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I Ate Spot & Tango’s Fresh Dog Food to See How It Compares to A Pup Above 2024

Do you really want to feed your dog something that you wouldn’t eat yourself?

No? Me either. That’s why I decided to personally try A Pup Above’s fresh dog food. I wanted to find out whether it’s good enough to best Spot & Tango, one of its lead competitors.

Believe it or not, I had a lot of fun with this taste test. It turns out that both of these fresh dog food brands taste pretty great — but taste is only one aspect of buying fresh dog food.

That’s why my reviews go deeper. You need to know if one of them is the right fresh dog food for your pet. So, not only did I evaluate the way these brands’ recipes taste, but I also compared the overall Quality of the food, how Convenient their products are for pet owners, and whether they provide enough value for the Cost.

Ready to find out which brand is worthy of gracing your dog’s food bowl? Read on!

Who should get what?

This comparison was a really, really close call. At the end of the day, I think that my side-by-side comparison will be the deciding factor.

Whether you decide to buy either A Pup Above or Spot & Tango for your dog, make sure to use my links below to get the best discounts I currently know about. I’ll always keep these links up to date.

Try A Pup Above today and SAVE $50 CLICK HERE: See my best deal for Spot & Tango →

Quality

The quality of fresh dog food comes down to three key factors: appearance, smell, and taste. Let’s see how A Pup Above and Spot & Tango stack up.

Appearance

A close-up view to evaluate the appearance of Spot and Tango vs A Pup Above's turkey (left) and beef (right) recipes.

The first thing I “look” at when evaluating fresh dog foods is, quite literally, its appearance.

In other words, do the meals comes across as appetizing, or do they look no different than regular dog food? 

Turkey Recipes

Comparing A Pup Above’s Turkey Pawella against Spot & Tango’s Turkey with Red Quinoa was one of the toughest calls I’ve ever had to make.

I’m not kidding! Surprisingly, the recipes look quite similar. What do I mean by this? Well, both brands’ turkey meat appears to have a nice, firm consistency. This was a pleasant surprise because many other fresh dog food brands tend to use meat that looks like an unappealing, finely ground paste or slop.

Having said that, these recipes use shredded meat rather than the bigger, chopped chunks of meat that most of us tend to associate with a hearty stew. Nevertheless, both A Pup Above and Spot & Tango manage to make their recipes look so much more flavorful than the mushy blend you see from other companies. They also incorporate a generous amount of vegetables, as you can tell from the copious peas and carrots in the above photos.

Comparing the appearance of these turkey recipes ultimately comes down to color. For me, Spot & Tango’s turkey looks fresher and boasts brighter colors: deep-green peas and vibrant, orange carrots.

So, while this was definitely a close call, I have to give this one to Spot & Tango. 

Beef Recipes

Well, here we are again — another close call.

I compared A Pup Above’s Texas Beef Stew with Spot & Tango’s Beef and Millet in similar fashion. Once again, the beef in both recipes had a delectable, firm appearance. Likewise, the whole peas and plentiful carrots give each of them enough pizzazz to distract from the fact that the food is meant for dogs.

As with the turkey recipes, this one comes down to the colors. A Pup Above’s Texas Beef Stew has a flatter, darker overall hue. It just doesn’t stir my taste buds like the brighter, fresher colors you find in Spot & Tango’s Beef and Millet.

Suffice it to say, Spot & Tango knows how to visually “sell” their food. They’re the hands-down winner in the appearance category.

Smell

Fresh dog food reviewer Zach Lovatt conducts a smell test of the fresh dog food recipes by Spot and Tango and A Pup Above.

Whenever I assess the quality of fresh dog food, the second metric I use is smell. Or, as a “gourmand” might say, aroma.

Let’s find out if either of these brands smell like something that I, a human, would actually want to eat.

Turkey Recipes

A Pup Above’s recipes do really well in the aromatics department, and (as always) their Turkey Pawella recipe was no different. It has a lovely herbal profile. Nothing to complain about here. It doesn’t smell “heavy” or remind me of typical dog food. My nose definitely found this one appetizing! 

The smell of Spot & Tango’s turkey recipe was a stark contrast. Whereas A Pup Above’s turkey recipe has a dominant herbal scent, you can smell the actual meat in Spot & Tango’s recipe as clear as day. It’s a very clean and very pure turkey aroma. There’s nothing off-putting about it, and it doesn’t turn me off from wanting to taste it.

That being said, while both brands’ turkey recipes smell great, A Pup Above was a little more intriguing. 

Beef Recipes

When I took my first whiff of A Pup Above’s beef dish, I immediately picked up warm, spicy notes. It reminded me of human food in the best possible way — something I’d attribute to their obvious use of herbs.

Similar to their turkey recipe, Spot & Tango’s beef dish smelled more clean and fresh than “herbal” or gourmet. My nose picked up on the scent of beef, as well as the grains of millet.

Again, while Spot & Tango’s beef and turkey recipes were far from unappetizing, I think the recipes from A Pup Above simply smell more delicious. It’s the difference between smelling plain, unseasoned turkey or beef, versus smelling turkey or beef that’s been cooked with herbs and spices.

Taste

Reviewer Zach Lovatt evaluating the taste of Spot and Tango vs A Pup Above's fresh dog food recipes.

So far we’re at a deadlock. Spot & Tango looks tastier than it smells, while A Pup Above smells tastier than it looks.

Let’s see if the taste test will break the tie. 

Turkey Recipes

“Hmm, not bad.” That was my first thought after trying my first forkful of Spot & Tango’s Turkey with Red Quinoa.

It tastes absolutely nothing like dog food. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear I was eating human food. The texture was just as satisfying as its appearance would make you believe — firm and robust. The red quinoa really enhances the mouthfeel. It also makes the whole thing taste fresh, which is good considering we’re talking about fresh dog food. All in all, the Spot & Tango turkey recipe was a pleasure to eat.

Let’s move on to A Pup Above’s Turkey Pawella. While I’m without a doubt more than happy with Spot & Tango’s turkey recipe, A Pup Above’s is — believe it or not — even more delicious. There were no “off” flavors and, in fact, the entire flavor profile proves to be really fantastic. This one really tastes like human food and, if someone served this to you, I bet you’d probably agree.

Beef Recipes

A Pup Above’s Texas Beef Stew is not as delicious as their turkey dish, but it’s still very good.

The biggest issue for me was that the flavors are a touch too strong. Some people might find that it tastes a little more like dog food, but I wasn’t grossed out by it, and I still think it would make a dog very happy. 

Spot & Tango’s Beef and Millet recipe, by contrast, has a gratifying texture. The millet gives it a nice chew, and the overall dish tastes clean and fresh. If I was wearing a blindfold, I’d have no idea I was eating dog food.

Even though I think A Pup Above’s beef recipe is good enough for your dog, I think I’m going to award the point to Spot & Tango’s Beef and Millet. Both recipes taste great, but Spot & Tango’s is the one I’d go back for a second helping. 

Looks like these two brands are still neck and neck!

Ingredients

Although it’s pretty normal for most fresh dog food brands, I’m still impressed that both companies hired veterinary nutritionists to formulate their recipes.

The only real difference here is that Spot & Tango’s recipes are formulated by someone with a PhD in veterinary nutrition. A Pup Above’s website doesn’t confirm any such credentials.

A Pup Above and Spot & Tango also formulate their recipes to be nutritionally balanced and complete, in compliance with AAFCO standards. Both companies cook their fresh dog food in USDA kitchens, which have to uphold the same safety standards as kitchens that prepare human food.

If A Pup Above mentions that they use GMO-free veggies, Spot & Tango says that all of their veggies and meat are GMO-free, and they don’t use any hormones either.

In terms of nutrition, the main thing I look at in fresh dog food is their protein content as fed. Thankfully, these two brands have some of the highest protein content as fed on the market. A Pup Above’s recipes range from 13% to 14% protein as fed, while Spot & Tango’s range from 12% to 14% as fed. So, the two are very similar. In both cases, that means your dog’s getting a higher-than-average serving of delicious proteins.

Convenience

Now that we know we’re working with high-quality recipes, let’s take a closer look at how convenient these brands are for pet owners.

In other words, how’s the experience in terms of purchasing, shipping, and packaging?

Purchasing

There is a glaring contrast between the purchasing experience of these two brands.

On one hand, A Pup Above is a bit of a standout here because they’re the rare fresh dog food company that doesn’t require you to purchase a subscription. That means you can give them a try with no strings attached. Just place your order, see if your dog likes it, and go from there.

On the other hand, Spot & Tango does require you to have a subscription to buy their fresh dog food. However, just like all the other brands, it really is quite easy to cancel that subscription if you decide it’s not the right choice for your pup. All you have to do is pull up the website, log into your account, view your account dashboard, click a few buttons, and you’re ready to go. No more billing or shipments.

In the long run, I think that subscriptions tend to make you buy more food than you actually need. It’s a relief that A Pup Above doesn’t require one.

Shipping

Shipping can vary depending on your location within the United States. Below is my experience:

A Pup Above: Ordered on a Sunday and received the package not the following Thursday, but the Thursday after that. It took 8 full business days for my order to arrive. This is one of the longest transit times I’ve come across.

Spot & Tango: Ordered on a Sunday, received by Thursday. This was really fast — only 3 full business days.

A Pup Above’s frozed fresh dog food shipment arrives with insulation and plastic packaging.

One thing I didn’t like about A Pup Above’s shipment is the insulation and plastic packaging they use.

It didn’t seem like it was cellulose, so I ended up throwing it in the trash. Throwing things in the trash never makes me feel good.

In comparison, Spot & Tango’s shipping materials and insulation were 100% recyclable. I happily tossed all of it in my recycling bin with no problems. Fast, easy, simple, and better for the environment.

Packaging

Spot and Tango's Beef and Millet fresh dog food in a 1/2lb frozen patty with an easy-peel tab.

Here’s how these two brands package their food.

A Pup Above: The food was parceled into 1lb frozen patties, but there was no easy-peel tab. A Pup Above says that your dog should consume the food within one week of thawing.

Spot & Tango: These arrived as 1/2lb (or about 230g) frozen patties. The benefit here is that you’re defrosting less food at once, which is great since it lowers the risk of food waste. The patties also come in packs that feature easy-peel tabs. According to the company, your dog should consume the food within 4 days of thawing.

Cost

Cost tends to be one of the biggest factors for pet owners. That’s why I went out of my way to do the proper, fair calculations so that I could compare them on a dollars-per-pound basis.

Here are the results:

A Pup Above: $13/lb.

Spot & Tango: $9/lb.

If you order the same amount and variety of food from these two brands, then A Pup Above comes in at about 13 dollars per pound. This is pretty high for fresh dog food.

Meanwhile, Spot & Tango’s meals come in at about nine dollars per pound. Although this is still on the high side, it’s definitely not as high as A Pup Above.

Taking everything into account, this is still a really difficult choice in my book. However, I think A Pup Above is a better choice for pet parents who want to feed delicious-tasting food to their dog.

Try A Pup Above today and SAVE $50

I also don’t think you can go wrong with Spot & Tango, and obviously the price is a little bit better.

CLICK HERE: See my best deal for Spot & Tango →

In conclusion, if cost is a major factor in your decision, then you also might want to check out The Farmer’s Dog. Without a doubt, they offer delicious fresh dog food that’s more affordable than the two brands we compared today.

If you do decide to buy A Pup Above or Spot & Tango for your dog, remember to use my links above to get the best discounts that I currently about.

I hope this comparison helps you find the perfect fresh dog food for your pup!

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