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Tender & True Dog Food Review

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There is limited ownership information available. It appears Tender & True’s parent company is Omaha Industries Inc. This is also the parent company of Crete Core Ingredients. This is a fresh and frozen supplier of ingredients to the pet food industry. Omaha Industries Inc. was founded in 1979. It’s involved in warehousing and cold storage. The home office is in Omaha, Nebraska.

In 2014, Tender & True introduced USDA certified organic pet foods. They produce some recipes that are organic and non-GMO. Some recipes are grain-free. There are also recipes with conventionally farmed ingredients. They make products for dogs and cats. All processing is done in the company’s plant in Crete, Nebraska.

For our Tender & True dog food review, we’ll look at the food ingredient quality and safety of each line of food. Our dog food reviews are based on these criteria.

IS TENDER & TRUE A GOOD DOG FOOD?

Tender & True produces 3 lines of dog food. They have dry, freeze-dried and canned with a total of 14 recipes. The company produces organic and non-GMO recipes. They also produce recipes with conventionally farmed ingredients. 

Tender & True recipes are poultry-based and fish-based. The company sources and supplies its own ingredients. It states it has a long relationship with growers and fisheries. However, it doesn’t state the countries of origin for its ingredients.

Tender & True is the first pet food manufacturer to obtain Global Animal Partnership (GAP) certification. This applies to all its poultry recipes. Producers need to meet about 100 different criteria to achieve a Step 1 GAP certification. This places importance on animal welfare. Poultry has been certified to Step 2 and Step 3. It’s described as humanely raised. They have an enhanced environment with outdoor access. Producers are going beyond the basic requirements.

The salmon and whitefish are also certified. They follow the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). This label is a symbol of sustainability. It certifies fish was caught by a responsible fishery. They ensure healthy oceans and safeguard seafood supplies. This fish is wild caught. It’s more nutritious than farmed fish and has a better fatty acid balance. 

In 2014, Tender & True launched its organic pet food. Only pet food products with 95% organic ingredients can display the USDA organic seal. The company offers 3 organic dry recipes. There is 1 organic freeze dried recipe and 2 organic canned recipes.

It’s good to see organic recipes. This means a minimal risk of pesticide/herbicide residues. GMO crops are not used either. This is notable in recipes with fruits and vegetables. They are usually heavily sprayed. However, the 13 dry and canned recipes don’t include produce. They don’t benefit from their micronutrients. The result is there is an excessive list of added vitamins and minerals. 

This is unfortunate as synthetic nutrients aren’t as bioavailable as in whole foods. Whole food sources include the full spectrum of cofactors. This makes them safe and bioavailable. Added vitamins implies the food is of poor nutritional value. 

These recipes are grain-free. But that doesn’t mean they are low in carbohydrates. In fact, both the dry and canned recipes have high levels of carbohydrates. They’re from ingredients such as chickpeas, tapioca, potato, peas, rice and sweet potato. The freeze-dried line has very low carbohydrates. This is good to see.

Some recipes contain processed, inflammatory seed oils. They have plant proteins. They’re a cheap substitute for animal protein. Other quality concerns include unnamed animal protein. This is a sign of low quality. These recipes contain fish oil that can be made from any type of fish or poultry. They can be from rendered waste of many proteins. 

The freeze-dried recipe scores 10/10 for ingredient safety. The dry recipes score lower for being ultra processed. This causes a loss of nutrients from various stages of heating. Canned foods have less processing. They still lose nutrients from heating.  

The organic recipes don’t contain ingredients with high pesticide/herbicide residues or GMOs. However, the other recipes in the dry and canned lines have GMOs. They also have high pesticide/herbicide ingredients in the top 5. All recipes use natural flavor. Some recipes contain rice. It can contain arsenic. 

Tender & True doesn’t state the omega-6:omega-3 ratio in their recipes. This is true of most companies. It’s a concern because AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1. Diets rich in omega-6 fats can cause chronic inflammation.

Let’s look at each line in a little more detail.

Tender & True Dry

Score: 3.9/10

Ingredient List For Organic Turkey & Liver Recipe: Organic Turkey, Organic Chicken meal, Organic tapioca starch, Organic dried peas, Organic chickpea, Organic flaxseed meal, Organic potato starch, Organic chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Organic Pea Flour, Organic chicken liver, Natural Flavors, Menhaden fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Monosodium phosphate, Choline chloride, Mixed tocopherols(preservative), Calcium Carbonate, 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.

Tender & True Dry dog food is a high risk food by our criteria. There are 7 recipes. They average 27% protein. There are 35% carbohydrates as calculated. 

These foods rank low in ingredient quality. They have high carbohydrates. It appears the company is going to extra lengths in its organic certifications. However, organic ingredients aren’t used in all recipes. That makes it necessary for added vitamins and minerals. There’s added sugar, plant protein, and inflammatory seed oil. They have unnamed animal protein like fish oil. These foods are ultra processed. Heating destroys nutrients. Three recipes are certified organic. They don’t contain ingredients with high pesticide/herbicide residues or GMOs. However, the other 4 recipes have GMO ingredients. They’re in the top 5 ingredients. They also have high pesticide ingredients. All recipes use natural flavor. They have rice, which can contain arsenic. One recipe contains coconut oil. Tender & True doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio. This is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

Dry Benefits

  • Made in house
  • Some organic certified recipes
  • Contains no wheat, corn or soy
  • Salmon and whitefish are wild caught

Dry Concerns

  • High carbohydrates
  • Excessive added vitamins & minerals
  • Seed oil (2 recipes)
  • Contains plant protein
  • Contains unnamed animal protein
  • Contains sugar
  • Ultra processed
  • High pesticide/herbicide foods
  • GMOs in top 5 ingredients
  • Contains rice
  • Contains natural flavor
  • Does not provide omega-6:omega-3 ratio
  • Doesn’t specify if fish oil is from farmed or wild-caught fish
  • Uses ingredient splitting
  • Contains coconut oil (1 recipe)

View The Entire Review on Dog Food Reviews

Tender & True Freeze-Dried

Score: 8/10

Ingredient List For Farmers Market Recipe: Organic Chicken, Organic Turkey, Organic Chicken Liver, Organic Flaxseed Meal, Organic Carrots, Organic Dried Eggs, Dried Organic Chicken Broth, Fish Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Organic Pumpkin, Organic Sweet Potatoes, Organic Apples, Organic Blueberries, Organic Kale, Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Salt, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Inositol, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, d- Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Citric Acid (preservative), Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenite, Folic Acid.

Tender & True Freeze-Dried dog food is a low risk food by our criteria. There is 1 recipe. It is 38% protein. There are 5% carbohydrates as calculated. This is a certified organic dog food. However, this line loses points for having added vitamins and minerals. This is disappointing for freeze-dried dog food. There is also added sugar, and fish oil which is an unnamed animal protein. Tender & True doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

Freeze Dried Benefits

  • Made in house
  • Certified organic
  • No high pesticide/herbicide ingredients
  • No GMO crops
  • Minimal Processing
  • Minimal Carbohydrates
  • Contains no wheat, corn or soy

Freeze Dried Concerns

  • Contains excessive added vitamins & minerals
  • Contains unnamed protein
  • Contains sugar
  • Does not provide omega-6:omega-3 ratio
  • Doesn’t specify whether fish oil is from farmed or wild-caught fish

View The Entire Review on Dog Food Reviews

Tender & True Canned

Score: 5.4/10

Ingredient List For Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe: Salmon, Fish broth, Pea protein, Dried sweet potatoes, Pea flour, Fish oil, Salt, Natural flavor, Agar-agar, Tricalcium phosphate, Sodium phosphate, Magnesium proteinate, Calcium carbonate, Potassium chloride, Choline chloride, Taurine, Zinc proteinate, Thiamine mononitrate, Iron proteinate, Niacin supplement, Vitamin E supplement, Copper proteinate, Vitamin A supplement, Sodium selenite, Calcium d-pantothenate, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Riboflavin supplement, Biotin, Manganese proteinate, Vitamin B12 supplement, Folic acid.

Tender & True Canned dog food is a moderate risk food by our criteria. There are 6 recipes. The average protein is 39% protein. Average carbohydrates are 24% as calculated on a dry matter basis. These foods are low in ingredient quality for having high carbohydrates. They have added vitamins and minerals. There is added sugar, plant protein and inflammatory seed oil. They use unnamed animal protein (fish oil). Canned foods are highly processed. This destroys nutrients. Two recipes are certified organic. They don’t have ingredients with high pesticide/herbicide use. There are no GMO ingredients either. However, the other 4 recipes have GMO crops and high pesticide ingredients in the top 5. Two recipes use natural flavor and rice. Rice can contain arsenic. Tender & True doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio. This is a concern since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory ratio of 30:1.

Canned Benefits

  • Made in house
  • Some certified organic recipes
  • Contains no wheat, corn or soy
  • Salmon and whitefish are wild caught

Canned Concerns

  • High in carbohydrates
  • Contains excessive added vitamins & minerals
  • Contains added amino acids (1 recipe)
  • Contains seed oil
  • Contains plant protein
  • Contains unnamed animal protein
  • Highly processed
  • High pesticide/herbicide foods in top 5 ingredients
  • GMOs in top 5 ingredients (1 recipe)
  • Contains rice
  • Contains natural flavor
  • Does not provide omega-6:omega-3 ratio
  • Doesn’t specify farmed or wild-caught fish for fish oil
  • Uses ingredient splitting

View The Entire Review on Dog Food Reviews

TENDER & TRUE DOG FOOD RECALLS

To date, Tender & True has not had any recalls or voluntary withdrawals.

Evaluation Criteria

We evaluate and score dog foods based on two criteria:

Are the Ingredients High Quality?

Here are some common low-quality ingredients or markers we look for:

  • Is there excessive carbohydrate content, which can cause gut imbalances?
  • Does the food contain unnamed proteins, which are low quality?
  • Does the food use cellulose (wood pulp) as a source of fiber instead of real food?
  • Are there excessive vitamins and minerals added in place of real food nutrition?
  • Are there excessive added amino acids or plant proteins instead of expensive meat protein?
  • Does the food contain inflammatory processed seed oils?

How Safe Are the Ingredients?

Many ingredients come from unhealthy, inflammatory sources or are full of pesticides so we look for:

  • How processed is the food?
  • Does the food contain known genetically modified foods?
  • Does the food contain ingredients known to be high in pesticides?
  • Does the food contain natural flavor, which are often MSG or animal digest?
  • Does the food contain rice, which is high in arsenic?

Each food is objectively evaluated by these criteria and a score is assigned using the average of ingredient quality and safety. This is NOT a paid list and there are no affiliate links. Dogs Naturally has partnered with DogFoodReviews.com to make sure dog owners have unbiased, objective criteria to help them choose the best dog food on the market. You can view the full Evaluation Criteria at DogFoodReviews.com.

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