Fresh dog food is a desirable alternative to traditional dog kibble for many owners. Dry kibble can be full of preservatives and fillers that aren’t healthy for your dog. But which fresh food should you choose? Farmer’s Dog and Spot and Tango both offer fresh dog food, but each brand stands out for different reasons. While one might be cheaper and offer more shipping options, the other has more recipe variations.
This guide compares the dog food subscriptions for The Farmer’s Dog and Spot and Tango. We look at their respective food quality, recipe availability, cost, and subscription options. Then we put the two brands head-to-head so you can decide which one is best for you.
A Quick Comparison
|Brand name||The Farmer’s Dog||Spot & Tango|
|Headquarters||New York, New York, U.S.A.||New York, New York, U.S.A.|
|Product lines||– Beef, chicken, turkey, pork||– Turkey and red quinoa, beef and millet, lamb and brown rice
– Dog treats
|Parent company/ major Subsidiaries||N/A||Breuer Premium Pet Food Company|
Brief History of The Farmer’s Dog
The Farmer’s Dog started because of a beautiful Rottweiler named Jada. She suffered from serious digestive issues for years. The vet advised Jada’s owner, Brett Podolsky, to feed her homecooked food. According to Brett, the results were just short of miraculous, and Jada recovered with the introduction of an entirely fresh food diet.
Brett then teamed up with his friend, Jonathan Regev, to start The Farmer’s Dog in an effort to help other dog parents by providing readily available fresh dog food. The company stands out for its openness and transparency. The owners guarantee that all their food is 100% human-grade, claiming that they frequently taste-test their recipes to ensure the highest standards of taste and quality.
Brief History of Spot & Tango
Spot and Tango is a specialty dog food brand owned and operated by the Breuer Premium Pet Food Company. It sells human-grade dog food that is delivered to your door with a convenient subscription service. Spot and Tango meals are available online and in-person at select pet stores in the northeast United States. These dog food recipes are designed by veterinarians and nutritionists to ensure that they meet the highest standards.
There are specialized recipes for maintaining a healthy weight or for boosting your dog’s energy. A personalized quiz will give you the recommended diet for your dog so Spot and Tango can supply you with the best food available.
The Farmer’s Dog Manufacturing
The Farmer’s Dog food is made entirely in the U.S.A. Its goal is to provide fresh food, it uses no processed ingredients or preservatives in its recipes. All the food is human-grade and safe to consume yourself if you wish to try it. The food is USDA-certified and manufactured in USDA kitchens.
Spot & Tango Manufacturing
Spot and Tango is a U.S.-based company, manufacturing all of its food in USDA-approved kitchens. It sources human-grade meats and vegetables directly from U.S. suppliers, and its food is free from any byproducts, preservatives, additives, growth hormones, and artificial coloring.
The Farmer’s Dog Product Line
All the dog food offered by The Farmer’s Dog is grain-free, and three out of four of its recipes contain liver to add to its base protein content. There is a base minimum of 11% protein per meal, which is good but not as high as Spot and Tango’s.
There is no fruit contained in any of The Farmer’s Dog recipes, but this isn’t necessarily a negative. Fruit isn’t an essential component of a canine diet, and most of its foods do contain superfood-level vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach, and bok choy. Fish oil rounds out the nutrient profile to aid in the management of skin allergies and certain types of cancer.
Spot & Tango Product Line
All Spot and Tango recipes contain 50% whole meat, 30% seeds or grains, and 20% fruits and vegetables. Its foods have a higher percentage of meat than The Farmer’s Dog foods, giving them a higher percentage of protein. Protein ranges for Spot and Tango meals vary between 11.8% and 13.69%, making them great for growing or active dogs.
In addition to their high protein content, Spot and Tango recipes include apple cider vinegar and safflower oil. These promote good oral health along with healthy cellular function and regeneration.
The Farmer’s Dog vs. Spot & Tango: Price
The Farmer’s Dog and Spot and Tango claim that their foods will cost just $2/day. This claim is only true for small dogs eating a small portion of dog food without discounts. While we can’t tell you exactly how much each fresh food subscription will cost, we can say that either of these foods will cost more than the companies would like you to believe. They are definitely more costly than traditional kibble, but the added benefits may be worth it.
The price that you pay depends on your dog’s size, breed, activity level, age, and specific dietary needs. It is worth noting that you get more calories for the same price with The Farmer’s Dog than with Spot and Tango.
The Farmer’s Dog
Pricing for The Farmer’s Dog is the same for every recipe, so you are free to choose whichever one you or your dog prefers without worrying about it costing more.
Regardless of which option you choose, pricing will depend on how much food you require. The difference in cost for a toy breed, like a Yorkie, vs. a medium breed dog, like a Boxer, is approximately $8 per day.
Spot & Tango
Spot and Tango’s pricing varies significantly between recipes. The price difference between their cheapest recipe option and a mixed recipe subscription is approximately $2 per day. Meals for a medium-sized dog will cost you $9 a day more than those for a toy breed.
This company offers an UnKibble option that knocks the price down considerably. Of course, this option won’t provide the same level of nutrition as fresh food, but it is still a healthy alternative to traditional kibble.
The Farmer’s Dog vs. Spot & Tango: Warranty
Both The Farmer’s Dog and Spot and Tango guarantee their foods and offer refunds if you’re not 100% happy with them. They aren’t equivalent, though; the Farmer’s Dog has a conditional refund policy.
The Farmer’s Dog
The Farmer’s Dog offers a refund for your order if you donate your unused portions of dog food to an animal shelter or have them send you a different recipe. It isn’t clear how they determine that you have donated your remaining food. Whether they take your word for it or require some sort of proof of donation isn’t stated in their policy.
Canceling or pausing your subscription is easy. You simply need to visit your customer account page online to make any necessary changes.
Spot & Tango
Spot and Tango have a 100% Happy Pup Guarantee that states you will get 100% of your money refunded if your dog doesn’t like the food for any reason. Cancellations are as easy as visiting your online customer account.
This company offers a 2-week trial period for their dog food, something that The Farmer’s Dog does not. You do have to pay for 2 weeks’ worth of food, but your trial order can be refunded easily by canceling your subscription online. The trial is only available if you sign up for a subscription, so it’s more reminiscent of a 2-week option to cancel an offer than a free trial.
The Farmer’s Dog vs. Spot & Tango: Customer Service
The Farmer’s Dog
The Farmer’s Dog claims that its food meets the recommended nutrition requirements set out by AAFCO, but there are several customer complaints about the lack of available nutritional information. The nutritional analyses are available on their website, but it is extremely difficult to obtain caloric information. This could be an issue if you need to monitor your dog’s caloric intake.
There are several reports of mislabeling, which have caused allergic reactions in dogs. While it appears the reports were evaluated by the FDA, there is no official confirmation of this, only online customer reviews.
It also seems difficult to obtain refunds or change your delivery schedule with The Farmer’s Dog. Any changes will require a reason for making the change, leaving the door open for the company to determine that your rationale is invalid. Any deliveries that are already charged can’t be refunded to your card, even if they haven’t shipped yet. This leaves customers with valid concerns about their ability to avoid being charged extra on their subscription.
Customer service seems to be better over the phone than online. Most customers who actually called the company with concerns report their issue immediately being resolved.
Subscriptions with The Farmer’s Dog are only available to U.S. customers in the lower 48 states. They do not ship to Canada, Hawaii, or Alaska as of this writing.
Spot & Tango
Customer service at Spot and Tango is only available over the phone on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 a.m. Eastern. For those unable to call during those hours, they do offer an online message form. Many customers say that it is hard to receive customer service due to the difficulty of reaching anybody.
As with The Farmer’s Dog, subscriptions are only available in the continental U.S., most likely because of the company’s emphasis on freshness and long shipping times. There are complaints about shipping times from existing customers, stating that refill orders aren’t always shipped on time.
It is difficult for Spot and Tango customers to get a price on subscriptions without filling out personalized questionnaires for individual dogs. This can be a barrier for those who simply want to know a ballpark price before answering questions.
Other complaints include difficulty canceling the service before auto-shipments are charged, as the cancellation process on the website is not straightforward.
The Farmer’s Dog Chicken vs. Spot & Tango Turkey & Quinoa Recipe
Farmer’s Dog Chicken Formula is packed with tasty ingredients that dogs love, especially dogs that don’t have sensitivities to chicken or that like chicken in their diet. If you have a picky dog, though, they may not like this one. Ingredients include USDA chicken and chicken liver, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, fish oil, bok choy, and Farmer’s Dog’s special nutrient blend.
All recipes from Spot and Tango are 100% fresh with no fillers or preservatives, and the Turkey and Quinoa recipe is no exception. This food is also hormone and GMO free, making it a great option for puppies. Ingredients include turkey, spinach, quinoa, carrots, peas, apples, parsley, apple cider vinegar, eggs, safflower oil, and tons of vitamins and minerals.
The winner of this head-to-head is Spot and Tango’s Turkey and Quinoa Recipe. Turkey is a better poultry option for dogs with stomach sensitivities, and picky dogs won’t turn up their nose at the flavor.
The Farmer’s Dog Beef vs. Spot & Tango Beef & Barley Recipe
Farmer’s Dog Beef Formula is packed with healthy ingredients, including Farmer’s Dog nutrient blend, added taurine, and B vitamins. This recipe is a better choice for picky dogs because it’s packed with flavor. Along with beef and barley, it has carrots, lentils, beef liver, fish oil, sunflower seeds, and kale. This is the only recipe from Farmer’s Dog that we can’t find anything negative to say about it, and customers can’t either.
Spot and Tango’s Beef option is not quite fresh food, but it’s “UnKibble.” This is one of the most common offerings from the company. It’s formulated for all life stages and contains high enough nutrient values to be fed to puppies. Unlike for traditional kibble, Spot and Tango uses a unique process to dry fresh ingredients. So, it’s technically fresh dog food with a much better shelf life. The only downside is the amount of food that you need. Spot and Tango’s UnKibble will cost you significantly more than most other options if you have a large dog.
The Farmer’s Dog wins in this beef recipe comparison. It is easily the most popular Farmer’s Dog recipe, and there are no complaints from pet parents who feed it.
The Farmer’s Dog Pork vs. Spot & Tango Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe
Here, we look at the Pork Formula from Farmer’s Dog and the Lamb and Brown Rice Recipe from Spot and Tango. These are the novel protein recipes offered by each service.
The Pork Formula from The Farmer’s Dog is definitely a favorite. It’s 100% free of any preservatives and is made with fresh ingredients. Unfortunately, this recipe has the lowest protein content of all Farmer’s Dog options. Ingredients include USDA pork, sweet potatoes, potatoes, USDA pork liver, green beans, cauliflower, fish oil, and Farmer’s Dog’s special nutrient blend.
Spot and Tango uses lamb for its novel protein, and this recipe is the best one that Spot and Tango has to offer. This one is gluten-free for dogs that have tummy issues. Ingredients include lamb, brown rice, carrots, spinach, blueberries, eggs, peas, apple cider vinegar, parsley, safflower oil, and vegetable stock. Unfortunately, since Spot and Tango’s prices vary by recipe choice, you can expect to pay a little more if you choose to add this recipe to your subscription.
The winner of the novel protein comparison is The Farmer’s Dog. The price of your dog food won’t change just because your dog needs a special recipe. While it is lower in protein, it still exceeds the minimum requirements for an active adult dog.
Overall Brand Reputation
Both The Farmer’s Dog and Spot and Tango are 100% on point when it comes to dog food ingredients. They both use fresh veggies and USDA-certified meats. Both companies work hard to provide high-quality dog food and ensure the utmost levels of nutrition in every serving.
Edge: The Farmer’s Dog
This is one area where The Farmer’s Dog comes out on top. While both subscription services have similar starting prices, Spot and Tango’s pricing increases for large dogs and with the food recipe that you choose. While the increase in price for bigger dogs isn’t uncommon, we feel that owners shouldn’t be penalized for wanting to feed their dogs different protein options.
Edge: Spot and Tango
The Farmer’s Dog offers four fresh food recipes, while Spot and Tango offers three, so it appears at first glance that The Farmer’s Dog has a better selection. However, Spot and Tango has significantly more creativity in their recipes and has Lamb as its novel protein option. This is a better substitute for dogs with allergies than the pork offered by The Farmer’s Dog. Spot and Tango also offer UnKibble, which is a popular choice, as well as dog treats.
Another thing to keep in mind is that The Farmer’s Dog makes its meals to cater to medium to large dogs, while Spot and Tango provides options for small dogs.
Edge: Spot and Tango
There is no clear winner for nutritional value. Every recipe we examined was formulated to ensure that your dog gets all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that they need to stay healthy and happy. No matter which of the companies that you choose, you can have peace of mind that you are feeding your dog safe, high-quality food.
The only reason we chose Spot and Tango as having an edge is that veterinary nutritionists design its recipes. Since these are the experts in dog nutrition, this does give the company a slight leg up.
If we forced to make a decision on the overall winner, we choose The Farmer’s Dog. But we are comfortable recommending both The Farmer’s Dog and Spot and Tango. They are excellent choices for high-quality, nutritious dog food. The reality is that the better choice depends on your dog’s needs.
If cost is your primary deciding factor, The Farmer’s Dog wins hands down. There are no surprises when you are billed, and your price won’t change if you decide to switch food recipes. The Farmer’s Dog is also the best choice if you own a medium to large dog. Their food is specifically formulated to meet the needs of large dogs.
For puppies or highly active dogs, Spot and Tango’s higher protein levels may be beneficial. Spot and Tango is also the better choice for owners of small dogs.
- Lower prices
- Higher calories per meal
- More flexible shipping options
- Four fresh meal options
- UnKibble and treat options
- Protein-rich recipes
- Lamb option for dogs with food allergies
- Offers both grain-free and grain-inclusive options
- Options for tiny dogs
Featured Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock