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A Pup Above: A Hands-On Review of This Slow-Cooked Dog Food

Brand Reviews By Meg Marrs 15 min read September 24, 2021

a pup above

Looking for a fresh-and-tasty food for your four-footer? Of course, you are! Your dog is your best friend, and you certainly want him to enjoy the best the dog-food world has to offer.

And that means feeding your pup a fresh option that looks, smells, and tastes like real food.

There’s nothing wrong with traditional kibbles or canned options, but if you just want the best-tasting doggo dinner you can get your hands on, nothing can compare with fresh, human-grade dog food.  

But there are a number of fresh food options on the market, and owners often have trouble deciding which one is best for their pet.

Don’t worry! We’re here to help!

Below, we take an in-depth look at one of the leading fresh dog food manufacturers around: A Pup Above. I tried some of their foods with my fantastic four-footer, Remy, and will be sharing our experiences – as well as everything you need to know about this brand – below.

Let’s jump right in!

a pup above review
Mom, stop messing with your phone and feed me the noms!

A Pup Above Fresh Dog Food: Key Takeaways

  • A Pup Above is a fresh dog food brand who offers premium dog dinners made from human-grade ingredients. You can choose from four different recipes (or a sampler pack containing one of each), and they’ll be shipped straight to your door.
  • A Pup Above recipes are designed to be supremely tasty for dogs. In addition to being made from top-notch ingredients, all of the brand’s recipes are slow-cooked using sous vide cooking techniques for maximum pup-pleasing flavor.
  • I let my dog try all four A Pup Above recipes and will share our experiences below. We’ll dive into the details a bit later, but my pupper sure did seem to love the taste of these high-quality meals.
  • You can get 25% off! A Pup Above is offering K9 of Mine readers a special discount – get 25% off any subscription order when you use code K9OFMINE25 !

Don’t want to read? Check out our video review of A Pup Above below:

A Pup Above: The Brand at a Glance

Troubled by the lack of transparency in dog foods, A Pup Above founders Ruth and Javier decided to create a dog food that – in their words – “make it super simple to know what’s in your dog’s bowl.”

And this wasn’t just for Lola (their adorable four-footer) – they wanted to make sure all dog owners could know exactly what was in their pup’s food. Further, they wanted to ensure that the ingredients and cooking techniques used would result in a top-notch product that other owners would be happy to feed their four-footers.

So, they started A Pup Above.

Today, the brand offers four different dog food recipes, which you can order online and have shipped right to your front door. Each recipe includes a clear-and-simple ingredient list, and the foods are prepared in a special manner that yields a super-moist-and-tasty final product that drives dogs wild.

A Pup Above Recipes: Options for Your Dog’s Dinner

A Pup Above currently offers four different recipes (which, we must admit, all have pretty fun names):

  • Chicka Chicka Bow Bow
  • Porky’s Luau
  • Texas Beef Stew
  • Turkey Pawella

Both poultry recipes are grain-inclusive, while the beef and pork recipes are both grain-free, so you can select the best option for your specific pet.

You can also order a sampler pack, which includes one of each recipe. This is a great option for owners who’re trying the brand for the first time, and it’s actually what we tested for this review.

Check out the ingredients for their Chicka Chicka Bow Bow recipe below:

Ingredients List

Chicken, chicken liver, sweet potatoes, spinach, apples...,

rice, kale, turmeric, thyme, parsley, minerals [dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium oxide, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, potassium iodide, sodium selenite], vitamins [Vitamin D3 supplement, Vitamin E supplement].

This recipe has a minimum crude protein content of 14%, which comes out to 11.48 grams of protein per gram.

That’s nearly twice as much protein as some other fresh food brands, and it means that your dog will be getting the protein that he needs, loves, and craves.  

pup above protein

Ordering A Pup Above: How to Get Your Hands on These Tastebud-Tempting Meals!

One of the downsides of ordering many fresh dog foods is the actual enrollment process. Most fresh dog food brands require you to fill out an elaborate (and time-consuming) questionnaire about your dog’s physical characteristics and health status.

And then, you’ll have to enroll in a subscription program, which isn’t always easy to get out of if you change your mind.

But A Pup Above is different – they make ordering very easy, via their streamlined process, which doesn’t require you to answer a bunch of questions.

This is all you have to do:

  1. Decide which recipe you want for your dog (or choose the sampler pack, if you’d prefer).
  2. Decide the bag size you want (3 or 7 pounds). Note that A Pup Above provides a handy feeding guidelines chart you can consult to figure out how much to order for your pupperino.
  3. Choose whether you want to make a one-time purchase or opt for a subscription. If you’d prefer to save a bit of cash, sign up for 2, 4, 6, or 8 weeks’ worth of food as part of A Pup Above’ subscription option. Normally signing up for a subscription gets you 10% off. But, use our exclusive code K9OFMINE25 at checkout and you can get 25% off!
  4. Click on the “Add to Cart” button, enter the basic shipping and credit card info (which your browser will probably do for you) and you’re done! Just sit back and wait for the food to show up on your porch.

Note that A Pup Above backs their foods with a 100% tail wags guarantee. If you or your dog don’t love the food, they’ll refund your entire first purchase.

What Sets A Pup Above Apart from the Competition?

When trying to sort through the litany of fresh food options on the market and choose the best dog food for your pet, it’s helpful to identify the things that make a given brand’s foods stick out from the pack.

For example, some brands are noteworthy for employing different types of nutritionists than others, while other fresh dog food brands place a premium on ingredient sourcing or customization options.

A Pup Above has three primary characteristics that allow their foods to carve out a very well-defined niche in the fresh food world, and by considering these three features, you’ll be better prepared to make an informed choice.

A Pup Above Uses Sous-Vide Cooking Style

A Pup Above sous vide foods

One of the most notable characteristics of A Pup Above meals is the manner in which they’re cooked.

Unlike some other brands, who use high-temperature cooking methods that can leave your pup’s food with a dry, less-than-awesome texture, A Pup Above cooks all of their fresh foods sous-vide-style.

For the unfamiliar, sous vide cooking is a special technique, in which raw foods are vacuum sealed in a plastic bag and then submerged in a water bath. The water is heated to a relatively low cooking temperature, which allows the food to cook very gently and over a long period of time.

This results in a final product that is juicy, tender, and bursting with flavor – all things your dog is sure to appreciate.

Typically, you’d have to invest in some fancy-schmancy cooking gear or visit a high-end restaurant to sample sous vide food yourself, but you can now hook your dog up with this specially cooked food by simply ordering some online!

A Pup Above Focuses on Sustainability

ugly produce is eco friendly

We don’t have to tell you that the world is currently suffering from a number of environmental problems, ranging from climate change to plastic pollution to a biodiversity crisis. We all have to do our part to address these issues, and that includes the manufacturers and retailers involved in the pet industry.

Simply put, dog food brands need to embrace sustainable and eco-friendly practices.

Fortunately, A Pup Above goes above and beyond in this respect does far more than their fair share of the heavy environmental lifting.

For example, all of the brand’s meals are shipped in 100% recyclable packaging. And this includes everything – the box, the box liner, and the individual bags the food comes in.

They also do things use “ugly” produce in their recipes.

These ingredients are perfectly nutritious and delicious, but they just lack the aesthetic appeal of the fruits and veggies you may see at your local grocery store. This helps to prevent these fruits and veggies from ending up in being wasted and tossed in landfills, and it also means that the fuel and labor used to grow and harvest them wasn’t all in vain.

(Using ugly produce also helps the brand save money and pass these savings on to you, but we’re focusing on the environmental benefits at the moment.)

A Pup Above also cuts checks that help the planet. Specifically, they do so by donating 1% of their revenue to White Buffalo Land Trust – and organization that is involved with restorative agricultural practices. This helps to protect our soil and water, and keep the planet generally healthier in the process.

A Pup Above Is a Relatively Affordable Fresh Food

A Pup Above is an affordable fresh food

Unfortunately, fresh dog foods are often very expensiveit just costs more money to cook foods with the kind of high-quality, human-grade ingredients used in these recipes than it does to make a kibble with feed-grade ingredients.

But a surprising number of dog owners have decided that it is worth shelling out a few more bucks to feed their floof one of the tastiest, healthiest dog foods.

However, that doesn’t mean everyone can afford these kinds of meals or that you don’t want to save as much money as you can in the process.

And this is one of the areas in which A Pup Above shines. Simply put, they’re meals are much more affordable than most of the other fresh food options on the market.

Per the brand’s figures, A Pup Above meals typically cost about $1.88 per day to feed a 5-pound dog.

By contrast, you’ll be looking at paying $2.56 to $2.85 a day to feed foods offered by three other leading fresh food manufacturers (Nom Nom, The Farmer’s Dog, and Pet Plate).

In fact, as a K9 of Mine reader, you can enjoy a 25% discount off your pup’s first meal delivery when you subscribe by clicking this link and entering the code K9OFMINE25 at checkout!

Our Experience with A Pup Above

pup above and remy

Remy and I decided to sample A Pup Above ourselves and report back to our readers with our findings. The news is in: Remy’s loves A Pup Above!

But to be honest, this isn’t really a huge surprise.

When it comes to the picky eater spectrum, Remy is on the “I’ll basically eat anything” end. I’ve never seen him turn his nose up at a dog food. This means that Remy’s gold star endorsement isn’t really worth a ton.

That being said, while Remy is always pretty excited about dinner time, he seemed especially boisterous once we switched to A Pup Above’s fresh food. He even began scampering over to the kitchen every time I opened the fridge, hoping I might pull out a packet of his beloved new food.

From a human perspective, I really appreciate the texture and consistency of A Pup Above’s food. The food blocks are a bit spongier and hold together better than other fresh foods we’ve tried. I believe this is due to the sous vide cooking method, although I couldn’t say for sure. Since the food doesn’t break apart as easily, it was less messy and just generally easier to handle.

a pup above packets

The gross-out factor was also more minimal – I didn’t even mind using my hands to squish the Turkey Pawella into Remy’s Kong dog toy (fresh food like A Pup Above works great in stuffed Kongs)!

a pup above and kong

A Pup Above: Pros and Cons

We obviously think A Pup Above is a pretty great fresh dog food option, and it worked out pretty well for Remy. But no food is perfect, and there are good things and not-so-good things about the brand’s foods, which we’ll discuss below:

Pros

  • These foods taste fantastic. One of the primary selling points of these foods is their taste, and judging from my dog’s reaction, A Pup Above certainly achieved their goal of crafting doggone delicious dog food thats satisfies even the pickiest pooches. In addition to being made with high-quality, human-grade ingredients and cooked in the decadent sous-vide manner, A Pup Above foods all feature a collagen-rich natural gravy, which most canines will love.
  • A Pup Above foods are relatively affordable. Compared to several other fresh dog food brands, A Pup Above’s recipes are more affordable, which will leave you with more money for treats, toys, and other things to spoil Spot.
  • The ordering process is very simple and easy to navigate. We don’t know how many owners set out to buy a fresh food only to quit because of the lengthy sign-up process, but we bet that A Pup Above doesn’t have this problem. It is exceedingly easy to visit their site, pick a food, and get it shipped to your front door.
  • A Pup Above offers grain-inclusive and grain-free options. Unless your dog has a specific intolerance for or allergy to grains, it is usually wise to select a grain-inclusive dog food, featuring rice, oats, or some other nutritious grain. However, many fresh dog food brands only offer grain-free foods, which leaves owners in a tough spot. Fortunately, that’s not an issue for A Pup Above, as their poultry recipes are both grain-inclusive.
  • We love that A Pup Above does their part to help the environment. In the 21st century, it’s important that manufacturers and retailers do their part to help protect the planet. And thanks to their environmental philanthropy, reliance on recyclable packaging, and use of “ugly” produce, A Pup Above accomplishes this goal with ease.
  • You don’t have to enroll in a subscription program if you don’t want to. Many owners are interested in trying fresh foods for Fido, but they don’t want to enroll in a subscription service. And we get it! Even if subscription programs save you a bit of money, you may just want to order some food on a one-off basis at times. A Pup Above makes this exceedingly easy to do, thereby allowing you to skip the need to enroll in a subscription plan you may not want.

Cons

  • While more affordable than most other fresh food brands, A Pup Above is still more expensive than kibble. Simply put, if you’re a budget-limited owner who needs to save money wherever possible, you probably won’t find any fresh food – even A Pup Above, which is more affordable than most others in this category – to be a good fit for you and your dog. However, you may want to consider adding their recipes to your budget-friendly dog food as mixers or toppers. This will help improve the taste of your dog’s food in an economical manner.
  • A Pup Above meals aren’t as customized as some other fresh foods. This goes hand-in-hand with the brand’s simplified ordering process. They try to keep things simple for owners while ordering, but this means skipping some of the dog food customization options other brands offer (such as leaving out an ingredient your dog is allergic to, or tailoring the meals to your dog’s exact size and age).
  • You’ll have to get creative about storing leftovers. This is a relatively minor problem, but A Pup Above doesn’t include a leftover container with your purchase the way some other fresh food brands do. So, if you end up opening a bag Fido can’t finish, you’ll need to store the remaining food in a container of your own.  
  • A Pup Above meals don’t contain probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help regulate your dog’s digestive tract, so many food manufacturers include them in their recipes. But this isn’t a huge problem — you can just add a standalone dog probiotic supplement to your pet’s food yourself.

Bottom Line: Is A Pup Above a Good Dog Food?

As far as we’re concerned, A Pup Above is a great fresh food option that all owners should consider.

It checks off most of the major requirements you could want in a dog food – these dog food recipes are made in the USA and crafted by a veterinary nutritionist, they’re full of nutritious, high-quality, human-grade ingredients, and they are super easy to order and have delivered.

But more than anything else, these foods are just tasty. And we think that’s a more important factor than many owners consider.

We talk a lot about things like canine enrichment and ensuring that your dog enjoys the highest quality of life possible. It’s only fair – our dogs bring so much joy to our lives, we should do everything we can to make sure theirs are full of joy too.

One relatively easy way to keep your dog’s tail wagging is by plopping down a drool-inducing dinner for him every night.   

You wouldn’t want to eat a gross-tasting food day-in, day-out, and neither does your dog. And if you are looking for one of the tastiest dog dinners around, you simply must consider A Pup Above.

Made with human-grade ingredients, cooked via sous vide techniques, and coated in a pawtastic natural gravy, these recipes simply drive most dogs wild. They certainly had my pup begging for more!

Give A Pup Above a try. It’s easy to order and you’ll get a full refund if your dog doesn’t love it. What have you got to lose?

A Terrifically Tasty Fresh Food Option for Dogs

This is a sponsored placement, in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more

APA-bowl 01

A Pup Above

Fresh dog food cooked in sous vide fashion and full of delicious, human-grade ingredients.

Don’t forget, you can get 25% off A Pup Above subscriptions with code K9OFMINE25

***

Have you ever had the opportunity to try A Pup Above with your dog? What did you think of it? More importantly, what did your pooch think of it? Would you order it again? Have you already enrolled in a subscription plan?

Let us know your experiences in the comments below!

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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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