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A Pup Above vs PetPlate Comparison 2023 (Both Are Good, But Which Is Better?)

In this A Pup Above vs PetPlate comparison, I’m going to help you pick the best fresh dog food that’s absolutely delicious for your dog. To arrive at my conclusions, I put these two brands head to head in terms of Quality, that is how they look, how they smell, how they taste, and their ingredients; then I compared them in terms of Convenience to the pet owner, things like managing your subscription, how fast shipping is, and how the food itself is packaged; and finally I evaluated the Cost of these two fresh dog foods, but I’ve done the math to make sure we’re making a fair comparison across the brands.

Who should get A Pup Above?

I would say get A Pup Above. Their food tastes better and the recipes provide a higher-than-average serving of delicious proteins.

CLICK HERE: Get my best deal for A Pup Above →

Who should get PetPlate?

Frankly, PetPlate comes up short in one very important area. Read below to find out more on that. 

CLICK HERE: Try PetPlate Today →

If you decide to choose either A Pup Above or PetPlate for your dog, make sure to use my links above to get the best discount that I currently have my hands on. 

Quality

To assess the quality of a fresh dog food, I look closely at their Appearances, Smell, Taste, and the Ingredients.

Appearance

Close-up images of A Pup Above and PetPlate | The Pampered Pup's beef (upper left), pork (upper right), turkey (lower left) and chicken (lower right) recipes.

Let’s start off by assessing how each of the recipes from A Pup Above and PetPlate look. I put them side by side to really see their differences. I first compared A Pup Above’s Texas Beef Stew and PetPlate’s Bark and Beef. What I first noticed is that PetPlate has nice large chunks of the ingredients. There’s both regular potato and sweet potato, some green peas, nice chunks. While there’s also nice chunks of vegetables in A Pup Above’s beef recipe, I would say they’re not nearly as large as you see in the PetPlate recipes. The other thing I noticed is that the meat texture looks quite a bit different between the two dishes. The beef recipe by A Pup Above looks like it has a nice firm texture, whereas the beef in the PetPlate recipe seems to be a bit on the mushy side, although definitely not too bad—I’ve seen worse. The meat does look a little bit better in the case of the A Pup Above beef recipe. The colors of the vegetables are also a little bit brighter in the A Pup Above recipe but not overwhelmingly so all things considered, I think the huge chunks of vegetables in PetPlate’s Barkin’ Beef recipe give it the upper hand.

Next, I compared the appearances of the pork recipes: A Pup Above’s Porky’s Luau and PetPlate’s Power Packed Pork Entrée. The difference to me in this case is clear—PetPlate’s recipes have really nice large chunks of the pork meat itself. You can also see the full grains, whole chunks of green beans, and what appears to be some carrot in there as well. Unfortunately, A Pup Above’s recipe just doesn’t stack up in that regard. there are whole green beans in there but beyond that there’s not much going on and while the texture of the pork looks pretty nice, it’s nowhere near what you’re getting with the chunks of pork in PetPlate’s Pork Entrée. 

I also looked at the turkey recipes from each company. I sampled the Turkey Pawella from A Pup Above and PetPlate’s Tail Waggin’ Turkey. The textures of the meats look fairly similar. I would say both look relatively firm and not sloppy and have similarly sized vegetables. The color of the turkey itself looks a little bit brighter in the case of PetPlate and it’s nice to see those brown grains of rice in there, but I think the color of the vegetables is a little bit more vibrant on A Pup Above’s turkey recipe. That said, I still think PetPlate’s Tail Waggin’ Turkey gets the upper hand in appearance.

Last but not least, I’ll go over the chicken recipes from each brand. There’s the Chicka Chicka Bow Wow from A Pup Above and the Chompin’ Chicken Entrée from PetPlate. As usual the chicken from A Pup Above’s dish looks nice and firm, but there’s not all that much going on in terms of nice chunks of vegetables in this case, whereas with PetPlate’s recipe you’re getting nice chunks of what appears to be sweet potato, beautiful red lentils, and whole green beans—there’s a lot going on there, and a lot to like. Once again I would say the meat in this PetPlate recipe is a little bit more on the sloppy side than you get with A Pup Above’s recipes but still to me the clear winner in terms of appearance is PetPlate’s recipe. 

So right down the line, I think all of PetPlace’s recipes look more appealing from a visual standpoint than A Pup Above’s recipes 

Smell

Fresh dog food reviewer Zach Lovatt conducting a smell test for A Pup Above and PetPlate | The Pampered Pup's recipes.

Let’s see how they stack up in terms of smell. I started with the beef recipes. A Pup Above’s beef dish smells warm and spicy—it almost smells a bit along the lines of what you’d expect for a chili and not quite a Texas beef stew, although I’ve never had Texas beef stew so maybe I’m wrong; but generally it smells clean and it has a nice herbal aromatic profile and no off-putting smells. It is in fact very appetizing for sure. 

How does PetPlate’s Barkin’ Beef smell in comparison? This dish is a little bit more like beef in aroma. There’s nothing off-putting also, but the spicy herbal notes in A Pup Above’s beef recipe definitely smell a little bit more appetizing, so I’m going to give them the point.

With the pork recipes, I first tested A Pup Above’s dish and as before, it smells quite spicy and herbal—a little bit strong for my taste, bu not really off-putting and it doesn’t smell like dog food per se. A Pup Above’s pork dish is just a bit strong, perhaps a little bit heavy on the herbs for my palette. With PetPlate, unfortunately, the pork dish smells off-putting. There is a fishy smell, like cod liver oil or something similar, which definitely gives me the impression that I’m smelling dog food—not so appetizing and not something I’d really want to give a try. A Pup Above definitely takes the cake here.

The turkey recipe from A Pup Above definitely smells appealing with a nice balanced herbal flavor. With PetPlate’s turkey dish, it smells interesting—I’m not sure if it smells good or bad, to be honest. It has a little bit of a sweetness to it which I’m not sure what to attribute it to. It smells interesting, yet it also smells like maybe not quite something I’d enjoy. When you put that next to the other turkey recipe, A Pup Above’s dish definitely smells quite a bit more delicious so they get the point there again.

Last but not least, I gave the chicken recipes a smell test. A Pup Above’s recipe smells very mild and very balanced with no off-putting aroma. It has the least pronounced herbal smell of all four recipes that I’ve assessed from A Pup Above. With PetPlate’s chicken recipe, I didn’t really smell anything bad, but it does have a little bit of that unidentified sweet smell similar to the turkey recipe. It is also milder and a little bit harder to pick out, but overall it smells a little bit less on the clean side. However,  A Pup Above’s chicken recipe definitely smells a little bit more delicious. 

So just like that,  A Pup Above won across the board in terms of smell. 

Taste

Fresh dog food reviewer Zach Lovatt conducting a smell test for A Pup Above | The Pampered Pup's recipes.

Here’s my general conclusion on the taste that I got from all the dishes from both brands. On one hand, the recipes from PetPlate have a bit of a strong flavor, unfortunately. Some are worse than others, but others are quite strong that they definitely taste like old dog food. As a result, I haven’t really wanted to try them again after eating them a few times. On the other hand, A Pup Above’s recipes are generally speaking delicious. 

Despite the strong flavor, what PetPlate does have going for it is a really nice texture. All of those nice chunks of ingredients really elevate the eating experience and they make up for the strong flavor in some respect. Meanwhile, A Pup Above’s recipes are definitely some of the best tasting dog foods I’ve tried and the textures of their recipes are really great too. The meat itself is particularly a pleasure to eat, and those herbal elements that I’ve detected when assessing the smell of A Pup Above’s recipes come through really nicely in the flavor profile as well. 

So while PetPlate has a lot going for it in many ways, if you’re looking for a delicious dog food then A Pup Above is the way to go.

Ingredients

The recipes for both of these brands are formulated by Veterinary Nutritionists, although PetPlate says that their experts are board certified while A Pup Above doesn’t mention this on their website as far as I could tell. 

The recipes from both brands are nutritionally balanced and complete to comply with AAFCO’s standards and both companies cook their recipes in USDA kitchens so they’re subjected to the same safety standards as human foods. A Pup Above offers four recipes, while PetPlate offers six.

In terms of nutrition, the most important thing to me is protein content as fed. There’s a bit of a gap here: while A Pup Above’s recipes are really on the high end of the 13% to 14% protein as fed, PetPlate’s recipes come in at about 8% to 11% as fed. Although PetPlate is definitely a bit lower here, they’re pretty much in line with what you typically see across fresh dog food brands and that just means that your dog’s getting a bit more delicious protein with each bite of A Pup Above.

Convenience

What about convenience to the pet owner? I assessed this by checking out how both brands compare in terms of purchasing, shipping, and packaging. 

Purchasing

A screenshot of the account dashboard on petplate.com showing a button to cancel subscription. | The Pampered Pup

When it comes to purchasing, A Pup Above is definitely a standout in the world of fresh dog food. tThey’re the only brand I’ve tried that doesn’t require you to have a subscription in order to purchase their fresh dog food for your pup. PetPlate, like most other brands, does require you to carry subscription although it’s really easy to cancel if you decide it’s not right for you. Cancellation of subscription can be done entirely from your account dashboard on their website. There’s no need to call customer service—with a few clicks you’re good to go. That said, I do think with a subscription you tend to spend a little bit more money in the long run, so I think A Pup Above’s got the upper hand here.

Shipping

Cardboard shipping box from A Pup Above on doorstep. | The Pampered Pup

In terms of shipping, both A Pup Above and PetPlate were among the slowest experiences I’ve had. A Pup Above was absolutely the slowest. I placed my order with them on a Sunday night, and my package arrived not the following Thursday, but the Thursday after that—so it’s a total of eight business days between placing my order and receiving the shipment. PetPlate was the second slowest. I also placed my order with them on a Sunday night and I received the package not the following Tuesday but the Tuesday after that—it took a total of six business days in transit. Of course shipping times will vary based on your location in the United States.

Packaging

A close-up image of the packaging for A Pup Above | The Pampered Pup's Chicka Chicka Bow Wow with Bone Broth recipe.
A close-up image of the packaging for PetPlate | The Pampered Pup's Power Packed Pork Entrée.

Based on my experience, I wasn’t a huge fan of the shipping materials that A Pup Above uses for their fresh dog food. It was some sort of material and plastic wrap which I didn’t know how to dispose of except to put it in the trash, and this never makes me feel good. PetPlate’s packing materials on the other hand were completely recyclable, so after I unpacked everything, I can simply put it in my recycling bin with no worries. 

In terms of how the food itself is packaged, A Pup Above gives you one pound frozen patties that are vacuum sealed in plastic. There’s no easy peel tab or anything like that so you do have to get a pair of scissors dirty every time you want to open it, but what’s good is that it’s not too much food to defrost at a single time. PetPlate’s frozen patties are a little bit smaller at about three quarters of a pound, I think it’s 12 ounces or 340 grams, and they also have the ingredients and the nutrition facts right there so you can see them at a glance when it comes time to serve the food. Both companies say defrosted food should be eaten within seven days, so they’re identical in that regard. 

Cost

And of course, it’s important to compare A Pup Above and PetPlate in terms of costs. 

I like to evaluate the cost of fresh dog food on a dollars per pound basis. This helps to keep things even when you’re comparing across brands. A lot of them give you this dollars per week or dollars per day figure, and that’s not really accounting for the amount of food that each meal plan is giving you. Plus, they all calculate your dog’s nutritional requirements a little bit differently.

So when you purchase a similar amount of food and a variety of recipes from A Pup Above and PetPlate, my calculations put A Pup Above’s food in about $13 per pound that’s just about twice the cost of PetPlate, which comes in at about $6 per pound. 

Keep in mind that you’re getting quite a bit more protein with A Pup Above, and protein is usually the most expensive component of food. 

So there’s no question that PetPlate’s more affordable but if you’re looking for a delicious food [1] for your dog, then I think A Pup Above is the way to go. If the price of PetPlate’s food sounds a little bit more appetizing, you might want to check out The Farmer’s Dog—they make delicious tasting dog food as well and the price is pretty similar to PetPlate. 

Remember if you do choose A Pup Above or PetPlate for your dog, make sure to use my links below to get the best deal that I currently know of. I hope this helps you find a delicious food for your pup and keep those tails wagging!

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