Waggers TenderMoist Dog Food (Pouch)

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Rating: ★★★★★

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Waggers TenderMoist Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Waggers TenderMoist product line includes three pouched recipes, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

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

  • Waggers TenderMoist Chicken Recipe
  • Waggers TenderMoist Chicken and Duck Recipe
  • Waggers TenderMoist Turkey and Salmon Recipe

Waggers TenderMoist Turkey and Salmon Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Waggers TenderMoist Turkey and Salmon Recipe

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 51% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 24%

Ingredients: ​​​Turkey, turkey heart, turkey liver, turkey meal, salmon, pork gelatin, vegetable glycerine, natural flavor, lecithin, pecan, lactic acid, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), glucono-delta-lactone, phosphoric acid, fructo-oligosaccharides, dl-methionine, choline chloride, taurine, ascorbic acid (a source of vitamin C), dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, calcium carbonate, vitamin E supplement, niacin, mineral oil, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, d-biotin, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxin hydrochloride, folic acid, zinc proteinate, zinc sulphate, ferrous sulphate, copper sulphate, manganese oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis36%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis51%17%24%
Calorie Weighted Basis44%36%20%
Protein = 44% | Fat = 36% | Carbs = 20%

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”.2

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

The second ingredient is turkey 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 third ingredient is turkey liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fourth ingredient is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

The fifth ingredient is salmon. Salmon is an oily marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.

The sixth ingredient is pork gelatin, a colorless, flavorless, translucent, brittle substance that’s irreversibly derived from the collagen found in the skin and bones of animals.

Although it consists mostly of protein (98-99% non-essential amino acids), gelatin is of only limited nutritional value to a dog.

The seventh ingredient is vegetable glycerine. Glycerine is used in the food industry as a natural sweetener and as a humectant to help preserve the moisture content of a product.

After the natural flavor, we find lecithin, a waxy substance obtained from soybeans. Although it’s commonly used to make fats more blendable, lecithin is believed to improve a dog’s skin and coat.

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 four 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, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener3 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

In addition, although we can’t be certain, mineral oil is apparently used in this recipe as a stool softener.

However, the inclusion of this additive can be controversial. That’s because the European Food Safety Authority has expressed some concern as to the long term health effects of using mineral oil in human food.4

And lastly, with the exception of zinc, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Waggers TenderMoist Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Waggers TenderMoist 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 51%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 23%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 51% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 23% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 33%.

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

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a moist product containing an abundance of meat.

Bottom line?

Waggers TenderMoist is a meat-based wet dog food using a generous amount of chicken and turkey as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically 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.

Waggers 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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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.

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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

08/22/2018 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 9/28/2015
  2. 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
  3. Wikipedia definition
  4. EFSA News Story dated 6/12/2012