PetPlate versus Spot & Tango—is one of these fresh dog food brands actually better than the other?
Of course, brand recognition isn’t everything. Especially when it comes to making your dog happy.
Finding the right fresh dog food brand for your pup is about so much more: flavor, quality of ingredients, customer service, and value, just to name a few.
Let’s take an honest look at how PetPlate and Spot & Tango stack up in a side-by-side comparison. I’ll share with you everything I’ve learned from my first-hand experiences with these fresh pet food brands.
Who should get PetPlate?
If you’ve been searching for fresh dog food with a wide offering of flavors and a low price point, PetPlate is a strong contender.CLICK HERE: Check for deals on PetPlate →
Who should get Spot & Tango?
On the other hand, if food quality is your highest priority and you’re looking for an above-average serving of delicious protein, then I highly recommend Spot & Tango.CLICK HERE: See my best deal for Spot & Tango →
First, I want you to know that I personally taste test the recipes from each and every fresh dog food brand I review.
Second, I always judge the food quality on the basis of four key characteristics: appearance, smell, taste, and ingredients.
Both brands’ recipes have good visual appeal. Take a look at the above photo to see what I mean.
The generous veggie portions are what make PetPlate notable. Their recipes always come with hefty chunks of vegetables, such as carrots, green beans, sweet potato, and peas.
I’m a little less fond of the way that PetPlate grinds their meat in many of their recipes. Not only is the meat fine-ground, it has a paste-like appearance and consistency. Their pork recipe, which comes with plentiful cuts of whole pork, is an exception.
Spot & Tango’s appetizing and vibrant colors really make their recipes pop. The bright green peas look fresh, while the added grains—like red quinoa—create an attractive, visible texture. I would have liked to see bigger cuts of vegetables in Spot & Tango’s ingredients, but the quantity of vegetables make up for what they otherwise lack in size.
The meat is either shredded or ground, but not as pasty as what you see with PetPlate. I also noticed that the texture of Spot & Tango’s recipes was quite firm. The portions are not a sloppy mess, unlike some of the other pet food brands on the market.
At the end of the day, both brands look good but I’d say Spot & Tango has the upper hand when it comes to appearance.
I didn’t find a big difference between PetPlate and Spot & Tango when it came to how their recipes smell.
Both have pleasant, appetizing, and relatively fresh aromas like what you’d expect from a homemade dog food. It was easy to pick out the scent of each, individual ingredient in their respective recipes.
Furthermore, there are no “off” odors or strong, herbal fragrances. Since it’s hard to choose a clear winner based on smell, this category is a tie.
PetPlate’s flavors tend to fall on the average side.
The flavors are also strong—so strong that I wasn’t excited to take a second bite. The textures, on the other hand, were surprisingly pleasant. Chewing on those hearty vegetable portions really elevated the dining experience, in spite of the strong flavors.
My best guess is that the strong flavors come from the inclusion of organ meat. I think they probably just use a little too much of it. I say this as someone who tends to enjoy human foods that contain organ meat (I’ve also tasted other fresh dog foods with organ meat that turned out to be delicious). All in all, PetPlate is not the worst fresh food for dogs I’ve tried.
Spot & Tango’s recipes, by contrast, taste clean and have complex flavors with a lot of depth. You can taste every bit of the vegetables, grains, and proteins. Their food has character and makes for an enjoyable meal.
The textures are interesting, too. In addition to fresh vegetables and rich grains, which already makes the food pleasing to chew, the cranberries create a refreshing contrast.
One thing to note: the lamb recipe has a strong, gamey flavor. I like lamb, but this is stronger than I’m used to and here the gaminess is tolerable at best. I didn’t like it but who knows—maybe this is something Fido will love.
For me, Spot & Tango definitely wins the taste competition.
PetPlate stands out among fresh dog food delivery services because they offer an extensive product line with several different recipes.
Both PetPlate’s and Spot & Tango’s recipes are balanced to meet AAFCO nutritional standards. PetPlate’s recipes are formulated by board-certified veterinary nutritionists, while Spot & Tango’s recipes are formulated by experts with PhDs in veterinary nutrition.
Both brands cook their food in USDA kitchens that follow the same safety standards as human food. PetPlate points out that their recipes use human-grade ingredients, while Spot & Tango states that their foods are non-GMO and hormone-free.
Always speak to your veterinarian to confirm what’s best for your dog’s nutritional needs. For me, personally, the biggest thing I look at is protein content in a dog’s diet. PetPlate’s recipes are about what you see as the industry standard with about 8% to 11% protein as fed.
Impressively enough, Spot & Tango is on the high side with 12% to 14% protein as fed. I’ve only tried one other fresh dog food brand that uses that much protein, and that’s A Pup Above.
Spot & Tango’s high protein content makes it a bit more enticing than most other brands.
One of the best ways that pet owners can measure the convenience of these brands is by comparing their purchasing systems, shipping speeds, and product packaging.
Here’s my verdict after placing orders with both companies.
How smooth was my purchasing experience with each company?
Well, both brands require you to buy a subscription before placing an order. This tends to be the case for most fresh dog food brands, with A Pup Above being the one exception I’ve tried.
Thankfully, PetPlate and Spot & Tango make it really, really easy to cancel your fresh dog food subscriptions. You can do it from the convenience of the account dashboard on their website—there’s no need to pick up the phone and call customer service.
All it takes are a few clicks and your subscription is canceled. No more shipments or bills to worry about.
In terms of shipping, my experience with Spot & Tango was definitely faster.
I placed my order with PetPlate on a Sunday night and it arrived two Tuesdays later. So, it was a full six business days between the time I placed the order and when I received the package.
On the other hand, I placed my order with Spot & Tango on the same Sunday night and received the package that following Thursday, so it only took three business days.
Both companies do a great job of packing their fresh meals and use dry ice to ensure the food is still frozen when it arrives on your doorstep. Likewise, both companies use shipping materials and insulation that are 100% recyclable (no need to dissolve any cellulose packaging and rinse it down your sink).
All you need to do to dispose of the shipping materials is to put them in your recycling bin, which I think is great.
PetPlate ships their food in plastic tubs with the ingredients and nutritional information labeled on the side. Each tub contains 12 ounces (or 340 grams) of food, which I think is a suitable portion to thaw at one time. It also means you’re less likely to thaw more than you need.
Spot & Tango sent me half-pound frozen patties, or about 230 grams a patty, which was also a reasonable size. They vacuum seal their food in a plastic wrapper with a convenient, easy-peel top so that you can avoid busting out the scissors. Serving the food is as simple as defrosting it in your fridge overnight.
PetPlate says that their food should be consumed within a week of thawing. By comparison, Spot & Tango says you only have four days once the food is thawed.
No comparison would be complete without discussing how these brands price their food.
I like to evaluate fresh dog food prices on a dollars-per-pound basis. When these companies give you a dollars-per-day or dollars-per-week estimate, they’re not accounting for the fact that different brands use different calculations to determine your dog’s nutritional requirements. That means they give you different amounts of food.
To keep things fair, I go with dollars-per-pound. According to my calculations, PetPlate comes in at about $6.55 per pound, which is about as cheap as it gets. The only brand that comes in cheaper is Ollie, and I’m not a huge fan. For a similar price you can also get The Farmer’s Dog and Nom Nom, and I honestly think that both are a better deal than PetPlate when it comes to food quality.
Spot & Tango comes in at about $9.84 per pound. That means it’s on the expensive side, but the food quality and the high-protein content may just be enough to make up for it.
If you’ve read my review and think Spot & Tango’s vibrant flavors sound like right choice for your dog, use my link below to get the best deal I know about.CLICK HERE: See my best deal for Spot & Tango →
Or, if you’re intrigued by PetPlate’s diverse menu and great value, click the below link to get the best deal I’m aware of. I’ll always keep these links up to date.CLICK HERE: Check for deals on PetPlate →