I fed my dog fresh food from Spot and Tango for 2 weeks, and he loved the recipes specially formulated by animal nutritionists

I fed my dog fresh food from Spot and Tango for 2 weeks, and he loved the recipes specially formulated by animal nutritionists

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Spot & Tango
Spot & Tango’s fresh dog food delivery offers complete and balanced recipes customized for each dog. Spot & Tango
  • Spot & Tango offers customized fresh dog food that is cooked in USDA-certified kitchens

  • Prices start at $15 depending on the size of your dog and food arrives monthly in preportioned packages that are easy to serve.

  • Each diet is individually customized to your dog’s dietary needs and contains a high-quality mix of fresh ingredients that my dog gobbled it up.

Spot & Tango cooks fresh, healthy meals individually customized for your dog and ships the food directly to your door. I tried the fresh dog food subscription service when the company set me up with a one-month editorial review sample.

I’m a big believer in the health benefits of fresh, minimally processed food. It’s why I buy organic produce and whole foods, and take the time to cook most of my family’s meals at home. I’ve thought about cooking for my miniature poodle Jäger, too, but let’s be honest: After planning, prepping, and cooking meals for my human family, I just don’t have much time or energy left.

Another roadblock is the degree of difficulty involved in making dog food at home. Dogs have very specific nutritional needs. High-quality commercial dog foods include a statement on the label that the product is “complete and balanced” as certified by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

Nutritional information

You can find many recipes for homemade dog food on the internet, but most are not complete and balanced. In fact, a study analyzed more than 200 homemade dog food recipes and found that just 5% were nutritionally complete. You run the risk of serious health issues if you feed your dog an unbalanced homemade diet. If you want the benefits of fresh pet food, one option is to let a fresh dog food delivery company like Spot & Tango do the work for you.

Spot & Tango creates a customized, preportioned meal plan based on your dog’s age, weight, breed, and health goals. Using its own recipes created by animal nutritionists, the company takes locally sourced lean proteins, fresh fruits and veggies, and high-quality carbohydrates and cooks up a batch of homemade food in one of their USDA-certified kitchens. Each recipe is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for all life stages, which means it is appropriate to feed to both puppies and adult dogs.

Spot & Tango food contains no fillers, additives, or preservatives, so it arrives frozen. Store the food pouches in your freezer until you’re ready to use them. Take a pouch out the night before feeding and place it in the fridge, or thaw a pouch in warm water or in the microwave.

The signup process

Spot & Tango customized fresh dog food
My miniature poodle loved the beef and millet and turkey and red quinoa recipes he tried. Jackie Brown/Business Insider

The sign-up process was simple. After providing my name, email address, and zip code, I was asked for my dog’s name and whether he is male or female, neutered or spayed. I could then choose his breed or mix of breeds, and input his birthday, body type (a little skinny, just right, or a little chubby), weight or approximate weight, lifestyle (lazy, active, or very active), and any health conditions (allergies, constipation, itchy skin, obesity, etc.).

For my miniature poodle Jäger, who weighs 20 pounds, options ranged from about $2.50 to $3.50 per meal (or $35 to $49 per week), depending on which recipe I chose. I’ll admit that math isn’t my strong suit, but I was able to do a quick calculation and determine that Spot & Tango calculated my weekly cost based on two meals per day. In order of least expensive to most expensive, the recipe options are Turkey and Red Quinoa, Beef and Millet, and Lamb and Brown Rice. I opted to try two recipes: Turkey and Red Quinoa and half Beef and Millet. However, you can select just one recipe or all three.

After signing up, communication from the company was top-notch. I received an instant email confirmation of my order, plus an email notification and shipping tracking number when my box of food was about to ship and after it had been delivered. Spot & Tango ships to all of the continental United States via Fedex Ground, UPS, and USPS.

It’s important to note that Spot & Tango is a subscription-based service. This means your credit card will be automatically charged and food will be shipped once a month. You can cancel or pause your subscription at any time by emailing the company.

Packaging and delivery

My box was delivered without issue. The food was very cold upon arrival thanks to the environmentally friendly insulated packaging (made from corn starch and 100% biodegradable). The meals came vacuum sealed in certified BPA-free, food-safe pouches. For my 20-pound dog, there was one pouch per day, intended to be split between two meals.

Spot & Tango food is completely fresh and contains no preservatives, so it must be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days or freezer for up to six months. I really like how flat the pouches are – they stack well, making it easy to store them in the freezer.

Testing the fresh food with my dog

When I opened the first pouch at dinnertime, my dog looked up at me quizzically as if wondering why I was putting something different into his bowl. The food itself looks nothing like the kibble and canned food mix he usually eats. The Spot & Tango food looks like, well, food. You can see the blueberries and quinoa and peas and turkey, all colorful and chopped up and tossed together.

My dog happily scarfed down his first Spot & Tango meal, then spent a few minutes licking the bowl to ensure he had consumed every last particle of the food. The next morning at breakfast, he was practically dancing as I took the pouch out of the fridge. No doubt about it – my dog is obsessed with this food.

Speaking of opening the pouches, I use scissors to slice off the top. (True story: My dog can somehow hear me slicing through the plastic pouch from the other room and comes running – it’s hilarious.) I pour out half the food for dinner, then fold the top down and secure it with a clip. I save the second portion in the fridge overnight for the next morning’s breakfast. I also take one or two new pouches out of the freezer every night and put them in the fridge so they’re completely thawed by the next evening.

fresh dog food
The food is made in USDA-certified kitchens and delivered frozen to maintain freshness. Spot & Tango

It’s usually advisable to make changes to your dog’s diet gradually, feeding a quarter new food and three-quarters old food for a few days, then feeding half new food and half old food for a few days, and so on, until your dog is fully transitioned to the new food.

Personally, I skipped this step because my dog is used to eating a lot of different foods, including fresh “human” food snacks daily. My dog did fine eating the new Spot & Tango food, but if your dog is used to eating a certain type and brand of dog food, it’s a good idea to transition slowly.

The bottom line

There’s no question – dog food of this caliber is far from cheap. However, if you are a believer in the health benefits of fresh, unprocessed food, but don’t have the time or energy to make your own dog food at home, a fresh pet food subscription service may be worth the high price tag. And Spot & Tango does not skimp on anything. The recipes are solid, the food is thoughtfully made with high-quality ingredients and arrives in well-designed environmentally friendly packaging. My dog is a huge fan of the food, and it agreed with his stomach.

If the thought of spending this much on dog food has you questioning your sanity, Spot & Tango has an in-between option called the Topper Plan. For a much lower price, you can receive smaller amounts of food to use as a “topper” to your dog’s regular kibble, providing delicious and healthful food as an adjunct to your dog’s less-expensive commercial diet. For my 20-pound dog, the Topper Plan ranged from $16 to $22 a week.

Pros: Customized fresh dog food, complete and balanced recipes prepared in USDA/FDA-inspected kitchen; convenient delivery, environmentally friendly packaging, money-back guarantee (applies to the initial two-week trial period)

Cons: Limited recipe options, must remember to transfer pouches from freezer to fridge to thaw, can’t be left out for hours for dogs that like to graze, must pause or cancel the subscription to avoid being billed automatically; expensive

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