Unless you obsess over your dog’s health, you’ve probably never heard of dog food subscription services Ollie, Pet Plate, and Nom Nom (formerly known as NomNomNow). These relatively new services ship pre-proportioned canine meals made from fresh, healthy ingredients directly to your door. 👍Two thumbs up👍 for never having to leave the house again to buy kibble, but do these startups really offer canine cuisine that’s so far superior to options at the local pet store? That depends entirely on your pup, and what you consider healthy.
In this article we review Ollie vs Pet Plate vs Nom Nom and reveal how they compare to regular dog food. We also investigate whether the potential health benefits and convenience justify the price. If you’re already familiar with the space, skip right ahead to our comparison chart.
But wait, is normal dog food really that unhealthy?
Aside from the occasional table scrap, most domesticated dogs today survive on dehydrated pellets known as kibble. Packed with protein, dry food varieties are typically made of meat, poultry, and seafood byproducts, as well as grains like corn and soybean meal. These ingredients are cooked at extremely high temperatures and then dried to remove 90% of moisture. While this dehydration process increases shelf-life, it also degrades the nutritional content, which many believe poses health risks to your pet in the long run. Being so calorically-dense, dry dog food is often the culprit behind many a pooch’s short-term weight gain as well.
By the way: If you are looking for other ways to keep your pet healthy on a budget, you may want to check out pet telemedicine providers like Vetster and Airvet, pet health insurance alternatives, or traditional veterinary financing.
So is wet food any healthier?
Many owners treat their dogs to canned “wet food” despite the much higher price tag. While wet food typically contains even more meat protein, fewer carbohydrates, and less synthetic preservatives than the dry alternative, it’s often made from similarly low quality, mass-produced meat byproducts. It may be more moist, but it isn’t any more fresh.
Recent dog food health scandals
As commercial dog food has become increasingly deregulated, the frequency of related health controversies for both dry AND wet varieties has increased. Two well-known suppliers have had to pull their product from shelves in just the last 6 months alone. This March the FDA forced Darwin’s Natural to recall its “chicken and turkey with organic vegetables” line after discovering traces of salmonella. Sunshine Mills also had a recall in late November of 2018 due to high levels of vitamin D in their kibble, which apparently caused vomiting, kidney failure, and in a few cases, premature death.
These are serious ramifications that should give every owner pause. If you truly care about your dog’s health, you may consider alternative sustenance, perhaps something more akin to what you’d eat yourself. Some owners swear by not just fresh, but fully raw dog food. (Read this helpful article to learn more about the benefits of uncooked doggy diets.)
So what’s different about dog food subscriptions like Ollie, Pet Plate, and Nom Nom?
Before we outline the key advantages, it’s important to know how ordering from Ollie, Pet Plate and NomNom works. Unlike a traditional dog food purchase, all three kick off with a detailed survey to gather details about you dog’s current weight, ideal weight, activity levels, breed, allergies, age, dietary preferences, and more.
From there, each designs a personalized meal plan for your dog. Not every human eats the same food everyday, and surely not the same amount, so why should canines? Ollie, Pet Plate, and NomNomNow break the traditional one-size-fits-all model of dog sustenance and replace it with a personalized health plan for Basil, Baxter, or whatever you named your furry friend.
The rest of the process is similar to other ecommerce subscriptions. You check out with a credit card, which is stored on file and charged ahead of your next shipment. Your fresh dog food (and/or treats) will be delivered to your doorstep in just a few days. Should you need to cancel or change your order, you can update a few settings online. Otherwise expect a regularly scheduled shipment to keep your dog full and healthy.
Key advantages of fresh dog food subscriptions
We already touched upon key differences between wet and dry food above, but there’s actually a third category of “fresh” dog food that’s grown increasingly popular. It’s really just human food, pre-portioned and packaged for dogs. If your dog is a true member of the family, then serving them fresh, human-grade food makes sense. A quick word of warning though: some fresh dog meals appear so appetizing that you might begin to nibble away at them yourself! Pet Plate, NomNomNow and Ollie are all USDA certified, so it’s probably not a big deal if you do. But the bottom-line is: if you believe fresh food is healthier for your body, the same holds true for your cute little doge.
Convenience and flexibility
The fact that Ollie, Pet Plate and NomNomNow all offer a subscription is definitely convenient. Now you can get dog food on your time, not the other way around. Order, pause, change, and cancel meals, or even stock up weeks before going on vacation — all from the comfort of your home or on the go. Forget about last minute runs to the pet store once and for all!
Personalized to your pet
You can also put away that measuring spoon for good. With a modern dog food subscription, meals come pre-proportioned based on your dog’s weight, health goals, and caloric needs. All you have to do is follow the straightforward instructions and “serve one packet per day”. While it’s nice not having to measure out cups of kibble, it’s even better having peace of mind that your dog is eating the right ingredients, in the right quantities, specific to his or her lifestyle.
Less storage, waste, and mess
Buying dry dog food in bulk takes up quite a bit of space in your house. There’s also no easy way to properly store leftovers, forcing you to toss whatever your dog doesn’t eat. Most dog food subscription meals arrive in Tupperware containers that are easy to put back in the fridge. Ultimately this amounts to less storage, waste, and mess, which admittedly are small wins, but they add up given how often you feed your dog (hopefully everyday!).
Is your dog picky? Some hounds will scarf down anything, but that’s not universally true. Just like humans, some dogs require special dietary adjustments for health conditions. A good percentage suffer from allergies, and over 10% of canine allergy cases are food-related.
Gluten-free. Grain-free. Non-GMO. Lamb, Chicken, Beef, or Pork. Whatever your dog’s preference, Ollie, Pet Plate, and NomNom have elevated dog nutrition to a new level, providing a meal selection that’s bound to meet the health requirements of your beloved pooch, whatever those may be.
Disadvantages of fresh dog food
The only downside of fresh food is that you have to keep it properly refrigerated. Not a huge deal for most people, but something to consider if your fridge is already a
hot cold mess. Unlike with dehydrated or canned wet food, fresh food will spoil if not properly stored, so there’s a heightened risk of waste. Generally speaking NomNomNow, Ollie, and Pet Plate meals have fridge-life of about two weeks if unopened, and around five days if you’ve broken the seal. After that, they must be tossed.
Fresh dog food delivered to your door is naturally more expensive than generic dry kibble. We dive deeper into pricing below, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that modern dog food subscriptions cost more.
While transitioning your dog to a new diet isn’t usually problematic, there can be some small bumps in the road as you find out what your dog likes and how it makes them feel. The transition period typically takes about a week on average, and just requires you to mix together foods to slowly wean them off the old stuff. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but a pain nonetheless.
So if a fresh dog food subscription worth it? Let’s take an even closer look at the three major players’ offerings.
Ollie vs Pet Plate vs NomNom Price Comparison
Ollie, Pet Plate, and Nom Nom cater to people who care more deeply about their dogs’ health than their pocketbooks. Most owners may claim to be in this category, but choosing the right meal subscription for your furry friend is a complicated decision. Price is always a factor, so let’s start there. Here’s a quick cost comparison with details on each:
Fresh Dog Food Subscription Pricing