Tuffy’s Gold Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Tuffy’s Gold Dog Food gets the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Tuffy’s Gold product line includes five dry dog foods, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance, one for all life stages and one for growth (Premium Puppy).

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Tuffy’s Gold Premium Adult
  • Tuffy’s Gold Premium Puppy
  • Tuffy’s Gold Premium Maintenance
  • Tuffy’s Gold Premium Performance
  • Tuffy’s Gold Premium Lamb Meal and Rice

Tuffy’s Gold Premium Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Tuffy's Gold Premium Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 43%

Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, whole grain ground corn, whole grain ground wheat, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols [a source of vitamin E] and citric acid), natural flavors, beet pulp, dicalcium phosphate, brewers rice, dried egg product, flax seed, brewers yeast, yeast culture, fish meal (a source of fish oil), salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, chelated minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, cobalt proteinate, yeast fermentation solubles), vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (a source of vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%20%43%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%40%36%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 40% | Carbs = 36%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.

In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (conventional meat).

On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.

The second ingredient is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

The third ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).

The fourth ingredient is poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).

After the natural flavor, we find beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

The seventh ingredient is dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.

The eighth ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The ninth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With five notable exceptions

First, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

In addition, we note the inclusion of fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.2

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

Next, this recipe includes yeast fermentation solubles, a by-product of commercial fermentation operations. This ingredient is most likely included in this recipe as a digestive enzyme.

And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Tuffy’s Gold Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Tuffy’s Gold Dog Food looks like an average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 29%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 43%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.

Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the mild protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Tuffy’s Gold Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken by-product or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.


A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

04/13/2017 Last Update

  1. “Last Update” field at the end of this review reflects the last time we attempted to visit this product’s website. The current review itself was last updated 2/21/2014
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Tobias C

    I’m not so sure about Diamond though… My state (Illinois) is not served by the problematic South Carolina plant but the Missouri plant. Is that better?

  • Bob K

    Menards has several brands and formulas that are rated 3 stars or higher including Diamond Natural that has many 4 star rated formulas.

  • Tobias C

    This food is the best value I’ve found and I can get it easily at Menards. I feed it often in rotation with some other foods. Tip: Get the Puppy version. Puppy formulations are the same as all life stages and the puppy version has a little more protein (28%) and same kcalpercup (around 460) at the same price.

  • dogist

    Hi Liesa,

    Trader Joes, any health food store, some costcos

  • Liesa Williams

    Where do you buy the extra virgin coconut oil?? Thank You!

  • dogist

    Hi Liesa,

    I use and recommend a more natural approach to fungal infections of the feet and other parts of the skin.

    In a 1 gallon bottle mix;

    8 oz Hydrogen Peroxide – This will help remove any organic debris, such as skin flakes.

    16 oz Apple Cider Vinegar – The cloudy one made from real apples. ACV is a natural antifungal and antibiotic.

    4 oz unprocessed extra virgin coconut oil – Coconut oil might be the best natural antifungal out there. You can warm it first to liquefy it.

    Fill with water and shake well before each use. You can soak a washcloth and rub down his feet and any other areas that might need it. Stomach, groin and armpits are susceptible to fungal overgrowths. You can also clean his ears with it.

    You can use it 3 times a day until he starts to get better and then you can go to a couple of times a week. It does NOT need to be rinsed off.

  • Susan

    I buy the 500ml works out cheaper in the end & it last a long time…

  • Liesa Williams

    I am looking on the internet right now trying to find the best price on the Malaseb, I see I can get 250 or 500ml which do you recommend?

  • Susan

    Normally I’d see a change within 2 weeks of trying a new kibble, red paws would go away, itch would stop itching, ears would stop itching, he’d stop shaking his head ..u just have to watch that his skin & Paws don’t dry out from the rinse, I was soaking Patch feet in antiseptic lotion, it helped them but Patches feet the pads started to look all dry looking then vet said Malaseb it kills the fungus & leaves him feeling soooo soft & doesnt dry out his skin or feet (paws), I soap up his paws with the Malaseb & leave on as long as I can they say 5mins then rinse off, all the redness goes he doesnt want to lick them no more..

  • Liesa Williams

    I just know when he was on Tuffs Gold he didn’t smell. I have been using a dip on him but I have never heard of Malaseb, I will look it up. I have been using a dip I got off a vets page. 1 gallon water, hydrogen peroxide and apple cider vinegar. I have him on Natures Valley Instinct right now so I hope that will help.

  • Liesa Williams

    Thank you Carrie, It all happened when I tried him on this and I didn’t think it could be the food since it was suppose to be such a great dog food. I know when he was on Tuffe’s he didn’t have this problem or the smell. I did soak his feet in a solution I got off the internet from a vet. 1 gallon water, 1 cup hydergen peroxide and one cup or more of apple cider vinegar. This has helped I did get a bag of food Natures Variety Instinct that didn’t have any potato in it. I can’t really tell if that is helping or not. He has been on it around 3 weeks.

  • Carrie

    Liesa, Taste Of The Wild, probably had to much potato in it, for your boxer. You might want to try one of these brands that are good for dogs prone to yeast. Precise line, Foundation chicken meal and rice ,Sensicare lamb formula. Nutri-Source line, chicken and rice, lamb and rice. Grain free varieties Heartland Select, Seafood Select. Fromm line, Adult Gold. Apple cider vinegar diluted in water helps kill yeast. Soak your dogs feet in it, and dry feet really well afterwards.Please keep in mind yeast can take awhile to get rid of.

  • Susan

    Have you tried bathing feet & body in Malaseb medicated shampoo, I use this for my boys stinky paws, I dont know how the Tuffs Gold will help as it has wheat & corn, my boys kibble has corn & grites he has IBD & he’s on a vet diet& thats when his feet smell but he has no itch & fur looks beautiful but , Ive had no luck trying premium diets so it was back to vet diet maybe try another kibble that doesnt have Potatoes a low carb diet & Gluten free

  • Liesa Williams

    I bought this food for my boxer and he had a beautiful coat, but I had read the reviews and decided to give him Taste of the wild. Since then I have been battling a horrible smell from his feet. I thought it was a yeast problem so after many months on TOW I changed his food again to another protein high priced dog food. I was giving him a bath and washing his blankets due to the smell. I will be going back to Tuff’s Gold and keeping my fingers crossed that it will help him.

  • Nancy

    God bless the writers heart 🙂 will “share”