Other Great Sites
Stay informed! Make sure you sign up for new and updated foods, food recalls and important dog food and health information:
Open Farm Dog Foods is a Canadian company headquartered in Toronto, where their foods are formulated. Owner Jacqueline Prehogan and her husband founded the company because she wanted to make high quality foods that met her animal welfare, sustainability and transparency standards.
Open Farm sells foods in Canada, US and Australia and this review covers the foods sold in the US. The US foods are manufactured in Minnesota by a family-owned and operated company in Minnesota named Barrett Ag Service, with two facilities making 150 different pet and animal foods.
Open Farm claims to be passionate about finding the most sustainable and ethical ways to obtain quality protein and ingredients without compromising their values.
Two lines within Open Farm dog foods have had some ingredient changes, and a new line has been added so this review for Open Farm Freeze Dried, Cooked and RawMix Dry have been updated as of September 2023.
Open Farm appears to make an effort to use better quality ingredients, and claims to be meticulous about sourcing. Their marketing uses terms like humanely-raised, ethical sourcing, traceable ingredients and sustainability. These are descriptions that sound good but have no legal meaning under pet food regulatory standards.
However, Open Farm and their source farms practice several certification processes including Certified Animal Welfare Approved managed by A Greener World, Global Animal Partnership, a system based on a five-step rating system, Certified Humane label by the Human Farm Animal Care program, and The Better Chicken Commitment, a science-based chicken welfare program.
Many of the ingredients appear to be better quality. For example, their beef recipes use grass fed, pasture raised beef, and fish recipes contain wild-caught fish. The produce in the freeze dried food is all organic. It would be preferable to see the company use organic produce and crops in all of its recipes to avoid GMOs and herbicides.
The freeze dried recipes have good scores with points deducted for added vitamins and minerals in all recipes, and for having two foods with higher carbohydrates. They also have a 10/10 ingredient safety score which is good to see.
While noteworthy, these standards are inconsistent, and this is borne out by the fact that Open Farm adds a vitamin and mineral premix to all of its recipes. This indicates poor quality ingredients that don’t meet pet food nutritional standards without the addition of these nutrients.
The use of sunflower oil in most foods is another quality concern. Seed oils are highly processed (and also susceptible to being sprayed with herbicides) and are high in omega-6 fatty acids that can lead to systemic and gut inflammation. The foods also contain coconut oil, which has been shown to cause undesirable changes in the gut lining.
When it comes to ingredient safety, some lines use ingredients known to have high pesticide or herbicide levels. This is an important safety concern, especially when they appear in the top 5 on the ingredient list. Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers post a significant health risk to plants, animals and soils. This is especially true of crops (like legumes) that are known to be spray dried with glyphosate. The company uses non-GMO grains like oats and quinoa, however, unless they are organic, they are still susceptible to being sprayed with pesticides and herbicides.
All of the Open Farm recipes have the omega-3:omega-6 ratio posted on the website within the nutritional profile of each food. It’s hoped that all manufacturers will list this important information since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.
With an average score of 4.4, Open Farm’s Ancient Grains line is considered a high risk dry dog food. It’s high in carbohydrates, averaging about nearly 38%, with proteins at almost 28%.
Excessive vitamin and mineral premix suggests poor quality or overly processed ingredients.
Some ingredients are known to contain higher pesticide or herbicide residues risk. Brown rice is another safety concern because of potential arsenic contamination.
Although the Salmon recipe is stated to be wild-caught fish, it’s worth noting that it’s Pacific salmon, and some Pacific fish has been contaminated with radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
With an average score of 6.6, Open Farm’s Rustic Stew line is considered a moderate risk wet dog food. The line is high in carbohydrate content, at 33%. Protein averages 48%. Its excessive added vitamin and mineral premix suggests lower quality ingredients, with nutrients likely lost in high heat processing.
The food also contains ingredients known to contain higher pesticide or herbicide residues. Even though these are non-GMO ingredients, non-GMO status doesn’t guarantee that foods are grown without these chemicals.
The fish proteins are wild-caught. Again, the salmon is Pacific salmon, which is a concern due to some Pacific fish being contaminated with radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food is considered a low risk dog food. The food contains an average of 10% carbohydrates and 40% protein. They have added vitamins and minerals in all foods, and 2 foods are a bit higher in carbohydrates than expected. Otherwise, these foods contain higher quality ingredients like grass fed, pasture raised, grass finished beef, wild caught fish (except for added salmon oil which appears to be farmed) and organic produce.
Open Farm Gently Dog Food is considered a moderate risk dog food. There are 2 recipes with carbohydrates that average 23% and average protein of 41%. Excessive vitamins and minerals are added despite a few better quality ingredients, and inflammatory seed oil is used. Carbohydrate levels are also on the high side for a cooked dog food. Safety concerns include foods with higher pesticide or herbicide residues, and rice that may contain arsenic.
Open Farm RawMix Dry dog food is considered a high risk dog food. There are 6 recipes with average protein of 30%, and carbohydrates that average 33%. These foods rank low in ingredient quality for having high carbohydrates, plus excessive added vitamins and minerals, and inflammatory seed oil. On the ingredient safety side these foods are ultra processed which destroys nutrients, and they have high pesticide foods listed in their top 5 ingredients, and rice that may contain arsenic.
To date, there have been no recalls involving Open Farm dog foods.