PetPlate, founded in 2015, is based in New York City. They claim to have delivered over 15 million meals to date. The company was created by Renaldo Webb after he decided that he wanted to feed his Tibetan Terrier, Winston, fresh food. Winston can be seen frequently on their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
PetPlate says that they aim to “make better food for dogs so they can live longer, healthier, happier lives with their families.” They focus on using “exceptional” quality ingredients in their food.
PetPlate currently has four different flavors of meal available:
- Chompin’ Chicken
- Tail Waggin’ Turkey
- Barkin’ Beef
- Lip Lickin’ Lamb
- Power Packed Pork
- Lean & Mean Venison
The recipes all appear very similar, and (unsurprisingly given the company prides itself on its ingredients) they are relatively easy to understand. There are a few ingredients you might not recognize:
- Tocopherols are a group of chemicals related to Vitamin E, an antioxidant that can also act as a food preservative.
- Taurine is an amino sulfonic acid. Dogs can make taurine themselves if they have enough of the right amino acids in their diet, but there have been some recent concerns about heart disease that was linked to low taurine in diets containing peas, lentils and potatoes, so it may be a precaution against this.
- Choline bitartrate is an extra source of Choline, a nutrient which is important for your dog’s brain and nervous system.
All the PetPlate diets are formulated to meet the AAFCO nutrient profile for dogs of all life stages, including puppies who will grow to be over 70lbs (32kgs) in weight. AAFCO guidelines are well-established and science-backed, so this is a good basis on which to create a diet. Not only that, but the company employs a Board-Certified Veterinary Nutritionist—an expert in formulating diets for dogs. This is beneficial because there can be some changes to the nutritional value of ingredients when combined or cooked in certain combinations, for which the AAFCO guidelines do not always account.
PetPlate claims that all their ingredients are “human-grade.” This term is not legally defined so the meaning can vary. It has no impact on product safety.
PetPlate’s regular food is not USDA-certified organic, but their website (correctly) states that there is no evidence that organic food is better for pets than non-organic food. They do also offer Organic Chicken Apple Sausage Treats.
Do dogs get more excited about fresh food? We have no science to say for sure, but it does seem likely. Dogs respond strongly to the smell of food, and warm, fresh food has a stronger aroma than room-temperature kibble.
Obesity is a major issue in pet health. Keeping your dog slim can add years to his or her life, so controlling how much he or she eats is very important. PetPlate will try and tailor your dog’s food portions to their individual caloric needs. No calculation is perfect, so you may need to adjust food portions if your dog gains or loses weight, but this could be very helpful in keeping your dog slim.
There is one study that suggests a (different) fresh diet was more digestible than kibble. However, the people who ran that study also manufactured the food, so it must be taken with a grain of salt.
More digestible food will produce smaller, firmer poops, which some might consider to be “better.” It’s certainly easier for us when we’re picking it up at the park, but you must be careful that your dog’s stool doesn’t start getting too firm, as this can be uncomfortable for them to pass.
All the PetPlate diets contain salmon oil and safflower oil. These are high in essential fatty acids, which have been linked to improvements in skin and coat quality.
Food “allergies” are relatively common in dogs, though many are intolerances or sensitivities rather than allergies in the strict medical sense. They can cause an upset gut (intermittent vomiting and/or diarrhea), itchy skin, or both.
It is most common for dogs to be allergic to the protein source (the meat) in their food. All of the PetPlate diets contain a single protein source, so if your dog is allergic to turkey, then feeding a beef diet may, in fact, relieve symptoms. However, both beef and chicken are common causes of “allergies” in dogs. Unfortunately, dogs who are sensitive to beef may also react to lamb, and those sensitive to chicken may also react to turkey. If your dog does suffer from food sensitivities, then PetPlate may or may not help, depending on to what, exactly, they are sensitive.
PetPlate’s diets all appear to be cooked in the same facility, and it is unclear whether they have any systems in place to prevent cross-contamination. For dogs with severe allergies, this may mean they could react to trace amounts of proteins in their foods. If your dog has a severe food allergy, always speak to your veterinarian before changing his or her food.
“Fewer vet visits”
Dogs with sensitive stomachs who get onto the right diet may need to visit the vet less often, but there is no reason given to explain why PetPlate should be better at this than other good-quality diets.
It’s not clear what they mean by this… perhaps that your dog would have more energy on PetPlate than he or she did before starting a PetPlate diet? There are a few reasons why this might be true, for example, if your dog was suffering from a food sensitivity that PetPlate relieved, he or she may feel better and be more lively.
Pros and Cons of Pet Plate
- High nutritional standards have been used to create PetPlate; it has been formulated by a veterinary nutrition specialist to meet AAFCO guidelines. This means it should provide your dog with all the nutrients he or she needs to live a happy, healthy life.
- A focus on tailored portion size means that it may be easier to keep your dog at a healthy weight, which is very important for their overall health and well-being.
- Each meal type contains a single protein source, so dogs with mild to moderate food sensitivities may find that the right diet will help to relieve symptoms.
- PetPlate diets are suitable for all life stages, which means that they are not tailored specifically to your dog’s stage of development. Puppies, adult dogs, pregnant dogs, and senior dogs all have slightly different nutritional requirements, so one diet cannot be tailored to all of their individual needs.
- Aside from customer testimonials, there is little scientific evidence for many of PetPlate’s health claims.
Information as of 6/30/22