In partnership with Nom Nom.
While just about anyone will agree that how we fuel our bodies is important to our health, most people don’t think all that much about how we’re fueling our pups. As an LA-based pet parent, I truly thought I was going above and beyond and doing a pat-on-the-back-worthy job of feeding my two-year-old pup, Dolly. That was, until her digestive issues started.
As we dug into sorting out Dolly’s digestive debacle, we cycled through several food options – protein-rich kibble, air-dried dog food – before landing in the fresh dog food camp. It’s made a world of difference. With several top-of-the-line brands to choose from, I put three fan favorites to the ultimate test for a TQE-style throwdown. So below, I present our findings in a throwdown: Nom Nom vs. Ollie vs. The Farmer's Dog.
Nom Nom: The brand prepares and packages their food in small batches in their very own Nashville kitchen – as opposed to the outsourced manufacturers its competitors often use. This allows them to avoid over-processing the food and adding preservatives, leaving the ingredients in big, juicy pieces you can actually see.
Ollie: Ollie is committed to transparency when it comes to pet food. The DTC brand was founded as an alternative to the numerous brands marketing healthy dog food while using less-than-ideal ingredients (read: meat meal, dyes, MSG, corn syrup, and more) in practice. Like Nom Nom, Ollie specializes in freshly made dog food, which needs to be kept in the fridge or freezer as opposed to on the shelf.
The Farmer's Dog: Similarly, The Farmer’s Dog was founded by a pet owner who began cooking meals for his own pup before launching the brand. Historically, farmers’ dogs have lived the longest, which is how the brand got its name.
All of these brands take pride in sourcing high-quality ingredients from trusted suppliers. The main difference here is in the variety of proteins (Nom Nom and The Farmer's Dog offer pork, chicken, beef and turkey, while Ollie offers lamb, beef, chicken and turkey) and aesthetic (Nom Nom’s food looks like human food, whereas Ollie and The Farmer's Dog's food is chopped up into finer, mushier-looking bits).
Nom Nom: Nom Nom has worked with two board-certified vet nutritionists on its four recipes: Beef Mash, Chicken Cuisine, Pork Potluck and Turkey Fare. Each has been crafted to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO Food Nutrient Profiles, and if you take a look at the ingredients, you’ll recognize just about every word you see (for instance, we’re talking ground turkey, brown rice, eggs, carrots, and spinach). If you take a look at the food itself, you’ll also recognize these ingredients: this dog food looks like, well, real food – a true indicator of the TLC put into making it.
Ollie: Ollie’s four flavors – Fresh Beef with Sweet Potato, Fresh Chicken with Carrots, Fresh Turkey with Blueberries and Fresh Lamb with Cranberry – are gently cooked, human grade, and free of zero-nutrient "fillers." Each recipe is vet-formulated to meet AAFCO guidelines for all life stages. Ollie’s food looks much more like dog food than Nom Nom’s, so it’s tougher to detect just how fresh it is from appearance alone.
The Farmer's Dog: The Farmer’s Dog also uses real, human-grade ingredients in its Turkey, Beef, Chicken, and Pork recipes. Each recipe was vet-developed to exceed the industry standards. In short, all of these brands are phenomenal options in terms of nutrition (especially compared to what else is out there). The main difference is that you can really see the ingredients in Nom Nom’s food, whereas both Ollie and Farmer’s Dog both have much more of that ‘mush’ look to them.
Each brand delivers pre-packaged meals to your doorsteps that are meant to be thawed over the course of the month. Nom Nom’s huge advantage here is in its portioning – including half portions, so you’re not left with messy leftovers that need to be stored in the fridge.
Nom Nom: Nom Nom portions all of its meals for you, factoring in everything from your dog's breed to their age, activity level, weight and pre-existing health issues (the brand also offers half portions, which I hadn’t seen from other brands before). That means you've got one easy-open pack to feed per day – with no guesswork and no portioning required. Not only does that save time and avoid uncertainty, it keeps your pup on track to stay healthy and satisfied. After a two-week trial, Nom Nom delivers your dog’s food monthly, though you’re able to reschedule at any time.
Ollie: Each packet of Ollie contains one full day’s worth of food (two meals), so you’ll have to measure out meals on your own. While this isn’t a huge deal, it’s certainly not one of my favorite parts of the day. Leftovers from breakfast can be stored in the reusable food container Ollie sends with your first box, which I prefer to keep in its own section of the fridge. Ollie also has a flexible delivery schedule.
The Farmer’s Dog: I struggled the most with this packaging. Like Ollie, every Farmer’s Dog pack contains two meals. The problem is that Farmer’s Dog’s food comes in a tube (think the shape of Tollhouse cookie dough, whereas Ollie’s has a peelable lid on top) that the brand recommends cutting with scissors. It’s inconvenient and difficult to portion without making a huge mess – not my favorite chore, especially as a vegetarian!
This one really depends on your dog! Prices vary depending on breed, size and overall health, but are generally pretty comparable.
Nom Nom: My recommended order came to $98.02 for 2 weeks of food – or $49.01 after the initial 50% off discount.
Ollie: Ollie, on the other hand, may be slightly more affordable for larger dogs based on my research. My recommended Ollie subscription plan was $100 for 2 weeks of food – $50 per week.
The Farmer’s Dog: My recommendation for 2 weeks of food came in at $94.59 after the 20% off discount for my first box. After that initial discount, my subscription would cost $107.26 for 2 weeks. Frankly, all of these options are expensive, and there isn’t a ton of difference in the price.
In addition to fresh dog food, each brand offers several additional products.
Nom Nom: Nom Nom goes the extra mile in pet health and wellness, by offering GI-Targeted and Full Spectrum probiotics to support your dog’s gut health and the immune system.
Ollie: In addition to its fresh food, Ollie offers two baked recipes and “Membership Extras” like treats and supplements (a probiotic, hip & joint and calming formula). My main focus was on Dolly’s digestion, so we include these in her plan, though I’ve heard positive reviews.
The Farmer’s Dog: In addition to its food subscription, Farmer’s Dog gives pet parents the option to build a DIY plan – they’ll share recipes that you can make yourself, and you can buy a ‘DIY Nutrient Mix’ to fill in any gaps. It’s nice to have this as a more affordable option – so long as you have the time and energy to do the cooking!
The Final Verdict
It’s tough to recommend a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to feeding your dog. And when looking at the full landscape of food, Nom Nom, Ollie, and The Farmer's Dog are a huge leap ahead of most other brands on the market. In general, I’m relieved to know that a growing number of pet food companies actually care about our pups’ health.
After a two week trial with each option, I ultimately subscribed to Nom Nom. Small details – like the big, juicy chunks of real meat and veggies, perfectly-portioned packs, and responsive Pet Support team – ultimately made the difference for Dolly and me. And, it seems we’re not alone: the brand has received tons of tail wags and five-star reviews from other happy customers, too.