Unless you obsess over your dog’s health, you’ve probably never heard of dog food subscription services Ollie, Pet Plate, and 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 NomNomNow 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. (If you are looking for other ways to keep your pet healthy on a budget, you may want to check out pet health insurance or veterinary financing.) Being so calorically-dense, dry dog food is often the culprit behind many a pooch’s short-term weight gain as well.
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 NomNomNow?
Before we outline the key advantages, it’s important to know how ordering from Ollie, Pet Plate and NomNomNow 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 NomNomNow 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.
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 NomNomNow Price Comparison
Ollie, Pet Plate, and NomNomNow 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
|15 lbs dog||
|55 lbs dog||
|95 lbs dog||
|Intro Offer||50% off your first box||30% off your first box||20% off your first box|
|Social Responsibility||Donates 1% of its revenue to shelters and rescues like the Sato Project||–||Donates $50 in your name when you sign up if your dog was rescued from one of their partner shelters|
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As you can see, fresh dog food subscriptions are definitely more expensive than kibble. A 30-lb bag of Purina dry food, for instance, may cost ~$100 per month at a local pet store or as little as $35 from amazon. But clearly Ollie, NomNomNow, and Pet Plate are for owners more concerned about their pet’s waistline and long-term health than their wallet. Simply comparing cost ignores major differences in quality, which is the hardest, but arguably the most important aspect of your dog’s diet.
To help you better differentiate the key players, here’s a feature comparison chart to help you further determine the differences between NomNomNow, Pet Plate, and Ollie’s core meal plan subscriptions.
Fresh Dog Food Subscription Features
|Personalized, pre-proportioned meals delivered to your (doggy) door||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Vet-Formulated to meet AAFCO and USDA standards||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Healthy Dog Meal Recipes||Turkey
|Healthy Dog Treats||Sweet Potato Slices
Trusty Turkey Strips
Savory Beef Strips
Tasty Chicken Strips
|Other Products for Dogs||–||–||Probiotics
|Meal Trial Options||–||100% refund on your first box||$15 for four different recipes + jerky treats|
|Offers Cat food?||–||Not Yet||Yes|
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All three have vet nutritionists on board and meet AAFCO standards. They all also offer both gluten-free and grain-free options to aid in allergy relief. Furthermore, they all boast free shipping and make it easy to adjust your order on the fly as you schedule changes.
While all three subscription services offer similar dog meals made of all-natural, high-quality ingredients, there are a few key differences. Pet Plate doesn’t yet offer dog treats, while Ollie and NomNomNow have your pup covered for healthy snacks in between meals. And only NomNomNow offers additional products such as doggy probiotics, microbiome kits, and even meals for cats.
How do their free trials compare?
If you’re new to fresh dog food, perhaps you’re wondering how to trial these options cost-effectively. Unfortunately none offer a completely free trial, but NomNomNow has met the demand to sample multiple flavors with a $15 variety pack that includes one of each of their meals as well as jerky treats. Pet Plate also de-risks sampling by offering a 100% refund on your first box. Ollie requires a bit more of a leap of faith, but they do offer 50% off the first box and easy cancelation if you’re not satisfied.
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How exactly do I transition my dog to fresh food?
When it comes to transitioning your dog to new food, it’s best to change the diet slowly — rather than all at once. This can help avoid an upset stomach. Exactly how long you should take to transition will vary on your dog’s habits, but on average it takes about a week. Here are the instructions that Ollie provides:
- Day 1-2: 25% of the whole portion size of the new food mixed with 75% old food
- Day 3-4: 50% new food mixed with 50% old food
- Day 5-6: 75% new food mixed with 25% old food
- Day 7+: 100% new food
Pet Plate recommends a similar transition plan:
Start by mixing a small amount of the new food to the old one, so the ratio is 90% old to 10% new, then gradually increasing the amount of new food in a weeks time until you’re at 100% new dog food in return allowing your dog’s stomach to have time to adjust to its new diet.
Pet Plate vs NomNomNow vs Ollie: Which fresh dog food subscription is best for you?
We’ve danced around the question long enough. Hopefully by now you understand the key differences between fresh and traditional dog foods, the core meal offerings of each major subscription service, and pricing. But which meal subscription service is best for you and Fido? Here’s the verdict on NomNomNow, Pet Plate, and Ollie.
Ollie provides the best customer service, paws down.
Ollie is best for dog owners who care about support. Within days of receiving your order, you should receive a phone call from an Ollie rep to check in on you and your dog. You can ask any questions you have, and help is always an email or a phone call away. It’s great option should you want more of a concierge-like experience transitioning your dog to fresh food. You may pay a bit more for this white-glove treatment, but based on online reviews, dogs seem to absolutely adore Ollie’s recipes. It’s unfortunate that they don’t use resealable dishes, but overall Ollie a very promising option that your pet is sure to appreciate. Click below to get 50% off your first box!
Pet Plate offers the most flexible fresh dog food subscription
Pet Plate appears to offer the most flexibility when ordering fresh dog food. They allow customers the convenience of a “topper plan”, ideal for owners who want to combine fresh meals with traditional dog food, rather than going all in. They also make it exceedingly easy to pause, alter, or cancel the service at any time, which anyone with a turbulent schedule can appreciate. Unfortunately Pet Plate doesn’t sell treats for inter-meal snacking just yet, but their “clean plate” policy offers you a 100% refund on your first box, so you have nothing to lose.
By the way: if Pet Plate sounds vaguely familiar, you may recall them from an episode of SharkTank. Although none of the sharks ended up investing, don’t let that influence your decision 🙂 They offer a great introductory discount of 50% on your first box. Click the image below to get started:
NomNomNow offers the most variety among fresh dog food services
Last but certainly not least, NomNomNow carries the widest selection of meals (as well as treats!) and other doggy digestive products like probiotics and a microbiome kit. Variety is important if your dog has allergies or is a particularly picky eater. NomNomNow is also ideal if you have a cat too, since you can get all your fresh pet food from one place. Their recipe rotation feature also makes it easy to spice things up with minimal effort. Underscoring their belief in a personalized, varied experience, they are the only service to offer a variety pack for $15 that allows you to quickly sample each of their meals. Click below for 20% off your first order.
Final Thoughts on fresh dog food subscriptions
Today people have become more health conscious than ever. Why should your dog’s health be treated any differently? We all adore our pets and claim to do anything to make them happier. The only real question is whether we’ll put our money where our mouth is…or where our dog’s mouth is? As the old saying goes, you are what you eat, so consider treating your dog to a fresh meal subscription from NomNomNow, Ollie, or Pet Plate.
Of course, these three brands aren’t the only healthy alternatives to kibble. If you’re being thorough, other brands to check out include:
While a fresh dog food subscription is a more expensive way to improve your dog’s diet, you can do so without completely breaking the bank or spending all weekend meal prepping. I’d recommend giving NomNomNow, Ollie, and Pet Plate a taste to see how your dog reacts. Does he lick the bowl clean? Do you notice any changes in weight or stool consistency? Is there a more palpable excitement come meal time? Ultimately these subscriptions offer peace of mind knowing your dog is getting the best. Whether they actually improve the longevity and happiness of your dog is yet to be determined, but I can’t imagine they aren’t a huge improvement for your hound over pellets of dehydrated animal byproducts and highly caloric cereal grain filler.