Wellness TruFood Baked Nuggets (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

Wellness TruFood Baked Nuggets Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Wellness TruFood product line includes five 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.

  • Wellness TruFood Puppy (4.5 stars) [U]
  • Wellness TruFood Small Breed (4.5 stars) [U]
  • Wellness TruFood Lamb and Lamb Liver (3.5 stars) [U]
  • Wellness TruFood Salmon and Turkey Liver (3.5 stars) [U]
  • Wellness TruFood Chicken and Chicken Liver (3.5 stars) [U]

Wellness TruFood Chicken and Chicken Liver recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Wellness TruFood Chicken and Chicken Liver

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 48%

Ingredients: Chicken, chickpeas, lentils, pea protein, chicken liver, chicken hearts, flaxseed, tomato pomace, chicken fat, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, natural flavor, choline chloride, salt, vitamin E supplement, zinc proteinate, spinach, ginger, glucosamine hydrochloride, mixed tocopherols added to preserve freshness, broccoli, chondroitin sulfate, parsley, blueberries, kale, purple carrots, niacin, apples, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, manganese proteinate, inulin, Yucca schidigera extract, sodium selenite, folic acid, calcium iodate, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, rosemary extract, green tea extract, spearmint extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%16%48%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%33%42%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 42%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% 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 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 third ingredient lists lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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

Although it is a quality item, raw organ meat contains about 80% 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 sixth 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 seventh ingredient is 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.

The eighth 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 ninth 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.

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 two notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.

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.

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 TruFood Baked Nuggets Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Wellness TruFood Baked Nuggets 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 29%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the chickpeas, lentils, pea protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Wellness TruFood Baked Nuggets is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 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.

Wellness 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
And Discounts

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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.

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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In any case, please be assured it is always our intention to remain objective, impartial and unbiased when conducting our analysis.

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Notes and Updates

07/19/2017 Last Update

{ 52 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. My yorkies had just had dentals and blood panels done before starting to use this food. All of them loved this food, the kibble size was perfect. Everything was going great and on July 20th I came home from work to one of them lethargic so rushed her to ER and she could not be saved. I threw out the food and snacks and bought a new bag of food. Sept 1st same thing happened with same results. We had a necropsy done on him and got the other 3 to their vet and then they were referred to specialist for ultra sounds, etc. Diesel passed due to his gallbladder rupturing and all of the other had very high number on their blood panel. We are still trying to stabilize the 3 remaining yorkies, they haven’t been able to get their shots updated, not able to give them their flea and heart worm monthly treatments. They were put on a special diet of fresh fish. Results were they could not process the protein from the food and it caused damage to their organs. I’m just ready for them to be “normal” again. Oh I forgot to tell you one lost their eyesight overnight in Sept too-SARDS.

  2. Amy The Toy Poodle says:

    Yes my toy poodle puppy as well, im transition to wellnes tru food by mixing wellness core and tru food. and i notice she throwing up . once read your comment im sure because of trufood.

  3. Shadow-Dancer6 says:

    Wellness has changed their recipe for Trufood. Meat is the first ingredient, but the next three are now chickpeas and pea proteins before gettubg back to meats. Id love an updated review when you have the time. 🙂

  4. I have 2 maltese on this food and they are doing great! The morsels are small which is an added benefit. When transitioning to a new food, it works well if you supplement with probiotics and enzymes. My dogs have no issues with this and their breath smells better too!.

  5. We switched to this food because we wanted to change up from his other food. Our 7 month old Brittany had a bad reaction to this food we think.

    His stools were lose and very dark. We just switched him back to his regular food, and are hoping this fixes it. The timing for his bowel issues is exactly timed to switching foods. He wouldn’t touch his food after the first few times.

    Anyone else have issues with very lose black stools after feeding their pup this?

  6. Both my dogs (boxer & labradoodle) are throwing up after eating
    Wellness TruFood Puppy. I have given them other Wellness Core food,
    Orijen, etc. in the past and they have never done this. This has
    happened a few times now. I have stopped feeding them this.

  7. eXMytheral says:

    It’s her anal glands, I noticed my dogs had anal gland issues while I first started feeding this… Turned out I just had to cut back on the food a bit and the issues went away.

  8. Bryan Ledford says:

    Sometimes dogs are intolerant to a particular ingredient. One of the more common ways that this presents itself is gas. It could be due to the small amount of fish that’s in the small breed formula. Also, some dogs I’ve had didn’t digest legumes very well. They would get very stinky. Maybe try the lamb formula? Good luck!

  9. That’s definitely her anal glands. Being overweight makes her more likely to have anal gland issues. You might want to try adding more fiber to her food and cutting back on the food. Canned pumpkin, the pure pumpkin kind, is a good source of fiber.

  10. Anal gland issues are frequently the result of a food intolerance. Your pup may be reacting to something in the food she’s currently eating. It could also be that the food doesn’t have enough fiber and she might need more fiber to help her anal glands express naturally.

  11. LabsRawesome says:

    Her anal glands are leaking. You can either take her to the vet and have them expressed, or you can go on YouTube and watch a few do it yourself videos.

  12. Ansley Robbins says:

    I have a 2 year Yorkie who is about 13lbs and very “broad” Id say. I started feeding wellness trufood small breed to her and I’ve recently noticed that whenever she gets nervous or scared she gives off this fishy scent from her butt. Like a skunk spraying. Has anybody else had this problem? The smell is terrible! And I don’t know if it’s from the food or not. :/ but she loves the food and has been eating good ever since we decided to change her food to this. Thanks!

  13. at Mrchewy.com its onlt $15 for a 3lb bag..delivered in 2 days 🙂

  14. NewYorkCityPomPoms says:

    My dogs are lapping this Tru Food up! We just bought a small bag of the chicken flavor (20 bucks for a 3lb bag. OUCH). and they are inhaling it!!! The never cared for reg Wellness this much. We like to rotate their food and just switched from reg wellness to canidae but they aren’t interested in it. So switching to Wellness again but trying their Tru Food and WHOA. The response from my three pomeranians is good.

  15. midwesterner says:

    I have a finicky 4 year puppy. Kept trying different foods, from dry to wet…to raw; nothing last more than few times. Mealtimes were tough, spent much time just to make sure he’d eat something. I could only buy a very small bag at a time, he’d not even eat it after 2 or 3 times in a row. Saw this in my local store, picked up the small bag…. and whoilaaa…. he finished it right away. I was still super cautious…. until he finished the 4th bag…. ! Finally I got the big bag….. and he still eats well so far. Pheew, hope they won’t change the formula.

  16. Ronda Pavlic says:

    Hi everyone! I switched from Natural Balance Grain free to Wellness TruFood a few months ago and have been very pleased. My 4 year old Maltese and my 8 month old Tibetan Spaniel both LOVE the Lamb and Turkey. The kibble is small and easy for them to eat. I top it with shaved FreshPet Vital (grain free) Beef and Bison, which I have always done for them and they absolutely LOVE the combination! Hopefully, unlike so many others (most recently Merrick) they will not sell out or out source or change the formula! 😉 I have changed foods several times in the past 4 years because of sell outs and the like, I’d like to stick to something good for them, reasonably priced (as in not as pricey as Acana) and that they like. 🙂 When I was looking into the switch originally, I had looked into Earthborne as well but Wellness came out with the TruFood and I am glad I chose it instead. My granddog is also on the Wellness Grain Free Weight Control formula and she loves it!

  17. Good to hear. It’s a shame. Wish he could handle it. The ingredients look awesome.

  18. Jan_Mom2Cavs says:

    Sorry to hear your dog did poorly with this food. Not all foods work for all dogs. Three of my four are eating it now combined with THK and doing great. I’m feeding the Salmon/Turkey. My fourth dog is eating THK and NV Raw Bites mixed. He has an intestinal illness we’re dealing with.

  19. Jan_Mom2Cavs says:

    Hi, all! I’ve been feeding Wellness Trufood for a little while now……at least since I received a 3lb. trial bag from them. We’ve gone through that and are 3/4 of the way through an 18lb. bag. I’m using the Salmon/Turkey. The dogs love it and eat it without any topper at all. Stools are good, coat is good, weight is good, their breath is good. I am even feeding this to Jasper now (who may have IBD, yet to be determined….he is on meds currently, too). He is also doing much better! I tried to go off this food and transition to Acana Singles Duck (to try to get variety) but it didn’t work all that well so back to Trufood. I know that this food is probably one of the most expensive foods out there but it’s all relative to me and if it keeps the dogs in good health without vet visits then it certainly is worth it.

  20. Paula Marks says:

    if you have used both for your dog — which does your dog prefer? I was wondering about changing to the regular adult food because of the difference in price.

  21. Marietta says:

    The size of the kibble is very small in the regular adult formula. It’s the same size as the small breed. I have both formulas. There’s a small “window” on the side of the bags so you can see the size. I hope I’ve helped answer your question.

  22. Don’t open for me! I’m sure the pugs will eat it just fine! I’ve got two bags sitting in my shopping cart right now! Thanks!

  23. DogFoodie says:

    It looks pretty small, Sandy. I have a bag at home and I’ll look this evening and let you know. If I go ahead and open the bag, I’ll post a picture. This is the one they sent me: http://brands.wellnesspetfood.com/trufood/dogs/baked-blends-salmon-turkey-liver-flaxseed

  24. Does anyone know the kibble size of the non-small breed recipes?

  25. Paula Marks says:

    Well, we have been using this food for 2 months now and Jazzy, my 7 pound papillon, still greets it with excitement. She is 8 years old now, but has lots of energy and loves to play. Great food! A bit costly. However, I bought my last food through Amazon as they had a special with no shipping. It was about 30% less.

  26. Priscilla Gallo Carnelos says:

    I have an 8 years old female MinPin that is an extremely picky eater and always have stomach issues…(spent thousands of dollars in the vet over the years). After years going from brand to brand, mixing wet food, appetite stimulants, (you named) trying to make her eat at least one meal a day, i came across the Trufood-Wellness brand for Small breeds – chickpeas and chicken flavor (she is 4lbs). She looks and act like a different dog now! I don’t need to mix in anything with the dry food! She eats just the dry food 2 time a day, sometimes 3!! She is energetic and vibrant and playful… I am so pleased with this line that wanted to spread the word in case someone is in the same situation as i was. I 100% recommended this brand and line.

  27. Crazy4dogs says:

    Supposedly, tapioca is hypoallergenic, which is why it’s often used in dog food.

  28. Paula Marks says:

    I have read that Tapioca flour is used in place of potato for dog food — it is fairly bland but helps thicken or bind and provides carbs — has some B vitamins and essential fatty acids. Tapioca has a good mix of minerals, including iron and calcium. — it is often recommended for dogs with allergies. It has a higher calorie count than potatoes.
    I well say that my Papillon is actually exited about eating -(a nice change)- I did up the amount a bit that I have been feeding her as she seems to need a little more of the trufood.

  29. Does anyone know how
    Wellness TruFood Tasty Pairings Natural Grain Free Wet Dog Food rate?

  30. sorry, i meant that. I have never seen it in any food. So I am guessing it is okay?

  31. It’s tapioca flour.

  32. What is tropical flour? This seems like a red flag, but not sure. I have never seen this on any dog food.

  33. Paula Marks says:

    Just started feeding this to our papillon. Using the small breed type. She was beginning to throw her other food out of her dish — but is carefully eating all of this in her bowl. Even transitioning it was funny as she would eat this but discard her other brand. Stools are good — fed her Merrick for a while and had very loose stools. We bought this at Petco. Definitely recommend TRUFOOD.

  34. Crazy4dogs says:

    Yes. But I thought it was expensive for the small portion of freeze dried in it. I haven’t tried Merrick’s.

  35. Hm, I’ll have to check it out. I believe NV was the first to do raw boost right?

  36. Crazy4dogs says:

    I think petco should have it. They carry a lot of Merrick.

  37. Crazy4dogs says:

    Maybe, I can’t keep up with all the new formula names!

  38. What do you mean? The wild recipe?

  39. Sounds like it. No I haven’t actually seen it. Where is it purchased?

  40. Crazy4dogs says:

    Looks like DFA is going to be updating a ton of stuff! Did you see the new Natural Balance food? Protein 1st!!! There’s a switch! LOL!

  41. Crazy4dogs says:

    I heard Core was coming out with an air dried one but I haven’t seen it yet. I got the free Bravo sample. My dogs liked it, but they’re labs & they like everything! 😉

  42. Yeah but it’s not the same ingredients or processed the same I believe.

  43. Crazy4dogs says:

    Have you tried any of the Merrick Backcountry raw infused? I’ve seen it but haven’t tried it yet. Seems a ripoff of NV raw boost.

  44. This one is a kibble. Core has an air-dried product.

  45. Kibble and small wet food i believe. Trufood is new so I’m sure more will come out.

  46. Petco only until May, read my comment lower!

  47. Crazy4dogs says:

    Is it a kibble or a dehydrated food?

  48. I actually got it from Petco. It’s only available in Petco right now! It’s going to be released in other places in May I believe! Yeah it’s sort of expensive. But I think it’s great quality.. the only one that’s worked for my dogs issues!

  49. Crazy4dogs says:

    I was wondering that myself. I haven’t seen it anywhere near me and there have been a ton of new formulas in the stores. I wonder if it’s going to be like Primals new formulas or more like Hill’s new crafted (overpriced beyond belief) kibble?

  50. DogFoodie says:

    I’m curious. Where did you buy yours? I didn’t think it had been released yet.

  51. My dog loves this food so much. I am currently feeding the chicken recipe and this cured his loose stools and tummy upset!!

  52. My dog loves this food so much. I am currently feeding the chicken recipe and this cured his loose stools and tummy upset.