TLC Whole Life Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The TLC Whole Life product line includes 2 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.
- TLC Whole Life Puppy Food [G]
- TLC Whole Life Dog Food (4 stars) [A]
TLC Whole Life Dog Food was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
TLC Whole Life Dog Food
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Lamb meal, chicken meal, oatmeal, chicken, whole grain barley, whole brown rice, millet, chicken fat, salmon meal, green peas, whole egg, chicken liver, potassium chloride, salmon oil, quinoa, flaxseed, lecithin, dl methionine, chicory root, vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, vitamin C, inositol, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin B1, riboflavin, beta-carotene, vitamin B6, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, tomato, glucosamine sulfate, choline chloride, Yucca schidigera extract, l-carnitine, mannan-oligosaccharides, carrots, apples, sweet potato, blueberries, cranberries, green lipped mussels, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium thermophilum, thyme, cassia, anise, horseradish, juniper, ginger, yarrow, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||18%||45%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||37%||39%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.
The second ingredient is chicken meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The third ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.
The fourth ingredient is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 fifth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The seventh ingredient is millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.
The eighth ingredient is 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 ninth ingredient is salmon 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 next ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the 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 five notable exceptions…
First, salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
Next, 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.
In addition, quinoa, (pronounced keen-wah) is not a true cereal grain but a plant prized for its gluten-free seeds.
Compared to most other grain-type ingredients, it is high in protein (about 12-18%), dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.
Next, this recipe contains mannanoligosaccharide (also known as MOS), a nutritional supplement likely included here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the pet’s intestinal tract.
And lastly, this food includes 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.
TLC Whole Life Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, TLC Whole Life 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 61%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, quinoa and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
TLC Whole Life is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main sources 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.
TLC Dog Food
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.
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free recipes and dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
01/15/2018 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩