In the world of pet nutrition, it can be difficult to pin down the right food for your dog when there are so many options available. We make it a point to get up close and personal with brands to help fellow pet parents make the most well-informed choices.
Here we are going to take a close look into A Pup Above, a fairly new dog food brand that is already building a great reputation not just for the wholesome, healthy foods they offer but for their environmentally friendly practices and transparency. Keep reading to learn more about A Pup Above and what makes them unique.
At a Glance: A Pup Above Fresh Dog Food Recipes in 2023:
|Our Favorite||Chicka Chicka Bow Wow||
|Texas Beef Stew||
A Pup Above Fresh Dog Food Reviewed
Who Makes A Pup Above Dog Food and Where is it Produced?
A Pup Above was founded in 2020 by Ruth and Javier Marriott with the help and inspiration of their beloved pup, Lola. The company is headquartered in Texas, where all of the food is made in a USDA-inspected facility.
A Pup Above offers both grain-inclusive and grain-free fresh food recipes. They source from farmers that have strict animal welfare standards. All animals are free-range and never given any antibiotics, steroids, or artificial growth hormones. Each recipe is packed full of wholesome non-GMO veggies and superfoods as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
Which Type of Dog is A Pup Above Best Suited For?
A Pup Above is crafted using the AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines for maintenance, so these foods are formulated specifically to meet the needs of adult dogs. They have four different recipes available with each featuring a single source of protein.
The Chicka Chicka Bow Wow and the Turkey Pawella are grain-inclusive while the Texas Beef Stew and Porky’s Luau are grain-free.
They use the sous-vide cooking method to enhance protein, maintain essential nutrients through the cooking process, and provide a more enticing flavor, making it a great option for even the pickiest of eaters.
Which Type of Dog Might Do Better With a Different Brand?
Since A Pup Above’s recipes are formulated for adult dogs and are not suited for the growth and development of puppies. Dogs under one year of age should not be fed this exclusively. That doesn’t mean you can’t offer your puppy this delicious food as a topper to their regular puppy food, though.
If your dog suffers from a certain protein or other food allergies, you would need to avoid the recipes that contain those allergens. You should consult your veterinarian about any allergies, how to identify the allergen source, and the best diet plan to offer.
If you prefer to have your dog on a diet sourced from fish protein, A Pup Above does not offer any recipes that would suit your needs.
Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good & Bad)
Let’s face it, dog food labels are overwhelming to read. Thankfully, A Pup Above doesn’t have a laundry list of hard-to-pronounce, unfamiliar ingredients to go through like some other brands. Here’s a look at the primary ingredients in their fresh food recipes:
Chicken – Chicken is an excellent source of protein that is rich in essential amino acids. Chicken is one of the main sources of animal protein found in most commercial dog foods. All of the chickens used in A Pup Above foods are cage-free and are never given any antibiotics or growth hormones.
Their chicken recipe also features chicken liver, which is rich in protein and amino acids. It is also a great source of vitamin A, zinc, copper, iron, B vitamins, and omega fatty acids.
Pork – Pork is full of protein and many other key nutrients like amino acids and thiamine which help maintain a healthy muscle mass and support healthy cellular function. Pork is also an excellent source of omega fatty acids and vitamin E.
The pork used in A Pup Above’s recipes comes from pigs that are never given any artificial growth hormones or antibiotics and are not kept in crates.
Like chicken liver, pork liver is also a great source of vitamin A, B vitamins, and other macronutrients. It is lower in fat and cholesterol compared to chicken liver.
Beef – Beef is a quality source of protein that is rich in iron, zinc, and B vitamins which are very beneficial for healthy skin, metabolism, and overall immune function. Beef is rich in fat and helps support muscle mass.
Beef hearts are also included in A Pup Above’s Texas Beef Stew recipe, which adds a boost of additional B vitamins, minerals, and healthy fatty acids.
Turkey – Turkey is a lean protein that is rich in essential amino acids. It helps support and maintain lean muscle mass and contains selenium, niacin, iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, and various B vitamins, which are great for energy, digestion, and metabolism.
In addition to turkey, these recipes also contain turkey hearts, liver, and gizzards which are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals and add a whole prey approach to the recipe.
Bone Broth contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, which all help promote collagen. Bone broth is ideal for joint health, mobility, digestive health, and overall immunity.
Sweet Potatoes are rich in vitamin A, which is great for vision health. They are also a great source of dietary fiber and are packed with vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, and potassium, which aid in maintaining healthy digestion and immunity.
Russet Potatoes are high in carbohydrates and have a fiber-to-protein ratio that will help your dog feel full. As long as they are cooked properly, they are a good source of potassium, vitamins C and B6. They also contain niacin, magnesium, iron, thiamine, and dietary fiber, which aid in digestion and nervous system function.
Rice is a common ingredient in grain-inclusive dog foods. It can be easily digestible if properly cooked but is of moderate nutritional value. The type of rice is not specified in A Pup Above’s ingredient list.
Green Beans are a healthy fiber source that is also rich in vitamin K, riboflavin, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, and phosphorus. Green beans are great for healthy digestion and aid in the metabolism of carbohydrates and protein.
Tomatoes are high in fiber, which helps support healthy digestion. They are also rich in vitamins A and C for healthy immune function and healthy skin and coat.
Carrots are a low-calorie source of vitamin A as beta-carotene which supports healthy vision. They are also a great source of fiber, vitamins C and K, and potassium.
Tumeric is a phytonutrient and superfood that acts as an anti-inflammatory. Studies show that turmeric can support healthy joint mobility and fight other forms of inflammation within the body.
Thyme is a beneficial herb that is a safe and healthy superfood that is rich in vitamins and minerals that help support immunity, bone health, and cellular function.
Parsley is an herb that is rich in vitamins A, C, and K. It helps support healthy digestion, immune function, and bone health.
Where Can I Buy A Pup Above?
A Pup Above can be purchased on their website and can also be found in certain natural pet food stores across the country. To find these foods in a store near you, simply go to their website and click on their “Find a Store” tab.
This is not a subscription-only service like some other fresh dog food brands. They do offer subscription options that can save you time and money but you are free to order online as a one-time purchase just as easily.
Does A Pup Above Only Offer Fresh Food?
A Pup Above doesn’t only offer a fresh food line, they also have some unique dry food options. Their dry foods are cooked using a process called “Nutridry,” which gently dries out the whole food ingredients while preserving all the nutrients and flavor.
Is A Pup Above an Eco-Friendly Brand?
A Pup Above places a lot of its focus on being as eco-friendly as possible. This company puts forth efforts on a lot of fronts in terms of sustainability, which can be a rare find in pet food companies.
What is the Shelf Life of A Pup Above Fresh Foods?
The fresh foods come vacuum sealed and can be frozen or refrigerated. If left unopened, the food will last 14 days in the refrigerator. If opened and thawed, it will last for 7 days.
What Makes A Pup Above Special?
A Pup Above stands out from the competition in quite a few ways. From their cooking method to their sustainable practices, here’s a breakdown of how A Pup Above stands out among its competition.
Expert Formulation – A Pup Above works with scientists and veterinary nutritionists to ensure each recipe is healthy and well-balanced based on AAFCO’s nutrient guidelines for maintenance so that each dog is getting a wholesome, complete diet.
Safety Testing – Food safety reports are available for A Pup Above that prove each lot was tested for various pathogens including salmonella, E. coli, and listeria, and given the all-clear before being sold.
Sous Vide Cooking Method – Sous vide means “under vacuum” in French. This cooking process involves vacuum sealing the food inside of a bag and cooking inside of a water bath at precise temperatures. This method preserves essential vitamins and nutrients that are often lost during traditional cooking methods and significantly enhances the flavor and aroma. Sous vide also causes less protein aggregation, thus enhancing the protein percentage of the food. This results in A Pup Above having around an average of 72 percent more protein than competitors.
Farm to Bowl Traceability – The lot code lookup tool on A Pup Above’s website is one of our favorite aspects of the brand. They are so open and transparent about their ingredients that you simply enter your specific bag’s lot number and it will show you where every ingredient ranging from the protein sources down to each vitamin and mineral on the list was sourced from. This truly is a farm-to-table approach that stands out among the rest.
Sustainable Practices – As we went over above, this company puts a lot of focus on being as environmentally friendly as possible. This includes animal welfare, local sourcing, recyclable packaging, traceability, donations to eco-friendly causes, and more.
What Are the Downfalls of A Pup Above?
In terms of quality and transparency, A Pup Above truly stands out as a top-notch dog food but certain fresh food brands will go the extra mile and customize the food to each specific dog’s needs, A Pup Above does not offer that customization feature.
Like other fresh dog food varieties, A Pup Above is expensive. It costs more money overall for high-quality, locally sourced ingredients that meet the same standards as human food. This naturally results in a higher upfront cost of the product. When you break down the cost per pound, they are slightly less expensive than most others but expensive nonetheless.
A Quick Look at A Pup Above Fresh Dog Food
A Pup Above does not have any history of recalls.
Reviews of A Pup Above’s Fresh Dog Food Recipes
1. Chicka Chicka Bow Wow
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, Chicken Liver, Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Bone Broth, Rice|
|Protein content:||12.8% min|
|Fat content:||5.2% min|
Like all recipes from A Pup Above, the Chicka Chicka Bow Wow recipe is cooked using the sous-vide method. This is an excellent grain-inclusive recipe that features chicken as the single source of protein. Chicken liver, sweet potatoes, chicken bone broth, and rice are the following top ingredients.
It’s nice to know there are no unnecessary ingredients, as all A Pup Above foods are free from by-products, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Unlike a lot of dog foods, the ingredient list is limited and contains only familiar, traceable ingredients.
The chicken is free-range and is never exposed to antibiotics, steroids, or growth hormones. The veggies are all non-GMO and the added superfoods are in place for extra digestive and immune support. We also love that it contains healthy chicken bone broth and is packed with essential vitamins and chelated minerals for optimal absorption.
You can see by the guaranteed analysis that the protein content of 12.8% minimum is higher when compared to competitors’ chicken recipes. It arrives in a very aesthetically pleasing, colorful package and the food is vacuum sealed inside.
Once thawed, the vacuum-sealed plastic can be peeled back and the food comes out as a whole piece, so you don’t have to worry about scraping out the contents as much.
The look of the food unpackaged isn’t as pretty as it appears in advertising but it was easy to break up with a fork and the dogs took to it without any hesitation. This recipe wouldn’t be ideal for dogs that suffer from chicken allergies, but this recipe gets a thumbs up all across the board and is even picky-eater-approved.
2. Porky’s Luau
|Main ingredients:||Pork, pork liver, sweet potatoes, pork bone broth, green beans|
|Protein content:||13.6% min|
|Fat content:||5.2% min|
The Porky’s Luau recipe starts with pork, pork liver, sweet potatoes, pork bone broth, and green beans. This recipe is protein-rich from pigs that are not kept in crates and are free of artificial growth hormones, steroids, and the use of antibiotics.
The fiber-rich, nutritious vegetables are all non-GMO and the pork bone broth is packed with collagen and healthy amino acids. Pork is fatty meat when compared to other top protein sources, so dogs that suffer from pancreatitis may be better off with an alternate protein.
Like all of A Pup Above’s recipes, it is packed full of nutritious vitamins and chelated minerals. The ingredients are simple and easily traceable right on the company’s website.
This is one of the two grain-free recipes from the company. Our dogs gobbled up the pork recipe like it was a Christmas ham and didn’t think twice about it.
3. Texas Beef Stew
|Main ingredients:||Beef, beef liver, russet potatoes, tomatoes, beef bone broth|
|Protein content:||13.8% min|
|Fat content:||6.9% min|
The Texas Beef Stew recipe is another delicious option that was well-received by the dogs and has fully traceable single-sourced protein ingredients. This grain-free recipe starts with beef, beef liver, russet potatoes, tomatoes, and beef bone broth.
Beef is rich in protein and supports healthy muscles and the liver gives an additional kick of vitamins and minerals. The beef is ranch-raised and free from antibiotics and artificial growth hormones.
Russet potatoes aren’t my favorite ingredient because of the high carbohydrate content but they can aid in digestion and contain healthy vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes are typically healthy and well-tolerated, though they are acidic and could cause GI upset in those with more sensitive stomachs.
Another protein would be necessary for those that suffer from a beef allergy, but overall this recipe is healthy and packed full of vitamins and easily absorbed chelated minerals. The bone broth helps support skin health, joints, and mobility.
Our dogs ate this right up but we did experience a slight amount of gas, which is typical when they eat beef. The gas resolves easily, especially since A Pup Above has guidelines on proper transition.
4. Turkey Pawella
|Main ingredients:||Turkey, turkey hearts, turkey livers, turkey gizzards, tomatoes|
|Protein content:||13.8% min|
|Fat content:||7.0% min|
The Turkey Pawella was our second favorite recipe behind the Chicka Chicka Bow Wow. Turkey is a great source of lean protein that is always well-tolerated by dogs. This recipe offers more of a whole prey approach by including turkey hearts, livers, and gizzards.
The recipe contains turkey bone broth for that kick of collagen support, it is just further down the list compared to the other recipes. The tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C but they are naturally acidic, which could cause stomach upset in more sensitive dogs.
Turkey Pawella is grain inclusive with some added rice in the mix alongside the blend of vitamins and chelated minerals. Like all others, each ingredient is fully traceable on the company website. Other than fish, turkey is a protein source that makes a great choice for allergy sufferers.
This turkey recipe was gobbled up by our household and the bowls were licked clean. It certainly gets the two thumbs (and paws) up under our roof.
What We Have to Say
Delivery and Packaging
We had A Pup Above delivered right to our door. It came securely packed in a styrofoam cooler inside of a sturdy cardboard box. The food was packed neatly into the cooler with dry ice and was perfectly frozen upon arrival.
The packaging is appealing and the food is vacuum packed in plastic with each pack containing one pound. You have the choice between 3-pound bags and 7-pound bags when purchasing their fresh food. I thawed what I needed in the refrigerator and placed the rest in the freezer.
When it was thawed and ready to serve, it was as simple as breaking into the plastic, and the entire chunk of food slid out into the bowl. I like this because it makes it easier to serve and you don’t have to worry about a lot of wet food sticking to the sides and needing to be scooped out, which can get messy. Since the packaging is recyclable, it all went right into the recycling bin once we were done.
Quality and Convenience
I am thoroughly impressed with both the quality and convenience of A Pup Above. You can choose to order as needed or opt for a subscription, so it suits anyone. I also love that you can find it in local stores because I tend to be forgetful and if I need dog food fast, I like to be able to hop in the car and go grab it.
I tried the lot code lookup tool on the websites for my food bags and it quickly pops up all the information about each ingredient. This includes the area it was sourced and the detailed description of each item. You don’t have to question whether the quality is there, it’s right in front of you.
The food is not as visually appealing as you see in the advertisements, but that’s to be expected with frozen food. I can assure you that it didn’t bother the dogs one bit. They loved every last recipe. I have a picky eater and you would have never known this about her when she was served the food.
I fed A Pup Above as a topper for our young one’s puppy food since these recipes are formulated for adult dogs. My full-grown German Shepherd was more than happy to be served the full meal plan.
The verdict: bowls licked clean, happy dogs, and a happy owner.
What Other Users Are Saying
Rather than limiting you to our opinion of A Pup Above, we dug a bit further to see what other dog owners have to say. Opinions differ and it’s always a good idea to obtain some different perspectives.
For the most part, others had nothing but great things to say about the company and the food. We saw reviews claiming that it was a lifesaver for those that struggled with lack of appetite due to health-related issues and was also well-received by picky eaters.
Others saw improvement in digestion, skin and coat health, and overall energy and vitality after switching to A Pup Above. There were some complaints about certain batches containing more veggies than expected and there were also complaints about the price.
Overall, A Pup Above gets impressive reviews from consumers all over the country and comes highly recommended by many.
A Pup Above is a high-quality, well-reviewed fresh dog food brand that utilizes the unique cooking process of sous-vide. They offer four fresh, sustainably farmed single-sourced protein recipes that dogs will go crazy for.
They are one of the most transparent dog food brands in terms of traceability with their lot lookup tool and they test every batch before it leaves their USDA-certified facility.
A Pup Above may be on the expensive side like all other fresh pet foods, but they meet quality with sustainability and the dogs absolutely love it.