Spot & Tango and The Farmer’s Dog are two of the best-tasting fresh dog foods I’ve ever tried.
But deciding which brand is “top dog” might not be so simple.
In this review, I’m going to talk about how they compare in terms of quality, convenience, and cost.
The quick answer is that I don’t think either brand has a clear advantage over the other. That’s sad for me to say, because I love to pick a winner.
Both companies sell some fantastic fresh dog food dishes, and I personally tasted them so that you won’t have to. There’s a minor difference in price, yes, but I don’t think it’s significant enough to use as a deciding factor.
My advice? Go with your gut.CLICK HERE: See my best deal for Spot & Tango → CLICK HERE: Get my best deal for The Farmer’s Dog →
For me, appearance, smell, taste, and ingredients are the key deciding factors when it comes to the quality of fresh dog food. These are the metrics I’ve used to judge the beef and turkey recipes from Spot & Tango and The Farmer’s Dog.
We’ll start with Spot & Tango’s Beef and Millet recipe versus the Dog’s Beef recipe from The Farmer’s Dog.
Take a look at the above photos to get a feel for how they look. Pretty similar, right?
Well, maybe. Spot & Tango’s recipes boast electric-green peas and lively carrots. Meanwhile, The Farmer’s Dog is mostly sweet potatoes and lentils. I’d say that Spot & Tango is the more colorful of the two — and those photos don’t lie.
As far as beef recipes are concerned, Spot & Tango wins. Their food just looks fresher and more vibrant than what you get with The Farmer’s Dog.
Next up is turkey. I sampled the Turkey and Red Quinoa from Spot & Tango and compared it with The Farmer’s Dog’s Turkey Recipe.
Once again, you can see in the photos that Spot & Tango is generous with the fresh green peas and carrots. Not to mention the red quinoa really elevates the overall visual appeal. The meat looks tantalizing, too — for once, it’s not just a brown paste like you see with a lot of other fresh dog food brands!
On the other hand, The Farmer’s Dog mixes in a hefty serving of chopped veggies. The way they capture the fresh, natural color of broccoli has always impressed me, because it’s such a delicate ingredient.
Between that and the ample portions of turkey, The Farmer’s Dog’s Turkey Recipe wins the appearance category. Both look absolutely great, but The Farmer’s Dog is a little easier on the eyes.
With Spot & Tango taking the best in beef, we’re one for one. I’d say this category was a tie.
Smell can tell us a lot about the quality of food. So, did any of these fresh dog food options smell delicious enough to eat?
As far as aromatics are concerned, Spot & Tango’s beef recipe had a stronger odor than The Farmer’s Dog. The Farmer’s Dog’s recipes smelled a little more neutral and clean.
Both brands’ recipes have an appealing bouquet. But without a doubt, the Turkey Recipe from The Farmer’s Dog pleased my nose more than the Turkey and Red Quinoa recipe from Spot & Tango.
The beef recipes were a toss-up. Spot & Tango’s Beef and Millet has a clean, pure scent — very similar to the fresh aroma of The Farmer’s Dog’s Turkey Recipe. The beef from The Farmer’s Dog smelled appetizing but much stronger than Spot & Tango’s.
This was a close race. If I have to choose one, I’d go with Spot & Tango’s Beef and Millet. That leaves us two for two.
Alright, time for the category that matters most: taste. I’ll start by talking about my experience with the turkey recipes.
When I tried Spot & Tango’s Turkey & Red Quinoa, I thought it tasted as clean and pure as its whole ingredients. It had a nice texture, too. The grain flavors really pop, which is strange to say but it works well for this particular dish.
The Farmer’s Dog’s Turkey Dish blew me away. Clean and pure flavors, pleasant textures, and nothing that made me feel like I was eating dog food. In fact, I’d argue that it tastes like an excellent meal meant for humans.
The Farmer’s Dog’s Turkey Recipe has a slight edge. More delicious and flavorful than what you get from Spot & Tango, which still tasted clean, pure, and a pleasure to eat.
On to beef. Spot & Tango’s flavors are consistent — their Beef and Millet tasted as fresh and clean as their Turkey & Red Quinoa. Great textures, and no off-putting aftertaste to remind you that you’re eating dog food. But it was the cranberries that stuck out most of all. There aren’t many, but when you bite into one, the sweetness really gives it that extra “oomph.”
The Farmer’s Dog’s Beef Recipe had a surprising array of flavors. At first, it seems like it’s going to be even more delicious than what you get from Spot & Tango. There’s a dash of savoriness that excites your taste buds.
The problem? It has a heavy, lingering aftertaste. Spot & Tango has a fresher flavor and a more tender texture.
Although both recipes are a pleasure to eat, I’d say that the heavy beef flavor from The Farmer’s Dog makes it taste a little more like dog food than human food. I wouldn’t call it repulsive, but it’s enough to get your attention. By contrast, Spot & Tango’s Beef and Millet didn’t taste like dog food at all.
The stars have aligned where quality is concerned. Spot & Tango has the best beef and The Farmer’s Dog has the best turkey.
All in all, these are two delicious-tasting fresh dog foods. They’re still contenders for the best brands on the market.
Spot & Tango offers three recipes: Beef & Millet, Turkey & Red Quinoa, and Lamb & Brown Rice.
You can choose among four recipes from The Farmer’s Dog: Beef, Turkey, Pork, and Chicken.
Both brands serve recipes that are nutritionally balanced and complete, and comply with AAFCO standards. Spot & Tango employs veterinary nutritionists with PhDs to formulate their recipes, while The Farmer’s Dog uses board-certified veterinary nutritionists.
Furthermore, both brands cook their food in USDA kitchens that are subject to the same safety standards as human food. Spot & Tango also notes that their food is GMO and hormone free.
I always look at protein content as-fed when evaluating nutrition. Spot & Tango takes the upper hand here, because their recipes range from 12% to 14% protein content as-fed. This is above-average compared to most fresh dog food brands.
The Farmer’s Dog’s recipes come in at about 8% to 11% protein as-fed, which is standard but not as high as Spot & Tango.
These fresh dog food brands taste great, but are they convenient enough to say they’re worth it?
Let’s dig in to their purchasing, shipping, and packaging practices to see if there’s a difference.
You’ll need to buy a subscription if you want to order food from Spot & Tango or The Farmer’s Dog. This is no different than other fresh dog food companies, and they (thankfully) make it simple to cancel.
You can do it all from your account dashboard online. No need to pick up the phone — just a few clicks and you’ll no longer have any shipments or bills.
In terms of shipping speed, I was delighted by how fast both companies were.
With Spot & Tango, I placed my order on a Sunday and received it the following Thursday. That’s three full business days between when I placed my order and when it showed up on my porch.
With The Farmer’s Dog, I placed my order on a Sunday and received it the following Wednesday, which is the fastest I’ve ever seen from a fresh dog food company.
Spot & Tango’s shipping materials and insulation are 100% recyclable. What I love about this is that it’s not only environmentally friendly, but it’s easy to dispose. You just unpack everything and throw the shipping materials and insulation in your recycling bin.
The Farmer’s Dog uses cellulose insulation, which requires a little more work to dispose. You have to dissolve it in water and run it down your sink. It’s messier but not the end of the world. For me, I prefer to just recycle the components if I can.
When it comes to food packaging, Spot & Tango is one of my favorite companies to work with. They package my meals as half-pound patties in vacuum-sealed plastic with a hassle-free, easy-pull tab. The portions are small enough that they don’t need a lot of time to defrost, and they’re quick to thaw. No complaints there.
On the contrary, The Farmer’s Dog’s packaging doesn’t have an easy-peel tab. You’ll have to grab the scissors for this one.
Both companies suggest that you serve the food to your dog within four days of defrosting . Not much of a window, but not much of a problem if they aren’t sending you big portions. Both companies recommend defrosting the food in the fridge the night before.
Last but not least, let’s talk about how these companies compare in terms of cost.
I always evaluate the price of fresh dog food on a dollars-per-pound basis. This is more fair when comparing across brands, because each brand uses a slightly different calculation for your dog’s nutritional needs. That’s why the dollars-per-week figure they give you isn’t always the same from brand to brand.
According to my calculation, Spot & Tango comes in at about $9.84 per pound, whereas The Farmer’s Dog comes in at $6.76 per pound. Spot & Tango’s prices are on the high end and The Farmer’s Dog’s prices are closer to middle-of-the-road.
Obviously, The Farmer’s Dog is cheaper. But I wouldn’t say the difference is drastic enough to be the main deciding factor.
At the end of the day, if you choose Spot & Tango or The Farmer’s Dog for your pup, remember to use my links below to access the best deal I know about. Here’s hoping you find the perfect meal for Fido!CLICK HERE: Get my best deal for The Farmer’s Dog → CLICK HERE: See my best deal for Spot & Tango →