You know what they say… the quickest way to a dog’s heart is through their stomach. So this holiday season, I’m going all-in on my dog’s food.
I read an article the other day (okay, I saw a TikTok) about the lifespan of our pets and the size of their worlds… and it got me thinking about the life I’ve created for my Toy Poodle, Maple. I do everything I can to make her as comfortable and content as possible, but the one area I’ll admit she’s lacking in is her food. I cross-referenced kibble reviews for days up to her adoption, and I thought I found a decent formula, but pouring her a bowl of the same nondescript brown pellets every day is beginning to take a toll on me (and on her, I’m sure).
As a friend and fellow dog mom once asked me, “How would you feel if you ate the same thing every single day, for every meal?” I can barely handle leftovers, let alone everyday food monotony. So I’ve decided to revisit Maple’s meals, and after another *even more thorough* period of study, I landed on Ollie.
Ollie is a dog food company founded in 2016 (they’ve got four years on Maple!), with the goal of upgrading pets’ food and, by extension, their entire lives. The process looks like this: simply take a quiz explaining your dog’s personal background and needs, and Ollie’s dedicated team will recommend one (or several) of their thoughtfully developed meal plans. From there, you can further customize your dog’s experience by choosing from a list of meat-based recipes.
“Meal plan” doesn’t do justice to the carefully crafted formulas that make Ollie what it is. Each meal is created in conjunction with a veterinary nutritionist to optimize nourishment, taking into account things like your pet’s age, breed, and activity level. The meals are then slow-cooked in small batches with components that (at the risk of sounding like a gym bro) are clean and high in quality protein. When you start a plan with Ollie, you get access to their line of treats and supplements as well—curated with the same expert-level care as the entrees.
Ingredients include domestically sourced chicken, beef, and turkey, as well as oats, chickpeas, spinach, apples, sweet potatoes, carrots… the list goes on. Sound tasty, even to you? That’s the point. Ollie looks at a dog bowl and sees a plate.
Ollie Is as Fresh as Can Be
The first option that Ollie presents is called “The Fresh Plan,” a name redundant only in that all of their meal plans are made with wildly fresh ingredients when compared to the other guys on the market. Pro Tip: It’s worth noting that Ollie offers 50% off of your first delivery box (two weeks worth of food!). The Fresh Plan includes what most of us call “wet food,” in packs which come vacuum sealed, can be stored unopened in the freezer for up to 6 months, and take just 24 hours to defrost. They’ll last unsealed up to four days in the fridge, stored in the included “puptainer.”
As far as flavor goes, there are five options: beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, and pork. Each is paired with an array of starches and/or carbohydrates and then a standout fruit or vegetable. In my eyes, this is the *Ollie touch*, part of what separates them from all of their competitors. Take “Lamb Dish with Cranberries” for example. That doesn’t sound too far from a seat at Thanksgiving dinner! And in all honesty, that’s what I’ve realized lately: that I want Maple to feel the part of the family that she is. It starts at her bowl.
I Started With Half…
The “Half Fresh” plan, Ollie’s second option, is also noted as “Budget-Friendly” which is why I started off with this one. Not only are the Half Fresh meals ultra-affordable (they start at $1/meal), but they also provide the opportunity to ease your pup into a new (and wayyyy more exciting) routine. Just like us humans, they’d get whiplash from a change of diet made too quickly.
What I did to start was combine the Half Fresh plan (the exact same food as the fully Fresh plan, different only in volume) with Maple’s previous kibble. When you use this approach, you can make sure that your dog likes the recipe(s) you chose, and try new ones if necessary. My first order for Maple (including the 50% off your first box discount) came out to just $23.68 for two weeks of the Half Fresh meal plan.
You might find that this half-and-half structure works well, or you may decide to go all the way with Ollie. I’m planning on graduating Maple from the Half Fresh to the Fresh plan for the holidays this year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if any of my friends and family deserve presents this year, she does.
They Have a Mixed Plan Too
Side note–most dogs do prefer Ollie, truly. Forbes actually cited a palatability test in which dogs chose Ollie dry food in a ratio of 12 to 1 and their wet, fresh food 8 to 1 when compared to other brands on the market. That’s right–Ollie also carries dry food! That leads me to their third plan, the “Mixed.”
In short, “Mixed” is exactly how it sounds—half wet, Fresh food, and half dry, Baked food (which is also fresh, we’ve been over this). Ollie’s Baked recipes have everything that the fresh ones do, in a more storage-friendly format. Like most dry food, they come packed in bags and require no refrigeration.
Unlike most dry food, however, Ollie’s is made with whole, human-grade ingredients and baked in small batches to ensure quality. Part of the product tagline is “with real meat and veggies you can see,” which is no exaggeration because you can quite literally see the peas, carrots, and other veggies all throughout. Say goodbye to the dog days of endless brown pellets.
The Proof Is in the Premium Ingredients
I’d be remiss not to mention the lack of preservatives, fillers, by-products, or artificial flavorings in Ollie meals. Healthy ambitions withstanding, I know for a fact that I personally consume plenty of additives on the day-to-day. In some ways, Maple’s upgrade is putting my own eating routine to shame. And because Maple isn’t able to choose food for herself in the way that I am, I’m her sole advocate when it comes to healthy living. Her change of diet has perks for me, too – research has concluded that dogs who eat fresh food live, on average, 2.5 years longer than dogs on commercial diets. That was really all I needed to hear to make the change.
TLDR: All of the Best Dogs Deserve Ollie
I try to keep the food I prepare for myself as clean and nourishing as possible (without eradicating all hope of retirement funds), and introducing Maple to Ollie’s nutritious meals has made me realize the importance of sharing that intentionality with my pets. My dog Maple is equal parts my child and my confidante, a beacon of love in an otherwise harsh world. She is, for all intents and purposes, as humanlike as any of my companions. Sometimes more-so. And she deserves food fit for a human, too.
This season, give your dog some extra love by opening a new world of culinary possibilities (and a healthier lifestyle) to them. Visit Ollie today, and take their quiz to customize meal deliveries for your best friend.