Ollie - Fresh Dog Food Review

Ollie - Fresh Dog Food Review

Today we're reviewing Ollie, a popular dog food delivery service that offers customized and pre-portioned meals on a subscription basis. Ollie offers both fresh and baked options, and all their meals are produced in a USDA-regulated kitchen from meat sourced exclusively within the US.

Ollie dog food logo

You'll likely have come across Ollie's claims about the 'human-quality' grade of their food or the involvement of vets in the formulation of their recipes. Today, we'll put these claims to the test and find out whether Ollie is really a healthy option for your pup!

Is Ollie worth the money? Let's find out.

What is Ollie?

Ollie is a subscription-based dog food brand – you sign-up, order online, and the meals arrive on your doorstep. Ollie delivers its high-end dog dinners throughout most of the United States (excluding Hawaii and Alaska). It’s a highly convenient way to source quality dog food but, as we'll see, it can work out slightly more expensive than some other choices.

Ollie dog food ingredients

Getting started with Ollie

First you'll first be prompted to complete Ollie's 'pup quiz' - an online questionnaire about your dog. Ollie will use your answers to calculate how much your dog needs to eat, and how often. They'll send you a selection of their recipes, whilst keeping in mind any allergies or sensitivities you mentioned.

Once you've created your subscription, making changes is easy. Using the Ollie website you can adjust portion sizes, move your delivery date, or even deliver to an alternative address while you're on vacation.

The Ollie dog food pup quiz.
The Ollie dog food pup quiz.

Ollie's fresh meals are packed in vacuum-sealed containers, insulated to remain frozen until midnight on the day of delivery. The packets arrive pre-portioned for your hungry hound, which can be a huge timesaver - no need to get out the scales at every mealtime. When your box arrives, you can pop the first packet or two in the fridge to defrost, where they'll keep for up to 4 days. Because all Ollie food is pre-cooked and not raw, it doesn't require particularly careful handling and can safely share your human fridge and freezer space.

Ollie's baked food is even easier to store. As a dry kibble, it can be kept at room temperature in the bag it's delivered in. If you'd like to feed your dog fresh meals but have limited freezer space, this is something worth bearing in mind - Ollie now offer a mixed subscription, meaning you can mix and match their fresh and baked recipes in every delivery and feed your lucky hound with both.

How to introduce a new food

It's very impressive that Ollie gives good advice on this in their feeding guide. They also stress it under Frequently Asked Questions on their website.

As a vet, I can tell you that it's very important to introduce any new food gradually. The good bacteria in your dog's gut, their 'microbiome', is adapted to digest their current food. Even if you feed quite a variety of foods, your dog's microbiome can be shocked by a change in diet, causing diarrhoea. To give your dog's microbiome time to adapt, new food needs to be introduced gradually as the old food is slowly withdrawn.

You would think all pet food manufacturers would recognize this, but they don't! Some even advise switching immediately to their food. Very well-done Ollie for getting this right – a massive thumbs-up!

at www.myollie.com

Ollie Recipes and Nutrition

All Ollie recipes - both the fresh and baked options - are complete and balanced. This means that if you choose to feed your dog exclusively with Ollie meals, you can rest assured your dog's basic nutritional needs are being met.

Every recipe meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrition guidelines for dogs of all ages. This means Ollie's food can be fed to young and adult dogs and still meet their nutritional needs. Note that the AAFCO profiles are nutritional guidelines for most dogs; some dogs with health conditions may have more specific requirements. It's best to speak with your veterinarian about your dog's diet if he has health problems – just to make sure you're doing the right thing.

Ollie's meal plans are created by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. This is highly desirable for pet food. Ollie have also clarified that their algorithm for tailoring meal plans for your pooch's specific needs is also designed by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, which is enormously reassuring.

Fresh Options

Ollie's fresh food comes in four main flavours – beef, chicken, lamb, and turkey. The meat in the title of the flavour is the only mammalian meat in the recipe. This is very helpful if you're feeding a dog with known allergies to certain meats, as some other companies hide small amounts of other proteins low down in an ingredients list. Thankfully, Ollie doesn't do this!

Ingredients: Chicken, carrots, peas, rice, chicken liver, potatoes, spinach, dicalcium phosphate, whole dried eggs, fish oil, blueberries, chia seeds, calcium carbonate, salt, cod liver oil, cinc gluconate, rosemary, copper gluconate, choline bitartrate, vitamin E supplement, manganese gluconate, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2).

Gauranteed Analysis: Protein 10% (min), Fat 5% (min), Fibre 2% (max), Ash 2% (estimated), Moisture 72% (max).

Dry Matter Basis:

Protein 35.7%
Fat 17.9%
Fibre 7.1%
Ash 7.1%
Carbohydrate 32.1%
Ollie fresh chicken recipe

Ingredients: Lamb, butternut squash, lamb liver, kale, rice, chickpeas, cranberries, green beans, potatoes, dicalcium phosphate, chia seeds, cod liver oil, salt, calcium carbonate, zinc gluconate, taurine, vitamin E supplement, iron sulfate, calcium pantothenate (citamin B5), manganese gluconate, thiamine hydrochloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), potassium iodate, folic acid.

Gauranteed Analysis: Protein 11% (min), Fat 9% (min), Fibre 2% (max), Ash 2% (estimated), Moisture 70% (max).

Dry Matter Basis:

Protein 36.7%
Fat 30%
Fibre 6.7%
Ash 6.7%
Carbohydrate 20%
Ollie fresh lamb recipe

Ingredients: Turkey, kale, lentils, carrots, coconut oil, turkey liver, blueberries, pumpkin, dicalcium phosphate, chia seeds, salt, calcium carbonate, cod liver oil, cinc gluconate, iron sulfate, choline bitartrate, manganese gluconate, manganese sulfate, copper gluconate, vitamin E supplement, thiamine hydrochloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), potassium iodate.

Gauranteed Analysis: Protein 11% (min), Fat 7% (min), Fibre 2% (max), Ash 2% (estimated), Moisture 75% (max).

Dry Matter Basis:

Protein 44%
Fat 28%
Fibre 8%
Ash 8%
Carbohydrate 12%
Ollie fresh turkey recipe

Ingredients: Beef, peas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, beef kidney, beef liver, spinach, blueberries, dicalcium phosphate, chia seeds, salt, fish oil, zinc gluconate, rosemary, vitamin E supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), potassium iodide.

Gauranteed Analysis: Protein 12% (min), Fat 10% (min), Fibre 2% (max), Ash 2% (estimated), Moisture 72% (max).

Dry Matter Basis:

Protein 42.9%
Fat 35.7%
Fibre 7.1%
Ash 7.1%
Carbohydrate 7.1%
Ollie fresh beef recipe

Baked Options

Currently Ollie's baked offering is available in two flavours: chicken and beef. These are dry kibble-based foods, but unlike many others on the market, they're cooked gently at low temperatures to preserve more nutritional value.

Ingredients: Chicken, oats, whole dried eggs, chicken liver, chickpeas, pea flour, carrots, sweet potatoes, calcium carbonate, spinach, sunflower oil, dicalcium phosphate, vitamin E supplement, apples, fish oil, rosemary extract, choline bitartrate, calcium phosphate, beta carotene (vitamin A), copper gluconate, zinc gluconate, cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), taurine, potassium iodide, niacin, calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin B1), folic acid.

Gauranteed Analysis: Protein 26% (min), Fat 16% (min), Fibre 4% (max), Ash 8% (estimated), Moisture 10% (max).

Dry Matter Basis:

Protein 28.9%
Fat 17.8%
Fibre 4.4%
Ash 8.9%
Carbohydrate 40%

Ingredients: Beef, oats, beef liver, lentil flour, sweet potatoes, carrots, calcium carbonate, sunflower oil, dicalcium phosphate, vitamin E supplement, salt, spinach, dried blueberries, fish oil, rosemary extract, choline bitartrate, calcium phosphate, beta carotene (vitamin A), copper gluconate, zinc gluconate, cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), taurine, potassium iodide, niacin, calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin B1), folic acid.

Gauranteed Analysis: Protein 26% (min), Fat 16% (min), Fibre 4% (max), Ash 8% (estimated), Moisture 10% (max).

Dry Matter Basis:

Protein 28.9%
Fat 17.8%
Fibre 4.4%
Ash 8.9%
Carbohydrate 40%
Ollie baked recipes

It's important to note that all the recipes contain a fish-based oil, which can be enough to trigger some dogs with severe fish allergies. The chicken flavour also contains egg, another potential allergen to be aware of.

at www.myollie.com

How nutritious is Ollie dog food?

All these recipes are high in good quality protein including plenty of meat. The rest of the ingredients lists include some super-foods and other vegetables and seeds. There are no by-products, fillers, artificial flavorings, or preservatives in Ollie food.

Organs from the named meat source (e.g. chicken liver in the chicken flavour, beef kidney and liver in the beef flavour) add additional nutrients. The plant-based ingredients include berries, root vegetables, greens, seeds, and herbs. Ollie promises that all their flavourings are natural, and the only additives listed in the ingredients are vitamins and minerals.

Ollie's ingredients are sourced – in Ollie's own words – 'carefully'. It is tricky to know exactly what they mean by this (locally? From higher-welfare standard farms?). They don't specify anything further on their website. They do say that they use hormone-free chicken, in keeping with federal regulations. They also state their beef is 'high quality' but don't clarify in what way. Since one of their values is transparency and accountability, we've gotten in touch to request more information, and will update this review when we hear back!

Price and Special Offers

The price you'll pay per Ollie shipment will depend on the size of your dog, whether or not you're exclusively feeding them Ollie, and whether you go for fresh, baked, or mixed. To give you a rough idea of how Ollie would fit into your budget, we'll take a look at the approximate cost to feed several different sizes of dog:

Ollie Fresh

  • Active, 10lb small dog = $4 per day ($120 per month)
  • Active, 50lb medium/large dog = $8 per day ($240 per month)

Ollie Baked

  • Active, 10lb small dog = $2.50 per day ($70 per month)
  • Active, 50lb medium/large dog = $5.20 per day ($145 per month)

Don't forget Ollie's mixed option - opt for this, and you'll be sent some of both their fresh and baked meals every month. Cost-wise this works out somewhere between the two, averaging at 30-40% cheaper than an all-fresh diet.

If this seems expensive, remember that Your Paws readers can get 50% off their first box of Ollie. This isn't a long-term discount, but it does make it slightly more affordable to try out Ollie and see if it works for you and your dog.

at www.myollie.com

You should also consider that feeding your dog a healthier, high quality food in portions that are appropriate for their age and bodyweight could mean fewer trips to the vet. This could save you money in the long run and even help your hound live longer.

What's in the starter pack?

The Ollie starter pack includes your dog's individualized meals for the first week, a feeding guide, a scoop and - if you've opted for the fresh option - a 'puptainer'. Their customized 'puptainer' is a thoughtful addition, and is designed to fit one of the Ollie vacuum packs inside it just nicely. This is a very helpful touch. It means you can store your open pack safely in your fridge without wasting space with an oversized container. The included red scoop is specifically designed for Ollie food - another very useful addition for serving up at mealtimes!

The handy plastic container and scoop included with Ollie dog food delivery.
The Ollie puptainer is designed to fit one of the Ollie vacuum food packs.
Ollie's 'Turkey with Blueberries' fresh dish in the puptainer.
Dishing up Freya's turkey dinner from the Ollie puptainer!
Dishing up Freya's turkey dinner from the Ollie puptainer!

The enclosed Ollie feeding guide includes very well-constructed and accurate information about how to switch your dog gradually from his current food to Ollie. This includes portion diagrams to aid the visual thinker.

What is 'human-grade' pet food?

Making a 'human grade' claim about pet food is quite a statement, so let's recap exactly what this means.

First, it's important to remember that even if a food is truly 'human grade', it does not guarantee that it's nutritionally appropriate for pets. Onions, for example, are toxic to both cats and dogs. What's more, many animals have very different nutritional requirements than humans, and so human food does not automatically equal 'better'.

So, what does 'human grade' mean? For a pet food to be labelled as such, the AAFCO states it must be manufactured, packed, and held in accordance with several federal regulations. Chiefly, every stage in the production process must be in keeping with human health and hygiene regulations. Does a superiorly hygienic kitchen or a more desirable cut of meat necessarily mean a better-quality pet product? It's hard to be sure – but it does make us feel better about what we're feeding our pets!

Whilst it's an interesting addition to Ollie's labelling - and a testament to their production process - what's more important is that Ollie's food meets the AAFCO nutrient profiles for dogs of all life stages. This guarantees that it meets dogs' unique nutritional requirements. Let's not forget that there's also growing evidence to support the idea that fresh, less-processed dog food can benefit a dog's health. More research is needed here, but Ollie is producing fresh, natural meals for your dog, so in this regard, their product is high quality.

Is Ollie an Ethical Company?

As a company, Ollie has some impressive core values - just check their 'About' page. These cover employee care, their sourcing of produce, and the general wellbeing of dogs. The overriding motivation for Ollie's values is to create a healthy world for dogs – which is a lovely starting point.

They make donations to pet-relevant charities like shelters and rescue centres, and also run a 'Canine Council'. This is an advisory board comprised of nutritionists, scientists, and behaviourists that helps to inform the direction of their products.

Environmental Awareness

Ollie has their own Code of Conduct for suppliers to ensure responsible sourcing of goods. Ollie says they aim to find less emissions-intensive manufacturing and delivery options. They aim to make their packaging 100% recyclable soon.

Ollie dog food ingredients.

This is all very credible – what would be more credible would be if their packaging was already 100% recyclable, and they could already boast low-emissions delivery options. Ollie's new food packs are not fully recyclable – the foil lids and trays must be disposed of in the trash. Clearly, keeping fresh dog food safe, chilled, and delivered to every door in the US is not easily done in an environmentally friendly way, but we look forward to hearing of progress and will update this review accordingly.

Ollie does plant a tree for every new customer to help offset carbon emissions. It will take a while for these trees to have a significant impact on carbon levels – but it's a nice thought, and much better than doing nothing.

Working at Ollie

Ollie claims 'fair and competitive' wages for their staff and an 'industry-leading' benefits package. They also offer their staff paid time off to volunteer within their communities. This is admirable, and while it's hard to verify their claims about wages, it's worth noting that employees have given the company has an extremely high rating of 87% on employer-rating service Glassdoor.

Conclusion: Final Thoughts

Pros

Cons

  • Recipes and meal plan designed by a nutritionist
  • No artificial ingredients or additives
  • Fresh & baked options are complete and balanced
  • Meet AAFCO nutrition profiles for all ages of dog
  • Convenient home delivery, and a flexible subscription - easy to make changes
  • Fantastic starter pack with container to store opened food plus good advice sheet
  • Flavors contain the title mammalian meat protein source only

  • Not a huge variety in the range
  • All recipes contain fish oil so could trigger allergies in severely fish-sensitive dogs
  • Plastic packaging that is non-recyclable
  • Environmental targets not yet realities
  • Fairly pricey

Ollie offers fresh, nutritious meals for dogs of all sizes and life stages. The meals are conveniently delivered to your door on a subscription basis, are appropriately packaged to stay fresh until you get home from work, and are then suitable for storage in your fridge or freezer. The fact they are lightly cooked rather than raw means they require less specific storage and handling, so they are more convenient to fit into daily life with no compromise to nutritional value.

Ollie's recipes and individualized meal plans are designed by a veterinary nutritionist. All their recipes meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for dogs. Ingredients seem high quality and responsibly sourced.

Customer convenience has been carefully considered – with a huge 50% discount and a money-back guarantee on your starting box, easily adjustable subscription terms, customer services team available by phone, email or online chat, and an informative online blog. This is reflected in their extremely high Trustpilot rating. The added extras of the useful feeding guide, excellent advice on transitioning to a new food, and the fit-for-purpose plastic container sent with your first delivery are all nice touches.

Ollie has an excellent TrustPilot rating, reflecting their high level of customer satisfaction.
Ollie has an excellent TrustPilot rating, reflecting their high level of customer satisfaction.

Ollie's ethical standpoint as a company seems very good – perhaps some more evidence could be shared as to how Ollie meets its moral goals.

The food is at the pricier end of the spectrum, but it seems to be an excellent product offering great benefits for your dog and you – so if you have the spare cash, it seems Ollie's food is certainly not a bad way to spend it!

at www.myollie.com
A very happy Freya can't wait to tuck into Ollie's fresh turkey dinner.
A very happy Freya can't wait to tuck into Ollie's fresh turkey dinner.
Freya's verdict on Ollie: delicious!
Freya's verdict on Ollie: delicious!

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