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3 July 2023


The Ollie Food Philosophy

We’ve crafted a food philosophy that not only informs our recipes—it nourishes our dogs and yours.

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You are what you eat—and your pup is too! Yep, they’re more than love on four legs. Their bodies are amazing things that run, play, snuggle, snooze, and stretch to hang their heads out the window on every car ride. And for them to get the very most out of their life with you, they need the best nutrition to keep those bodies strong and tails wagging.

Of course, what counts as healthy and nutritious can be a confusing question for dog parents. It’s a wild, marketing-saturated world out there, and while you want to feed them the best, it’s hard to cut through the buzzwords to figure out what your pup really needs and what impact it can have on their quality of life. But don’t worry—this is what we make a day-to-day study of here at Ollie. And we’ve crafted a food philosophy that not only informs our recipes—it nourishes our dogs and yours. Because they depend on us too.

Here’s the quick guide to Ollie’s food philosophy, outlining what to look for, what to watch out for (and why), and what we cook up as a solution.

Ollie food laying flat

The building blocks: What to look for in dog food

The pet food industry is too-often plagued with long ingredient lists, but your dog’s nutritional needs are ultimately based on just a few key elements:

  • Meat—especially organ meat: Your snuggly best buddy descended from carnivores, so high-quality, animal-based protein sources like beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey will provide necessary building blocks. Keep in mind that when a wild carnivore eats a prey animal, they consume more than the muscle—they rely on the prey’s organs, such as the liver, heart, and kidney, for vital nutrients.
  • Carbohydrates: While your pup’s biggest nutritional building-block is meat, carbohydrates from non-meat ingredients deliver a lot of value in the form of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. High-quality carbs like pumpkin, oats, squash, kale, rice, and berries get the job done deliciously.
  • Healthy fats: Fats pack a punch with high-energy nutrients that help your pup feel nice and satiated after a meal. Aim for easily digestible, high-quality fat sources including Omega-6 fatty acids (from things like animal fat, sunflower oil, and coconut oil) and Omega-3 fatty acids (such as those from flaxseed, canola, and fish oils). 
  • Fiber: A crucial ingredient for GI function and health, your pup’s daily fiber intake should include soluble sources (like oats and fruits) and insoluble sources (like potatoes, legumes, and other root veggies). 
  • Vitamins and minerals: Complete and balanced dog food contains ample amounts of vitamin A, D, E, K, and B, along with trace minerals and choline. You shouldn’t have to add other vitamins or mineral supplements unless your veterinarian prescribes them.
  • Superfoods: Just as superfoods rich in antioxidants, fiber, and fatty acids are great for humans, they’re superb for our four-legged best friends, too. They include foods like sweet potatoes, lentils, cranberries, blueberries, pumpkin, and kale. 
Woman hand feeding dog

Be an informed pup parent: What you’ll find in typical pet food 

Unfortunately, most of the kibble you’ll find on the market technically hits the baseline nutrient requirements, but it does so while overlooking a whole host of icky (and downright unhealthy) issues that accompany their ingredients and their processing methods. 

It’s quite literally an unappetizing subject, so we’ll just touch on the key things to be aware of: 

  • “Feed-grade” meat goes into most pet food, which means parts like hooves, bones, and organs with low nutritional value are going into a rendering facility for processing into something that looks more palatable. 
  • Speaking of rendering … The process includes transporting those animal parts, often in questionable sanitary conditions, to a facility where an industrial process called rendering uses high temperatures and high pressures to convert “low-value” scraps and byproducts into ground-up “meal.” 
  • The meal gets mixed with fillers, chemical preservatives, and supplements, then gets extruded into a kibble shape and coated with fat and flavorings for appeal. By this point, there’s still technically animal protein in the food, but very little actual meat. And many of the added ingredients are scary—like BHA, a chemical preservative that can adversely affect dogs’ kidneys and livers, and corn syrup, which can put your pup at risk for diabetes and obesity.

We know, none of this stuff sounds at all like what you want your pet to eat. Making matters harder to parse out, most pet food labels gloss over these gritty details with hazy buzzwords. It’s why we dug into the science behind what most brands do, comparing that with what all dogs need. And that’s how our philosophy was born: a recipe for goodness, health, and transparency. Right down to ingredients you can see. 

Feeding your dog a fresh diet is truly a power act of love and nutrition

Our take: Ollie’s food philosophy

The dog-loving team of experts at Ollie embrace some across-the-board values and standards regarding what belongs in dog food, then we tailor options and portions for your pup’s precise needs. 

We do it right because it’s about more than ingredients … it’s about love and trust. Our four-legged companions eat the same thing daily, unlike humans. Which means they need to get all their nutrients in every meal. That puts a little pressure on us people to get it right for our pups. But don’t worry—we’ve worked it out. And it starts with the power of fresh food.

  1. We use clean, real ingredients in balanced combinations.
    Remember the yucky (yet typical) food-processing we mentioned above? You’ll find no “feed-grade” byproducts here. We believe dogs deserve wholesome human-grade food—the stuff fit for our loved ones to eat. And we cook those high-quality ingredients gently, keeping the nutrients intact.

Ollie uses human-grade kitchens that meet the highest industry standards. Then we distribute our food all the way to your pup through our network of FDA-registered, temperature-controlled fulfillment centers for safety and freshness.

  1. We feed responsibly for your dog’s ideal weight and body condition.
    Every dog is unique, so when people create an account at Ollie, we ask all about their pups—their age, weight, activity level, and health. Then, we tailor our recommendations and size our portions for your dog.
  2. We make healthy food taste great so dogs love eating it.
    No need for flavor additives here. We’ve got the full power of real food at work, along with a team of canine food-testers who give their paws-up of approval on our recipes. 
  1. We ensure the right nutrient levels for dogs to thrive, not just survive.
    Our recipes are a cut above what pet parents will find online—they’re approved by vet nutritionists and food scientists who know how important it is that every necessary nutrient makes it into every meal. On top of that, Ollie food is scientifically classified as “highly digestible,” which means significantly more nutrition gets delivered to your dog than typical kibble.
  2. We embrace transparency around our ingredients, process, and recipe choices.
    It’s so you can rest easy knowing your floppy-eared friend is consuming the best building blocks for a healthy body—with nothing scary or hard to pronounce thrown in. In fact, Ollie’s food is formulated to meet the AAFCO nutrition standards for all dog life stages, including large-breed puppy growth.

Ollie shines by human-grade food standards too. Your dog’s dinner meets or exceeds all FDA and USDA standards for human-grade food manufacturing, including USDA Process Verified certification.

Dog with Ollie box and food

The Ollie solution: Food you—and your pup—feel great about

“Feeding your dog a fresh diet is truly a powerful act of love and nutrition, helping your pup live his or her best life. The research is clear, and in fact we’re still just scratching the surface in understanding all the ways it gives them the best chance of a long, healthy life,” says Bridget Meadows, Head of Food at Ollie. 

A fresh, healthful diet has been shown to deliver a whole host of benefits, including healthier skin and coat, a more diverse microbiome, more compact poop, and a leaner weight. That means you’re significantly upping your dog’s chances of a higher quality of life. Statistically, it adds up to increased longevity, too—healthy body weight has been linked to a 20% longer life expectancy for dogs (Salt, Morris, Wilson, Lund, & German, 2018). 

“It really is simply about being a good pet parent. We all want to do right by our dogs, and they can’t speak for themselves. So we seek out things that are great for them, things we can trust. And it puts our minds at ease, because we’re taking the best care of them,” says Meadows. 

The best deserve the best. Because, hey—with all the love they bring into our lives, it’s the least we can do. 

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The nutrition your dog needs,
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