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One of the things I struggled with as a vegetarian was whether I should put my dog Mimi on a vegetarian diet to go along with my ethical choices. I researched this a lot and the opinions are so varied that I could not make a decision. There are people who claim that their dogs thrived on a vegan/vegetarian diet, and there are others who call it unnatural because a dogs’ natural instinct is to eat meat.
I am of the belief that it is unethical to not feed a dog meat. Dogs are descendants of wolves, and wolves are carnivores. It is ingrained in their being to eat meat. If a pack of domesticated dogs were out in the wild and spotted a dead animal they would probably eat it. It’s their natural behavior.
Regardless of the ethics and science behind it, ultimately I know that Mimi would not be happy as a vegetarian. My dog makes a particular happy face when she smells meat. I can’t imagine taking that away from her just to satisfy my own personal beliefs. But as a vegetarian, it just didn’t sit right with me that each time I bought dog food I was supporting the cruel treatment of farm animals in factory farms.
Well, as I was doing research for another post, I ran across a Canadian dog food company called Open Farm. I was jumping for joy when I found this company! Here’s what makes Open Farm different from all other pet food brands:
- All meat and poultry are sourced from family farms (not factory farms) that are Certified Humane. These farms are held to high animal welfare standards and must pass routine audits in order to maintain the certification. Read more about Certified Humane here.
- All fish are ocean caught. They do not use fish that were raised in aquafarms.
- They do not use any meat or poultry meals. Meals are made in large batches and are made of animal by-product that may contain bones and meat from dead and disabled animals. Instead, they use an ocean caught fish meal that is produced in small batches. This way they can guarantee that the fish were naturally raised and not fed hormones or antibiotics.
- They do not test on animals. Yes, some pet food brands test on animals.
- Vegetables and fruits are non-GMO, and approximately 90% are grown near their manufacturing plant in Minnesota or a neighboring state.
- It is formulated for all life stages, meaning that it’s suitable for puppies, adults, and seniors.
- And last but not least, it is 100% grain-free, which is ideal for pets like Mimi that suffer from allergies.
Seems like Mimi’s needs as well as my concerns are met! I had only 1 more question concerning the size of the kibble. Mimi is a Miniature Pinscher & Chihuahua mix with a small snout and needs the kibble to be small. I emailed Open Farm about it and they wrote back the next day:
Thank you for reaching out and showing an interest in Open Farm! Our kibble is in the smaller side, about 1 cm x 1 cm and a bit flat. I also sometimes recommend if your dog is small and has an issue with kibble, to add water or broth to the food to soften it up.
That same day I went to the store and bought Open Farm Grain-Free Homestead Turkey & Chicken Recipe. Several other recipes are available for both cats and dogs.
Open Farm is not carried at big chain stores, and I’m lucky to have a small boutique near me that carries it. If you live in South Florida please check out Auggie’s Doggies in Fort Lauderdale. They carry a very large selection of pet foods and supplies that you won’t find anywhere else, and they do not carry any Chinese made products.
The first 5 ingredients are humanely farmed turkey, humanely farmed chicken, ocean caught whitefish meal, russet potatoes, and garbanzo beans (chickpeas). I bring this up because we’ve all seen the commercials comparing the first 5 ingredients in leading versus supermarket pet food brands. As you see there are no by-products added. You can see all the ingredients here.
The food has a strong fishy smell. The smell smacked me in the face when I first opened the bag, and I was concerned that my kitchen would smell like fish which is where I keep Mimi’s food. But the smell is only noticeable if the food is near your nose.
The kibble size turned out to not be a problem at all. It’s actually a bit smaller that the kibble I was feeding her before which was made specifically for small breeds.
Price wise, the 12lb bag costs about $10 more than similar products from Blue Buffalo and Wellness. There is a price to pay for humane until it becomes the norm. A 4.5lb bag is available if you don’t want to commit to a 12lb or 24lb right away.
If there are no retailers near you, you can buy Open Farm from Amazon.
I recommend Open Farm to anyone who’s concerned about animal welfare. Honestly, what is the point of worrying about where your food comes from if you won’t hold your pets food to the same standards?
This food is also ideal for vegans and vegetarians who are not comfortable feeding their pets a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Mimi has been eating Open Farm food for over a month and so far she is enjoying it. Her cousins seem to like it as well because every time they come visit they eat it all up. They will be making the switch soon.
Most importantly, her allergies have finally alleviated. Although the calming of her allergies would likely be achieved with any grain-free food, the fact that Open Farm is Certified Humane keeps my vegetarian conscious at ease.
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