Tender and True Dog Food (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Tender and True canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Tender and True product line includes 5 canned dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Tender and True Organic Turkey and Liver [A]
  • Tender and True Organic Chicken and Liver [A]
  • Tender and True Turkey and Brown Rice (4 stars) [A]
  • Tender and True Chicken and Brown Rice (4 stars) [A]
  • Tender and True Ocean Whitefish and Potato (4 stars) [A]

Tender and True Organic Turkey and Liver was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Tender and True Organic Turkey and Liver Recipe

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 39% | Fat = 23% | Carbs = 31%

Ingredients: Organic turkey, water sufficient for processing, organic pea flour, organic chicken liver, organic chicken heart, salt, organic dried peas, tricalcium phosphate, agar-agar, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, choline chloride, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), organic chicken broth, organic sunflower oil, tricalcium phosphate, zinc proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, iron proteinate, niacin supplement, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, vitamin A supplement, sodium selenite, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, biotin, manganese proteinate, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 10.2%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis9%5%NA
Dry Matter Basis39%23%31%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%44%25%
Protein = 31% | Fat = 44% | Carbs = 25%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.1

Turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.

The third ingredient is pea flour, a powder made from roasted yellow peas. Pea flour contains as much as 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fifth ingredient includes chicken heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.

The sixth ingredient is salt (also known as sodium chloride). Salt is a common additive in many dog foods. That’s because sodium is a necessary mineral for all animals — including humans.

However, since the actual amount of salt added to this recipe isn’t disclosed on the list of ingredients, it’s impossible to judge the nutritional value of this item.

The seventh ingredient includes dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The eighth ingredient is tricalcium phosphate, a beneficial source of calcium and phosphorous. In addition, this additive is used in canned foods as an emulsifier — an agent designed to disperse a food’s fats more evenly in water.

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 three notable exceptions

First, we find agar agar, a natural vegetable gelatin derived from the cell walls of certain species of red algae. Agar is rich in fiber and is used in wet pet foods as a gelling agent.

Next, we note the use of sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

And lastly, this food 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.

Tender and True
Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Tender and True canned dog food looks like an above-average wet 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 39%, a fat level of 23% and estimated carbohydrates of about 31%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 38% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 32% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea flour and dried peas, this looks like the profile of a wet dog food containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Tender and True is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Tender and True Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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Dog Food Coupons
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Special FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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

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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.

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Notes and Updates

05/04/2018 Last Update

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition