Editor’s note: Our team (and their dogs!) love Ollie. If you’re looking to make the switch to fresh food for your dog, you can get 50% off your first box.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not always the healthiest eater. I’m often overcome by the temptation of burgers when I know I should be eating my veggies. But that changes when it comes to my dog, Bear (so named because, um, he looks like a bear). My health? Meh, I’ll worry about it later. His health? Absolutely essential.
So, when I learned that the regular old kibble I had been feeding him was the dog equivalent of overly-processed fast food, I freaked out a little bit. He’s already prone to being overweight and realizing that I was serving him Whoppers instead of salads sent me spiraling.
After some frantic research, I wound up debating between two dog food brands that both promised a healthier alternative: Ollie and The Farmer’s Dog. Both offer veterinarian-approved, customized meal plans for your dog made from human-grade food.
I’ve got more details on how I arrived at my choice below, but in case you want a spoiler alert: Ollie’s Mixed Bowl Plan was the clear winner.
There’s a lot going on in the dog food aisle at your local pet store. Between kibbles made from “meal” (which can include – brace yourself – blood, hair, hides, manure, and more), useless buzzwords like “premium” and “gourmet,” and the lack of a USDA definition for what “organic” means when it comes to pet foods, it’s hard to know that what you’re feeding your dog is actually good for them.
Unsurprisingly, this has led to more and more fresh dog food brands, like Ollie and The Farmer’s Dog, gaining popularity as healthier choices. And the science backs it up. Fresh dog food helps prevent certain medical conditions, is better for your dog’s weight, can increase their lifespan, improve their digestive health, help improve their coat, and more.
Not to say there’s no place for kibbles or kibble-style dog foods, it’s just a matter of finding ones that are prepared with your dog’s health in mind. Like their owners, dogs are stimulated by variety in their diets and having multiple textures can help solve picky eater problems. And if dried foods made from human-grade ingredients are baked at appropriate temperatures, rather than extruded at high temps that remove vitamins and minerals, they’re a great option for your dog’s diet.
Unlike The Farmer’s Dog, Ollie offers both fresh and baked dog foods to help please picky eaters and support pups’ health.
When it came to comparing the two brands, I wanted to really know what I was getting myself – and Bear – into. Both Ollie and The Farmer’s Dog have healthy, veterinarian-approved recipes, so the decision came down to three main factors: variety, price, and what I’m going to call the “extras.”
This was a big one for me. Bear is a notoriously picky eater – he’ll love a certain food one week and then turn up his nose at it the next. I’ve tried supplementing his kibble with wet food, hiding treats in it, you name it, and he’s still finicky.
The Farmer’s Dog has 4 fresh food options; Ollie has 5 – plus an additional 2 baked food options. And if you’re interested in mixing-and-matching, that’s 10 total ways to chef up dinner for your pup. Which, honestly, is more variety than I eat in any given week!
Ollie takes the win on variety with 5 fresh and 2 baked options that can be combined to keep your dog’s dinner ever-changing and always tempting.
If cuteness and pet-ability was a currency, Bear would be loaded. But until that happens, I’m always going to be picking up the tab for dinner, so price matters. Fresh food is admittedly more expensive than your generic pet store kibble, but to me keeping my pup healthy is worth it!
When comparing the two on the fresh food only plans, the pricing is relatively equal. Both Ollie and The Farmer’s Dog have sweet intro offers of 50% off your starter box. But when you look at Ollie’s Mixed Plan – which seemed like the best choice for my pup – the gap really starts to widen.
For an average-sized, two-year-old Yorkie, Ollie’s Mixed Plan is $9.20/week, whereas The Farmer’s Dog’s fresh plan is $18.20/week.
And the numbers hold up for an average-sized, two-year-old Labrador Retriever as well, with Ollie’s Mixed Plan coming in at $45/week vs The Farmer’s Dog’s fresh food at $60.15/week.
Ollie’s Mixed Plan is a big price saver compared to The Farmer’s Dog’s all fresh food and offers the added bonus of variety.
For Ollie, yes! The Farmer’s Dog just does fresh food, which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for. But one of the things I really appreciated about Ollie is that they have a lot more to offer.
Ollie’s meal plans come with the option to add on beef or chicken jerky as well as sweet potato treats, and they also have probiotic, hip & joint, and calming supplements should your dog need a little extra support. Ollie also has an easy-to-use mobile app that lets you manage your subscription.
But the biggest sell for me is that they will look at your dog’s poop. Seriously. The Ollie Health Team will consult on your dog’s digestive health as you switch your pup over to their food. They’ll analyze a poo pic and give you the breakdown on how your dog’s digestive system is… breaking it all down, as well as offer recommendations for how to adjust their meal if something is amiss.
When it comes to extras you get with your meal plan, Ollie just can’t be beat. Evaluating your dog’s digestive health is an above-and-beyond service included for free with your first order.
Both Ollie and The Farmer’s Dog sell healthy, human-grade food options that are far superior to processed kibble. So for me, choosing between the two came down to the details.
Ollie offers the flavor and texture variety that I know will keep my picky eater happy, wins out on pricing, and has the option to add in healthy treats and supplements. Plus, they’ll analyze your dog’s digestion to make sure your pup is adjusting to their new diet well.
And what does Bear, perhaps the world’s most discerning dog (IMHO), think of Ollie? He has honestly loved it since day one and shows no signs of stopping. I can’t believe I finally found something he consistently wants to eat!
If you want to try Ollie for your dog, you can get a personalized recipe and save 50% on your first box!