As a dog owner who has an older dog, I have researched the best fresh dog food brands in order to find a service that would be able to help my dog eat better and live a healthier life. My dog is a beloved member of my family, so I want to make sure that the food that I give him has all of the essential nutrients that he needs to live his best life—plus, something delicious that he will enjoy. Spot & Tango and Ollie are two brands that are popular today, but which one is better?
To compare Spot and Tango vs Ollie fresh dog food, I sampled their beef and poultry recipes side by side and did an honest assessment on Quality, Convenience, and Cost. Read along to see the results.
Who should get Spot & Tango?
I’d say that Spot & Tango is definitely the better choice for most dog owners out there it’s a really high quality dog food with tons of delicious proteins.
Who should get Ollie?
Honestly, I wouldn’t really recommend that anybody buys Ollie. I think your dog deserves better and if you’re spending money on fresh dog food, then I think you deserve better too.
Another alternative you might want to check out is The Farmer’s Dog. 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.
I’m going to show you how they stack up on quality—that is how they look, how they smell, and how they taste—yes, I’ve tasted them both.
How do Spot & Tango and Ollie compare in terms of appearance? Which fresh dog food looks appetizing and something I’d want to eat? Do they look like gross dog food?
I first sampled the beef recipes from each company: Spot & Tango’s Beef and Millet as well as Ollie’s Beef with Sweet Potatoes. Upon taking a look at them, right away I can see that Spot and Tango’s recipe has nice vibrant green peas and whole chunks of dried cranberries. It’s not the most appealing fresh dog food I’ve seen visually, but it doesn’t look that bad either. The meat also looks firm and appetizing—even though it’s ground more finely than I’d like to see, I’d say it still doesn’t look quite like dog food.
On the other hand, Ollie’s Beef with Sweet Potatoes looks like a homogeneous paste with specks of vegetables mixed in. The meat is really finely ground and the vegetables are not much more than flakes of color. Overall it looks kind of like a spreadable paste that’s a lot more along the lines of traditional dog food. Therefore, I’d say Spot & Tango’s beef recipe takes the upper hand here.
For the poultry dishes, I tried Spot & Tango’s Turkey with Red Quinoa and Ollie’s Chicken with Carrot dish—so it’s turkey versus chicken, but hopefully that’s close enough. Once again, in the case of Spot & Tango’s turkey recipes, there are nice vibrant green peas, chunks of either sweet potato or carrot, and nice grains of red quinoa in that adds a nice contrast to the rest of the dish. However, I would say there’s a little more going on in this than the beef recipe and while I’d like to see larger chunks of ingredients, overall it doesn’t look too bad. In the case of Ollie’s Chicken with Carrot recipe, this is actually the first time I’ve seen any whole chunks of ingredients. I could see one or two green peas but notably they’re really quite drab in color, like a really light olive green compared to the bright green peas that you have with Spot & Tango. Since I’ve analyzed so many aliquots of Ollie’s fresh dog food, I’m surprised that this is the first time I’ve actually come across any whole ingredients. And as with Ollie’s beef recipes, the rest of the vegetables are merely flakes in the mix and once again the meat’s really finely ground and looking definitely like a spreadable paste. This is unfortunately not all that appetizing and looks more like traditional canned wet dog food, so once again, I’d say Spot & Tango’s turkey recipe is the clear winner here.
The next thing I evaluate when assessing a fresh dog food’s quality is its smell. Does it peak my appetite or does it smell a little bit more along the lines of dog food?
As usual, Spot & Tango’s Beef and Millet smells really clean with no off-putting aromas. It definitely smells like something I could absolutely eat and enjoy. There’s nothing bad to say about it. Although it doesn’t smell particularly mouth-watering and savory, it still definitely smells of pure, clean ingredients.
As with all my previous experiences with Ollie, their beef recipe smells really really strong. There’s lots of heavy, off flavors which I suspect are from the organ meat. I’m guessing they just use too much because there are plenty of other dog foods out there that use organ meat that taste absolutely delicious. So, hands down Spot and Tango’s beef recipe wins.
Now let’s talk about the poultry recipes from each company. I first tried the smell of Spot & Tango’s Turkey with Red Quinoa, and as with the beef recipe, the turkey recipe smells very pure very clean. You can pick up the individual ingredients with your nose—the smell of the quinoa is especially interesting. It has a bit of a toasted or nutty flavor, but it smells really nice and appetizing—I definitely would not mind giving that a try whatsoever.
When I compared this turkey dish with Ollie’s Chicken with Carrots recipe, I immediately got the heaviness in the smell. It’s not anywhere near as bad as Ollie’s beef dish, but it still has those heavy aromatic components in there. It still smells like chicken but it just gives off this heavy flavor that makes is unappetizing and a little bit along the lines of dog food. So once again, Spot & Tango’s turkey with Red Quinoa takes the cake here.
Here’s a quick rundown on the beef recipes in terms of taste: Much like the aromatic profile of Spot & Tango’s recipes, the tastes are really pure and clean. You can really pick out the different ingredients and the textures are really nice from the inclusion of those whole chunks of ingredients. The chew of the quinoa is really impressive and the pop of the green peas is a pleasant surprise. Moreover, what really sticks out in my mind is that dried cranberry. There’s not a lot of them in there but when you hit one, the flavors get kind of exciting.
Ollie’s recipes on the other hand are definitely tough on the palette. The chicken with carrots recipe is not nearly as off-putting as the beef, but both of them have very strong flavors and very much tastes like dog food, so much so that I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with a lingering flavor on the back of my palette. Obviously that’s a psychological thing, but it really was not a great experience anytime I’ve eaten it. And beyond the off-putting flavors, the textures of Ollie’s dog foods are really unappealing. They are dry, grainy, pasty, and they kind of get caught in your mouth as you’re trying to swallow them—really not a pleasant experience at all, and frankly, I think your dog deserves better. There are plenty of fresh dog food brands out there that make delicious tasting food—Spot& Tango is just one example.
In terms of the number of recipes each brand offers, Spot & Tango has three variants whereas Ollie offers four. Spot & Tango’s recipes are formulated by a PhD in Veterinary Nutrition while Ollie’s recipes are formulated by veterinary nutritionists; I don’t see that they’re board certified or that they hold a PhD (that might be the case but I wasn’t able to track it down on their website).
All the recipes from both brands are formulated to be nutritionally complete so that they comply with the standards set by the AAFCO and made in USDA kitchens so they’re subjected to the same safety standards as human food.
In terms of nutrition, the most important thing in my mind is the protein content as fed. Spot & Tango’s recipes range from 12% to 14% protein as fed which is pretty high for fresh dog food; Ollie’s recipes range from 9% to 11% protein as fed which is fairly standard when it comes to most fresh dog food brands. This means that you’re getting more delicious protein per pound with Spot and Tango, and that’ll come back into play when we talk about price below.
I’ll also talk about the convenience of these services to pet owners, things like managing your subscription, how fast they ship, and how the food itself is packaged.
When it comes to purchasing, both of these brands do require you to have a subscription to get the food for your pup, but luckily like most fresh dog food brands, it’s as easy as can be to cancel this. It can all be done within your account dashboard on their website. There’s no need to call customer service or anything like that. With a few clicks, you’ve canceled your subscription—no more orders or bills and you’re all good to go.
Shipping speeds from both of these companies were fairly fast in my experience, although of course it can vary a little bit depending on your location in the US. I placed my order with Spot & Tango on a Sunday and it arrived at my doorstep on the following Thursday so it was three full business days between placing my order and receiving the shipment. With Ollie, I placed my order on a Saturday and it arrived on my doorstep on the following Friday, taking four full business days in transit—just a little bit longer that Spot & Tango.
The shipments from both of these companies are really well packed with dry ice so the food’s frozen solid when it gets to your door. What’s nice is that both of these companies use completely recyclable packing materials so as you’re unpacking the shipment all you have to do is put it in your recycling bin. I’m particularly happy that there’s no need to dissolve that cellulose insulation (which other companies use) and run it down your sink, which can get messy.
In terms of how the food itself is packaged I really like that Spot & Tango sent smaller patties for my meals. They were about a half pound each or 230 grams, and their vacuum sealed plastic packaging comes with easy peel tabs. It’s nice that you don’t have to defrost too much fresh dog food at one time and worry about whether or not your dog’s going to finish it before it goes bad. Ollie on the other hand sent my meals as the largest pack of bricks that I’ve gotten from any fresh dog food brand. Their patties range from a pound and a half to a pound and three quarters depending on the recipe. They do give you that easy peel tab as well which I think is kind of nice, but I still think it’s a lot of dog food to defrost each time. They also provide you with a reasonable quality ‘puptainer’ and scoop to store the thawed food, in which may have something to do with why they give you such large frozen patties.
For both brands, when it comes time to serve the food, you just have to defrost them in your fridge overnight. Although based on the size discrepancy, I’m sure Spot & Tango’s patties defrost a lot quicker. And with most of these companies, once the food is thawed you want to make sure your dog eats it within four days.
Finally, I’ll compare Spot & Tango vs Ollie on cost. I’ve done the calculations to make sure we’re looking at this in a fair way. Usually when you sign up for a subscription, they sell you plans in terms of dollars per week or dollars per day which I think is a nice way for pet owners to figure out how much the dog food is going to cost them in the long run. That said, it’s not really a fair way to compare costs across brands this way because they all calculate your dog’s nutritional requirements a little bit differently. Plus, all those plans offer slightly different amounts of food. This is why I prefer to compare the cost on a dollars per pound basis. And since the moisture contents are fairly similar across brands, I think this is a fair way to approach it.
My calculations put Spot & Tango’s recipes at about $9 per pound, whereas Ollie’s recipes come in at about six dollars for a pound so it’s a little bit cheaper for sure. That said, you’re definitely getting a higher serving of delicious proteins with Spot and Tango’s recipes and protein is definitely one of the more expensive components in dog food.
Although a bit more expensive, when you look at the disparity in quality, it’s no question to me that Spot and Tango’s recipes are worth the extra three dollars a pound. If you’re looking for something a little more similarly priced to Ollie you might want to check out The Farmer’s Dog—their food tastes excellent.
If you do decide to choose Spot & Tango or Ollie for your pup, remember to use my links below to get the best discount that I’m currently aware of. Again, right now that’s 50% off your first order with Ollie and 20% off your first order with Spot & Tango, but I’ll always keep those up to date.CLICK HERE: See my best deal for Spot & Tango → CLICK HERE: Get my best deal for Ollie →
Best of luck finding your pup a delicious tasting fresh dog food!