Friday, September 16, 2016

Food Friday: Open Farm Dog Food

I first learned about the Open Farm company at SuperZoo, and now I think it might be my most favoritest company ever. Open Farm is all about ethically-sourced ingredients, and transparency for the customer. Like, a really ridiculous amount of transparency. There's been a lot of focus recently on the sourcing of vitamins and minerals that go into pet food, and how many dog food companies buy pre-mixed nutrients without knowing themselves where all the ingredients originated. Some companies use multiple suppliers, so a given ingredient could have come from more than one place. It's too much to ask them to keep track of which ingredients when into which bag of food...right?
Ethically-sourced, humanely-raised food that tells you the source of every single ingredient.

The Company

I'll be honest, I'm a big fan of genetically modified food for a lot of science-based reasons. The fact that Open Farm proudly touts its non-GMO ingredients bugs me a lot. I understand it's mostly just a marketing thing, but every company that falls for it just normalizes the fear of perfectly safe food.

Otherwise, Open Farm is the most amazing pet food company ever. Seriously. They take transparency to an entirely new level. See, each bag has a lot code printed on it, along with the best-by date. You can go to the Open Farm website and type in your code, and instantly get a list of where every single ingredient came from. From humanely farmed turkey in Pennsylvania, to Niacin supplement from Switzerland. It's not just "Not From China (probably, at least that we know about)" like nearly every other pet food company out there. 

But that's not all! Open Farm also uses only farm animal products that are third party certified as being humanely raised. That means the chickens, turkeys, and pigs were raised in a comfortable environment with minimal stress, and plenty of space to move around. Prior to being humanely slaughtered for food, these animals were cared for to standards that covered not only their physical needs, but their mental and social needs as well. Humane Farm Animal Care standards include enough dark time for birds to get real sleep, toys and rooting material to keep pigs busy, and housing that prevents social animals from feeling isolated.

The Food

Humanely-raised and sustainably-sourced ingredients.
I think my favorite thing about Open Farm is their commitment to sustainable fisheries. I have a background in biology, and I'm quite alarmed at the state of the world's fisheries. Open Farm wanted to make a fish-based food from sustainably-harvested species, so they started working with the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program. This program helps identify species that are abundant and can be caught in a manner that minimizes environmental impact. As a result, different batches of Open Farm's whitefish pet foods may be made from different species of whitefish. What kind was your bag made from? Check the best by date and product code, the type of whitefish used is printed in the same place.

All of Open Farm's dry dog food recipes rate 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Dog Food Advisor website. The foods have a 30/14 protein/fat ratio, which means plenty of protein but not a whole lot of fat. The carb content is a little higher than I'd prefer. I'm pleased to see that the fish recipe is allergy-friendly, Brisbane would have been able to eat this one despite his poultry/egg/sweet potato allergies. The kibbles are also pretty little, so these are nice foods for little tiny dogs.

The Verdict

Maybe it's because I feed a lot of high-protein, high-fat foods, but my dogs really weren't that into any of the Open Farm kibbles. Ru is extremely picky, and he wouldn't touch it. Sisci Godzilla was willing to eat a few bites, but I had to top it with Caru Stew to get her to finish the bowl. These seem to be worthwhile foods to try for dogs with tummy issues, and I would recommend them over super-dense foods like Orijen for senior dogs unused to that much protein. 

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