It’s tempting to buy a product just because it’s popular.
Sadly, this is what ends up disappointing most pet parents when they’re searching for the best fresh dog food to feed their canine companions.
The reality is that most people just don’t have the time to sample and compare every dog food brand on the market. (I wouldn’t say that sampling dog food is an “exciting” culinary experience for a human being, either. Ask me how I know.)
To save you the headache, I’m comparing fresh dog food recipes from two well-known brands: PetPlate and Ollie. You probably know PetPlate from their appearance on Shark Tank. The sharks didn’t make them an offer, but the PetPlate brand went on to become successful.
My opinion? PetPlate’s fresh dog food is pretty overrated, and Ollie’s is far worse. I think your dog deserves more — but keep reading to see for yourself.
First, I’ll examine how PetPlate and Ollie stack up in terms of quality. How their recipes look, smell, and taste, as well as what ingredients they use.
I’ll also evaluate the convenience of each brand’s shipping, packaging, and subscription models.
Last but not least, I’ll give you the scoop on whether these brands are a bargain or bust. I’ve done the math to make sure that we’re comparing them on an apples-to-apples basis.
Who should get PetPlate?
PetPlate is a better choice than Ollie. It’s very affordable and the food is a bit more tolerable.CLICK HERE: Get my best deal for PetPlate →
Who should get Ollie?
Frankly, I don’t think anyone should buy Ollie. I don’t think it’s good enough for you, and I don’t think it’s good enough for your dog.CLICK HERE: Get my best deal for Ollie →
If value is your biggest deciding factor when buying fresh dog food, then I recommend checking out Nom Nom. Nom Nom’s fresh dog food is not only excellent, but the price is low — similar to PetPlate.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind spending a little bit more money on your dog and you care about high-quality food, then I highly recommend The Farmer’s Dog. Both brands are better options for your pup, and can get you the best bang for your buck.
Should you decide to go with PetPlate or Ollie, make sure to use my links above to get the best discount that I currently know about. I’ll always keep these links up to date.
Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s dig in to PetPlate and Ollie’s beef and chicken recipes.
I’ll tell you how these two brands compare across appearance, smell, taste, and quality of ingredients.
We’ll start with beef: PetPlate’s Bark and Beef against Ollie’s Beef Recipe with Sweet Potatoes.
Right away, you can see that PetPlate includes sizeable chunks of sweet potato and whole peas. I wouldn’t call PetPlate’s beef recipe fresh-looking or vibrant, though, because the meat is mushy and the colors are a bit drab. It’s kind of like regular dog food. I think the generous portions of ingredients are doing most of the heavy lifting here.
On the other hand, I don’t really have anything nice to share about Ollie’s beef recipe. It has a boring, homogeneous consistency, scattered with tiny flakes of color on brownish-gray. And good luck trying to find the individual ingredients — they’re mashed beyond recognition.
Ollie’s meat has a granular and pasty appearance. Nothing looks appetizing about their recipe, which looks a lot like canned dog or even cat food. This is definitely not the elevated, fresh dog food experience we were hoping for.
When I compared PetPlate’s Chompin’ Chicken against Ollie’s Chicken with Carrots, it didn’t get any better.
PetPlate’s chicken recipe included whole green beans, vivid red lentils, and nuggets of what appeared to be sweet potato or carrots. The veggies were a pleasant surprise, but the meat was (once again) disappointing and drab. Not the worst fresh dog food I’ve seen but not terrific, either.
Meanwhile, Ollie’s chicken recipe was just as discouraging as their beef. It has those tiny flecks of color that I think are supposed to create the illusion of vegetables, but the whole thing is a mess. The granular meat gives it that same “regular dog food” vibe we’re trying to avoid.
Even though PetPlate and Ollie weren’t that appetizing to look at, I still had to wonder: do they smell good enough to eat?
Well, you can definitely smell the sweetness of the green peas in PetPlate’s Bark and Beef recipe. The beef aroma, however, is a little bit strong.
When I compared it to Ollie’s Beef with Sweet Potatoes, the strong, wet dog food odor took me back to the first time I tried the brand’s recipes. The greens give it a sour smell — not spoiled sour, just acidic. Ollie’s meat also has a heavy, potent stench. Doesn’t exactly make me want to stick a fork in and try it.
The chicken recipes didn’t fare much better.
There’s a sweetness to PetPlate’s Chompin’ Chicken recipe, but the chicken scent was a little musky. Not off-putting, but not appetizing, either.
Thankfully, Ollie’s Chicken Dish with Carrots wasn’t as stinky as their beef recipe. I still didn’t enjoy the heavy whiff I got from it. I’m not sure where that heaviness comes from. Maybe it’s from the greens, or maybe they just use too much organ meat. (Other fresh dog foods use organ meat all the time, and still taste and smell delicious. It’s possible that Ollie could be using too much.)
At the end of the day, PetPlate won the smell competition.
Remember that age-old expression, “Don’t give a gift you wouldn’t give yourself”?
Well, my mantra is, “Don’t feed food to your dog that you wouldn’t feed yourself.”
Then again, I eat dog food for a living.
Here’s the thing: PetPlate’s chicken dish was more palatable than their beef dish. The beef dish was hard for me to stomach.
But Ollie’s recipes? Yikes. Both of them were really, really unpleasant to eat. The first time I tried one of Ollie’s dishes, I woke up in the middle of the night and could still taste it in the back of my throat.
That’s right — the food was so bad that I was still thinking about it all those hours later. I tried Ollie a second time when I compared it with a different fresh dog food, and it was the exact same experience. I’m definitely not going to give it another taste test.
Ollie’s textures are disagreeable: grainy, pasty, and dry. The flavors are so strong and offensive that it’s a challenge to swallow.
I’m not kidding when I say that I wouldn’t serve it to my dog under any circumstance.
Fresh dog food is much more expensive than other types of dog food. If I’m going to spend the extra money to ensure my dog gets an awesome meal, then I should be satisfied with the quality of the food, too.
It’s worth noting that PetPlate offers a wider range of flavors than most fresh dog food companies. PetPlate gives you six flavors to choose from, while Ollie only gives you four.
Both companies use veterinary nutritionists to develop their fresh dog food recipes. PetPlate says that their veterinary nutritionists are board certified, but I couldn’t find any information about whether Ollie’s are board certified. They might be, I just haven’t been able to verify it.
Likewise, both companies’ recipes are nutritionally balanced in compliance with AAFCO standards. They also cook their recipes in USDA-grade kitchens, so the recipes meet the same safety standards as human food.
When assessing nutrition, the number one thing I look at is the brand’s protein content as fed. PetPlate’s protein as fed ranges between 8% and 11%, whereas Ollie’s ranges between 9% and 11%. This is not a significant difference. It’s also similar to the protein content found in most fresh dog food brands.
Next, let’s look at PetPlate and Ollie’s performance when it comes to purchasing, shipping, and packaging.
Almost every fresh dog food brand requires you to sign up for a subscription, and PetPlate and Ollie are no different.
The good news is that they make it really easy to cancel your subscription if you’re not happy with the food or want to take a break.
Just head to your account dashboard on their website, click a few buttons, answer a few questions, and you’re all set — no more shipments or bills. It’s super easy, and you don’t even have to call customer service!
PetPlate’s delivery time was on the longer side.
I placed my order with them on a Sunday night and didn’t receive it until two Tuesdays later. That’s a grand total of six business days before the shipment arrived on my porch.
With Ollie, I placed my order on a Saturday night and it arrived the following Friday — just four business days. Keep in mind that delivery times will vary based on your location within the United States.
Like most fresh dog food companies, PetPlate and Ollie pack their shipments on dry ice. This ensures the food is still frozen when it arrives at your doorstep.
Both PetPlate and Ollie use 100% recyclable shipping materials and insulation. Once you’re done unboxing, all you have to do is toss the packaging materials in your recycling bin. Fast, easy, and minimal fuss. (Some of these companies use cellulose insulation, which you have to dissolve and rinse down your sink. It can get a little messy.)
I like PetPlate’s packaging. They give you 12-ounce plastic tubs, or about 340 grams of food. This is a reasonable amount of food to give your dog, and you don’t risk much waste if Fido doesn’t finish it. Each tub has a label with nutritional information  as well as a list of ingredients.CLICK HERE: Get my best deal for PetPlate →
Ollie’s meals were packaged as large, frozen blocks. Depending on the recipe, each block was a pound and a half to a pound and three quarters, which is just too much to defrost at one time. It’s also way more than I’ve seen from other fresh dog food brands I’ve tried.
The other reason why Ollie’s portion sizes are a problem is that your dog only has four days to eat the food once it’s been defrosted. PetPlate, on the other hand, says their food is good for up to a week in the fridge.
One thing I did like about Ollie is that they give you a decent-quality “puptainer” and scoop. I think this is their way of making their giant portions easier to manage.CLICK HERE: Get my best deal for Ollie →
Of course, no comparison is complete without discussing cost.
I always calculate value on a dollars-per-pound basis. This keeps things fair and even when comparing different brands, because each brand calculates your dog’s nutritional needs a little differently. Their dollars-per-week plans give you a different amount of food each time, which is not really a fair comparison.
When I did the math and converted the costs to dollars-per-pound, PetPlate came in at about $6.55 a pound. Ollie came in at about $5.44 a pound.
At $6.55 a pound, PetPlate’s pricing is on the low end of the spectrum. At $5.44 a pound, Ollie’s pricing is about as low as you’re going to get with fresh dog food. In my opinion, though, the poor quality of Ollie’s food means it’s not the right choice for anyone.
If you’re looking for better value I’d absolutely go with PetPlate over Ollie, or better yet Nom Nom over Ollie. If what you’re looking for is quality, The Farmer’s Dog and Spot and Tango are two of the best options out there. In any case, if you do choose PetPlate or Ollie for your pup, remember to use my links below to get the best discount that I’m currently aware of. I hope this helps you find a delicious fresh dog food for your pup!CLICK HERE: Get my best deal for PetPlate → CLICK HERE: Get my best deal for Ollie →