Wellness Core Tender Bites Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Wellness Core Tender Bites product line lists 3 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 links below to compare price and package sizes at an online retailer.
- Wellness Core Tender Bites Puppy Formula [G]
- Wellness Core Tender Bites Ocean Formula [M]
- Wellness Core Tender Bites Original Formula [M]
Wellness Core Tender Bites Original Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Wellness Core Tender Bites Original Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned turkey, deboned chicken, chickpeas, peas, gelatin, vegetable glycerin, tomato pomace, salt, dried cultured skim milk, ground flaxseed, sunflower lecithin, natural flavor, chicory root extract, zinc propionate, potassium citrate, apples, blueberries, mixed tocopherols added to preserve freshness, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, spinach, broccoli, zinc proteinate, parsley, zinc sulfate, dried kale, carrots, taurine, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, calcium carbonate, niacin, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, manganese sulfate, vitamin A supplement, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, Yucca schidigera extract, calcium iodate, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), rosemary extract, green tea extract, spearmint extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.8%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||39%||26%||27%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||30%||49%||21%|
The first two ingredients in this dog food are turkey and chicken. Although quality items, raw poultry 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, these items would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The third ingredient includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.
However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fourth ingredient lists 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.
The fifth ingredient is 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 sixth ingredient is vegetable glycerin. Glycerin is used in the food industry as a natural sweetener and as a humectant to help preserve the moisture content of a product.
The seventh ingredient is tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
The eighth 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 ninth ingredient is dried cultured skim milk. Cultured nonfat milk is similar to buttermilk. So, it’s rich in calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D.
And because the fermentation process used to make it utilizes most of the lactose in the milk, this item can be considered a nutritious addition to the recipe.
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, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
Next, this recipe includes flaxseed, 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, we find taurine, 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.
Wellness Core Tender Bites
Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Wellness Core Tender Bites 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 39% and a mean fat level of 24%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 30% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.
Above-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 peas, chickpeas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a significant amount of meat.
However, with 49% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 30% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
Wellness Core Tender Bites is a grain-free dry dog food using a significant amount of named meats as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 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.
Wellness 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.
- Wellness Dog Food Recall of March 2017 (3/18/2017)
- Wellness Dog Food Recall October 2012 (10/30/2012)
- Wellness Dog Food Recall May 2012 (5/5/2012)
Readers interested in Wellness Core dog food may also wish to check out these popular pages, too…
Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
05/20/2019 Last Update