Our dog Max reviews Pet Plate Dog Food

PetPlate Review: Fresh Dog Food Delivered to Your Door

PetPlate delivers fresh dog food with real ingredients to your door, so you can do away with over-processed kibble. We had our pup, Max, try it out to see what it's all about. Keep reading this PetPlate review to learn more.

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PetPlate is a human-grade pet food subscription service that sends organic treats and nutritious meals for dogs right to your door. PetPlate, in their own words, does not make “dog food”—at least not dog food as you know it. Instead, they make nutritious, fresh meals that you or I could have, and that even the pickiest pups enjoy eating.

We had Max, our four-legged food critic, try it out, so you can know if PetPlate is worth considering. Keep reading to learn more.

VERDICT (if you’re in a hurry): Max knows fresh food when he sees it. He’s been picky in the past, but he chows down on PetPlate when he’s fed it, and we think your dog will, too!

In this review:

PetPlate Dog Food: At a glance

  • Grocery shopping on auto-pilot: PetPlate is a food subscription service that delivers fresh, human-grade food to your door, so you never have to worry about your dog’s nutrition or making last-minute trips to the pet store. The company gained notoriety after appearing on an episode of Shark Tank, and so far, they’ve delivered more than 15 million meals to dogs across the US.
  • High-quality ingredients: PetPlate combines USDA-certified fresh-ground meats (such as chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb) with other whole-food ingredients (like sweet potatoes, rice, apples, and green beans) without adding all of the other nasty fillers and preservatives commercial dog kibble includes. And because these ingredients are less processed than kibble, more of the ingredients’ nutrients are left intact for your dog to absorb.
  • Vet-approved: PetPlate recipes are crafted by Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Renee Streeter, who ensures each meal is nutritionally balanced for each individual dog.
  • AAFCO-certified: All PetPlate dog food options maintain or exceed the AAFCO standards for crude protein, fat, and fiber.
  • Guaranteed: PetPlate offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you (or your dog) do not fall in love with their products.

Pet Plate unboxing video

Our PetPlate review

PetPlate works similarly to other meal delivery services, such as HelloFresh or Blue Apron, except the food is already cooked and is tailor-made for your dog’s dietary and caloric needs.

The main protein source of each recipe is whole chicken, turkey, beef, or lamb. No meat meals in sight. The recipes are rounded out with nutrient-rich organ meat, fresh vegetables, legumes, seeds, ancient grains, and apples for a balanced meal that has the potential to improve your dog’s overall health and longevity.

The USDA-certified meat and produce are sourced from human-grade suppliers located in the U.S. The ingredients are prepared in a USDA-certified kitchen where they are kettle-cooked, packed hot into small containers, and flash frozen. 

The customized meals are then delivered directly to your door in an insulated box filled with dry ice, where they will stay cold until you arrive home later that day. Meals for the next day can be stored in the fridge, and the rest goes in the freezer.

In light of the FDA’s recent statement1 about a potential link between grain-free diets and heart disease, we appreciate that PetPlate offers grains in some of their recipes while excluding them in others for those dogs who require a grain-free diet.

Depending on the size of the dog, there may be more than one meal per container. Tiny dogs under 9 pounds may get three to four meals from one container. Small and medium dogs will eat approximately two meals per container and large dogs will eat one meal per container.

The downside of having multiple meals per container is that you’ll have to measure each meal, and your dog may get a few more calories in one meal than another. The upside is that there are fewer containers to store in your freezer and less to recycle. These containers are also microwavable, which is nice if your dog likes warm food like ours does.

What we like

  • The Dog Tale readers can score special discounts. If you have a small dog (under 25 pounds), we recommend using this link to get $100 off your first four boxes, plus 50% off treats ($25 discount per box). If you have a larger dog, you may save more by getting 30% off your first 3 boxes, plus 50% off dog treats. Other subscription services offer bigger discounts, but they only apply to your first box, and that box is often just a transitional half portion.
  • If your pup is the popular pooch at the dog park, you can also participate in PetPlate’s exclusive referral program. For every friend at the dog park you sign up for PetPlate, you’ll earn $60, and they’ll earn 60% off their first box.
  • PetPlate offers a Topper Plan, a partial plan that allows you to mix all-natural ingredients into your dog’s current food to help you save on cost.
  • All of the ingredients in PetPlate’s food are human-grade. That mean’s it’s recognizable food you or I could eat. You won’t find any meat meals or animal byproducts, which are typical in traditional dog food. You also won’t find any artificial flavors, colors, additives, or fillers.
  • PetPlate’s subscription service takes away the guesswork of trying to create homemade yet nutritionally-appropriate meals for your pup, and it prevents last-minute trips to the pet store for big bags of dog food.
  • Meals are shipped on a regular schedule, so you’ll never run out or have too much food.
  • All of PetPlate’s packaging is recyclable or compostable, excluding the dry ice bags.
  • PetPlate offers a full refund if your pet doesn’t respond well to the first box. They only ask you to donate the food to another pet parent or a local dog shelter.

What we’d change

  • PetPlate doesn’t offer meals for any animals other than dogs. However, that’s currently the norm for the industry. So far, only Nom Nom offers both dog and cat food.
  • We wish PetPlate was clearer on exactly where they source their produce.
  • The meals are not individually portioned for small or medium-size dogs. This means you will need to roughly measure several meals per container. However, this is common for most food delivery services.
  • We’d prefer the addition of “natural flavor” in each recipe to be left out, as we aren’t told the source nor how the flavor is derived. We also wish the preservative (mixed tocopherols) were removed. Although this natural preservative is preferable to synthetic ones, Vitamin E (the main derivative of tocopherols) could be provided by adding common ingredients, such as select seeds and oils.
  • PetPlate portions their meals in round, plastic containers, similar to a sour cream container. These can take up more space in the fridge and recycle bin than the soft plastic packaging of other subscription services. However, these containers are recyclable, and if your dog gets a single meal per package, it’s nice that they can eat directly from the container.

How does PetPlate work?

The first step to setting up your PetPlate dog food subscription is to tell them some basic information about your dog, including their name, breed, age, sex, whether they’re spayed/neutered, and more.

Then it will go on to ask both your dog’s current weight, ideal weight, and activity level.

You’ll also be able to indicate your dog’s current body type. All of these factors determine the optimal number of calories your dog should have per day to reach or maintain their target body weight.

Next, PetPlate will suggest a few meal options that best suit your dog’s needs. You can select the meals you prefer or order all four options at no extra cost.

Once you’ve chosen your meals, you’ll have the option to add a bag or two of treats to your order.

You can add one or more dogs to your order by following the same steps. PetPlate will even give you a discount for ordering food for multiple dogs, but you’ll need to reach out to them for this discount. Just click the “Help” button at any stage of the onboarding process to contact a representative.

Finally, you’ll need to provide your email to set up your account and see a price quote. If you want to go through with your order, you can then submit payment information and your shipping address.

Orders are shipped on Mondays and usually arrive at your door on Tuesdays or Wednesdays every three weeks, but this schedule may vary depending on how much food you order. 

PetPlate allows you to pause, reschedule or cancel your order without charge, but these adjustments need to be made before the cutoff date, which is the prior Thursday at 11 pm EST. You will be billed Friday before your order is shipped.

The entire process, from hitting the start button to paying, takes only a few minutes to complete, which is helpful for busy pet owners like me.

Meal options

PetPlate offers four delicious recipe options any dog would love to dig into.

Each option features a different USDA-certified meat as the main protein source, followed by complex carbohydrates, vegetables, organ meat, and fruit. Some options contain grains, legumes, and seeds. Additionally, PetPlate has added essential vitamins, minerals, and taurine to ensure a balanced nutrition and heart health.

Barkin’ Beef

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  • Features: Grain-free, high in protein, and great for active dogs
  • Ingredients: Ground beef, sweet potatoes, potatoes, beef liver, carrots, apples, peas, pumpkin, dicalcium phosphate, natural flavor, safflower oil, calcium carbonate, salmon oil, minerals (ferrous fumarate, zinc oxide, manganese gluconate, magnesium oxide, potassium iodide, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], vitamin D3 supplement), mixed tocopherols (preservative), taurine, salt. 
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein: min 7.9%, Crude Fat: min 5.5%, Crude Fiber: max 0.9%, Moisture: max 74.7%; 41 kcal/oz.

Chompin’ Chicken

  • Features: High in protein, low in fat, and great for weight management
  • Ingredients: Ground chicken, sweet potatoes, chicken liver, green beans, lentils, apples, dicalcium phosphate, safflower oil, natural flavor, ground flaxseed, calcium carbonate, salmon oil, salt, minerals (ferrous fumarate, zinc oxide, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, potassium iodide, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, riboflavin [vitamin B2], pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], vitamin D3 supplement), potassium chloride, mixed tocopherols (preservative), taurine.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein: min 10.8%, Crude Fat: min 4.5%; Crude Fiber: max 0.7%; Moisture: max 70%; 38 kcal/oz.

Tail Waggin’ Turkey

  • Features: High in protein, high in fiber, and good for senior dogs and dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Ingredients: Ground turkey, brown rice, turkey liver, carrots, apples, pumpkin, dicalcium phosphate, natural flavor, salmon oil, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, salt, minerals (ferrous fumarate, zinc oxide, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, potassium iodide, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, riboflavin [vitamin B2], pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], vitamin D3 supplement), mixed tocopherols (preservative), taurine.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein: min 8.1%, Crude Fat: min 4.5%, Crude Fiber: max 0.9%, Moisture: max 66.8%; 38 kcal/oz.

Lip Lickin’ Lamb

  • Features: This meal is good for pups with sensitivities to more common meats
  • Ingredients: Ground lamb, sweet potatoes, apples, lamb liver, quinoa, broccoli, dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, salt, natural flavor, calcium carbonate, salmon oil, minerals (ferrous fumarate, zinc oxide, manganese gluconate, magnesium oxide, potassium iodide, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], thiamine mononitrate [Vitamin B1], vitamin D3 supplement), mixed tocopherols (preservative), taurine, parsley.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein: min 6.4%, Crude Fat: min 3.5%, Crude Fiber: max 1.1%, Moisture: max 75.5%; 40 kcal/oz.

Organic treats

When it comes to treats, most people are accustomed to giving their furry friends table scraps or the preservative-heavy bacon-flavored dog treats available at most pet stores. Needless to say, these are probably not the most nutritious options for your pup.

PetPlate does things differently. Their dog treats are 100% organic and made with USDA-certified, human-grade ingredients. PetPlate offers 50% off your first order of treats, and you can purchase them once or add them to your regular subscription.

Chicken Apple Sausage Bites

Pet Plate Organic Chicken Apple Sausage Bites

Key ingredients:

  • Organic chicken
  • organic apples
  • organic vegetables
  • glycerin
  • organic pumpkin
  • organic vinegar powder
  • organic rosemary extract

If your dog currently shows signs of food allergies or regularly develops tear stains, the change from mass-market dog treats to these organic bites could show a sizable shift in your dog’s energy levels. And dogs who need to lose weight can still have these treats (in moderation) because they aren’t processed or fatty like other brands.

Joint Jumpin’ Mobility Cookies

Key ingredients:

  • Organic oats
  • Organic coconut flakes
  • Organic blueberries
  • Organic cane molasses
  • Glucosamine
  • Organic whole dried eggs
  • Organic strawberries
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Chondroitin

If your pup has joint issues or arthritis (or they’re just getting old), PetPlate’s Joint Jumpin’ Mobility Cookies are a great way to give them a treat while repairing damaged cartilage.

Tummy Ticklin’ Digestive Cookies

Key ingredients:

  • Organic oats
  • Organic chia seeds
  • Organic banana
  • Organic pumpkin
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Live & active cultures

If your dog is dealing with tummy issues, PetPlate’s Tummy Ticklin’ Digestive Cookies contain 2 billion live and active cultures per treat to support a healthy microbiome in your pet’s gut.

Pricing

PetPlate’s prices range from less than $3 to more than $10 per day. The price of your PetPlate subscription will depend entirely on how much food your dog needs, and you can see how much you’d pay by clicking “Get Started” on this page. PetPlate calculates this amount by considering the dog’s age, breed, activity level, and other factors.

We ran some quotes to give you a general idea of what your costs may be.

Full subscriptions

Three weeks of meals for a somewhat active, five-year-old, 30-pound Corgi costs approximately $102.90 or $34.30 per week (once your introductory discount ends). This breaks down to a daily cost of $4.90, and it will supply you with 21 (12oz.) containers. Your price may be lower or higher depending on the size of your dog.

As you can see in the images above, feeding our 6-pound Yorkie, Max, will cost less, just $2.87 per day (or about $1.44 per meal) once discounts end.

As usual, large dogs will cost substantially more to feed, approximately $7 to $10 per day depending on their size. But since larger breeds tend to suffer from muscle, bone, and joint deterioration more than small breeds, they stand to benefit even more from eating nutritious, organic food.

>> Read more: How Much Does Pet Plate Cost?

The Topper Plan

For those on a budget, PetPlate offers the Topper Plan, a quarter portion of food you can mix in with a dog’s current diet. The Topper Plan allows your dog to obtain some dense nutrition without the cost of the full plan, and it can be especially useful if you have a picky eater who has grown tired of their kibble.

A 70-pound Labrador Retriever normally costs $70.01 a week for full meals. But, with the Topper Plan, the cost is reduced to $26.11 a week, which is more feasible for most dog owners.

One benefit of PetPlate is that the Topper Plan is available for all dogs, no matter how small. Some subscription services only offer partial portions for mid-to-large dogs. 

Is it worth it?

PetPlate is more expensive than traditional dry dog food; that much is true. But due to overprocessing and poor ingredients, most traditional kibble has very little nutritional value, and you need to consider the long-term costs of a deficient diet when deciding how much you’re willing to pay for your dog’s food.

We believe that poor nutrition is a main contributor to illness, disease, and physical health issues in dogs, and those ailments eventually result in expensive vet bills. So, to us, feeding our dog fresh food makes sense.

And aside from all the health benefits, our picky pup no longer walks around the house hungry in hopes for something better than his dry kibble. We can tell he genuinely loves his fresh food as he licks the bowl clean after every single meal.

Has PetPlate ever been recalled?

PetPlate has never been recalled or faced any legal action against any of its products due to content in its four years of operation. PetPlate has never met a lawsuit or any other public drama, least of all regarding their products.

Other PetPlate reviews

Puppy Loves PetPlate

Jackie A. Verified buyer
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 stars)
Age: Puppy
Breed: Maltese

“Cody is a picky eater and often time would walk away from his kibble. Since we started him on Pet Plate he runs to his bowl now ! We love the convenience of preparing and storing his food. But more importantly, we love how energetic and happy Cody is as he’s approaches his 1st Birthday-March 29th ! Although he likes all of the varieties, He likes the Turkey the best of all!”

Happy Customer

C.S. Verified buyer
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 stars)
Age: Senior
Breed: Cane Corso

“Food is great. My dog seems to love it. Convenient packaging. Service is great as adjusting my order was easy.”

So far, so GREAT!

Lindsey S. Verified buyer
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 stars)
Age: Puppy

“So far, so GREAT! Our doggo Amelie scarfs up the food every meal and is a picky eater, so it’s been awesome.”

Source: petplate.com customer feedback

How does Pet Plate compare to other dog food delivery companies?

PetPlate isn’t the only fresh dog food subscription service on the market. A few other companies also do an excellent job of delivering nutrient-dense, human-grade food to your door. Although these companies offer the same basic service, there are slight differences between them. 

For example, The Farmer’s Dog has won our vote for the most sustainable brand, due to the biodegradability and recyclability of their packaging, as well as the option for eight-week shipping schedules. You can learn more in our The Farmer’s Dog review or our Pet Plate vs Farmer’s Dog comparison guide.

Nom Nom offers cat food, so you can use one service to feed all of the pets in your household. It also offers microbiome testing kits to help you understand your pet’s gut and any digestive issues they may have, and three different probiotic supplements to help improve gut conditions and boost your pet’s overall ability to absorb nutrients. You can learn more about the service in our full NomNomNow review.

Ollie also offers all-natural treats—four single-ingredient options, which you can add to your regular subscription after your first order. We like Ollie’s heavy use of organ meat, since they’re full of important nutrients. You can learn more in our full and our Ollie Dog Food review.

Open Farm offers both fresh dog and cat food as well, plus treats, freeze-dried raw food, bone broth, and other food types. Learn more in our Open Farm dog and cat food review.

All five services offer beef, chicken, and turkey-based recipes, but only PetPlate, Ollie, and Open Farm offer lamb. On the other hand, Nom Nom, The Farmer’s Dog, and Open Farm offer pork, so you can look into those options if your veterinarian recommends a pork-based diet for your dog.

If you want to see how these other options compare head-to-head, check out these comparison guides:

References

  1. FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy
 
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