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FAMILY & PETS

Ollie vs. The Farmer's Dog: We Put It To The (Taste?!) Test

February 26, 2024
At Primary Goods, we have an independent selection process & only review what we fully endorse. If you buy a product via our links, we may earn a commission.

Editor’s note: Our team (and their dogs!) love Ollie. If you’re looking to make the switch to fresh food for your dog, you can get 60% off your first box + a free bowl!

I’m all for pampering my dog Jimmy. In fact, I consider him this year’s frontrunner for “Most Spoiled Pup in the World.” So, when I discovered that his “premium” kibble was filled with processed junk, I knew I needed to switch to fresh food ASAP.

But what’s the best fresh food, the crème de la crème? I decided to compare the two highest-rated brands out there: Ollie and The Farmer’s Dog. And for the sake of being thorough – and as a fun experiment – I conducted a 5-senses test, judging each of them on look, feel, sound, smell, and taste. (Yes, that means tasting the dog food myself!)

SPOILER: Ollie came out ahead in almost every category, both to my own senses and Jimmy’s appetite. But if you want to find out what really sets it apart, I’ve got all the details for you below. 

Sense #1: Sight

I’d love to tell you that one of these dog foods looked significantly better than the other. But I’m not expecting to see either plated up at a 3 Michelin-star restaurant any time soon. They’re both pretty much… well, mush. And that’s okay! Jimmy isn’t a *presentation* kinda guy. 

However, there is one big difference in packaging. The Farmer’s Dog comes in a plastic pouch that’s not very user-friendly. You have to rip or cut it open, and it isn’t re-sealable. This makes it a bit inconvenient to store in the fridge – your dog will likely only need a small portion of the pouch everyday, which means you’ll have to either messily roll up the unsealed bag OR squeeze out the entire contents into your own tupperware. 

Ollie, on the other hand, comes in a much friendlier-looking package. There’s colors. There’s an easy-open seal – which protects both the dog food and your fridge from smelling like dog food – and your first box comes with a dishwasher safe reusable storage container for leftovers. All in all, a more appealing user experience.

Winner: Ollie

Sense #2: Touch

Ah, yes. There’s nothing like the delicate squish of fresh dog food between your fingers. The subtle interplay of carrots and chicken evokes simpler times… younger days, when you might go out in the rain barefoot to feel the mud between your toes.

Seriously, if you haven’t touched wet dog food, I do not recommend. But once I got past the initial urgh of it all, I did start to notice a difference in texture. The Farmer’s Dog is thinner and more uniform – kind of how I imagine a meaty oatmeal would feel. Ollie has more variety – chunks of squash, the gentle squish of peas, the pop of cranberries. I can’t say it felt amazing (at the end of the day, it’s dog food), but it had some intrigue, and that counts for something. And just in case you’re not inclined to dip your hands into your dog’s dinner every night, your first box of Ollie comes with a free scoop so you can remain blissfully unaware of the sensation.

Winner: Ollie

Sense #3 Smell

It’s frankly unfair for me, or any of us, to be judging the smell of fresh dog food – humans lack the sophisticated olfactory senses that dogs naturally possess. If my dog could write, he’d probably whip up a sommelier-esque description, complete with vivid tasting notes like “sun-ripened blackberry” and “wet cedar.” 

But look, if your dog’s food is going to be sitting in your fridge next to your leftovers, your opinion matters! That being said, this test was a tie. Both Ollie and Farmer’s Dog smelled like dog food. Jimmy might feel different, but to my nose, a rose is a dog food rose.

Winner: N/A

Sense #4 Sound

Listen closely. Do you hear it? The gentle glurp of a spoon moving through fresh dog food. The delicate glop of it hitting the bowl. The pitter patter of puppy feet bouncing on the linoleum in anticipation. The not-so-subtle whine that says, “Why are you waxing poetic when you should be feeding me my dinner?”

I can’t claim any spectacular insights here. But, I do know a happy dog when I hear one. And dinner time is always happy dog time.

Does my Jimmy know the difference between Ollie and The Farmer’s Dog by sound alone? I’m doubtful. But he certainly does have a preference. The Farmer’s Dog elicited jumps and whines, while Ollie earned me full on zoomies (in circular form) and a hearty howl. To me, that’s a decisive difference!

Winner: Ollie (by a skosh)

Taste

Yes, I know this is the one you scrolled to first. “Did this crazy writer actually eat the dog food?” “It’s human-grade, afterall.” Dear reader, I must tell you…

I COULDN’T DO IT. I know, I’m a let-down. 

But my conscience (and my stomach) told me that the most important thing was Jimmy’s experience of the food. So, I let him be the judge of taste. I placed two bowls side by side. One Ollie, one The Farmer’s Dog. 

He whiffled, he waffled, he sniffed, he contemplated. And finally, he chose Ollie – specifically the Beef and Sweet Potatoes recipe – over the Farmer’s Dog’s Beef recipe. And when I repeated the test with the chicken recipes, he chose Ollie again.

Winner: Ollie

If you’re looking to get the full sensory experience for your pup, you can get 60% off your first box + a free bowl!

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