OPEN FARM Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food

Average Score

4.8
4 color scale

Food scores are based on ingredient quality and safety. For more information, view our  evaluation criteria.

Open Farm Catch-of-the-Season Whitefish & Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food

With an average score of 4.8, Open Farm’s Ancient Grains line is considered a high risk dry dog food. This line loses food quality points for its high carbohydrate content, which averages nearly 38%. Excessive carbohydrate is in indicator of low quality foods as they are used to keep costs down. Large amounts of starch can increase insulin levels, cause obesity and negatively impact gut balance.

The food is manufactured by a family-owned and operated company in Minnesota named Barrett Ag Service, with two facilities making 150 different pet and animal foods.

This line also loses significant ingredient quality points excessive vitamin and mineral premix. Ideally, these nutrients should come from whole food sources and their inclusion on a label is usually due to poor quality or overly processed raw ingredients. Vitamin and mineral excesses, especially vitamin D and copper, can also result from vitamin premixes.

The food safety score is lower because, like all kibbles, Open Farm Ancient Grains is ultra-processed. The individual ingredients in dry dog foods are heated several times during processing, which can cause a significant loss of enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. Processed foods are also linked to higher mortality rates in many species. 

The food contains natural flavor, which is often animal digest or MSG, but in this case the company describes it as being from dehydrated whitefish, so the food did not lose ingredient safety points in this case.

This line loses points because it contains ingredients known to contain higher pesticide or herbicide residues in the top 5 ingredients, including oats and sorghum. While the company states these are non-GMO ingredients, non-GMO doesn’t guarantee that foods are grown without pesticides or herbicides. Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers pose a significant health risk to plants, animals and soils. 

This line is also penalized for containing brown rice.  Arsenic contamination is a significant concern with rice since it naturally absorbs arsenic and the water it’s grown in can be contaminated with arsenic. Arsenic is linked to chronic health issues.

All the foods in this line contain ocean whitefish meal and salmon oil, with herring meal in some recipes. While the company website does talk about sourcing wild-caught fish, it’s not clear whether these ingredients are from farmed or wild-caught fish. Farmed fish is less nutritious than wild-caught fish and has a less favorable fatty acid content.

The salmon in the Salmon recipe is stated to be wild-caught. However it is Pacific salmon, and some Pacific fish has been contaminated with radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

There’s a concern about coconut oil in this line of foods. Coconut oil may be harmful to gut health and has been shown to change undesirable changes in the gut lining. 

The label does not provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio (simply calling it “balanced”), which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

The inclusion of “glam”  ingredients like cinnamon and turmeric is another concern. These ingredients are added to make consumers think the food sound healthier. But they’re listed below the salt, which means they’re present in tiny amounts and likely won’t benefit your dog.  

The company emphasizes several factors that suggest better food quality, using terms like humanely raised, ethical sourcing, ingredient tracing, sustainability. While these goals are commendable, it’s worth noting that these are marketing descriptions with no legal meaning under pet  food regulatory standards.  

Ancient Grains Benefits

Ancient Grains Concerns

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