accommodate your dog's needs, your lifestyle, and your budget.

What Is "Fresh" Dog Food?

Before we dive in, let's unpack the definition of "fresh" dog food. After all, this is a term that's thrown around a lot in today's pet food market.

Fresh dog food is typically made from ingredients that are minimally processed, paired with vitamins and minerals, and are delivered frozen. Fresh dog foods must be defrosted before they’re ready to serve, typically starting at least the day prior. From there, the food must remain refrigerated for the remainder of its shelf-life (3-4 days) as you serve it to your pet. 

Compare this to the harsh processing and feed grade ingredients often used to make low-quality dry kibbles, and it's easy to see why so many pet owners are hopping on the fresh-food wagon. Still, while there are many benefits to using a fresh dog food subscription service like The Farmer's Dog, there are some limitations and downsides to consider as well.

Pros and Cons of Fresh Dog Food 

Let's take a closer look at some of the advantages and potential drawbacks of using a fresh dog food service for your canine companion.


  • Minimal processing: Foods are cooked at lower temperatures than most kibble, which helps to preserve flavor and nutrients. Minimal processing of ingredients can also make food easier for pups to digest. Foods are gently cooked, meaning that you can see recognizable ingredients in their bowl. 
  • Human grade: Some fresh foods are human grade, which means the food you're serving your dog is made with the same quality and safety standards as human food. Of course, human grade ingredients and safety standards aren't exclusive to fresh food; other pet foods, including dehydrated and dry food, can also be human grade.
  • Higher-quality ingredients: Many fresh food companies don't use fillers or other low-quality ingredients (such as 4D meats from dying, diseased, disabled, or dead animals). Again, this isn’t exclusive to fresh foods, but is a positive aspect.


  • Needs to be refrigerated or frozen: Fridge or freezer space can be a challenge for some. Likewise, if food is frozen, it will need time to thaw before serving (we’ve found at least 1 day per pound), which can create logistical problems for pet owners.
  • Limited time to consume after it's been opened: While some brands vary on exactly how long their fresh food stays good after opening, most will need to be consumed within four days or less. This can result in food waste, especially for smaller dogs who may not be able to consume a full serving in that amount of time.
  • Costly to feed as a full-time diet: Feeding fresh food to a dog is costly, especially when done on a full-time basis. While exact pricing will vary by brand and a dog's size, The Farmer's Dog costs at minimum $2.50 per day for the smallest breeds and can exceed $10 per day for larger breeds. 
  • Plastic packaging: While some fresh dog food companies try to use eco-friendly packaging, many brands package food in plastic and in individual portions. This can result in a lot of unnecessary waste that may be a deterrent for environmentally conscious pet owners.

Best Fresh Dog Food Alternatives From The Honest Kitchen

While feeding fresh food from The Farmer's Dog (or a similar brand like Ollie, Fresh Pet, Nom Nom, A Pup Above, or Spot & Tango) can benefit your dog's health and wellness, there are some notable drawbacks to keep in mind. Whether you want to avoid excess plastic packaging or simply don't want to spend hundreds of dollars per month on dog food, there are plenty of alternatives that can be just as healthy for your pet.

The Honest Kitchen offers human grade, high-quality dog food that's budget-friendly, easy to store, and convenient to prepare. If you're looking for an alternative to The Farmer's Dog that you can feel good about, consider The Honest Kitchen's dehydrated dog food, wet dog food, or dry food clusters. You might also want to consider preparing the occasional home-cooked meal for your pet as an alternative to buying fresh dog food.

Let's explore a few of the enticing options we offer at The Honest Kitchen, as well as some home-cooked food recipes to consider for your own pup.

Dehydrated Dog Food

Dehydrated dog food can be a great alternative to fresh meals. Specifically, dehydrated dog food uses the time-tested method of dehydration, which uses low heat over a long period of time to gently remove the moisture from the ingredients. This process preserves nutrients while maintaining an enticing flavor and aroma, even for picky eaters. With dehydrated food, all you have to do is stir in a little warm water and wait a few minutes before serving.

Pet owners love dehydrated dog food from The Honest Kitchen because it's human grade and always made with real ingredients. Meanwhile, when compared to fresh food, it takes up significantly less space and doesn't need to be frozen or refrigerated. It's also more concentrated than a bag of kibble — a 10lb box makes 40 lbs of homemade food–making it a great option for those with limited pantry space or other storage space for large bags of dog food.

When compared to fresh food, dehydrated dog food is a much more cost-effective alternative as well. You can feed your dog the same quality ingredients as you would find in fresh food, but without the high cost and logistical hassle. Meanwhile, all our dehydrated dog food packaging is recyclable, and the shape of our packaging is designed to be as efficient as possible for shipping (which reduces emissions).

From whole-grain beef and chicken to grain-free options, The Honest Kitchen offers a large selection of dehydrated dog food to suit your pup's unique tastes!



Dry Food Clusters

For budget-conscious pet owners who still want to serve their dogs the highest quality ingredients, dry food clusters from The Honest Kitchen are a viable alternative. Our dry dog food is made with human grade, high-quality ingredients that are cold-pressed, roasted, and dehydrated to minimize processing while retaining flavor and nutrients.

Aside from the lower cost, pet owners love our human grade dry food because it's shelf-stable and convenient to scoop and serve. Meanwhile, dogs love the bold flavors of ingredients like cage free chicken and turkey, ranch-raised beef, fruits, and veggies

As the first human grade dry food for pets, it can be a great companion to fresh food for pet owners who want to reduce the cost to feed their pets without sacrificing quality. Simply use Whole Food Clusters as the base of their bowl and top with fresh food for a 100% human grade meal that’s a fraction of the cost. 



Wet Dog Food

Another fresh alternative is wet dog food from The Honest Kitchen. Made in the USA with globally sourced ingredients, our human grade wet dog food contains no artificial preservatives, feed-grade by-products, GMO ingredients, or fillers. With real ingredients like cage-free chicken, cage-free turkey, and ranch-raised beef, you can feel good about serving up wet food to your dog.

Dogs love the enticing aroma of wet food compared to dry food — and our wet foods are also great for digestion and keeping your pup hydrated. Meanwhile, pet owners can enjoy the convenience of storing our wet food in a pantry or cabinet (no refrigeration needed) and serving it up as its own meal or as a tasty dry food topper.

While wet food can still be costly to feed as a full-time meal option for dogs, it's still much more affordable than a fresh dog food delivery service.

Shop our selection of appetizing wet food at The Honest Kitchen. From our slow-cooked stews to our butcher block pâtés, you'll surely find something your dog will love.



Home-Cooked Food

Whether as part of your pup's everyday nutrition or as an occasional treat, you may also want to consider making your own dog food as an alternative to fresh food from companies like The Farmer's Dog

DIY food can be a much more affordable option that allows you to home-cook your dog's food from scratch. Of course, if you decide to go this route, it's important to make sure that the food you're making will meet your dog's nutritional and dietary needs.

The Honest Kitchen makes this easier with our dehydrated base mixes, which eliminate much of the prep work associated with home cooking. With these mixes, all you need to do is add water to hydrate and add a home-cooked protein of your choice. We offer fruit and veggie base mixes, grain-free base mixes, and nut and seed options to suit your dog's needs. Meanwhile, we also offer dog supplements and broths to add nutrients and probiotics to your home-cooked dog food.

Before starting a home-cooked food regimen for your dog, we recommend consulting with your veterinarian. Dogs have very different nutritional needs based on their life stage, breed, size, activity level, underlying health issues, and other factors.



Boost Your Dog's Diet With Fresh Food Alternatives From The Honest Kitchen

While it may be tempting to sign your pet up for a fresh food subscription, the reality is that you can serve your pet the same human grade ingredients at a fraction of the price with dehydrated, wet, or dry dog food from The Honest Kitchen. 

As the first human grade pet food brand on the market, we've been serving up quality and thoughtfully-sourced ingredients since our founding in 2002. Shop our top recipes today to see what our human grade food can do for your pet — or try our popular Beginner's Bundle to sample a little bit of everything.

Questions? Reach out to our friendly and knowledgeable team. We'd be happy to help!

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