Tender and True Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Tender and True product line includes 6 dry 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.
Use the links below to check prices and package sizes at an online retailer.
- Tender and True Chicken and Brown Rice (4 stars) [A]
- Tender and True Turkey and Brown Rice (4 stars) [A]
- Tender and True Organic Turkey and Liver Grain Free [A]
- Tender and True Organic Chicken and Liver Grain Free [A]
- Tender and True Whitefish and Potato Grain Free (5 stars) [A]
- Tender and True Salmon and Sweet Potato Grain Free (5 stars) [A]
Tender and True Whitefish and Potato Grain Free recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Tender and True Whitefish and Potato Grain Free
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Whitefish, chicken meal, whitefish meal, dried potato, tapioca starch, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried beet pulp, flaxseed meal, potato starch, chicken liver digest meal, chicken liver meal, chicken liver, salt, choline chloride, taurine, potassium chloride, ascorbic acid, vitamin E supplement, zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, manganous oxide, manganese proteinate, inositol, ferrous sulfate, niacin, vitamin B12 supplement, zinc oxide, iron proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, riboflavin supplement, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, sodium selenite, copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, copper proteinate, citric acid (preservative), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, potassium iodide
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.7%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||19%||40%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||39%||33%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.
Although it is a quality item, raw fish contains up to 73% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient lists whitefish 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.1
The fourth ingredient is dried potato, a dehydrated item usually made from the by-products of potato processing. In most cases, dried potato can contain about 10% dry matter protein which can have a slight affect on our estimate of the total meat content of this recipe.
The fifth ingredient is tapioca starch, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The sixth ingredient lists chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The seventh item is 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 eighth ingredient is flaxseed meal, one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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.
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 no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Next, taurine is an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.
Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.
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 Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Tender and True dog food looks like an above-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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the dried potato and flaxseed meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Tender and True lists both with-grain and grain-free dry dog foods that use a moderate amount of named meat meal as their main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
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
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Tender and True. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
07/28/2019 Last Update