The phospholipid composition of platelets from dogs on various experimental diets was determined. Thyroidectomized foxhounds were fed a control diet or the control diet supplemented with (1) beef tallow, (2) beef tallow and cholesterol, or (3) beef tallow, cholesterol, and safflower oil for 23 weeks prior to isolation of platelets. Platelets from animals fed the control diet contained 36.7% phosphatidylcholine (PC), 22.8% phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), 18.4% sphingomyelin (Sph), 11.8% phosphatidylserine (PS), 6.3% phosphatidylinositol (PI), and 2.2% lysophosphatidylcholine. The PE was 77.6% in the plasmalogen form. No highly significant changes in the phospholipid class composition resulted from the experimental diets. Cholesterol supplementation of the diets, however, caused consistent alterations in the fatty acid compositions of the platelet phospholipids including increases in the percentages of 18:1 omega 9 (oleic acid), 18:2 omega 6 (linoleic acid), and 20:3 omega 6 (homo-gamma linolenic acid) and a decrease in the percentage of 20:4 omega 6 (arachidonic acid). Addition of safflower oil to the tallow-cholesterol diet partially reversed these effects. These cholesterol-induced alterations in fatty acid composition could be due to exchange with plasma lipids, de novo synthesis, or altered platelet metabolism. The mechanism remains to be determined.