Everyone loves dogs. That’s why I’ve dedicated my time to researching the best fresh dog food brands — I want to find that “special” food that will give Fido a better, and healthier, life.
If you’re anything like me, you want to make sure that the food you feed your pet is packed with all essential nutrients. Not to mention something that’s delicious enough for them to really enjoy. Spot & Tango and Ollie are two of today’s most popular brands, but which one is better?
I knew that if I wanted to understand the nuances of these two fresh dog food companies, I’d have to try them myself.
Of course, this was more than just a taste test. I sampled each brand’s beef and poultry recipes, side by side, to take an honest assessment of their respective quality, convenience, and cost.
Eager to learn the results? Read on!
Who should get Spot & Tango?
I’d say that Spot & Tango is definitely the better choice for most dog owners. It’s a really, really high quality dog food brand that’s packed with delicious proteins.
Who should get Ollie?
Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend that anyone buy Ollie. I think your dog deserves better. And if you’re already spending money on fresh dog food, then I think you deserve better, too.
The Farmer’s Dog is another great alternative. If you do decide to choose either Spot and Tango or Ollie, make sure to use my links below to get the best discount that I’m currently aware of. Right now you can save 50% off your first box with Ollie and over 20% off your first order with Spot & Tango. If those deals change over time, I’ll always keep those links up to date.CLICK HERE: See my best deal for Ollie → CLICK HERE: See my best deal for Spot & Tango →
Judging quality is far from a simple task. Below, I’ll show you how Ollie and Spot & Tango stack up in terms of appearance, smell, and taste — yes, I’ve tasted both!
Let’s get started by taking a closer look at how Spot & Tango and Ollie compare in terms of appearance. Which fresh dog food brand looks like something I’d actually want to eat?
First, I sampled Spot & Tango’s Beef and Millet against Ollie’s Beef with Sweet Potatoes.
Spot & Tango’s passed the appearance test. It’s peppered with vibrant green peas and mouth-puckering cranberries. The Beef and Millet isn’t the most visually appealing fresh dog food I’ve seen, but it’s far from awful. The meat looks firm. It is, however, a little more finely ground than I’d prefer. Nevertheless, at least it doesn’t look like regular dog food.
On the other hand, Ollie’s Beef with Sweet Potatoes was disappointing. It’s pasty and lacks whole vegetables. The meat is also too finely ground and bears too much resemblance to standard dog food.
Therefore, Spot & Tango’s beef recipe has the upper hand.
Next, I compared the poultry recipes: Spot & Tango’s Turkey with Red Quinoa against Ollie’s Chicken with Carrot.
Once again, Spot & Tango features bright green peas and wholesome carrot chunks. The red quinoa creates a pleasing contrast. While I’d like to see bigger portions of ingredients, it still looks pretty decent.
Ollie’s Chicken with Carrot recipe was the first time I’ve seen them use whole ingredients. Still, it left a lot to be desired. The one or two green peas I found had a drab, olive-green hue rather than the bright green you see with Spot & Tango.
I’ve tried Ollie’s food several times, so I’m surprised this was the first time I’ve seen any whole ingredients. Unfortunately, it didn’t make up for the glue-like consistency and dull colors. It looks like traditional, canned wet dog food.
My verdict? Spot & Tango’s recipes look the tastiest.
The next metric I consider when assessing the quality of fresh dog food is smell. Does it pique my appetite, or is it as stinky as regular dog food?
Well, I can say with certainty that Spot & Tango’s Beef and Millet recipe smells clean. No off-putting aromas! It definitely smells like something I would not only eat, but also enjoy. I mean, would I call its scent “mouthwatering” or “savory”? Not really, but at least it has the fragrance of fresh, clean ingredients.
Like every other time I’ve tried Ollie, their beef recipe smells way too strong. Lots of heavy, “off” odors, which (if I had to guess) are probably coming from the organ meat. They must be using too much organ meat in their recipes, because plenty of other fresh dog food brands use organ meat but don’t have an unpleasant stench.
Spot and Tango’s beef recipe beats Ollie in the smell department, hands down.
Okay, moving on to poultry. I gave Spot & Tango’s Turkey with Red Quinoa a whiff, and — as with the beef recipe — the turkey smells pure and clean. It’s not hard to identify the scent of each, individual ingredient, and the quinoa has an intriguing aroma. Kind of toasted or nutty, in the best possible way. It smells good enough that it would definitely convince me to try it.
Ollie’s Chicken with Carrots recipe, on the other hand, had that same heavy funk. It wasn’t as disagreeable as their beef recipe, and it did technically smell like chicken, but there’s something “off” about it. It’s unappetizing and too similar to regular dog food.
So, once again, Spot & Tango takes the cake with their poultry recipe — and wins the whole category.
In terms of taste and flavor, here’s a quick rundown.
In the case of both the beef and turkey recipes, Spot & Tango’s flavors are just as enticing as their aromatic profile: pure and clean. The flavors are bright and distinct, not muddled, and I enjoyed the texture of the whole ingredients. The quinoa has an impressive consistency, and I was pleasantly surprised by the flavorful pop of the green peas. Moreover, it’s the dried cranberries that stuck out to me and made this dish memorable. There’s not a lot of cranberries, but when you do hit one, it creates an exciting contrast.
I can’t say the same for Ollie’s recipes. They’re tough on the palette. The Chicken with Carrots recipe is not nearly as off-putting as their beef, but both have strong, overwhelming flavors. Not only do they taste too similar to regular wet dog food, but they also leave a gross, lingering aftertaste. So much so that I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and could still taste it on the back of my palette. That’s probably just a psychological thing, but good quality food shouldn’t trigger that.
I’ve never had a good experience eating food from Ollie. The textures of Ollie’s dog foods are just as unappealing. Dry, grainy, and pasty. When you try to swallow the food, it gets caught in your mouth. Not a pleasant experience.
Frankly, I think your dog deserves better. There are plenty of fresh dog food brands on the market that sell delicious, savory food.
Spot & Tango is just one example. And, without a doubt, they’re the hands-down winner of the taste test.
In terms of how many recipes they offer, Spot & Tango gives you three choices whereas Ollie offers four.
Spot & Tango’s recipes are formulated by veterinary nutritionists who have PhDs. Ollie’s recipes are formulated by veterinary nutritionists, but I couldn’t confirm if they’re board certified or have a PhD. It’s possible that they are, but I couldn’t find anything about it on Ollie’s website.
Both brands formulate their recipes so that they’re nutritionally complete and comply with AAFCO standards. They also prepare their recipes in USDA kitchens, which means they’re required to meet the same safety standards as human food.
In terms of nutrition, the most important factor (in my mind) is a recipe’s protein content as fed. Spot & Tango’s recipes protein content as fed ranges from 12% to 14%. This is pretty good compared to the average fresh dog food brand. Ollie’s recipes range from 9% to 11% protein as fed, which is rather standard for fresh dog food.
What does all of this mean? Well, it means that Spot & Tango gives you way more delicious protein per pound. This is important to remember, because it comes back into play later when we talk about price.
It’s one thing is the food looks, smells, and tastes great. It’s another thing entirely if the food is actually convenient to buy, ship, and feed your dog.
Below, I’ll tell you whether these brands’ services are convenient for pet owners. This includes things like managing your subscription, shipment speed, and food packaging.
When it comes to ordering fresh dog food, both brands require you to buy a subscription.
Subscriptions are standard in the dog food world. And luckily, Spot & Tango and Ollie make it easy to cancel.
You can do it directly from the account dashboard on their websites. No need to call customer service or anything like that. With a few clicks, you’ve canceled your subscription and you’re all good to go.
In my experience, Spot & Tango and Ollie’s shipping speeds were pretty fast. This can vary a little bit, of course, depending on your location within the US.
I placed my order with Spot & Tango on a Sunday, and it arrived at my doorstep on the following Thursday. That’s three full business days between the time I placed my order and when I received it.
With Ollie, I placed my order on a Saturday and it arrived on my doorstep the following Friday. Altogether, it took four full business days to get here, which is just a little bit longer that Spot & Tango.
Spot & Tango and Ollie both pack their shipments really well. They use dry ice so that the food is still frozen solid when it arrives at your door.
Another good thing? Both brands use 100% recyclable packing materials that are simple to dispose of — just toss them in your recycling bin. This beats dissolving cellulose insulation (which other companies use) in water and running it down your sink, which can get kind of messy.
As far as packaging goes, I really like that Spot & Tango sent me smaller patties. Each one was about half a pound, or 230 grams, and came in a vacuum-sealed package with an easy-peel tab. This makes it so much easier to defrost just enough food, and not have to worry about whether your dog will finish it before it spoils.
Ollie, however, shipped me the largest pack of bricks that I’ve ever received from a fresh dog food brand. Depending on the recipe, their patties range from a pound and a half to a pound and three quarters. I appreciate that their packaging includes an easy-peel tab, but it’s still way too much dog food to defrost at one time.
I also liked that Ollie gives you a decent-quality “puptainer” and scoop that you can use to store the defrosted food. This might be the reason why they ship such enormous frozen patties.
When it comes time to serve either brand’s food, all you have to do is defrost them in your fridge overnight. Although based on the size discrepancy, I’m sure Spot & Tango’s patties are quicker to defrost.
Once the food is thawed and refrigerated, you want to make sure your dog eats it within four days. This applies for both Spot & Tango as well as Ollie.
Alright, time for the moment of truth: let’s talk about cost. I’ve done the calculations, and I’ve gone out of my way to make sure I’m keeping the comparison fair.
Usually when you sign up for a fresh dog food subscription, companies sell you a plan based on a dollars-per-week or dollars-per-day breakdown. I don’t disagree that this is a nice way for pet owners to determine much the food will cost them over the long run.
Having said that, it’s still not the fairest way to compare costs across different brands. The reason why is because every brand uses a different method when calculating your dog’s nutritional requirements, which can lead to slightly different results. Plus, all of these brands offer different amounts of food.
I prefer to compare costs on a dollars-per-pound basis for this very reason. And since the moisture content tends to be the same across all fresh dog food brands, it’s a fair way to approach the comparison.
According to my calculations, Spot & Tango’s recipes come in at $9.84 a pound, whereas Ollie’s recipes are $5.44 a pound.
Ollie is definitely cheaper. Of course, Spot & Tango is going to give your dog a bigger serving of delicious proteins. Protein is among the most expensive components of dog food. Take that as you will.
Although Spot & Tango is a bit more expensive, the disparity in quality is enormous. For me, there’s no question that Spot & Tango is worth the extra three dollars a pound.
If you’re looking for something that’s still tasty but closer in price to Ollie, give The Farmer’s Dog a try. Their fresh dog food tastes excellent.
Should you decide to buy from either Spot & Tango or Ollie, remember to use my links below to get the best discount that I currently know about.
Again, right now that’s 50% off your first order with Ollie and 20% off your first order with Spot & Tango. I’ll always keep these links up to date.CLICK HERE: See my best deal for Spot & Tango → CLICK HERE: Get my best deal for Ollie →
Best of luck on your journey to discover the perfect fresh dog food for your pup!